MOSCOW (AP) – A look at what’s coming up at the World Cup:
ON THE MEND
Counting injury time, Croatia will have played the equivalent of roughly four matches in 11 days by the end of its semifinal against England – even if it doesn’t go to extra time again. The Croats are licking their wounds after defeating Denmark and Russia in successive shootouts.
Goalkeeper Danijel Subasic appeared to tweak his hamstring against Russia, which kept him from taking goal kicks by the end of the match. Starting right back Sime Vrsaljko had to be replaced during extra time with an apparent leg injury, though fellow defender Dejan Lovren was optimistic Sunday that Vrsaljko would be able to play with the semifinal looming on Wednesday.
Russia’s players and coach addressed a crowd of their newfound fans Sunday in Moscow, a day after getting eliminated by Croatia in a shootout . The national team’s unexpected run to the quarterfinals sparked a surge of support from fans who had been mostly indifferent before the World Cup started. By the knockout stage, supporters were chanting “Roo-see-ah!” at stadiums where the team wasn’t even playing. Now that the home team is finally out, will its fans – who have filled most of the seats throughout the tournament – pick a favorite from the semifinalists, or go back to treating soccer with a shrug?
After returning from their Friday quarterfinals in Nizhny Novgorod and Kazan, respectively, France and Belgium worked out at their Moscow-area training bases Sunday before heading to St. Petersburg for their Tuesday night semifinal. Russia is a big country. By the time they get back to Moscow again, France will have racked up 1,300 miles (about 2,100 kilometers) and Belgium will have gone 1,700 miles (about 2,700 kilometers) in about five days.
At this stage of the tournament, there are only four days between matches. Both squads are deep and are dealing with relatively few injuries, though Belgium will be missing defender Thomas Meunier, who picked up his second yellow card for tripping Neymar in the 2-1 quarterfinal win over Brazil.