The Latest: No walruses for UEFA in Wales game with Russia
PARIS (AP) — The Latest from soccer’s European Championship (all times local):
UEFA tried to join in the spirit of fun-loving soccer fans on Twitter with the Wales match against Russia.
Smart social types had cottoned on quite early to the fact that the game’s hashtag could be #WALRUS, prompting lots of chatter, Beatles references and pictures of the whiskered marine mammal.
However, UEFA dutifully pointed out that as Russia was the ‘home team’ in the fixture draw, the correct hashtag was #RUSWAL and “Not the funny one.”
Russia coach Leonid Slutsky has given a strong hint that he won’t be in charge of the national side for much longer.
Speaking after his team’s 3-0 defeat to Wales, which ensured Russia’s Euro 2016 campaign is over, Slutsky said “I think after a type of tournament like this, you need someone else to take charge of the national side for major competitions.”
Slutsky was told by Russia’s soccer authorities that he would have to choose between the national team and his club side CSKA Moscow at the end of Euro 2016.
As host of the 2018 World Cup, Russia gets automatic qualification.
England qualified for the round of 16 at the European Championship despite being held to a 0-0 draw by Slovakia on Monday.
England dominated throughout against a very defensive and stubborn side but failed to convert a dozen chances.
Wales won Group B with six points, followed by England with five. With four points, Slovakia can still reach the knockout round as one of the four best third-place teams.
Gareth Bale scored for the third straight match to help Wales beat Russia 3-0 and qualify for the round of 16 in its first major tournament in 58 years.
Bale, whose two previous goals at the European Championship had come from free kicks, had several chances during the match and finally beat Russia goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev in the 67th minute after being put through by Aaron Ramsey.
Ramsey scored Wales’ opening goal in the 11th minute when he beat the offside trap, ran onto a through ball from Joe Allen and lifted it over the onrushing goalkeeper.
With Russia needing a win to have any chance of progressing, it was forced to attack, leaving space for Wales to double its lead in the 20th as Neil Taylor scored his first international goal following a swift counterattack from Ramsey and Bale.
Gareth Bale shot into the far corner of the net with the outside of his boot after being sent clear following a good dribble by Aaron Ramsey. It was Bale’s third goal of the tournament.
Wales leads Russia 3-0.
GOAL: Gareth Bale scores for Wales in the 67th minute. Wales leads Russia 3-0.
England and Slovakia were even at 0-0 at halftime in Saint-Etienne.
The English pushed forward throughout the half and created several good chances but failed to finish.
England went close in the ninth minute after a scramble in the box when Daniel Sturridge could not make the most of Jamie Vardy’s astute glance. His shot was blocked by Slovakia right back Peter Pekarik.
After Adam Lallana went wide with a shot from the end of the box, Jordan Henderson had an angled shot blocked by left back Tomas Huboca as the Slovakia defense showed resilience to keep its team afloat.
It was then goalkeeper Matus Kozacik’s turn to be decisive after Vardy was played through by Henderson. Vardy retrieved the ball but saw his powerful left-footed shot saved by the Slovakia goalkeeper in the 17th.
Lallana had another shot blocked by Kozacik in the 33rd minute after being set up by Nathaniel Clyne.
Wales is leading Russia 2-0 at halftime and on course for a spot in the round of 16 at the European Championship.
Wales took the lead in the 11th minute when Aaron Ramsey beat the offside trap, ran onto a through ball from Joe Allen and lifted it over the onrushing goalkeeper.
With Russia needing a win to have any chance of progressing, it was forced to attack, leaving space for Wales to double its lead nine minutes later.
Neil Taylor cut inside the penalty area and shot. Although his initial effort was saved by Russia goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev, he put in the rebound for his first international goal.
The leader of a Russian fan union says he is at the European Championship game against Wales in Toulouse despite being banned from France for involvement in hooliganism.
Alexander Shprygin was among 20 Russians deported to Moscow last week after the French authorities accused them of being involved in “skirmishes” around Russia’s game against England in Marseille.
Three Russian fans were convicted and sentenced to prison.
On Monday, Shprygin posted pictures on his Twitter feed showing him at Stadium de Toulose. He appears to have traveled into the country over land to avoid an entry ban from France.
On his Twitter feed, Shprygin said it was a journey by “an unusual route under cover of night.”
Shprygin, who sits on a Russian government commission overseeing Moscow’s preparations for the 2018 World Cup, has admitted to posting pictures of far right symbols online but says neither he nor his organization is racist.
Neil Taylor cut inside the penalty area and scored with his second effort after his first was saved by Russia goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev. It was Taylor’s first international goal.
Aaron Ramsey and Gareth Bale led the counterattack from deep inside the Russia half.
GOAL: Neil Taylor scores for Wales in the 20th minute. Wales leads Russia 2-0.
Aaron Ramsey beat the offside trap, ran onto a through ball from Joe Allen and lifted it over the onrushing goalkeeper to give Wales a 1-0 lead over Russia.
GOAL: Aaron Ramsey scores for Wales in the 11th minute. Wales leads Russia 1-0.
Gareth Bale will be leading Wales’ attack as he seeks a third goal at the tournament against Russia in Group B.
Bale scored against Slovakia and England from free kicks.
Wales coach Chris Coleman made one change to his lineup from the England match, starting with Sam Vokes to partner with Bale instead of Hal Robson-Kanu.
Wales would progress with a victory, while the team would have a good chance of advancing with a draw.
Russia coach Leonid Slutsky has made four changes to his team, revamping his midfield. Oleg Shatov will miss the match because of a groin injury.
Here are the lineups for the match between Russia and Wales at the Stadium de Toulouse in Group B:
Russia: Igor Akinfeev, Vasily Berezutsky, Sergei Ignashevich, Igor Smolnikov, Denis Glushakov, Dmitry Kombarov, Pavel Mamaev, Roman Shirokov, Artyom Dzyuba, Alexander Kokorin, Fyodor Smolov.
Wales: Wayne Hennessey, Ben Davies, Neil Taylor, Chris Gunter, Ashley Williams, James Chester, Aaron Ramsey, Joe Ledley, Joe Allen, Gareth Bale, Sam Vokes.
England captain Wayne Rooney is one of six players dropped to the bench for the team’s Group B match against Slovakia.
England coach Roy Hodgson is rotating his squad for a third game in 10 days at the European Championship.
Other players who come out of the starting lineup for the match in Saint-Etienne are full backs Kyle Walker and Danny Rose, attacking midfielders Dele Alli and Raheem Sterling, and striker Harry Kane.
Earning first starts of the tournament are Nathanial Clyne, Ryan Bertrand, Jack Wilshere, Jordan Henderson, Daniel Sturridge and Jamie Vardy.
It’s a gamble by Hodgson, with England starting the game on top of the group but not yet assured of a spot in the last 16.
Slovakia is unchanged from its win over Russia.
Here are the lineups for the Group B game between Slovakia and England in Saint-Etienne:
Slovakia: Matus Kozacik, Peter Pekarik, Martin Skrtel, Jan Durica, Vladimir Weiss, Ondrej Duda, Tomas Hubocan, Marek Hamsik, Juraj Kucka, Robert Mak, Viktor Pecovsky.
England: Joe Hart, Nathaniel Clyne, Ryan Bertrand, Gary Cahill, Chris Smalling, Eric Dier, Jack Wilshere, Jordan Henderson, Adam Lallana, Daniel Sturridge, Jamie Vardy.
The Austrian-based company that provided the turf at the European Championship stadiums in Lille and Marseille has offered to help solve the problems.
Richter Rasen managing director Alexander Richter tells Austrian broadcaster ORF he will travel to France this week to help organizers find a solution for the damaged surfaces.
Several coaches and players have complained about the fields, and UEFA acknowledged last week that some have not been good enough.
Richter says his company delivered grass of good quality when being asked by UEFA three weeks before the start of the tournament.
Richter says “we have been called to Lille and Marseille to improve the already heavily damaged pitches. We managed to do that but the growing conditions have not been favorable.”
Days of heavy rain have further affected the fields. The venues will host three more games, including a quarterfinal match in Lille and a quarterfinal and a semifinal match in Marseille.
Ukraine coach Mykhailo Fomenko says the “very hard situation” at home is partly to blame for the team’s early exit from the European Championship.
Fomenko says “football, of course, is influenced by this situation,” adding it caused “a chain reaction” and impacted Ukraine’s domestic leagues.
He says “we could not fulfill our task and our objective to go through the group and get out of the group.”
Four years ago, as co-host of Euro 2012, Ukraine started with a win over Sweden but was still eliminated in the group stage.
France midfielder Dimitri Payet mocked the state of the playing surface at Lille’s Stade Pierre Mauroy, saying he was happy to be a substitute against Switzerland on Sunday as it meant not having to play a full game on it.
“I’m glad I didn’t play much on Lille’s pitch, because it was in bad shape,” said Payet, who came on midway through the second half. “It’s a pity because it stops us developing our game the way we’d like. We’re going to Lyon (for the next game) and things will be better.”
Several France players slipped during the game.
“In my opinion, it is linked to the state of the pitch,” Payet said on Monday. “Because most of our players, if not all, play with proper (fixed) studs.”
France coach Didier Deschamps was also unhappy with the playing surface.
“I don’t know who is responsible” he said, following the 0-0 draw. “But we are only in the group stage of the competition and having such a pitch is not a good thing.”
Russian players will wear armbands during their European Championship game against Wales on Monday in memory of 14 children who died in a boating accident.
The Russian team announced the tribute on its Twitter account ahead of the match in Toulouse.
Several boats with children overturned Saturday in a storm in Syamozero, 120 kilometers (75 miles) east of the border with Finland.
Vladimir Markin, a spokesman for the nation’s main state investigative agency, says 14 of the 47 children and four adult instructors on board died.
UEFA has threatened to stop Croatia from selling European Championship tickets to fans identified as hooligans after a match was disrupted by fights and flares.
UEFA says its disciplinary panel also fined the Croatian soccer federation 100,000 euros ($113,000) for a series of charges that also included racist behavior.
Croatia next plays Spain on Tuesday in Bordeaux, and should advance to the round of 16.
UEFA imposed the probationary ban on ticket sales after fans threw lit flares and firecrackers on the field late in a 2-2 draw against the Czech Republic. Play in Saint-Etienne had to stop for several minutes.
Croatia fans then fought among themselves as players appealed for calm.
Many believe disorder was planned to protest against unpopular federation leaders. Croatian officials say they warned UEFA and French police about trouble.
Puma says Switzerland’s players were wearing defective shirts in the match against France, and that’s why they ripped so easily at the European Championship.
The sports apparel company, which sponsors Usain Bolt, apologized to the Swiss federation and players on Monday for the “very unfortunate incident.”
Switzerland players Granit Xhaka and Admir Mehmedi were both left wearing shredded shirts when grabbed by French opponents during a 0-0 draw in Lille.
Puma says the problem affected “only a limited number” of shirts, which are a mix of elastane and polyester fibers and made in Turkey.
Puma says the batch of shirts included yarns that can be damaged if “the combination of heat, pressure and time is not properly controlled.”
The German firm supplies shirts to five European Championships teams, including Italy.
Albanian soccer federation officials say the plane carrying the national team was forced to land at a different airport in France because of bad weather.
Albania beat Romania 1-0 on Sunday in Lyon and was flying back to their team base but had to land in Brest. The team is staying in Perros-Guirec and normally lands in nearby Lannion.
Albania team spokesman Tritan Kokona says the delegation took a bus 125 kilometers (80 miles) to their L’Agapa Hotel, adding they will hold a normal training session on Monday.
Albania finished in third place in Group A but will need to wait until Wednesday to find out if it has advanced to the round of 16.
Poland goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny is still trying to recover from an injury he picked up in his team’s first European Championship match in France and appears certain to miss the last one.
The Roma goalkeeper was injured in Poland’s 1-0 win over Northern Ireland and coach Adam Nawalka said Monday he hasn’t yet resumed full training ahead of Tuesday’s final Group C match against Ukraine at Stade Velodrome in Marseille.
Nawalka says there is “progress with his rehabilitation,” but did not speculate on when Szczesny would be fit to return.
In his absence, Swansea goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski kept a clean sheet in Poland’s 0-0 draw with World Cup champion Germany.
Poland is second in Group C behind Germany on goal difference.
Spain and Croatia were not allowed to practice at Stade de Bordeaux ahead of Tuesday’s Group D game at the European Championship because of poor field conditions.
There were several lighting machines on the field Monday to help the grass recover. The most-affected areas were located near the sidelines.
The teams’ practice sessions were transferred to Stade Chaban-Delmas, about half an hour away.
Two-time defending champion Spain has already advanced to the knockout stage but Croatia needs at least a draw to guarantee second place and qualify without depending on other results.
France’s interior minister says 557 “violent supporters” have been arrested so far at the European Championship, and 344 of them were held by police.
Bernard Cazeneuve says custody has been followed by “very firm prison sentences for a certain number” of them.
In a statement, the government later said that 21 fans have been sent to jail and another six have been given suspended prison sentences. French authorities have ordered a further 25 supporters to be deported.
Trouble flared in Marseille during the opening days of Euro 2016, when England fans, Russian supporters and local youths clashed with each other and French riot police. Tear gas and water cannons were used to break up the trouble.
The hooligan threat at Euro 2016 comes amid heightened security in France after the Nov. 13 attacks in Paris, which claimed 130 lives.
UEFA has charged the Albanian and Romanian soccer federations over fan behavior at the European Championship.
UEFA says it opened disciplinary proceedings against Albania for “field invasion” by a fan, and lighting and throwing fireworks. Romania fans lit flares after their national anthem was played in Lyon.
Albania beat Romania 1-0 on Sunday.
UEFA did not specify when its disciplinary panel will judge the cases.
Both federations face additional sanctions for incidents at earlier Euro 2016 matches involving fireworks and an offensive Albanian banner.
Romania was eliminated on Sunday, and Albania must wait until Wednesday to find out if it advances as one of the four best third-place teams.
Even Switzerland’s players see the funny side of their shirt-ripping issues.
One of the main talking points of the Swiss team’s 0-0 draw with France was how easily and often the red shirts shredded.
Switzerland forward Xherdan Shaqiri quipped to broadcasters: “I hope Puma doesn’t make condoms.”
The German manufacturer makes kits for five European Championship teams, including Italy. The Italians, however, have not yet had a wardrobe malfunction.
Puma’s main rival, Adidas, also had an equipment issue during Sunday’s match in Lille. The “Beau Jeu” ball designed especially for Euro 2016 burst open when two players converged on it in a second-half challenge.
UEFA’s competitions director says there is no fear of teams colluding to produce favorable results in the final round of European Championship group games.
Giorgio Marchetti says there is “little room for speculation” despite teams playing on Wednesday being able to plan how finishing first, second, or third will decide their opponent in the round of 16.
Marchetti says “we think we are pretty safe because there is a need by many teams to win.”
Euro 2016 expanded from 16 teams to a 24-team format where four of the six third-place teams advance. A five-step tiebreaker process ranks the third-place teams.
Marchetti says “biscotto” games, where a certain result suits both teams, could happen with the old format.
He says “it is not the fault of the 24-team format.”