World Cup Latest: Argentina 1-1 Iceland as Messi Penalty Saved

Moscow( AP) — The Latest on Saturday at the World Cup( all times local ):

12 a.m.

Luka Modric scored on a penalty kick after Croatia ran ahead on an own-goal by Nigeria in a 2-0 victory in their Football world cup match on Saturday night.

Nigeria’s Oghenekaro Etebo deflected the ball into his own net in the 32 nd minute after two Croatia players had headed Modric’s corner kick.

Modric converted in the 71 st minute when referee Sandro Ricci awarded a penalty after William Ekong held onto Mario Manduzik.

It was the fifth penalty awarded in four World Cup matches Saturday.

The win takes experienced Croatia to the top of Group D after Iceland held Argentina to a 1-1 draw earlier Saturday. Nigeria is the tournament’s youngest team.


11: 35 p.m.

Luka Modric has scored on a penalty kick in the 71 st minute to give Croatia a 2-0 leading over Nigeria in their World Cup match.

The Croatia captain drilled the ball low into the corner as goalkeeper Francis Uzoho dove in the other direction.

Referee Sandro Ricci awarded the penalty after William Ekong held onto Mario Mandzukic.

It was the fifth penalty awarded under the four Football world cup matches played Saturday.


10: 55 p.m.

An own-goal by Nigeria’s Oghenekaro Etebo devoted Croatia a 1-0 halftime lead in their World Cup opener.

Etebo deflected the ball merely inside the post in the 32 nd minute after Mario Mandzukic’s diving header off a corner kick.

Croatia, with Modric and Ivan Rakitic controlling the midfield, largely dominated the first half at Kaliningrad Stadium.

Ivan Perisic came close to giving Croatia the lead in the 14 th minute, firing merely over the crossbar.

A win for either squad would take it to the top of Group D after Iceland held Argentina to a 1-1 draw in the group’s first match earlier Saturday.


10: 40 p.m.

Croatia has taken the leading against Nigeria in the 32 nd minute after a diving header by Mario Mandzukic was deflected by Nigeria’s Oghenekaro Etebo and ruled an own-goal.

The ball crept merely inside the post after Etebo unknowingly deflected the header after a corner kick.

Croatia largely dominated the first half-hour of play in Kaliningrad.


10: 15 p.m.

Egypt striker Mohamed Salah has been presented with a giant birthday cake at his team’s hotel in Chechnya.

Video presents Salah’s teammates singing “Happy Birthday” in the lobby and a cake in the colours of the Egyptian and Chechnyan flags with a golden boot on top.

Salah, who turned 26 on Friday, was on the bench for Egypt’s 1-0 loss to Uruguay. He injured his shoulder playing for Liverpool in last month’s Champions League final. He participated in a educate session Saturday, and the Egyptian soccer association suggested that he could be fit for Wednesday’s match against Russia in St. Petersburg in Group A.

Salah was named the Premier League’s player of the year this past season.


9: 47 p.m.

Poland striker Arkadiusz Milik had an injury scare during the team’s visit to a dolphin park in Sochi.

The team said Milik slipped and fell but was not injured. The team rejected reports on Russian media that the Napoli player had to undergo tests to see if he had fractured his hand in the fall.

Poland took advantage of its day off to visit the park in the resort city by the Black Sea. The team posted photos of players watching a dolphin show.

Poland will make its World Cup debut against Senegal on Tuesday in Moscow.


9: 25 p.m.

Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr has handed a Football world cup debut to 19 -year-old goalkeeper Francis Uzoho for his team’s World Cup opener against Croatia.

Uzoho, who transgressed through this season with Spanish club Deportivo La Coruna, will have to keep powerful Juventus striker Mario Mandzukic at bay.

Croatia’s midfield is powered by Real Madrid’s Luka Modric and Barcelona star Ivan Rakitic. Coach Zlatko Dalic has left Modric’s Madrid teammate Mateo Kovacic on the bench.

Victory for either side will send it to the top of Group D after Iceland earlier held Argentina to a 1-1 draw.

Lineups 😛 TAGEND

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

Nigeria: Francis Uzoho, Bryan Idowu, Wilfred Ndidi, William Ekong, Leon Balogun, Oghenekaro Etebo, Odion Ighalo, John Obi Mikel, Victor Moses, Abdullahi Shehu, Alex Iwobi.


9 p. m.

Kasper Schmeichel’s slew of saves built Yussuf Yurary Poulsen’s opportunistic second-half aim stand up in a 1-0 victory over Peru.

The win allowed Denmark to keep pace with favored France in Group C. The French defeated Australia 2-1 earlier in the day.

Poulsen squeezed his goal between charging Peru goalkeeper Pedro Gallese and the left post in the 59 th minute after collecting a pass from starring midfielder Christian Eriksen during an odd-man rush.

Appearing in the Football world cup for the first time in 36 years, Peru had overwhelming fan support at Mordovia Arena and the bulk of scoring opportunities, including a late-first-half penalty shot that Christian Cueva sent sailing over the crossbar.

Peru striker Paolo Guerrero made his much-anticipated appearance as a substitute with about 30 minutes to go and had two scoring opportunities, one on a saved header and one on a clever back-heel that rolled only wide.


8: 55 p.m.

FIFA tells a banner displayed at the Football world cup in support of women in Iran being allowed to watch games was approved before the tournament.

Though FIFA regulations prohibit political statements at games, soccer’s governing body tells the banner was a “social appeal” displayed during Iran’s 1-0 win over Morocco on Friday.

FIFA has worked with Iranian authorities toward relaxing Iran’s ban since 1979 of women attending male-only sports events.

The slogans ” #NoBan4Women” and “Support Iranian Women to Attend Stadiums” were held aloft at both ends of the St. Petersburg stadium.

FIFA tells the banner was intended to “express a social appeal as opposed to a political slogan and was therefore not prohibited.”


8: 40 p.m.

Belgium coach Roberto Martinez believes the Red Devils could have defenders Thomas Vermaelen and Vincent Kompany back from trauma during the group stage, but he’s waiting until the final deadline before defining the team’s 23 -man roster.

Martinez says Vermaelen could be ready for the final two group games, and the target for Kompany is Belgium’s last group game against England. Belgium opens the tournament Monday against Panama.

Vermaelen did not travel with the team to Sochi and remained in Moscow to continue rehabilitating a hamstring injury he sustained last month with Barcelona.

Kompany injured his groin in a warm-up match against Portugal earlier this month, continuing a long history of traumata. Martinez said the team will wait until Sunday’s roster deadline before making a final decision on Kompany.


8: 30 p.m.

Peruvian striker Paolo Guerrero was brought into the match against Denmark in the 62 nd minute with his team trailing 1-0.

The 34 -year-old Guerrero is Peru’s top aim scorer in history. He did not start because of his lack of action in recent months after a doping ban.

Guerrero’s suspension was overturned a few weeks ago by a Swiss judge.

Peru coach Ricardo Gareca replaced Guerrero for Edison Flores.


8: 25 p.m.

Denmark’s Yusuf Yurary Poulsen opened the scoring against Peru in the 59 th minute after taking a pass from Chistian Eriksen.

Poulsen finished on the right of goalkeeper Pedro Gallese, disillusioning more than 20,000 Peru advocates at Mordovia Stadium in Saransk.

Peru wasted an opportunity only two minutes earlier with midfielder Christian Cueva, who had also squandered a penalty kick in the end of the first half.


8 p. m.

Peru was awarded a penalty late in the first half of its Football world cup match against Denmark after a video review, but Christian Cueva expended the opportunity by sailing his penalty shoot over the crossbar.

Referee Bakary Gassama of Gambia went to the video after Cueva fell in criminal penalties box after an intervention from Denmark’s Yurary Poulsen.

Cueva hesitated on his approach before firing his shooting high, to the disappointment of more than 20,000 Peruvian fans at Mordovia Arena in Saransk. Teammates consoled him when he left the field as the match went to halftime tied 0-0.

Earlier Saturday, VAR was used to award a penalty to France, which converted the kick down its 2-1 win over Australia.

Denmark lost Willian Kvist to injury in the 35 th minute after a collision with Peru’s Jefferson Farfan. Kvist was replaced by Lasse Schone.


6: 30 p.m.

Switzerland’s coach and captain have told fans not to expect an entertaining game against Brazil on Sunday — their aim is to deny the Brazilians space in the Group E match.

Coach Vladimir Petkovic tells “I’m not here to have a lovely game, but to win.”

Brazil had a crushing 7-1 loss to Germany in the World Cup semifinals four years ago and the players have conceded that the Swiss — ranked sixth in world — will be hard to break down.

Swiss captain Stephan Lichtsteiner says defenders would be deployed to shut down Brazil starrings Neymar and Coutinho.


6: 20 p.m.

Peru coach Ricardo Gareca has opted not to start superstar striker Paolo Guerrero in the opening World Cup match against Denmark.

The 34 -year-old Guerrero is his country’s all-time leading scorer with 35 aims but has missed a lot of action because of a doping ban that was lifted only weeks ago by a Swiss judge.

Starting up front for Peru will be veteran Jefferson Farfan, supported by Edison Flores, Andre Carrillo.

Denmark coach Age Hareide has star midfielder Christian Eriksen lending his attacking prowess to a forward line of Pione Sisto, Yusseuf Poulsen and Nicolai Jorgensen. Denmark captain Simon Kjaer constructs his 76 th international appearance, while Kasper Schmeichel, son of former Manchester United star goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel, is building his Football world cup debut.

Lineups 😛 TAGEND

Peru: Pedro Gallese, Alberto Rodriguez, Miguel Trauco, Christian Cueva, Jefferson Farfan, Renato Tapia, Christian Ramos, Louis Advincula, Andre Carrillo, Yoshimar Yotun, Edison Flores.

Denmark: Kasper Schmeichel, Simon Kjaer, Andreas Christensen, Williams Kvist, Thomas Delaney, Nicolai Jorgensen, Christian Eriksen, Henrik Dalsgaard, Jens Stryger, Yussuf Poulsen, Pione Sisto.


6: 05 p.m.

Ridiculing Russia’s national soccer team may soon be against the law.

With Russia hosting the Football world cup, lawmaker Vitaly Milonov is working on a bill to impose penalties on anyone insulting players or the coach. Milonov is known for championing legislation against gay “propaganda” toward minors.

Milonov’s office says he will present the bill to colleagues at the State Duma next week. While Milonov is from Russia’s dominant party, it’s unclear how many other lawmakers would support the provocative idea.

Milonov told Russian news website RBK that the fine could be 10,000 rubles, to send a message to “stop mocking our own guys” and the newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda quotes him as saying “They represent our state.”

After a long losing streak, “the member states national” team and its coach-and-four were the butt of Russian gags and a popular parody ballad going into the World Cup.

Defying expectations, the team trounced Saudi Arabia 5-0 in the tournament’s opening match.


5: 55 p.m.

Lionel Messi had a penalty kick saved as Argentina depicted 1-1 with a typically tough Iceland making an impressive World Cup debut on Saturday.

Messi failed to restore his team’s result when his 64 th-minute spot-kick to Hannes Halldorsson’s right was at a good height for the goalkeeper to get two strong hands behind the ball.

Argentina opened the scoring in the 19 th with a world-class finish by Sergio Aguero, spinning away from a defender to flame a rising left-foot shot.

Iceland levelled four minutes later via Alfred Finnbogason’s volley.

The tiny Nordic island team created several first-half opportunities despite having only around 25 percent possession, and put up a solid wall to deny Argentina’s waves of second-half attacks.


5: 35 p.m.

Lionel Messi’s penalty woes have continued. Goalkeeper Hannes Halldorsson has saved a Messi penalty kick to keep Iceland level with Argentina midway through the second half. Halldorsson went to his right and easily parried Messi’s shot.

Messi, the five-time FIFA player of the year, has struggled from the spot in some crucial moments. He famously( and briefly) retired from international football after missing when Argentina fell to Chile in the 2016 Copa America final.


5 p. m.

A prominent group which campaigns against racism and anti-gay abuse in athletics has accused St. Petersburg authorities of having it evicted from premises in the city.

The Fare Network, which helps FIFA and UEFA investigate cases of discriminatory behaviour by fans, had planned to operate “diversity houses” in Moscow and St. Petersburg with exhibits and talks on human rights.

Fare says the lease on their part of a St. Petersburg building was abruptly canceled and other renters were told not to sub-lease space to Fare.

Executive director Piara Powar says “it seems to be clear that the project in St. Petersburg has been subject to a political attack of the kind that shows how debates about human rights are curtailed by powerful conservative political forces in Russia.”

However, Powar says Fare has only “anecdotal evidence” of the city government’s involvement.

Fare plans to open its event at new premises elsewhere in St. Petersburg later Saturday.


4: 50 p.m.

Iceland is hanging in with Group D favorites Argentina at 1-1 at halftime in a match that has all the ingredients for an upset.

A Sergio Aguero ten-strike in the 19 th minute was canceled out simply 4 minutes later when Alfred Finnbogason swept a loose ball into the Argentina net off another break play by the South Americans’ defense.

Iceland, the smallest nation ever to qualify for the Football world cup, has been content to surrender most of the possession but the chances have fallen fairly evenly. Iceland’s strategy of long-range counterattacks and pressuring the Argentines’ shaky backline seems to be working.

Goalkeeper Wilfredo Caballero and the defenders in front of him have repeatedly left loose balls in the middle of the region, making second chances for Iceland.

Gylfi Sigurdsson’s volley just before the infringe was the last of those, but it ran wide.


4: 25 p.m.

Alfred Finnbogason interred a rebound off a broken play by Argentina’s defense to bring Iceland level just minutes after a Sergio Aguero strike had given the South Americans the result at Moscow’s Spartak Stadium.

Aguero spun his defender near criminal penalties place to create enough space to beat goalkeeper Hannes Halldorsson to his right. The 19 th-minute aim was the first serious threat from the Argentine attack, which has find Lionel Messi force a pair of straightforward saves from Haldorsson but not much else.

Finnbogason drove home a loose ball that had been parried into traffic by Argentine keeper Wilfredo Caballero to make it 1-1 in the 23 rd.

Iceland missed a fantastic opportunity in the 10 th when their pressure forced a breakdown on Argentina’s backline. Caballero was forced to stab away an ill-advised back pass, and the ball wound up at the feet of Kari Arnason, whose volley missed a fairly open net.


4: 05 p.m.

Argentina has the early edge in their opening World Cup match against Iceland — at least in the stands.

Fans of Lionel Messi& Co. outnumber their Icelandic counterparts perhaps 10 to one inside Spartak Stadium in Moscow. Their sing has filled the 45,000 -seat stadium since well before kickoff.

The South Americans did politely quiet down long enough for Iceland fans to get in the first of their famed “Skol” chants and a ballad of their own. But the few sections of fans wearing Iceland’s dark blue are nearly swallowed up by the sea of sky blue-and-white Argentina jerseys.

The match is the first for each team in a group that also includes Croatia and Nigeria, who play afterwards Saturday in Kaliningrad.

Iceland is the least populous nation ever to play in the Football world cup. The entire country’s population is merely about seven times bigger than the stadium’s capacity.


3: 05 p.m.

Lionel Messi is is participating in Argentina’s attack by the fit-again Sergio Aguero to face Iceland at Spartak Stadium in Moscow. Aguero had knee surgery in March but returned in a warmup friendly against Haiti two weeks ago.

There is no space in the starting lineup for Juventus playmaker Paulo Dybala.

Iceland’s No. 10 Gylfi Sigurdsson is fit to start despite, like Aguero, aiming his English Premier League season in March because of a knee injury. Coach Heimir Hallgrimsson has opted for Alfred Finnbogason to lead the two attacks in a likely 4-5-1 formation.

It’s the first game in Group D. Croatia plays Nigeria afterward Saturday.

Lineups 😛 TAGEND

Argentina: Willy Caballero, Nicolas Tagliafico, Lucas Biglia, Lionel Messi, Angel Di Maria, Maximiliano Meza, Javier Mascherano, Marcos Rojo, Nicolas Otamendi, Eduardo Salvio, Sergio Aguero.

Iceland: Hannes Halldorsson, Birkir Mar Saevarsson, Ragnar Sigurdsson, Johann Berg Gudmundsson, Birkir Bjarnason, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Alfred Finnbogason, Kari Arnason, Aron Gunnarsson, Hordur Magnusson, Emil Hallfredsson.


2: 52 p.m.

Midfielder Paul Pogba scored a late winner to assist France to a 2-1 win against Australia in their World Cup opening game in Group C on Saturday.

Pogba was unimpressive until the 81 st minute at the Kazan Arena, when he set up a fine one-two with substitute Olivier Giroud to beat Australia’ keeper Mat Ryan with a shot that took a deflection, made the bar and traversed the goal line.

After a balanced first half, France was awarded a penalty following a VAR review, the first of the World Cup, and scored to take the lead in the 58 th minute. After checking images of a tackle from behind by Joshua Risdon on Antoine Griezmann, referee Andres Cunha pointed to the penalty spot. Griezmann sent a powerful strike into the net that left’ keeper Ryan stranded.

Australia equalized within four minutes with captain Mile Jedinak converting from the penalty spot after Samuel Umtiti handled the ball in the box.


2: 38 p.m.

France has taken a 2-1 lead against Australia with less than 10 minutes left to play in the World Cup Group C game. Paul Pogba scored following a fine one-two with substitute Olivier Giroud after his shooting took a deflection, made the bar and crossed the goal line.


2: 20 p.m.

France has been awarded a penalty following a VAR review, the first in the World Cup, and scored to take the lead against Australia.

After checking images of a tackle from behind from Joshua Risdon on Antoine Griezmann, referee Andres Cunha pointed to the penalty spot. Griezmann sent a powerful ten-strike into the net that left’ keeper Mat Ryan stranded to give France a 1-0 lead.

Australia equalized within minutes with captain Mile Jedinak converting from the penalty place after Samuel Umtiti managed the ball in the box. Jedinak took the kicking and sent France’ keeper Hugo Lloris the wrong way


1: 55 p.m.

Germany coach Joachim Loew tells goalkeeper Manuel Neuer is appearing confident ahead of the team’s Football world cup opener against Mexico, despite missing most of the season with injury.

Neuer, a star of Germany’s World Cup-winning team in 2014, played only four times this season for Bayern Munich because of a fracture in his left foot.

Loew tells “he appears self-confident in train, the Manuel Neuer that we’ve always known.”

Loew adds that Neuer has been “very calm, stable and he’s in a very good mood. You could see that in the weeks and month before that he was working to strengthen his stamina.”

Ahead of Sunday’s game against Mexico, Loew disclosed Germany spent Friday concentrating on corners, free kicks and penalties to deal with a perception that set-pieces might be a weak point for the 2014 champions.


1: 46 p.m.

It’s 0-0 at halftime between France and Australia in their Football world cup Group C opener in Kazan.

The French have been dominating in the early stages and had the best chances before Australia settled in.

Australia defenders Trent Sainsbury and Joshua Risdon have been doing a fine chore in making sure Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappe did not get too many balls.

Applying coach Bert Van Marwijk’s orders, the Socceroos are putting on a composed but aggressive display that has been working well so far.


12: 55 p.m.

Julian Draxler says it’s “not true” that his Germany teammates Mesut Ozil and Ilkay Gundogan are feeling isolated in the squad following controversy over their photo with Turkish chairperson Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Arsenal’s Ozil and Manchester City’s Gundogan, who are both of Turkish descent, posed with Erdogan during the Turkish president’s visit to Britain last month.

Gundogan, who gave Erdogan a shirt with a message “to my revered president, ” was jeered by fans during last week’s friendly win over Saudi Arabia.

Draxler says reports “that Mesut Ozil was not up to his best or that Ilkay Gundogan was a bit subdued, that’s not true.” He’s praised Ozil as “probably our most creative player on the pitching and so I’m sure that Mesut oezil will be there when we need him.”

Germany starts its title defense against Mexico in Moscow on Sunday.


12: 05 p.m.

France coach Didier Deschamps has opted for a three-pronged attack of Kylian Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann and Ousmane Dembele to face Australia in the World Cup Group C opener.

Paul Pogba, N’Golo Kante and Corentin Tolisso have been selected in a three-man midfield, with Benjamin Pavard, Samuel Umtiti, Raphael Varane and Lucas Hernandez building up the back four.

Australia captain Mile Jedinak has been confirmed as a starter in place of Massimo Luongo, who started as screening midfielder in recent friendlies. Striker Andrew Nabbout will assume the scoring responsibilities for the Socceroos.

Lineups 😛 TAGEND

France: Hugo Lloris, Benjamin Pavard, Raphael Varane, Samuel Umtiti, Lucas Hernandez, Corentin Tolisso, N’Golo Kante, Paul Pogba, Antoine Griezmann, Ousmane Dembele, Kylian Mbappe.

Australia: Mat Ryan, Josh Risdon, Trent Sainsbury, Mark Milligan, Aziz Behich, Mile Jedinak, Aaron Mooy, Mathew Leckie, Tom Rogic, Robbie Kruse, Andrew Nabbout.


11: 35 a.m.

Laurent Ciman has left Belgium’s Football world cup squad, the team tells on its official Twitter account, although it has not said if the defender’s departure means that center back Vincent Kompany is fit again after injuring his groin in a warmup match two weeks ago.

Coach Roberto Martinez took Los Angeles FC defender Ciman to Russia as a stand-by player in case Kompany was not fit for Belgium’s opening Group G match against Panama on Sunday.

The team says that despite returning to Belgium, Ciman will remain on stand-by until Sunday evening.


11: 10 a.m.

French president Emmanuel Macron will travel to the World Cup only if Les Bleus make it to the semifinals.

But the French players will have the support of a former French chairman during their opening match against Australia in Group C.

FIFA says Nicolas Sarkozy, an avid football fan who served as chairwoman from 2007 -1 2, is among the guests at Kazan Arena.


10: 30 a.m.

Some soccer fans will follow their squad anywhere to see it play in the Football world cup. For five friends from Croatia that meant cycling 1,500 kilometers( 930 miles) all the style from Zagreb to Kaliningrad in Russia.

The epic trek took them 15 days, cycling for 10 hours a day as they pedaled through Slovenia, Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Poland.

On the route they encountered a number of challenges including a broken bridge. As they reached their final destination, the group collapsed into a bar and celebrated with a well-earned drink.

They’re now looking forward to Saturday’s game between Croatia and Nigeria.

Frane Lukovic, a 46 -year-old lawyer from Zagreb, insisted it was nothing out of the ordinary for long-distance cyclists such as himself.

For Lukovic, the journey represented a personal comeback, having been diagnosed with skin cancer six years ago.


10 a. m.

While fans from around the world are singing and celebrating the World Cup on Moscow’s streets, they can’t go to the most famous place in the Russian capital — Red Square.

Barriers staffed by police officer have blocked off the square for several days, with authorities quoting the need to build and dismantle stages for a national holiday and a World Cup-themed opu performance last Tuesday and Wednesday.

Mexico supporter Cesar Reyes, peering past the barriers, tells “it’s a real shame it’s closed because it’s one of the best places to visit when you’re in Moscow. It’s a real disgrace that people will miss it because it’s closed for special event and there’s no opportunity to appreciate this building.”

Russian police have closed off a number of roads and other areas for security reasons over recent days. It’s unclear when the square will be reopened.


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