England's Harry Kane, top, celebrates his side's winning goal during the group G match between Tunisia and England at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the Volgograd Arena in Volgograd, Russia, Monday, June 18, 2018. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

The Latest: Saudis safe after in-flight drama at World Cup

June 18, 2018 - 4:19 pm

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

11:09 a.m.

Saudi team officials say the players have landed safely after a reported engine failure on their flight to Rostov-on-Don for a World Cup game against Uruguay.

The Saudi Arabian Football Federation posted a statement on Twitter saying it "would like to reassure everyone that all the Saudi national team players are safe, after a technical failure in one of the airplane engines that has just landed in Rostov-on-Don airport, and now they're heading to their residence safely."

The team posted photos of the players exiting the plane and smiling Monday night but did not release further details of the engine problem.

The Saudis were beaten 5-0 by Russia in the World Cup opener in Moscow last week. Uruguay edged Egypt 1-0 in its first game in Group A.


10:53 p.m.

Harry Kane's stoppage-time header clinched a tense 2-1 win for England in its opening World Cup game against Tunisia.

Kane opened the scoring in the 11th minute during England's dominance of the early stages. But Tunisia equalized when Ferjani Sassi calmly slotted a penalty in the 35th and pushed the young England lineup right to the limit.

Kane's winning header came as the clock had just ticked over into injury time. Standing alone at the far post he guided a Harry Maguire header into the Tunisian net.

His winner came at the end of a second half during which Tunisia defended deep and nullified England's attacking intent.


9:50 p.m.

England and Tunisia are level at 1-1 at halftime in their World Cup opener in Volgograd.

Harry Kane gave England a 1-0 lead in the 11th minute when he tapped in from close range after Tunisia goalkeeper Moez Hassen had acrobatically saved a powerful John Stones header.

Hassen, who had already appeared to injure his shoulder, was replaced by Farouk Ben Mustapha soon after.

Despite that disruption and England's early attacking intent, Tunisia slowly built up momentum and got an equalizer when Ferjani Sassi calmly slotted a penalty into the left corner of the England net and past the dive of goalkeeper Jordan Pickford. The penalty was awarded after Kyle Walker was adjudged to have caught Fakhreddine Ben Youssef with his arm.


9:39 p.m.

Tunisia has gotten even with England with a goal from the penalty spot in the 35th minute.

Ferjani Sassi calmly slotted the ball into the left corner of the England net just past the fingertips of goalkeeper Jordan Pickford. The penalty was awarded after the referee determined Kyle Walker caught Fakhreddine Ben Youssef with his arm.

Harry Kane had put the English ahead in the 11th by smacking in a rebound initially saved from a John Stones header.

— Associated Press writer Pan Pylas reported from Volgograd.


9:25 p.m.

Egypt goalkeeper Essam El Hadary says there is a "problem" with the ball being used at the World Cup and believes he and his fellow shot-stoppers are the "victims of FIFA."

Three free kicks were scored in the opening four days of the tournament in Russia, as many as in the entire tournament in Brazil four years ago. Two balls burst during the match between France and Australia, and Argentina captain Lionel Messi got the ball changed during a match against Iceland after being unhappy with its condition.

The 45-year-old El Hadary says "we are the victims of FIFA and the ever-developing football. Every four years there are new footballs and the football might be more acceptable to the players than to the goalkeepers."

The "Telstar 18" ball is being used in Russia, a remake of the "Adidas Telstar" used at the 1970 tournament.

El Hadary, who didn't play in Egypt's opening loss to Uruguay, says "this ball has some problems but all the goalkeepers are facing the same problem."


9:12 p.m.

Harry Kane has scored from close range to give England a 1-0 lead against Tunisia in their opening World Cup game in Volgograd.

Kane was on hand to tap the ball into the net in the 11th minute after Tunisia goalkeeper Moez Hassen had acrobatically saved a powerful John Stones header.

England has been in control in the early stages of the match, with Raheem Sterling missing what appeared an open goal from close range.

Tunisia has had to replace Hassen with Farouk Ben Mustapha following what looked like a shoulder injury.


9:06 p.m.

A Russian legislator says he wants to ban "mockery" of the national soccer team because the players are "fighting for the honor of our country."

Vitaly Milonov told The Associated Press on Monday that soccer players and their coach should be considered like "our diplomats, our army," especially during the World Cup that Russia is hosting. He said, "This is not just about football. This is about our national identity."

He's among lawmakers who drafted a bill imposing a fine of 10,000 rubles ($160) against anyone who criticizes the team. Milonov is best known as the author of Russia's law against gay "propaganda" toward minors.

Fans have mixed feelings. Some worry about free speech while others say Russians should support the national team despite questions about the law would be enforced.


8:50 p.m.

Like everyone else new to the city of Volgograd, the England players are trying to contend with the seasonal outbreak of mosquitoes and little bugs ahead of their opening World Cup game against Tunisia.

After unsuccessfully trying to wave the insects away from their heads and arms during the warmup, England players sprayed themselves with mosquito repellent.

Though it's fair to say the insects are harmless enough, the swarms can be a distraction.


8:23 p.m.

England coach Gareth Southgate has picked an attacking lineup for his team's first match at the World Cup against Tunisia in Volgograd.

Southgate had told his squad days ago who was to start but the official starting lineup was kept under wraps.

Tunisia coach Nabil Maaloul has opted to start 23-year-old goalkeeper Moez Hassen in just his third international match.

Tunisia: Moez Hassen, Syam Ben Youssef, Yassine Meriah, Fakhreddine Ben Youssef, Anice Badri, Wahbi Khazri, Dylan Bronn, Ali Maaloul, Ferjani Sassi, Ellyes Skhiri, Naim Sliti

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


7:53 p.m.

Belgium broke lose in the second half to defeat newcomer Panama 3-0 in its opening World Cup game in Sochi.

After struggling to find the net in the first half, the talented Belgian squad comfortably reached victory with a goal by Dries Mertens and two by Romelu Lukaku.

Mertens opened the scoring with a well-struck one-timer from just inside the area after the Panamanian defense failed to clear a ball two minutes after halftime. Lukaku doubled to the lead with a header in the 69th after a great play by Kevin De Bruyne, and closed the scoring after a breakaway six minutes later following a through ball by Eden Hazard. 

Michael Murillo had Panama's best chance of the game when he received a pass free from markers inside the area in the 54th, but the defender didn't control the ball cleanly and allowed goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois to make a save charging from the net.

The Panamanians are making their first World Cup appearance. Their fans largely outnumbered the Belgians at Fisht Stadium and constantly chanted in support of their team, even when trailing by three goals. 


6:33 p.m.

Romelu Lukaku has scored twice in six minutes to give Belgium a 3-0 lead in the World Cup match against Panama.

Lukaku easily headed the ball in after a nice set up by Kevin De Bruyne in the 69th minute. The midfielder made a nice cut move toward the area to get past a defender before using the outside of his right foot to find Lukaku in front of the goal.

He added his second from close range in the 75th.

Dries Mertens had opened the scoring for Belgium two minutes into the second half. Newcomer Panama was creating few opportunities the other way.


7:25 p.m.

David de Gea is set to remain in goal for Spain despite his mistake in the team's 3-3 draw against Portugal at the World Cup.

New coach Fernando Hierro says he has full confidence in de Gea and will not make a change in goal for the match against Iran on Wednesday in Kazan.

De Gea badly misplayed a shot by Cristiano Ronaldo before halftime in the team's opener last Friday.

Hierro told Spanish media de Gea was not affected by the blunder and there was no reason to replace him.

De Gea had a superb season with Manchester United but he also made a mistake in one of the team's final warm-up matches before the World Cup.


7:15 p.m.

Egypt coach Hector Cuper says he is "sure" Mohamed Salah will be fit to play against Russia in the World Cup on Tuesday, although the forward still needs to prove his fitness ahead of the match.

Salah, the Premier League's player of the season, was an unused substitute in Egypt's 1-0 loss against Uruguay on Friday as he recovers from injuring his shoulder while playing for Liverpool in last month's Champions League final.

The Liverpool forward has taken part in training the last two days. Cuper says Salah will train again on Monday evening in St. Petersburg but that "I am sure he will be able to play."

Before the Uruguay game, Cuper said he was "almost" 100 percent sure Salah would play "barring any unforeseen factors at the last moment."


7:06 p.m.

After struggling to find the net before halftime, Belgium needed only two minutes to open the scoring in the second half against newcomer Panama in Sochi. Dries Mertens scored with a well-struck one-timer from just inside the area after the Panamanian defense failed to clear a ball.

Mertens' shot went over Panama goalkeeper Jaime Penedo and into the top far corner.


6:55 p.m.

Newcomer Panama was holding Belgium's talented team to a 0-0 draw at halftime in Sochi.

Belgium pushed forward from the start and it didn't take long before it was threatening Panamanian goalkeeper Jaime Penedo. But the Central American squad survived despite allowing its European opponents to create significant chances up front.

One of Belgium's best opportunities was a close-range shot by Eden Hazard that was nicely saved by Penedo near the end of the half. 

Panama had only a few chances on long-range shots.

The Panamanians are making their first World Cup appearance. Their fans largely outnumbered the Belgians at Fisht Stadium and constantly chanted in support of their team.

— AP Sports Writer Tales Azzoni reported from Sochi.


6:40 p.m.

Croatia's squad has been reduced to 22 players after forward Nikola Kalinic was sent home following the team's 2-0 victory over Nigeria in their opening World Cup match.

Coach Zlatko Dalic announced his decision Monday. Dalic says he wanted to use Kalinic as a substitute in the second half but the AC Milan forward, who was already warming up, told him he was not able to play because of a back problem. Dalic says Kalinic did the same in a World Cup warmup against Brazil and also didn't train with the team for the same reason Sunday.

Dalic says "I need my players fit and ready to play."

Croatia next faces Argentina on Thursday. Croatia's media speculated Kalinic was not happy with his role in the team.


6:30 p.m.

Russian police say one British man has been detained and another given medical treatment after an incident on a train heading to Volgograd, where England plays Tunisia in its World Cup opener Monday.

Police say a British man cut his right hand when he broke glass in a train door and taken for treatment in the central Russian town of Yelets.

The other man tried to leave the train when he heard about the first man's injury and came into a conflict with other British people and police. When he "failed to comply with legal demands to stop his hooligan acts," he was detained at a Yelets police station, the police statement added.

No details of the men's identities were released.

Both face administrative charges, which typically carry fines. Both are accused of public drunkenness. The man who allegedly tried to leave the train is also accused of "minor hooliganism."


6:22 p.m.

Colombia's coach Jose Pekerman says he'll pick his lineup for Tuesday's World Cup clash against Japan only at the last minute.

Pekerman said in a press conference Monday that he expects to be able to draw on all key members of his squad, including midfielder James Rodriguez, who is reportedly recovering from a calf injury.

But the coach also said he won't rule out last-minute changes.

Pekerman said the Colombia team that will play Japan in Saransk is more balanced than the one that hammered Japan 4-1 four years ago in Brazil. He said the team's objective is to reach at least the quarterfinals as they did in 2014.

— AP Sports Writer Mauricio Savarese reported from Saransk.


6:03 p.m.

Former Manchester United great Eric Cantona has joined the legions of football fans mocking Neymar's new haircut.

The Brazil superstar has puzzled people with the dyed blond "spaghetti" hairstyle he revealed during his team's opening game at the World Cup on Sunday.

The Paris Saint-Germain forward was ridiculed on Twitter, and Cantona had a good laugh too. He posted on Instagram a picture of himself with pasta poured over his head holding a portrait of Neymar.

"Neymar style... spaghetti al dente!" Cantona wrote.

Neymar is not the first Brazil star to try bizarre haircuts at the World Cup. In 2002, Ronaldo shaved his head and let just a small amount of hair just on top of his forehead.

Brazil won the tournament that year.


5:35 p.m.

News of a deadly earthquake and an accidental hotel alarm blaring around 5 a.m. made it a rough morning for Japan's World Cup squad.

Coach Akira Nishino, who built his reputation coaching the club Gamba Osaka, said he and a number of his players know people who've been affected by the quake, making it harder to focus on the eve of its Group H opener against favored Colombia in Saransk.

"The psychological impact is something I'm slightly worried about at this point," Nishino, speaking Japanese, said through a translator before Monday afternoon's practice. "As staff members, we are consulting with them and I'd like them to be settled down as soon as possible."

Osaka is Japan's second-largest city, and the 6.1 magnitude earthquake killed at least three people — including a 9-year-old girl — and injured hundreds. The quake also knocked over walls and set off fires.

Nishino said he and players found out about the earthquake shortly after it happened because the hotel had a false alarm — which blared for about 15 minutes — around the same time the earthquake struck, shortly after 8 a.m. in Osaka, which is six time zones ahead of Saransk.

— AP Sports Writer Brett Martel reported from Saransk.


5:22 p.m.

Senegal defender Saliou Ciss has been injured in training and been replaced on the World Cup roster by fellow left back Adama Mbengue.

Coach Aliou Cisse discussed the move Monday, a day before his team opens against Poland.

The 24-year-old Mbenge plays for Caen in France, while the 28-year-old Ciss is with Valenciennes.

Mbengue was in Orlando City's youth system and played for the Major League Soccer team from 2012-14 before transferring to Caen.


4:53 p.m.

FIFA has opened disciplinary proceedings against Mexico after its fans used an anti-gay slur in Sunday's 1-0 win over Germany.

Some Mexican supporters chanted the slur when Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer prepared to take a goal kick in the 24th minute.

Fans in Mexico use the chant to insult opposing goalkeepers as they take a goal kick. Widely considered a slur, some argue there is no discriminatory intent.

Mexico's football federation has been repeatedly fined by FIFA over fans chanting the slur.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport canceled two fines against Mexico in November, ruling the chant was "insulting" but not meant to offend, though it left other fines in force.


4:40 p.m.

Captain Andreas Granqvist has scored from a penalty after a review by the video assistant referee to give Sweden a 1-0 lead over South Korea at the World Cup.

Granqvist slid his penalty kick into the bottom right corner to put Sweden ahead in its first World Cup game since 2006.

He only got the chance after referee Joel Aguilar used the replay technology to decide whether South Korea substitute Kim Min-woo had fouled Viktor Claesson in the area.

Kim had, and Granqvist finally released the frustration for the Swedes with the 65th-minute goal from the spot.

Before that, Sweden had controlled the game and shown most of the attacking intent but couldn't find a way past South Korea backup goalkeeper Jo Hyeon-woo.

— AP Sports Writer Gerald Imray reported from Nizhny Novgorod.


4:20 p.m.

England football fans have laid a wreath in memory of the Soviets who died during the Battle of Stalingrad.

In a ceremony at the Mamayev Kurgan — The Motherland Calls — monument in Volgograd, fans James Lockett and Billy Grant helped commemorate the hundreds of thousands who are said to have died during one of the most important battles in World War II, a battle that helped turn the tide against the Nazis.

Britain's deputy ambassador to Russia, Lindsay Skoll, and Greg Clarke, the chairman of the Football Association, also took part in the ceremony in Volgograd, which used to be called Stalingrad.

Grant said he was "very honored" and added that when "you have an event like this, you realize it's more, there's more than just football."

England takes on Tunisia later Monday in both teams' first match at the World Cup.

— Associated Press writer Pan Pylas reported from Volgograd.


4 p.m.

Sweden and South Korea are drawing 0-0 at halftime at the World Cup.

Sweden striker Marcus Berg had the best chance of the half in Nizhny Novgorod on Monday when he was put clear on goal in the 21st minute and had his close-range shot blocked by the right leg of Korean goalkeeper Jo Hyeon-woo.

Sweden had a flurry of opportunities late in the half, with Berg, again, Andreas Granqvist and Viktor Claesson all threatening.

Sweden took a while to settle in its first World Cup game since 2006 but was in control by the end of the half. Korea was relying on counterattacks as the Swedes had most of the possession, and most of the attacking intent.

It's the second game in a group that began with Mexico's 1-0 win over defending champion Germany on Sunday.

— AP Sports Writer Gerald Imray reported from Nizhny Novgorod.


3:30 p.m.

Paul Pogba is no longer the scorer of France's winning goal in a 2-1 victory over Australia.

FIFA says its panel of former coaches and players analyzing World Cup games judged that Australia defender Aziz Behich got the decisive final touch in the 81st minute.

After Pogba stretched to shoot, the ball looped up from Behich's attempted clearance and struck the crossbar on its way down to land over the goal-line.

The decision means an assist for France forward Olivier Giroud is also cancelled.

FIFA's technical study group reviews each goal as part of its work preparing a report of tactical trends at the tournament.

Saturday's game was contentious when France scored from the spot after being awarded a penalty following a VAR review.


3:15 p.m.

Millions of Russians will be watching when their team plays Egypt in its second World Cup game — but not President Vladimir Putin.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov says that "it's hardly likely that (Putin) will manage to watch the game live" during a visit to neighboring Belarus for talks.

However, Peskov says "he probably will watch some kind of highlights in a news format and will probably be interested in the result of the game."

Putin was at Moscow's Luzhniki stadium last week to see Russia beat Saudi Arabia 5-0 in the tournament's opening games, but football isn't his No. 1 sport. His favorite sports are judo, which he trained in as a teenager, and ice hockey, which he sometimes plays in televised exhibition games.


2:55 p.m.

There was only one TV show that mattered in Iceland when the national team kicked off its first World Cup.

According to figures obtained by the Icelandic FA, 99.6 percent of all people in Iceland watching television during the Iceland-Argentina match on Saturday were watching the game.

It begs the question: What did the other 0.4 percent of the TV-viewing population have on their screens?

They would have missed Iceland earning a 1-1 draw against the Argentine team captained by Lionel Messi, a player widely regarded as the best in the game.

Iceland has a population of about 335,000 and is the least populous nation to play at a World Cup.


2:45 p.m.

A Kremlin spokesman says the Russian government is relieved nobody died in a weekend taxi crash in Moscow that injured two Mexican soccer fans and six other pedestrians.

A taxi veered onto the sidewalk near Red Square on Saturday, striking pedestrians. The man identified as the taxi driver later told interrogators that he hadn't slept for 20 hours and accelerated accidentally.

Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov tells reporters Monday that "we breathed a sigh of relief" upon learning that there were no fatalities. He wished the injured a speedy recovery.

City authorities identified the driver as a 28-year-old man from Kyrgyzstan.


1:50 p.m.

Stanislav Cherchesov's lineup faces Egypt in its next World Cup game, but that isn't stopping the Russia coach wishing the injured Mohamed Salah is fit to play.

He wants Egypt's biggest star to play because it will heighten the contest.

Cherchesov says "God willing, he'll be fit and entertain the fans, not just of Egypt but the whole world. He's the kind of player who lights up games and tournaments like this."

Salah was injured playing in the Champions League final for Liverpool last month and missed Egypt's opening 1-0 loss to Uruguay on Friday, a day after Russia opened the tournament with a 5-0 win over Saudi Arabia.

Cherchesov isn't giving away any details of how Russia will play with or without Salah on the field in St. Petersburg, but says Egypt isn't necessarily doomed to a second defeat if Salah's not fit.

He says "It's clear they have other players who play at a good level with pretty modern football."


12:30 p.m.

The Denmark midfielder who sustained two broken ribs and a punctured lung after a hard collision with Peru's Jefferson Farfan says he is doing better and hopes to return at the World Cup.

William Kvist posted a video on Facebook from the hospital in Saransk to say he was travelling home Monday for further checks. He said there was "tiny opportunity" he would return to the Danish squad, adding "we will get a long way."

Denmark beat Peru 1-0 on Saturday in its opening game and next plays Australia in Group C.

Denmark coach Ake Hareide said after the game that if Kvist has a fractured rib, "he's out of the World Cup for sure."

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