The Latest: Croatia defender demands respect at World Cup

MOSCOW (AP) — The Latest on Wednesday at the World Cup (all times local):

2 a.m.

Croatia defender Dejan Lovren says people should show him more respect now he’s going to play in a World Cup final.

Lovren says “I deserve this” after Croatia’s 2-1 extra-time win over England, and used an expletive to describe all he has been through.

The Liverpool player was annoyed in a news conference on the eve of the semifinal by English media asking about a 4-1 loss against Tottenham early last season.

England captain Harry Kane, who got two goals for Tottenham that day, did not score Wednesday in Moscow.

Lovren says he doesn’t understand why reporters should look back and ask about his mistakes.

“People should respect us more,” Lovren says. Croatia will be playing in the World Cup final for the first time when it plays France in Moscow on Sunday.


12:50 a.m.

Ivan Perisic recalls being a little boy wearing his red-and-white checkered shirt as he watched Croatia previous World Cup semifinal against France in 1998.He says he watched on TV in Split when Croatia lost to the French, who went on to win the title.

“I rooted for Croatia wearing the Croatia jersey,” he said. “I could only dream of playing for my country and of scoring one of the important goals in a final.”

Perisic scored the equalizer and contributed to clinching goal as Croatia rallied to beat England 2-1 in extra time to reach the World Cup final for the first time. To win the championship, they’ll have to beat France on Sunday.He spent a couple of years in his childhood living in France but says that’s “irrelevant” now.

“No one can be happier than me to play them in the final,” Perisic said. “I spoke to my mother the other day. She said she dreamed that Croatia will play France in the World Cup final. Now her dream is becoming reality — we will see what happens.”


12:05 a.m.

Harry Kane and his England squad stayed on the field long after the 2-1 extra-time loss to Croatia, acknowledging the thousands of traveling fans who’d come to Russia to see the Three Lions play in a World Cup semifinal for the first time in 28 years.

England took a lead in the fifth minute with Kieran Trippier’s free kick and held it until the 68th when Croatia equalized. Both teams had chances to score before Mario Mandzukic scored the clincher for Croatia in the 109th.

Kane, who leads the tournament scoring list with six goals, says the hurt is going to last a long time.

The England captain says “It hurts a lot. It’s going to hurt for a while, of course, but we can hold our heads up high.”

England came so close to returning to a World Cup final for the first time since winning the title on home soil in 1966. Confidence was building in England that Gareth Southgate’s group of young players could end the long drought. Instead, England will meet Belgium in the third-place playoff on Saturday.

Kane says “It’s been great to get to this stage but we wanted to keep going. I don’t know what else to say. It just hurts.”


11: 37 p.m.

Croatia is going to the World Cup final for the first time after beating England 2-1 in extra time.

Mario Mandzukic scored the clincher in the second half of extra time in the semifinal to secure a spot in Sunday’s final against France.

The Croatians rallied from a goal down for the third game in succession, with Ivan Perisic’s equalizing with a 68th-minute volley after Kieran Trippier opened the scoring for England a free kick in the fifth.

Mandzukic latched onto Perisic’s header in the 109th minute and rifled it past England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, sparking wild celebrations in the corner.

England’s 52-year wait for a second World Cup continues. England won the title on home soil in 1966 in its only previous trip to the final.

The Croatians have played extra time in all three of their knockout games, while France has won all three of its knockout games in 90 minutes and had an extra day to rest.

England and Belgium will play for the second time in the tournament when they contest the third-place playoff in St. Petersburg on Saturday. Belgium won their match in the group stage when both teams fielded second-string lineups.


11:22 p.m.

Mario Mandzukic has given Croatia a 2-1 lead over England in the second half of extra time in their World Cup semifinal.

The Croatia forward latched onto Ivan Perisic’s header and rifled the ball past England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford in the 109th minute.

That left Croatia 11 minutes away from its first ever World Cup final, and England needing a goal to have any chance of reaching its first World Cup final since winning the title in 1966.


11:15 p.m.

England and Croatia’s World Cup semifinal is still level at 1-1 midway through extra time after Croatian defender Sime Vrsaljko blocked a shot on the line.

Neither team has managed to score since Ivan Perisic’s 68th-minute volley leveled the score. England had opened the scoring with a fifth-minute free kick opener by Kieran Trippier.

England could have gone 2-1 up nine minute into extra time but Vrsaljko leaped to head away John Stones’ header.

Croatia’s Mario Mandzukic went down hurt in added time after colliding with England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, who blocked his shot.

If the game goes to penalties, Croatia becomes the first team to play three shootouts at a single World Cup.

The winner here will return to Lizhniki Stsadium on Sunday to face France in the final.


10:51 p.m.

England and Croatia are going to extra time after the World Cup semifinal finished 1-1 in regulation.

Ivan Perisic equalized with a volley in the 68th minute after Kieran Trippier’s free kick in the fifth had given England an early lead.

Perisic nearly followed up with a second goal moments after his first but he hit the post for the second game in succession.

With England barely clinging on in the latter stages, Jordan Pickford saved a shot from Mario Mandzukic. Shortly after, Perisic scooped the ball over the bar with Pickford out of position.

It’s the third consecutive game the Croatians have taken a game to extra time. They beat Denmark and Russia in penalty shootouts. England won a penalty shootout against Colombia in the round of 16, but beat Sweden 2-0 in the quarterfinals.

The winner will return to Luzhniki Stadium on Sunday to face France in the World Cup final.


10:27 p.m.

Ivan Perisic has volleyed in an equalizer for Croatia to make it 1-1 in the World Cup semifinal against England.

Perisic leaped to meet Sime Vrsaljko’s curling cross with his left foot and hit it past Jordan Pickford in the 68th minute. Pickford hadn’t conceded since England’s win over Colombia in the round of 16.

Croatia has now come back from a goal down in each of its last three games — the last two have gone to penalty shootouts after extra time.

The winner of the semifinal at Lizhniki Stadium will play France in the final on Sunday.


10:18 p.m.

England leads lead Croatia 1-0 an hour into the World Cup semifinal. Kieran Trippier’s fifth-minute free kick remains the difference between England and a Croatian team which appears tired after playing extra time in each of its last two games, which went to penalty shootouts.

Croatia has pushed forward down the flanks in the second half but so far England’s defense has prevented a clear scoring opportunity.

The winner will advance to face France in the final on Sunday.


9:55 p.m.

It seems even some tennis fans at Wimbledon would rather watch England’s World Cup semifinal than closely watch the action at the All England Club.

Wimbledon’s No. 1 Court was less than one-third full for the men’s quarterfinal match between John Isner and Milos Raonic, which was being played at the same time as England took on Croatia in Moscow.

Centre Court was close to full for the more high-profile match between Rafael Nadal and Juan Martin del Potro taking place at the same time. Only some blotches of empty seats were visible, although plenty of fans had their attention divided between their phone screens and the court.

All England Club chief executive Richard Lewis said this week that tennis fans would be allowed to use their phones to follow the football match, as long as they didn’t disturb the players or other supporters.

No. 1 Court had been full for the earlier quarterfinal between eight-time champion Roger Federer and Kevin Anderson of South Africa, who rallied from two sets down to beat the Swiss star. But as that match went deep into the fifth set — which Anderson won 13-11 — and the clock crept toward 5 p.m. local time, a male fan shouted out for the players to hurry up a bit.

“I need to watch some football,” he yelled.


9:46 p.m.

England has a 1-0 halftime lead over Croatia 1-0 in the World Cup semifinals after Kieran Trippier scored from a free kick.

Trippier curled the ball over the Croatian wall and into the net in the fifth minute.

Croatia has gone a goal down in both of its previous knockout matches, but had previously rallied swiftly.

This time, the Croatians have only recorded a few shots at Jordan Pickford’s goal from outside the penalty area, most of them off target.

England could have scored a second when Jesse Lingard received the ball in space on the edge of the box in the 35th but shot wide.


9:06 p.m.

Kieran Trippier has given England a 1-0 lead with a fifth-minute free kick in the World Cup semifinal against Croatia.

Trippier scored with England’s first shot of the game, curling the direct free kick over the wall and into the top-right of the goal.

It’s Trippier’s first goal for England.


9 p.m.

England and Croatia’s World Cup semifinal has kicked off.

England got the game started at Moscow’s Luzhniki stadium. It’s the first World Cup semifinal since 1990 for England, which won the World Cup in 1966. Croatia is chasing its first World Cup final after its only previous appearance at the semifinal stage ended in defeat to France in 1998.

Croatia’s fans unfurled a large banner reading “thank you, Russia” before kickoff.

The winner will advance to face France in Sunday’s final.


8:50 p.m.

There’s no British state representative in the VIP box for England’s first World Cup semifinal in 28 years.

The British government and royal family have boycotted the tournament, but FIFA has announced previously that England games in Russia have been attended by the ambassador or deputy ambassador.

Since England’s quarterfinal win over Sweden on Saturday, a British woman died after being poisoned by a nerve agent.

The British police said it’s the same substance used to poison ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Britain in March. The British government blamed the Skripal poisoning on Russia, which denies any involvement.

British foreign secretary Boris Johnson quit Monday over a dispute on Britain’s policy for leaving the European Union.

Croatia is represented at the game by Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic, according to a guest list issued by FIFA.


8:35 p.m.

Some fans at Moscow’s Luzhniki stadium have jeered when Croatia defender Domagoj Vida’s name was announced ahead of his team’s World Cup semifinal match against England.

Vida received a formal warning from soccer’s world governing body for shouting “glory to Ukraine” in a video posted after Croatia beat Russia in the quarterfinals.

The video angered some Russians. Tension between Russia and Ukraine has remained high since 2014 following Russia’s annexation of the Crimean peninsula in 2014 and its backing for pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.


8:25 p.m.

The Croatia and England squads have taken the field to warm up for their World Cup semifinal match at the Luzhniki Stadium.

The Croatian players, wearing dark blue shorts and light blue warm-up shirts, came out first and kicked the ball around on one half of the field.

They were followed by England’s players a few minutes later, wearing white shorts and white shirts with blue and red across the chest.

The winner will return to Luzhniki Stadium on Sunday to face 1998 champion France in the final.


8:15 p.m.

The topic of the World Cup was always going to be raised at the NATO summit with French President Emmanuel Macron and Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel both there.

Particularly because many Belgians continued to be convinced their team should be playing Sunday’s final instead of Les Bleus.

During Wednesday’s opening statement at the official summit meeting, Michel veered off track from discussions on military spending to give his opinion on France’s 1-0 win over Belgium in the World Cup semifinals.

With all other of the 28 leaders listening, Michel addressed Macron directly and said “Frankly, Emmanuel, yesterday the French team was very lucky.”

“Belgians are generally not too chauvinist,” Michel said, before boasting “Belgium played a great game against France.”

Then he tried to pull the discussion back to military issues.

“Like in football, fair play and team spirit is what we need more than ever,” Michel said in an apparent jab at U.S. President Trump who keeps questioning why the United States must carry such a heavy financial burden in defense of the West.

Trump didn’t immediately respond. The U.S. didn’t qualify for the World Cup in Russia, but led a joint bid with Mexico and Canada that won the right to host the sport’s showcase event in 2026.


8 p.m.

Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic has made only one change to his starting lineup for the World Cup semifinal against England, bringing in midfielder Marcelo Brozovic to replace forward Andrej Kramaric. Right-back Sime Vrsaljko retains his starting spot despite going off injured in extra time in the quarterfinal win over Russia.

Defender Domagoj Vida, who scored against Russia, starts despite a days-long dispute over a video he made praising Ukraine. The video attracted an official warning for Vida from tournament organizers and angered some Russian social media users.

Croatia’s only previous semifinal appearance at the World Cup ended in a loss to host France in 1998.

The winner of Wednesday’s semifinal match will play France in the final.

Croatia lineup: Danijel Subasic, Sime Vrsaljko, Ivan Strinic, Ivan Perisic, Dejan Lovren, Ivan Rakitic, Luka Modric, Marcelo Brozovic, Mario Mandzukic, Ante Rebic, Domagoj Vida.


7:55 p.m.

Gareth Southgate has picked an unchanged lineup for the third game in a row as England bids to reach its first World Cup final since 1966.

The semifinal match against Croatia in Moscow marks the fourth time this tournament that England’s coach has used this lineup. The same team beat Tunisia 2-1 in the group stage, Colombia on penalties in the round of 16 and Sweden 2-0 in the quarterfinals.

England has returned to the World Cup semifinals for the first time since 1990, while Croatia’s only previous semifinal appearance ended in a loss to France in 1998.

England: Jordan Pickford, Kyle Walker, John Stones, Harry Maguire, Jesse Lingard, Jordan Henderson, Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling, Kieran Trippier, Ashley Young, Dele Alli.


7:40 p.m.

The Croatia squad has arrived at the Luzhniki Stadium for its World Cup semifinal match against England.

About 15 minutes after England walked out onto the field to survey the surroundings, the Croats did the same.

Croatia is playing in the World Cup semifinals for the second time. The Croats reached the same round at the 1998 tournament in France, but lost to the host team.

The Croatians are coming off back-to-back wins in penalty shootouts after extra time in knockout games against Denmark and Russia.

The winner of Wednesday’s semifinal will play France in the final at the same stadium on Sunday.


7:30 p.m.

FIFA says it will start legal action against a Saudi-based TV channel broadcasting pirate World Cup signals across the Middle East.

World Cup and Champions League TV rights for the Middle East are a proxy battleground in a year-old, Saudi-led boycott of Qatar, the 2022 World Cup host. The BeOutQ channel broadcasts major soccer competitions even though Qatar’s beIN Sports holds the rights for the region.

Describing BeOutQ as a “pirate entity,” FIFA says it “has engaged counsel to take legal action in Saudi Arabia and is working alongside other sports rights owners that have also been affected to protect its interest.”

This is the first time FIFA has identified Saudi Arabia as the source of the broadcasts.

FIFA adds that it “urges the authorities of Saudi Arabia and of the different countries where these illegal activities have been observed to support us in the fight against piracy.”


7:25 p.m.

The England team has arrived at the Luzhniki Stadium for its World Cup semifinal match against Croatia.

Harry Kane, Dele Alli and the rest of the squad got off their bus and walked out onto the field with more than an hour and a half to go before kickoff.

England is playing in its first World Cup semifinal since 1990. The English have not reached the final since 1966, when they won the title at home. Croatia is back in the semifinals for the first time since 1998, and have never reached the final

The winner of Wednesday’s match will face France in the final on Sunday.


7:04 p.m.

FIFA has imposed fines totaling 120,000 Swiss francs ($120,800) on England and Uruguay for players wearing non-approved socks in World Cup quarterfinals.

FIFA says the English Football Association must pay 70,000 Swiss francs ($70,500) for several players wearing “unauthorized commercial branding” in warmups and during the game against Sweden on Saturday. FIFA says England team officials had been warned to stop breaking World Cup marketing regulations.

Uruguay’s federation must pay 50,000 Swiss francs ($50,300) for also defying warnings before one player wore a non-approved brand of socks in its game against France on Friday.

FIFA had previously fined Sweden 70,000 francs for wearing the wrong socks.


6:46 p.m.

FIFA wants fewer images of attractive women in World Cup stadiums shown on future broadcasts.

FIFA diversity chief Federico Addiechi says soccer’s world body will talk with national broadcasters and its own TV production team.

The subject arose Wednesday in a review of FIFA’s anti-discrimination program in Russia. Monitors identified sexist incidents including fans harassing female broadcasters as having been a bigger problem so far than acts of racism.

Addiechi says FIFA’s stance is “a normal evolution,” and broadcasts in Russia have already improved from the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

He says FIFA has already intervened with broadcasters “on a case-by-case basis when some cases arose and they were pretty evident.”


6:21 p.m.

French President Emmanuel Macron will meet with Russia’s Vladimir Putin with France having made it to the World Cup final in Moscow — and on the eve of Putin’s high-stakes meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump.

Macron’s office said Wednesday that he and Putin spoke by phone after France won its semifinal late Tuesday to advance to Sunday’s final. Macron was at the semifinal in St. Petersburg and will travel back to Russia for the decisive closing match.

Macron’s office said he will take advantage of his trip for a meeting with Putin but did not elaborate on what the two presidents will discuss.

Macron has sought to raise France’s profile by engaging with other world leaders even when they take controversial actions. Macron met Wednesday with Trump at a NATO summit in Brussels where the U.S. president has criticized European allies.


6:03 p.m.

Anti-discrimination experts say with some surprise that sexism has been a bigger problem than racism at the World Cup.

The director of a group called the Fare network that helps FIFA tackle discrimination says 30 cases of “sexism on the streets” by male fans were reported. Fare director Piara Powar says about half of those involved female broadcasters being “accosted while on air.”

He estimates “there’s many, many more unreported” cases where Russian women were targeted.

Racism had been predicted as a likely problem because of longstanding issues in Russian soccer and among some other European fan bases. FIFA imposed fines during the tournament on soccer federations including Serbia, Russia and Poland for racist, nationalist and offensive banners spotted at games.

Powar says the World Cup’s international audience is “very different to the fans that come to domestic football.” He suggests “if you come to this tournament with prejudices, and don’t like people from a different nationality, then generally you’re in the wrong place.”


4:45 p.m.

The chairman of Russia’s World Cup organizing committee has lamented an apparent lack of fans for the semifinals and final.

There were hundreds of empty seats for France’s 1-0 semifinal win over Belgium on Tuesday in St. Petersburg, and the four European countries in the semifinals haven’t brought the huge traveling fan groups which South American countries had.

Travel agents have reported a late surge of interest from fans in Britain and Croatia, although getting match tickets and visas could be tricky.

Arkady Dvorkovich says “The teams that had most fans in Russia left early. Latin American teams, Germany, some other teams left, and we’re left in the semifinals with the teams that have the least number of supporters, so it’s not really good for the economics of football during this last week.”

England plays Croatia in the second semifinal Wednesday for a spot in Sunday’s final against France.


3:15 p.m.

The World Cup has butted in at the NATO summit in Brussels.

British Prime Minister Theresa May and her Belgian counterpart exchanged national team jerseys at the European Union summit two weeks before their countries met at the World Cup. And May already has a Croatia shirt ahead of Wednesday’s semifinal.

May and Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic have met on the sidelines of the NATO summit for the friendly exchange. May remains convinced England will advance to its first final since 1966.

May says England coach “Gareth Southgate and the boys have done a fantastic job and I’m sure that they’re going to go on and do well. I just wish them all the very best of luck.”

The last exchange didn’t prove lucky for May, with Belgium beating England in group play. But Belgium was eliminated by France in the first of the World Cup semifinals, a pathway through the knockout stage that England avoided.

The leaders are meeting in Brussels for the annual summit of the 29 NATO allies.


2:45 p.m.

FIFA is letting a top Croatian soccer official watch the team’s World Cup semifinal against England from a VIP section on Wednesday despite him being convicted last month in a corruption case linked to the transfer of Luka Modric.

When Croatia beat Russia in the quarterfinals on Saturday, the soccer federation’s CEO-like director general sat in the same row of seats as state President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic and Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.

Damir Vrbanovic has retained his position since being sentenced by a court in Croatia in June to a three-year jail term — though Article 68 of FIFA’s disciplinary code bars officials “convicted of a criminal offense in the past five years.”

However, FIFA has decided that the sentence is not final because the former Dinamo Zagreb director general is appealing to a higher court.


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