African soccer VP cleared of head-butting referee
CAIRO (AP) — The African soccer confederation on Tuesday cleared one of its vice presidents of head-butting a referee because of insufficient evidence.
Saudi government funds won’t pay for new FIFA events
KIGALI, Rwanda (AP) — Facing scrutiny over links to Saudi Arabia, FIFA says new competitions that will bring in $25 billion will not be funded directly by any nation, according to documents seen by The Associated Press.
AP source: FIFA proposes annual Club World Cup
FIFA President Gianni Infantino is doubling down on his Club World Cup plans with a proposal for an expanded annual tournament despite European soccer's resistance to any competition that challenges the supremacy of the Champions League, a person with knowledge of the talks told The Associated Press.
KAZAN, Russia (AP) — Coach Joachim Loew failed in his bid to combine the experience of past World Cup winners and the youth of talented newcomers, but the future holds much promise for Germany.
Stunned Germany hopes to avoid early World Cup exit
MOSCOW (AP) — Germany didn't play the way it usually plays. Coach Joachim Loew isn't sure why.
Stymied by Mexico's skillful forwards and speedy counterattacks, the defending World Cup champions played a sloppy first half, gave up too many chances and ultimately conceded a goal that held up in Mexico's 1-0 victory on Sunday.
"We looked nervous and we were not able to play the way we wanted to play," Loew said. "We will have to analyze why that was the case."
MOSCOW (AP) — No one doubts Germany has a wealth of talent at its disposal for the World Cup — so much that Leroy Sane, Premier League young player of the year, didn't even make the squad.
The world champion's problem this year has been getting all of its talent to work together on the field, and Germany has just one win in its last six friendly games, 2-1 over Saudi Arabia last week.
The German title defense starts with a familiar foe in Mexico.
MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexicans can never be sure who will be playing for the national team under Juan Carlos Osorio.
A different lineup has been deployed by Osorio in all 46 games in charge and now players are starting to question the tactical tinkering going into the World Cup.
"It's time to stop with the experiments," Mexico goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa said. "We have to focus on how we play as a team."
MOSCOW (AP) — Russia's World Cup is spread across 12 stadiums in 11 host cities. They range from St. Petersburg, which is so far north that the sun doesn't set on some summer days, to Sochi and its subtropical climate on the Black Sea coast.
Cost rises, worker deaths, and corruption have marred the building of Russia's World Cup stadiums.
Unlike in Brazil four years ago, venues are finished on time, but there's sure to be a few last-minute tweaks.
MOSCOW (AP) — Russia has eased rules requiring foreign visitors to register their whereabouts during the World Cup.
A decree signed by President Vladimir Putin and published on a government website says foreigners must now register with authorities within three days of arriving in a new town, rather than 24 hours, as was the case for last year's Confederations Cup.
That's still less than in most cases outside the World Cup period.
Mexico picks Marquez for likely 5th World Cup
MEXICO CITY (AP) — Defender Rafael Marquez could play in a fifth World Cup after he was picked in Mexico's 28-player preliminary squad on Monday.
Midfielder Andres Guardado, however, one of the three captains, will go through surgery this week and is a doubt for the team.
If 39-year-old Marquez makes the final 23-man list, he will join countryman Antonio Carvajal, Lothar Matthaeus of Germany and Gianluigi Buffon of Italy as the only players to be in five World Cups.
BERLIN (AP) — Germany coasted through World Cup qualifying with 10 wins out of 10 and a European record 43 goals before getting a reality check.
The World Cup holders haven't won any matches since qualifying for Russia. After drawing friendlies against England, France and Spain, Joachim Loew's team lost 1-0 to Brazil to end a 22-game unbeaten run.
Becoming the first team since Brazil in 1962 to defend their World Cup title now looks even trickier for the Germans.
Nigerian referee Ogabor banned for 1 year
JOHANNESBURG (AP) — The Confederation of African Football says Nigerian referee Joseph Ogabor has been banned for one year for "attempted match manipulation" during an international club match earlier this month.
The decision follows investigations conducted and evidence submitted by the South African match officials who were in charge of a Confederation Cup game in Lagos on April 7 between Nigerian team Plateau United and Algerian club USM Alger. Plateau United won it 2-1.
Zimbabwe referee says he was offered bribe to fix game
HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) — The Zimbabwe Football Association said Tuesday that one of its referees reported being offered a bribe of $10,000 to fix a CAF Confederation Cup game in Equatorial Guinea. It's the second time in two weeks that a match official has claimed to have been approached to fix in Africa's second-biggest club tournament.
JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Four South African match officials were offered $30,000 to fix an international club game in Nigeria this weekend, their country's national soccer association said Thursday.
GENEVA (AP) — FIFA is planning to team up with Saudi Arabian, Chinese and American investors in a $25 billion, 12-year deal that could add two major international tournaments to an already crowded soccer calendar.
With preparations for this year's World Cup in Russia reaching a climax, FIFA President Gianni Infantino is looking to launch an expanded 24-team Club World Cup — played every four years starting in 2021 — and a separate global competition for national teams every two years.
MEXICO CITY (AP) — Eighty-seven days before taking on Germany in its first match of Russia 2018, Mexico appears to have only two major lingering questions for the final 23-man roster that will try to reach the quarterfinals for the first time in a tournament away from home. Is veteran defender Rafael Marquez going to be called? And if Giovani Dos Santos' lackluster performances put his spot in jeopardy?
2018 World Cup venues on track but marred by costs, deaths
MOSCOW (AP) — Cost rises, worker deaths, and corruption have marred the building of Russia's World Cup stadiums.
Unlike at the 2014 tournament in Brazil, construction is largely on time. But, like in Brazil, there are concerns about legacy.
Only five host cities have top-level clubs, and the government will need to cover the stadiums' upkeep with subsidies after the tournament.
Ahead of the draw on Friday, here is a look at the 12 stadiums in 11 cities across Russia:
PASADENA, Calif. (AP) — After Kemar Lawrence ripped an exquisite shot over Mexico's five-man wall and into the top corner for one of the biggest goals in Jamaican soccer history, the defender hushed his teammates and refused to celebrate.
These Reggae Boyz are staying cool, even after a goal that sent them into the CONCACAF Gold Cup final with a chance to make history.
RABAT, Morocco (AP) — The Confederation of African Football says three Sudanese clubs have been reinstated to continental competitions after FIFA lifted a ban on the country.
CAF says Al Hilal Omdurman and Al Merreikh are no longer disqualified from the African Champions League, and Al Hilal Obeid has been allowed back into the CAF Confederation Cup and can play in the quarterfinals.
VIDEO: Germany coach Joachim Loew displays his skills on the ball at team training
Mexico coach Osorio says clubs blocked top players
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Mexico coach Juan Carlos Osorio says he was denied top players for the CONCACAF Gold Cup's knockout rounds because "our bosses and the clubs themselves" had other ideas.
Seeking to win the Gold Cup for the fourth time in five tournaments, Mexico wanted to use some of the six replacements each team is allowed under tournament rules. He spoke about the idea with his top player pool on June 25, a day after a win over host Russia at the Confederations Cup.
LONDON (AP) — Chelsea has signed defender Antonio Ruediger from Roma ahead of its Premier League title defense.
The 24-year-old Ruediger signed a five-year deal on Sunday, a week after winning the Confederations Cup with Germany in Russia.
Chelsea technical director Michael Emenalo says "Antonio is still young but is experienced at club and international level and possesses all the requisite attributes to thrive in the Premier League."
ZURICH (AP) — Mexico coach Juan Carlos Osorio has been effectively banned from the Gold Cup by FIFA for insulting match officials.
FIFA banned Osorio for six matches on Friday for his behavior during the Confederations Cup third-place game last Sunday, when Mexico lost to Portugal 2-1.
Mexico will have to play up to six games to retain the Gold Cup in the U.S., starting on Sunday against El Salvador in San Diego.
Osorio was incensed when his team was not awarded a penalty against Portugal.
FIFA said Friday it has suspended the Sudan Football Association because of government interference, leading to three of the country's clubs being thrown out of African competitions.
Two of the clubs were disqualified from the African Champions League hours before they were due to play Friday night. The third was scheduled to play this weekend, and had already sealed a place in the quarterfinals of the CAF Confederation Cup.
ZURICH (AP) — The United States dropped 12 spots to 35th in the FIFA rankings, one above the Americans' low in July and August 2012.
Much of the drop is attributable to a devaluation of points from last year's Copa America. Under FIFA's formula, a nation's ranking is based on adding its average points from matches in the last 12 months to its average points in the three years before.
ZURICH (AP) — Germany leads the FIFA rankings again after the 2014 World Cup winner added the Confederations Cup title on Sunday.
Victory by a second-string squad lifted Germany up two places, and Brazil and Argentina fell to Nos. 2 and 3, respectively.
Since Germany last led the rankings exactly two years ago, Brazil, Argentina and Belgium have held the top spot.
Portugal used its third-place finish in Russia to rise four places to No. 4, higher than after it won the 2016 European Championship.
ST. PETERSBURG, Russia (AP) — Russia's dress rehearsal for the World Cup is over, and it looks comfortable in the spotlight.
When FIFA's Gianni Infantino sat with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the opening game on June 17, the host nation was under a cloud — facing pressure over widespread doping in multiple, fan racism and a reported 17 deaths during construction of World Cup stadiums.
ST. PETERSBURG, Russia (AP) — Germany's young players got a rough guide to winning a major tournament and proved up to the challenge in a physical Confederations Cup final that threatened to boil over on Sunday.
A tough Chile side tried to intimidate the Germans in a forceful South American style not often seen in Europe.
Germany stood up to the test, defending an early lead for a bruising 1-0 win to accelerate its education ahead of its World Cup title defense.
Chile’s Confed Cup defeat hints at trouble ahead
ST. PETERSBURG, Russia (AP) — Chile's players wanted to prove they were the world's best, but instead showed they're vulnerable.
Since 2015, the Chileans have won two Copa Americas, and reached Sunday's Confederations Cup final — a huge achievement for a country which had never before won a tournament.
They're spectacular to watch, but Chile's hard-charging style and three summers without rest and could leave players drained for next year's World Cup — for which Chile is struggling to qualify.
ST. PETERSBURG, Russia (AP) — Germany's experimental young side overcame street-wise Chile to win a bruising Confederations Cup final 1-0 on Sunday, vindicating Joachim Loew's decision to leave most of his world champions at home.
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ST. PETERSBURG, Russia (AP) — Arturo Vidal and Chile want to be the unofficial world champions.
It may be only the Confederations Cup on the line when Chile faces Germany in Sunday's final, but the combative midfielder wants to claim the bragging rights over his German teammates at Bayern Munich.
ST. PETERSBURG, Russia (AP) — Russia won praise on Saturday for a successful World Cup warm-up tournament, though it has faced new questions about past doping issues.
Germany captain Julian Draxler joined FIFA President Gianni Infantino in thanking Russia ahead of the Confederations Cup final on Sunday when the 2014 World Cup winner plays South American champion Chile.
ST. PETERSBURG, Russia (AP) — Alexis Sanchez says he won't reveal his decision about his Arsenal future until after Sunday's Confederations Cup final.
Speaking in Russia as Chile prepares to take on Germany in the final, Sanchez says "I am clear" on whether to stay at Arsenal or leave.
SOCHI, Russia (AP) — Germany and its coach Joachim Loew have already exceeded their expectations by advancing to Sunday's Confederations Cup final.
Loew took mostly young and untried players to represent the World Cup winner in Russia, and rested several stars ahead of defending their title next year.
This new German generation rewarded the faith of their experienced coach — who set a goal of reaching the semifinals — with a 4-1 win over Mexico on Thursday.
Cristiano Ronaldo has shared the first picture of his twin babies.
The 32-year-old soccer ace revealed on Facebook on Wednesday (06.28.17) that he had become a father again, reportedly via a surrogate in the US, and he has now shared a picture of the tots.
He shared a photo of himself cradling the babies - one clad in a blue and white outfit and the other in a pink dress - and captioned the social media post: "So happy to be able to hold the two new loves of my life."
SOCHI, Russia (AP) — Just how much Leon Goretzka wanted to seize his opportunity in an experimental Germany squad became clear after only eight minutes against Mexico.
With two goals in the space of 109 seconds on Thursday, Goretzka put the defensively-ragged Mexicans on the back foot and set Germany on its way to the Confederations Cup final with a clinical 4-1 victory.
SOCHI, Russia (AP) — Leon Goretzka scored two quick-fire early goals on Thursday as Germany beat Mexico 4-1 to reach the Confederations Cup final.
Exploiting Mexico's defensive frailties, Joachim Loew's inexperienced squad was 2-0 up within 10 minutes.
Loew is using the squad to assess his pool of talent, and this one could end the tournament with more silverware for the world champions if it beats Chile on Sunday in St. Petersburg.
Cristiano Ronaldo has confirmed he's become a father to twin boys.
The 32-year-old Portuguese soccer ace announced the news in a Facebook post, in which he also revealed he will be stepping away from the Confederations Cup earlier than planned after the arrival of his sons so he can spend more time with them.
After Portugal failed to beat Chile in the semi-finals of the tournament, he wrote: "I was in the service of the national team, as always, body and soul, even though my two sons were born.
KAZAN, Russia (AP) — Cristiano Ronaldo has left the Confederations Cup in Russia to join his twin sons who were born before the tournament began.
Ronaldo says on his Facebook page after Portugal's semifinals loss to Chile that "I'm very happy to finally be with my children for the first time."
Portugal lost a penalty shootout after a 0-0 draw, and will be without its star player for the third-place match. That is Sunday in Moscow against Germany or Mexico.
KAZAN, Russia (AP) — Chile's biggest asset at the Confederations Cup isn't the dazzling attacking skill of Alexis Sanchez, or even Arturo Vidal's creativity.
It's down-to-earth goalkeeper Claudio Bravo, who saves Chile when its hyper-aggressive pressing is no use at all — at the penalty spot.
KAZAN, Russia (AP) — Claudio Bravo made three penalty saves as Chile crushed Portugal 3-0 in a penalty shootout to reach the Confederations Cup final on Wednesday.
Bravo, who missed the first two cup games in Russia because of injury, stopped penalties by Ricardo Quaresma, Joao Moutinho and Nani, sending Chile to its third straight international final after winning consecutive Copa America titles.
Arturo Vidal, Charles Aranguiz and Alexis Sanchez all scored for Chile in the shootout.
KAZAN, Russia (AP) — Coach Tite says it would have been good for Brazil to be playing in the Confederations Cup to give himself and his players more experience going into the World Cup.
Tite made the comments before watching Portugal play Chile in Kazan in the semifinals of the eight-nation World Cup warm-up event on Wednesday. He is in Russia to watch the tournament's final stages and scout possible training bases for Brazil during next year's tournament.
SOCHI, Russia (AP) — The youngest captain to lead Germany into a tournament in 105 years, Julian Draxler has effortlessly taken on the task of mentoring an inexperienced squad.
All while displaying the versatility linking up attacks that has helped to steer Germany into the Confederations Cup semifinals.
Zenit signs Russia internationals Erokhin and Poloz
ST. PETERSBURG, Russia (AP) — Zenit St. Petersburg has signed Russia teammates Alexander Erokhin and Dmitry Poloz as it seeks to rebuild its squad under coach Roberto Mancini.
The double swoop comes after midfielder Erokhin and forward Poloz both played in all three of Russia's games at the Confederations Cup. They had played for FC Rostov this season in its debut Champions League campaign and arrive as free agents after their contracts expired.
MOSCOW (AP) — After years of controversy, Russian officials think their World Cup has weathered the storm.
Stadiums are either finished or nearing completion, and the Confederations Cup is going smoothly.
"The project is very big and there are some delays or operational questions, minor questions, but nothing critical," Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko, who oversees World Cup preparations, said Saturday.
FIFA accepts video reviews must improve after Russia
ST. PETERSBURG, Russia (AP) — Refereeing at the Confederations Cup in Russia may have been chaotic at times, but Video Assistant Referees have prevented major mistakes from being made, football's governing body says.
FIFA's head of refereeing Massimo Busacca says video reviews have not always looked good in tests at the tournament and admitted "many aspects should be improved" including faster, clearer communication after slow reviews have confused players, coaches and fans.