The Latest: After “par” in Russia, CONCACAF to peak in 2026

The Latest: After “par” in Russia, CONCACAF to peak in 2026
The Latest: After “par” in Russia, CONCACAF to peak in 2026

MOSCOW (AP) – The Latest on Tuesday at the World Cup (all times local):

9:05 p.m.

The head of North American soccer says the region’s teams need until 2026 at a home World Cup to reach their full potential.

Mexico’s round of 16 loss this week left the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Football (CONCACAF) without the quarterfinals place it got four years ago from Costa Rica.

CONCACAF President Victor Montagliani says the performance of teams from the region in Russia “is par for the course.”

With just three teams at this World Cup compared with four in 2014, Costa Rica placed last in a tough group and newcomer Panama lost all three games.

Montagliani says “I think you will see an improvement in four years – (but) eight years is more realistic.”

The United States, Canada and Mexico are co-hosting the World Cup in 2026.


8:35 p.m.

The injured James Rodriguez is not fit enough to be a substitute for Colombia against England.

The official FIFA team sheet lists Rodriguez as “absent” and he is not among the Colombians warming up for the World Cup round of 16 game at the Spartak Stadium in Moscow.

The attacking midfielder hurt his calf muscle in Colombia’s 1-0 win over Senegal last week and has not recovered despite coach Jose Pekerman saying Monday that “he doesn’t have a serious injury.”


8:10 p.m.

James Rodriguez will not start for Colombia against England in the World Cup round of 16 because of a calf muscle injury.

The attacking midfielder went off hurt in Colombia’s 1-0 win over Senegal in the group stage, although coach Jose Pekerman indicated that Rodriguez could be fit to take on England. The more defensive Jefferson Lerma starts in his place.

The only other change for Colombia from the starting lineup which beat Senegal to qualify for the knockout stages is Mateus Uribe being replaced by the more defensive Wilmar Barrios in the center of midfield. 

The winner of the Colombia-England game will advance to a quarterfinal match against Sweden.

Colombia: David Ospina, Santiago Arias, Wilmar Barrios, Carlos Sanchez, Falcao, Juan Cuadrado, Yerry Mina, Jefferson Lerma, Johan Mojica, Juan Quintero, Davinson Sanchez.


7:55 p.m.

Dele Alli is back in England’s lineup for the World Cup round of 16 game against Colombia after missing two games with injury.

The Tottenham midfielder returns as coach Gareth Southgate reverts to the lineup which beat Tunisia 2-1 in England’s opening group game. Southgate has made eight changes to the lineup that lost the last group game to Belgium.

Midfielder Fabian Delph is skipping the game because he has traveled home to England to be with his wife for the birth of the couple’s baby.

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


7:15 p.m.

Brazil forward Douglas Costa has been cleared to return to squad practice at the World Cup after recovering from a muscle injury.

Costa had been working separately from the group since injuring his right thigh in the game against Costa Rica on June 22, missing the last group game against Serbia and the round of 16 game against Mexico.

He rejoined the team’s practice session in Sochi on Tuesday, a day after Brazil secured a spot in the quarterfinals with the 2-0 win over Mexico.

A few other Brazilian players have needed medical attention during the tournament in Russia, including Neymar, Danilo, Fred, Renato Augusto and Marcelo. Even coach Tite had to visit team doctors after pulling a muscle while celebrating a goal in the game against Costa Rica.

Marcelo did not play against Mexico after being replaced early in the game against Serbia because of a back spasm. It remains unclear if the veteran left back will be available for Friday’s quarterfinal match against Belgium.


6:53 p.m.

Sweden has advanced to the World Cup quarterfinals for the first time since 1994 with a 1-0 win over Switzerland.

The Swedes took the lead in the 66th minute at St. Petersburg when Emil Forsberg’s right-foot shot deflected off defender Manuel Akanji and past the wrong-footed Yann Sommer.

Forsberg also cleared a corner off his own line to preserve Sweden’s lead in the 80th minute.

Referee Damir Skomina awarded Sweden a penalty in stoppage time for a foul by Michael Lang on Martin Olsson but overturned his own decision after a review showed Lang’s push was just outside the area. Lang was sent off for the challenge.

Sweden will play the winner of Tuesday’s later match between England and Colombia at Spartak Stadium in Moscow.

No. 6-ranked Switzerland had more of the possession but created few clear-cut chances against the well-drilled Sweden defense. 


6:25 p.m.

Sweden has scored in the 66th minute to take a 1-0 lead over Switzerland in the World Cup round of 16 game at St. Petersburg.

Emil Forsberg’s right-foot shot deflected off defender Manuel Akanji and past the wrong-footed Yann Sommer.The goal came after Sweden had created but spurned the best chances of the match. It’s the third time in four games Switzerland has conceded the opening goal.

The winner plays England or Colombia in the quarterfinals.


5:50 p.m.

Sweden has had the best chances of the first half against Switzerland in their World Cup round of 16 match but has not been able to convert any of them and score remains 0-0 at half time.

Switzerland goalkeeper Yann Sommer dived to his right at full stretch to save a left-foot volley by striker Marcus Berg after 28 minutes and Albin Ekdal volleyed high over the bar when Mikael Lustig picked him out at the far post with an inviting cross.

Lustig picked up a yellow card midway through the half and will be suspended if Sweden wins the match and progresses to a quarterfinal against the winner of the England-Colombia match.

Switzerland, ranked No. 6 in the world, had more possession but failed to carve out any clear-cut chances. Blerim Dzemaili hit a shot well over the bar for the Swiss in the 39th minute after an exchange of passes with Steven Zuber.


5:35 p.m.

The lack of a U.S. team caused a big viewership drop for World Cup telecasts.

The 48 group stage telecasts on Fox and FS1 averaged 2,069,000 viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research. That is down 42 percent from the 3.54 million average on ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC four years ago and down 15 percent from the 2,429,000 average on ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC eight years ago.

Excluding games involving the U.S. team in previous World Cups, the average declined 28 percent from the 2014 tournament in Brazil and was up 1 percent from the 2010 tournament in South Africa.

Most group-stage kickoff times this year were morning EDT, starting as early as 6 a.m., and the latest matches began at 2 p.m. Games in 2014 started mostly from noon to 4 p.m. EDT, while in 2010 games there were many games at 10 a.m. and some as early as 7:30 a.m.

Twenty-six group-stage matches were aired on Fox, up from six on ABC in 2014 and four on ABC in 2010.

Ratings include only television viewers and not those who viewed digital streams.


5:20 p.m.

Nigeria captain John Obi Mikel says he was told four hours before his country’s crucial World Cup game against Argentina that his father had been kidnapped back home and would be shot if the player reported it to authorities. Mikel says in a statement from his management company that he hid the news from his teammates and coaches in Russia and “had to shut it out of my head and go and represent my country first.”

Nigeria lost last Tuesday’s game in St. Petersburg 2-1 after a late Argentina goal, and was eliminated from the World Cup.

Mikel’s father, Michael Mikel, was freed in the southeastern state of Enugu on Monday.

It’s the second time his father has been kidnapped in Nigeria.


4:35 p.m.

Sweden captain Andreas Granqvist is starting for his country in its World Cup round of 16 match against Switzerland. His wife might not be totally focused on the action.

Granqvist’s wife Sofie is due to give birth Tuesday to the couple’s second child.

On the eve of the game, Granqvist said he was “fully focused on the game tomorrow and my wife is very strong.”

Switzerland forward Breel Embolo, who returned home last week to attend the birth of his first child, is on the bench for the match in St. Petersburg.


4:30 p.m.

FIFA has banned a Caribbean soccer leader for two years after he profited from sales of 2014 World Cup tickets.

FIFA says its ethics committee also ordered Venold Coombs of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines to pay a 40,000 Swiss francs ($40,300) fine.

Coombs, the president of the Saint Vincent and the Grenadines soccer federation, was found guilty of charges relating to corruption, conflicts of interest and breach of loyalty to FIFA.

FIFA says Coombs sold tickets “for a profiteering mark-up” after he bought them through the island federation and in his position as a FIFA committee member.


4:15 p.m.

Switzerland coach Vladimir Petkovic has rewarded Josip Drmic with a starting place for the World Cup round of 16 match against Sweden.

Drmic, who scored as a second half substitute in Switzerland’s 2-2 draw with Costa Rica in its last group match, replaces Breel Embolo in the front line.

Petkovic also was forced to make two changes in his defense because of suspensions. Captain Stephan Lichtsteiner and Fabian Schaer both miss the match and are replaced by Michael Lang and Johan Djourou.

Sweden coach Janne Andersson made one change to the starting lineup that beat Mexico 3-0 in its last group match, bringing in Gustav Svensson for suspended midfielder Sebastian Larsson.


Sweden: Robin Olsen, Mikael Lustig, Victor Lindelof, Andreas Granqvist, Ludwig Augustinsson, Albin Ekdal, Marcus Berg, Emil Forsberg, Gustav Svensson, Viktor Claesson, Ola Toivonen.

Switzerland: Yann Sommer, Manuel Akanji, Michael Lang, Granit Xhaka, Valon Behrami, Ricardo Rodriguez, Steven Zuber, Blerim Dzemaili, Josip Drmic, Johan Djourou, Xherdan Shaqiri.


2:35 p.m.

Alex Ovechkin is bringing the Stanley Cup to the World Cup.

Fresh off winning the NHL title, the Washington Capitals forward is taking the trophy to Moscow on Saturday, where it will be exhibited at a “fan fest” public viewing site ahead of Russia’s quarterfinal game against Croatia.

Ovechkin says on Instagram, “Dear friends, I’ll be happy to see everyone who wants to take a photo with the Stanley Cup.”

Ovechkin was in Moscow on Sunday to see his native Russia beat Spain on penalties in the round of 16 following a 1-1 draw after extra time.


1:40 p.m.

The head of the Polish Football Federation says national coach Adam Nawalka will not have his contract extended after Poland failed to advance from the group phase at the World Cup.

Zbigniew Boniek said Tuesday that Nawalka will stay in the job only until July 30.

In Group H games in Russia, Poland lost to Senegal 2-1, and to Colombia 3-0. Poland beat only Japan 1-0.

Nawalka said he felt responsible for the team failing to meet expectations at the World Cup, and did not do a very good job choosing the players.

He has coached Poland since November 2013.


More AP World Cup coverage:

Mexico soccer fan Monse Maldonado reacts after Brazil scored during the World Cup match between Mexico and Brazil, at Guelaguetza Restaurante in Los Angeles on Monday, July 2, 2018. Neymar flaunted his flair and theatrics with a goal and an assist to Brazil into the quarterfinals at the World Cup in a 2-0 victory that sent Mexico home in the round of 16 yet again. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel)