The Latest: Swiss-Swedes tied 0-0 at halftime in Round of 16

The Latest: Swiss-Swedes tied 0-0 at halftime in Round of 16
The Latest: Swiss-Swedes tied 0-0 at halftime in Round of 16

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

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:

Sweden’s Viktor Claesson, left, duels for the ball with Switzerland’s Ricardo Rodriguez during the round of 16 match between Switzerland and Sweden at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the St. Petersburg Stadium, in St. Petersburg, Russia, Tuesday, July 3, 2018. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky)