Brazil's Neymar attends Brazil's official training on the eve of the group E match between Brazil and Costa Rica at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the St. Petersburg stadium in St. Petersburg, Russia, Thursday, June 21, 2018. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky)

The Latest: A 2-on-1 plan for Neymar, but nothing rough

June 21, 2018 - 11:18 am

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

6:10 p.m.

Costa Rica coach Oscar Ramirez is planning on deploying two players to mark Neymar on Friday but has assured the Brazil forward that they won't rough him up.

Neymar is aiming to add to his 55 international goals for Brazil, but is tentatively feeling his way back to fitness after breaking a toe on his right foot four months ago. He limped out of a practice session earlier in the week, after appearing to hurt his right ankle, but is back training and expected to play against Costa Rica at St. Petersburg stadium.

Asked how he plans to stop Neymar, Ramirez says: "Maybe we will mark him with two men, we will see." He quickly adds: "But of course we don't want to see any unfair attacks on him."

Ramirez also urged patience from Costa Rica's fans, perhaps spoiled by the team's achievement in reaching the quarterfinal stages four years ago.

"We know people in our country well, people in our country don't like losing," Ramirez said. "Sometimes we're a little self-destructive, I fear."


5:45 p.m.

Brazil captain Thiago Silva says his team's attempts to combat the "white nights" in St. Petersburg ultimately proved counter-productive.

The sun hardly sets in Russia's northernmost big city. In fact, it only starts to get dark around 10:30 p.m. and — after an inky-blue twilight — becomes light again soon after 3 a.m.

Brazil arrived on Wednesday, and Silva acknowledged he tried to take compensatory measures.

"Yesterday we stayed up a little late, having some physiotherapy," Silva said Thursday through a translator. "At 1:30 in the morning it was getting a little late."

Staying up too late was causing other issues.

"(We were told) to turn off (our) our cell phones, so that we could sleep," Silva said, smiling. "If you are talking to friends back home in Brazil this will give you sleeping problems."


5:37 p.m.

Olivier Giroud and Blaise Matuidi are in France's starting lineup against Peru after serving as effective second-half substitutes in the opening 2-1 victory over Australia in which the three-pronged attack of Kylian Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann and Ousmane Dembele didn't impress.

Goalkeeper Hugo Lloris is making his 100th international appearance.

Peru coach Ricardo Gareca has brought back striker Paolo Guerrero after using him as a substitute in the opening match against Denmark. The 34-year-old is his country's all-time leading scorer with 35 goals but has missed a lot of action because of a doping ban that was lifted only weeks ago by a Swiss judge.

The lineups:

France: Hugo Lloris, Benjamin Pavard, Raphael Varane, Samuel Umtiti, Paul Pogba, Antoine Griezmann, Olivier Giroud, Kylian Mbappe, N'Golo Kante, Blaise Matuidi, Lucas Hernandez.

Peru: Pedro Gallese, Alberto Rodriguez, Miguel Trauco, Christian Cueva, Paolo Guerrero, Christian Ramos, Louis Advincula, Andre Carrillo, Yoshimar Yotun, Edison Flores, Pedro Aquino.


5:05 p.m.

England defender Trent Alexander-Arnold says manager Gareth Southgate is yet to announce his team for the World Cup game against Panama, despite photographs circulating of a note that appeared to indicate a potential lineup.

Press photographers spotted England assistant coach Steve Holland at practice holding a note bearing a team in a 3-5-2 formation, with Marcus Rashford apparently playing in attack instead of Raheem Sterling and Ruben Loftus-Cheek in place of Dele Alli.

The Football Association hasn't commented on the significance of the photos and Alexander-Arnold played down its significance, saying the players "haven't been directly told who is starting and who isn't."

The right back says "all the positions are up for grabs. Until the manager names the team, it doesn't matter what has come out or leaked. I know the lads don't focus on stuff like that until it comes out of the manager's mouth."


4:55 p.m.

Two Russian fans have been sentenced to 10 days' detention for swearing at police ahead of a World Cup game.

St. Petersburg city court spokeswoman Darya Lebedeva says Arseny Deryabin and Alexander Nikitin cursed at law enforcement while going through security checks at the St. Petersburg Stadium ahead of Russia's 3-1 win over Egypt on Tuesday.

Court documents show they were sentenced Wednesday.


4:50 p.m.

Australia and Denmark have played out a 1-1 draw after a scoreless second half in Group C.

Christian Eriksen scored for Denmark in the 7th minute before Mile Jedinak's equalized with a penalty in the 38th to keep Australia's chances of progressing to the knockout stage alive.

A Jussuf Poulsen handball after video review set up Jedinak's opportunity.

Entering the World Cup, No. 36 Australia was the lowest-ranked team in the group with the others all in the top 12. France was set to play Peru in the other Group C match later Thursday in Yekaterinburg.

With a 2-1 loss to the French in the opener, another loss for Australia would have made it nearly impossible for the Socceroos to advance to the next stage. Denmark has four points after opening with a 1-0 win over Peru.


4:15 p.m.

Russian authorities have made apparently conflicting claims about whether part of the Luzhniki stadium's fire-detection equipment could have interfered with the goal-line technology system.

The Russian state telecommunications regulator, Roskomnadzor, says it found malfunctions with four pieces of equipment Wednesday but "there was and is no threat to the system of goal detection at Luzhniki."

However, Russian media reported a statement earlier Thursday from the same regulator, saying the equipment was operating on the same frequencies as the GoalControl system and could have interfered with it. The first statement has been removed from Roskomnadzor's website.

FIFA and GoalControl didn't respond to requests for comment. The system hasn't been required in three games so far at Luzhniki.

It's the second time the World Cup has used the technology, which uses seven cameras to determine whether the ball has crossed the line.


3:48 p.m.

It is 1-1 at halftime after Australia captain Jedinak equalized from the penalty spot in the 39th minute to counter an early Denmark goal.

Christian Eriksen scored from close range in the 7th minute to give Demark a 1-0 lead. Jedinak's penalty came after video replay determined a hand ball in the box for Denmark's Yussuf Poulsen — a call that the Danish players pleaded against.

The match was considered a must-win for Australia, the lowest-ranked team in Group C. The Socceroos dropped their opener 2-1 to France — Jedinak also scored from the spot in that game. Denmark is coming off a 1-0 victory over Peru in its opener. 


3:39 p.m.

Australia captain Mile Jedinak has equalized in the 38th minute against Denmark after converting a penalty that was awarded after a video review. It's 1-1.

Yussuf Poulsen handled the ball when he went up to challenge for a header in the area and referee Antonio Mateu awarded the penalty after reviewing a replay on a sideline monitor.

Jedinak, who also scored from the spot in Australia's opening 2-1 loss to France, calmly slotted the penalty kick after sending Kasper Schmeichel the wrong way.


3:15 p.m.

Iceland coach Heimir Hallgrimsson has revealed that winger Johann Berg Gudmundsson isn't expected to recover in time to play against Nigeria at the World Cup.

Gudmundsson tore his calf muscle in Iceland's surprising 1-1 draw against Argentina last Saturday.

Hallgrimsson tells a news conference he was "not going to hide" the fact that Berg Gudmundsson is unlikely to recover in time, and says there'll "definitely" be changes in the lineup.

Hallgrimsson said it was always his intention to alter the team in light of the different threat posed by Nigeria.

If Nigeria loses it will be out, having already lost its opening Group D match against Croatia 2-0.


3:07 p.m.

Christian Eriksen has given Denmark a 1-0 lead in the 7th minute of the World Cup Group C game against Australia.

Nicolai Jorgensen had two controlled touches to create a scoring chance with well-timed pass and Eriksen finished off with a left-foot shot from close range.


2:55 p.m.

FIFA says it condemns claims by a Morocco player that American referee Mark Geiger asked for a player's shirt during Portugal's 1-0 win on Wednesday.

Geiger denied the allegation to FIFA, which says the referee behaved in an "exemplary and professional manner."

The claim was made by Morocco player Noureddine Amrabat in a post-game interview with Netherlands public broadcaster NOS.

Amrabat said Portugal defender Pepe told him the referee had asked for his shirt during the first half.

The Morocco player told NOS: "This is the World Cup, it's not a circus."

Some media wrongly reported Amrabat as saying Pepe told him Geiger had asked for Ronaldo's shirt.

FIFA responded by saying it learned of reports of the allegation with "regret and disappointment."


2:20 p.m.

Lasse Schone has come into the Denmark lineup for the World Cup game against Australia to replace injured midfielder William Kvist, who broke two ribs in his team's opening 1-0 win over Peru.

The Australians retained the same starting lineup from its opening 2-1 loss to France. The Australians need a win to maintain a realistic chance of progressing out of the group stage for the first time since 2006.


Denmark: Kasper Schmeichel, Simon Kjaer, Andreas Christensen, Thomas Delaney, Nicolai Jorgensen, Christian Eriksen, Henrik Dalsgaard, Jens Stryger Larsen, Lasse Schone, Yussuf Poulsen, Pione Sisto 

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


1:30 p.m.

Defender Thiago Silva will be Brazil's captain in Friday's match against Costa Rica.

Veteran left back Marcelo wore the arm band in the 1-1 opening draw against Switzerland but coach Tite decided before the World Cup that he would rotate the team's captaincy.

Silva was Brazil's captain at the World Cup in 2014, when he was criticized for breaking down before a penalty shootout in the round of 16.

Silva had already captained Brazil in a friendly against Argentina a year ago, when the "Selecao" lost 1-0 for its only setback under Tite.

Neymar took over the captaincy from Silva following the team's disappointing elimination in the 2014 World Cup at home.

The player who captained Brazil the most under Tite was Daniel Alves, who missed the Russia World Cup because of a knee injury.


12:35 p.m.

Former FIFA President Sepp Blatter says he met Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin and talked about the Russia team's good start to the World Cup.

Blatter went to see Russia's president after attending Portugal's 1-0 win over Morocco in Moscow on Wednesday.

Blatter says "we had small talks. We spoke about football and the good start of the competition, the good start of the team." Russia has qualified for the round of 16.

The 82-year-old Blatter is serving a six-year ban from official football duty until October 2021 for financial misconduct during this 17-year rule. The terms of the ban meant Blatter was kept separate from successor Gianni Infantino and other football officials at Luzhniki Stadium on Wednesday.

Fulfilling a long-standing personal invitation from Putin to attend the World Cup, Blatter will travel to St. Petersburg to see Brazil play Costa Rica on Friday.

Blatter says it was "respectful" to be invited to Russia and the Kremlin despite being suspended from football.


11:40 a.m.

Dele Alli has missed England's practice session because of a thigh injury, putting him in doubt for the team's second group game against Panama at the World Cup.

The midfielder was hurt during England's 2-1 win over Tunisia on Monday and was taken off in the second half.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek is the likely replacement if Alli misses out.

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