SAMARA, Russia (AP) — It was just about the only thing Jordan Pickford got wrong all game.
"It was a daft injury by myself," the England goalkeeper recounted. "I went to punch the (ground) and ended up punching my knee and hurt my thumb. It was a bit of anger. But I'm a man, not a mouse. I'm fine and I'll live another day, won't I?"
MOSCOW (AP) — A World Cup knockout day that featured fresh faces and record performances ended with downcast Swedish and Russian eyes and the semifinalists all set. There were standout performances aplenty, several from relative newcomers. Harry Maguire scored his first international goal at age 25, 22-year-old teammate Dele Alli got his first in a World Cup, 24-year-old goalkeeper Jordan Pickford kept his first clean sheet of the tournament and it was all too much for Sweden's tough veteran side as England triumphed in Samara.
SAMARA, Russia (AP) — England achieved something David Beckham's generation never managed: It reached the semifinals of the World Cup.
Harry Maguire and Dele Alli scored with headers in a 2-0 win over Sweden on Saturday, earning England's youthful team a match against Croatia for a place in the final on July 15.
"We looked composed," England captain Harry Kane said. "We looked like we controlled the game."
MOSCOW (AP) — What to watch for in Saturday's matchups in the World Cup quarterfinals:
SAMARA, Russia (AP) — England coach Gareth Southgate sees a generation of young players finally starting to challenge the duopoly of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo in world soccer.
Much to his delight, one of them is in his team.
Ahead of England's World Cup semifinal match against Sweden on Saturday, Southgate said Harry Kane has reached new heights by scoring six goals to lead the scoring standings in Russia and is one of the younger players "announcing themselves" at the tournament.
Two-time World Cup winner Ronaldo has a message to referees in Brazil: Protect Neymar.
Speaking to "PodcastOne Sports Now," Ronaldo told guest host Rob Harris that critics of Neymar's theatrics during games are "stupid and don't understand about football."
"The defenders are very strong with him and not legal," said Ronaldo, who won the 1994 and 2002 World Cup with Brazil.
SAMARA, Russia (AP) — Joseph Stalin's secret bunker has become the unlikely meeting point for thousands of fans who have descended on the Russian city of Samara during the World Cup.
Emerging from the underground shelter more than 120 feet (37 meters) below, Mexicans donning traditional sombreros and Colombians and Uruguayans carrying national flags were fascinated with this remnant of Soviet history that remained unknown for 50 years.
SAMARA, Russia (AP) — Having intentionally steered England into what's widely considered the weaker half of the World Cup's knockout bracket, coach Gareth Southgate is now casting the upcoming quarterfinal against Sweden as "bloody difficult."
Southgate sent out a crew of reserves who lost 1-0 to Belgium in their group-stage finale, and after both teams survived scares in the round of 16, Belgium now faces Brazil while England meets a Sweden side that gets far less respect.
MOSCOW (AP) — Residents of the World Cup host city of Samara are being urged to take showers in pairs because the influx of fans is putting strain on water supplies.
The Samara Communal Systems utility company says the combination of a heatwave and "thousands of guests" have meant its providing 10 percent more cold water than normal. That's causing water pressure to drop in some neighborhoods, the company adds.
MOSCOW (AP) — FIFA has picked European and South American referees to handle the World Cup quarterfinals that feature only teams from their regions.
The Uruguay vs. France game will be refereed by Nestor Pitana of Argentina on Friday in Nizhny Novgorod. It will be his fourth assignment, including the opening game.
Also Friday, the Brazil vs. Belgium game in Kazan will be handled by Milorad Mazic of Serbia. He handled the Champions League final in May.
MOSCOW (AP) — After three haunting failures, England finally won a penalty shootout at the World Cup.
And it happened under a coach who for 22 years has taken the blame for a previous shootout loss at a major tournament.
England advanced to the World Cup quarterfinals by beating Colombia 4-3 in a shootout following a 1-1 draw Tuesday, sending Gareth Southgate running onto the field to celebrate the end of the national team's years of misfortune.
SAMARA, Russia (AP) — While the focus is on Neymar's flashy scoring ability and his other antics in Russia, Brazil's steady progression at the World Cup has solidified the team's status among the favorites left in the tournament.
Nemesis Germany is gone. So are Lionel Messi and Argentina. Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal are out.
But for Brazil, the word favorite — "favorito" in Portuguese — is taboo.
SAMARA, Russia (AP) — The "quinto partido" curse goes on.
Mexico fell 2-0 to Brazil on Monday, marking the seventh straight time that El Tri has failed to reach the quarterfinals — or the fifth game — at soccer's premier tournament.
Mexico last made it that far in 1986, when the nation hosted the World Cup.
This wasn't to be the year El Tri broke through. Coach Juan Carlos Osorio said afterward that the team should look to better develop players.
Neymar leads Brazil into World Cup quarterfinals
SAMARA, Russia (AP) — Flaunting his flair and his finishing touch wasn't enough. Neymar put his theatrics on show, too.
What became clear in Brazil's 2-0 victory over Mexico on Monday is that the wild side of the striker's character is going nowhere at this year's World Cup. And neither is Brazil.
"I don't much care for criticism," Neymar said, "not even for praise."
SAMARA, Russia (AP) — Brazil captain Thiago Silva is hoping Neymar plays as well as some of his Paris Saint-Germain teammates have done in the knockout round of the World Cup.
Teenager Kylian Mbappe scored a pair of goals in France's 4-3 victory over Argentina, sending Lionel Messi out of the tournament. Edinson Cavani then scored both goals in Uruguay's 2-1 victory that eliminated Portugal and Cristiano Ronaldo.
MOSCOW (AP) — So many favorites have been eliminated already from the World Cup that Brazil, trying to make amends for its disappointing 2014 tournament, now has a strong shot at leaving Russia with a sixth title.
SAMARA, Russia (AP) — Danilo is available to play for Brazil against Mexico after missing the team's last two matches in Russia with a right hip injury, but Marcelo is out because of back spasms.
Team doctor Rodrigo Lasmar announced late Saturday that Danilo, the right back who plays for Manchester City could play in the round-of-16 match on Monday at Samara Stadium.
SAMARA, Russia (AP) — One towering player stood out for his superior technical skills during a recent pickup game at a beach in the World Cup host city of Samara.
He controlled the ball, pausing with it at times and forcing the game to swirl around him before bursting past children and grown-ups who chased after him. And when he found himself unmarked, he shot with force, kicking up sand and scored to goal. That's when someone walked up and asked if it would be OK to snap a selfie with him.
MOSCOW (AP) — Russia's soccer federation has been fined by FIFA because a fan displayed a neo-Nazi banner at a World Cup game.
FIFA's disciplinary panel ordered the Russian soccer body to pay 10,000 Swiss francs ($10,100) for a "discriminatory banner" at the team's 3-0 loss to Uruguay in Samara.
FIFA and monitoring experts working at World Cup matches said the banner included the number 88, which is recognized as far-right code for "Heil Hitler" because H is the eighth letter of the alphabet.
SAMARA, Russia (AP) — The elusive "quinto partido" is fueling Mexico ahead of its daunting knockout round opener against Brazil.
The phrase, which means fifth game, refers to the quarterfinals at the World Cup. Mexico has made it to the round of 16 for the past six tournaments but hasn't been able to advance any further.
If they can beat Neymar and the Brazilians, El Tri will reach that quinto partido. But that's a big if.
Mexican players and coach go sightseeing in Moscow
MOSCOW (AP) — In the past few days, Mexican players have insisted that they are not afraid to face Brazil in the round of 16 in the World Cup.
Now they seem to be proving it.
Three days before facing the Brazilians, several members of the team and even coach Juan Carlos Osorio took the afternoon off and went sightseeing at Moscow's Red Square.
TOKYO (AP) — Japanese soccer fans on Friday debated their team's controversial tactics at the World Cup, with most accepting them as an inevitable outcome of the tournament's tiebreaking format.
Japan lost 1-0 to Poland in their final group game on Thursday in Russia. Despite the loss, Japan advanced to a round-of-16 match against Belgium because it received fewer yellow cards than Senegal, which lost to Colombia by the same score at the same time.
Colombia’s win tempered by concern for Rodriguez
SAMARA, Russia (AP) — Colombia's joy at moving on to the knockout round at this World Cup was tempered by concern for their star from the last one.
James Rodriguez left in the 31st minute of the team's 1-0 victory over Senegal on Thursday night.
SAMARA, Russia (AP) — The "fair play" tiebreaker doesn't seem all that fair to Senegal.
VOLGOGRAD, Russia (AP) — Nice guys don't necessarily finish last at the World Cup.
Fair play, a newly implemented tiebreaker in the group stage of the world's biggest soccer tournament, was put into use for the first time Thursday and Japan came out as the beneficiary.
Despite losing 1-0 to Poland, the Japanese were able to advance a round of 16 match against Belgium because they received fewer yellow cards than Senegal, which lost to Colombia by the same score at the same time.
MOSCOW (AP) — The Latest on Thursday at the World Cup (all times local):
Jan Bednarek has given Poland a 1-0 lead against Japan with a goal that could have big ramifications for the teams advancing from the knockout stage from Group H.
Bednarek beat his marker at the far post in the 59th minute to volley in a swirling free-kick from Rafal Kurzawa.
SAMARA, Russia (AP) — Senegal and Colombia are keeping it loose at the World Cup while remaining focused on the goal.
Both teams are comfortable showing emotion, and there should be plenty when they meet Thursday in a decisive final group stage match in Samara.
SAMARA, Russia (AP) — The euphoria surrounding Russia's national team at the World Cup has been brought back down to earth.
After beating Saudi Arabia and Egypt to reach the knockout stages for the first time since the Soviet era, the host's limitations were painfully evident in Monday's 3-0 loss to Uruguay. The Russian eagle's wings have been clipped.
SAMARA, Russia (AP) — With Russia set to play Uruguay in a heat wave, authorities in Samara say they'll be distributing free drinking water at the stadium.
The local government is warning temperatures could hit 35 degrees Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit) at the Samara Arena around the time of the game Monday.
SAMARA, Russia (AP) — Russia forward Fyodor Smolov is back in Samara, the city where he scored his first league goal in 2008.
He's not very sentimental about it, though.
"That was 10 years ago, and now we are playing here at the World Cup and that's a different situation," said Smolov, who is a member of the Russian squad that will face Uruguay on Monday in their final group match.
It's uncertain if Smolov will start in Monday's match.
SAMARA, Russia (AP) — Coach Stanislav Cherchesov insists Russia's success at the World Cup is about much more than home-team advantage.
Russia will face its toughest challenge — so far — against Uruguay. The undefeated teams play Monday in Samara for the top spot in their group, with both already assured a spot in the knockout round.
"It is not an accident that we have two wins under our belt," Cherchesov said. "It is a group that works together well. It is a group of solidarity and cohesion."
Christian Eriksen poised to break out at World Cup
SAMARA, Russia (AP) — Goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel smiled when he said Denmark is lucky that Christian Eriksen is Danish.
Eriksen, an attacking midfielder who plays for Tottenham Hotspur, had an assist on Denmark's goal in a 1-0 victory over Peru in the team's tournament opener. His teammates and coach are confident he'll do much more.
Eriksen's scoring breakthrough could come Thursday when the Danes play Australia in Samara.
SAMARA, Russia (AP) — Australia's coach would not say whether all-time leading scorer Tim Cahill would play on Thursday against Denmark.
"There's always a chance — for all the players," Bert van Marwijk said Wednesday when asked if Cahill might play or even start.
SAMARA, Russia (AP) — Randall Garcia and his wife were on a bus in the Russian city of Samara when a local resident stared at the couple and pointed his phone at them. The screen read: "Good luck Costa Rica!"
Aussies undeterred by opening loss at the World Cup
SAMARA, Russia (AP) — Far from being discouraged about a heartbreaking opening loss to France, Australia is confident going into another tough World Cup match against Denmark.
The plucky underdog label seems to inspire the Socceroos.
Australia fell 2-1 to the French on Saturday in Kazan. But the scoreline didn't reflect the Australian team's gritty defensive performance against the 1998 World Cup champions and highest-ranked team in the group.
AP PHOTOS: Heavyweights struggle on World Cup day 4
MOSCOW (AP) — Day 4 at the World Cup began much the way Days 1 and 2 ended: with a gorgeous, swerving goal off a free kick. This time, it was Serbian Aleksandar Kolarov's turn to show some wizardry with the ball, whipping it over a wall of Costa Rican defenders and past goalkeeper Keylor Navas midway through the second half to earn a 1-0 win in Samara. The match got testy later — referees had to separate some of the players and coaches in front of the Costa Rican bench — and understandably so: The result put the Serbs in good position in a group featuring three teams who figured to be fighting for second place behind Brazil.
SAMARA, Russia (AP) — As Serbia celebrated its 1-0 victory over Costa Rica in the World Cup on Sunday, the celebratory mood briefly turned somber.
Captain Aleksandar Kolarov was named man of the match for his game-winning goal from a free kick early in the second half. But his thoughts turned to Goran Bunjevcevic, sporting director of the Serbian federation, who had a stroke last month and required emergency surgery.
Koralov dedicated both the win and his goal to Bunjevcevic.
SAMARA, Russia (AP) — Serbia's World Cup opener against Costa Rica on Sunday will have added significance for Branislav Ivanovic.
A win would be nice, but the 34-year-old defender and former Chelsea player could make his record 104th appearance for the national team, surpassing Dejan Stankovic.
SAMARA, Russia (AP) — Martin Gomez twice hung up his phone thinking he was part of a prank or scam. The third time he took the call, and learned he'd won an all-expense paid trip to the World Cup, Gomez cried tears of joy.
The Costa Rican didn't even know he was part of the contest to send a fan to Russia to follow the national team. Gomez was picked at random by the state-owned telephone provider just for being a customer who always pays his monthly bills on time.
SAMARA, Russia (AP) — Costa Rica fan Martin Gomez hung up the phone twice, thinking it was a prank call or a scam. But the third time he took the call, he cried with joy.
Gomez had just won an all-expenses paid trip to Russia to follow the national team at the World Cup. And he didn't even know that he had entered a competition.
It was all because he paid his phone bill on time. He was among three dozen Costa Rica fans who were awarded the same prize by the country's state telephone company.
SAMARA, Russia (AP) — Costa Rica defender Ronald Matarrita will not play in the World Cup because of a right hamstring injury.
The Costa Rican federation says Matarrita will be replaced on the Ticos' roster by Kenner Gutierrez.
Following training at the team's St. Petersburg camp, the left back had an MRI which confirmed the injury. Matarrita, who plays for the MLS club NYCFC, will miss at least two weeks.
MOSCOW (AP) — Samara is a city defined by the vast Volga River, which has held a unique position in Russian culture for hundreds of years.
It's been depicted in some of the country's most famous paintings, like Ilya Repin's "Barge Haulers on the Volga." The Soviet Union's Lada cars were named after a type of Volga boat and built near Samara.
Fans may also be interested to know Samara is famous for its beer.
Much-delayed World Cup stadium in Samara finally opens
MOSCOW (AP) — A much-delayed stadium in Samara has become the last of Russia's World Cup arenas to open its doors, less than two months before the tournament.
The Samara Arena held its first test game on Saturday as local second-tier club Krylya Sovetov Samara came from behind to beat Fakel Voronezh 2-1 in front of around 14,000 fans in the 45,000-seat stadium.