Professional soccer

Lionel Messi plays the ball during a training session of Argentina on the eve of the group D match against Iceland at the 2018 soccer World Cup in Bronnitsy, Russia, Friday, June 15, 2018. (AP Photo/Ricardo Mazalan)
June 15, 2018 - 12:40 pm
MOSCOW (AP) — Lionel Messi takes the field for the first time in this year's World Cup on Saturday when Argentina opens group play against Iceland, the smallest nation to ever play in the tournament. The superstar forward goes into the World Cup under enormous pressure to finally win a major...
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Peru's Paolo Guerrero warms up on the pitch during Peru's official training on the eve of the group C match between Peru and Denmark at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the Mordovia Arena in Saransk, Russia, Friday, June 15, 2018. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
June 15, 2018 - 11:43 am
SARANSK, Russia (AP) — The mere presence of striker Paolo Guerrero on Peru's national team could have been a major distraction. Any Peruvian success in Russia might have been tainted if opponents made a fuss that Guerrero, Peru's all-time leading scorer, had no business playing in the World Cup...
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In this May 16, 2018 photo American soccer referees Mark Geiger, left, and Jair Marrufo are interviewed in New York. While the United States is missing from soccer's showcase for the first time since 1986, it is the only nation with two referees working the tournament. Geiger will become the second American to referee at two World Cups. The 43-year-old from Beachwood, New Jersey, worked Chile-Spain and Colombia-Greece during the group stage in Brazil four years ago, then became the first American to work a knockout stage match. Marrufo will be working his first World Cup after getting cut in 2010. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
June 15, 2018 - 6:58 am
MOSCOW (AP) — Jair Murrufo remembers the first time he picked up a whistle and called a soccer match. "My father kept saying, 'Hey, you want to be a referee?' And I'm 19 years old, and I'm like, 'No, why would I want to do that?'" he recalled. That was an under-8 contest filled with kids trying to...
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A man rides his bike past a wall covered by a mural of celebrating soccer fans, ahead of the Brazilian soccer team's World Cup debut in Russia, at the Alemao slum complex in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Tuesday, June 13, 2018. Decorating the streets is a tradition ahead of each World Cup. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)
June 15, 2018 - 6:18 am
ROSTOV-ON-DON, Russia (AP) — Brazil has spent four years trying to atone for its last World Cup match, the calamitous 7-1 defeat as hosts by Germany. Popular coach Tite purged players, eased dependence on Neymar, and rebuilt a team that concedes few goals and blazed through qualification. Those...
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Peru head coach Ricardo Gareca reacts during Peru's official press conference on the eve of the group C match between Peru and Denmark at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the Mordovia Arena in Saransk, Russia, Friday, June 15, 2018. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)
June 15, 2018 - 5:44 am
MOSCOW (AP) — The Latest on the opening day of the World Cup (all times local): 12:35 p.m. Peru coach Ricardo Gareca will not commit to playing recently reinstated striker Paolo Guerrero in their World Cup opener against Denmark. Gareca's only promise in a news conference Friday is that if Peru's...
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People watch a speech of Russian President Vladimir Putin on a huge screen prior the 2018 soccer World Cup match between Russia and Saudi Arabia at a fan zone in St.Petersburg, Russia, Thursday, June 14, 2018. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky)
June 14, 2018 - 4:35 pm
MOSCOW (AP) — The Latest on the opening day of the World Cup (all times local): ___ 11:20 p.m. The second day of World Cup action will bring one of the most anticipated games of the opening round: Spain against Portugal in a match of two teams trying to bring the focus back to soccer. Spain is in...
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Lionel Messi, right, and Sergio Aguero talk to a team assistant during a training session of Argentina at the 2018 soccer World Cup in Bronnitsy, Russia, Wednesday, June 13, 2018. (AP Photo/Ricardo Mazalan)
June 14, 2018 - 2:57 pm
MOSCOW (AP) — The smallest nation ever to play at a World Cup has a big start against Lionel Messi in Moscow on Saturday. Just don't expect Iceland to be at all intimidated by Argentina and its superstar forward, going by its European Championship debut two years ago. Then, the world's other best...
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Russia's Denis Cheryshev celebrates after scoring his side's fourth goal during the group A match between Russia and Saudi Arabia which opens the 2018 soccer World Cup at the Luzhniki stadium in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, June 14, 2018. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)
June 14, 2018 - 1:33 pm
MOSCOW (AP) — Inspired by the home crowd in the opening match of the World Cup, Russia ended a 16-year wait for victory. Substitute Denis Cheryshev scored two goals Thursday to lead the host nation over Saudi Arabia 5-0 in Group A with President Vladimir Putin watching from the stands alongside...
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Saudi women seen ahead of the group A match between Russia and Saudi Arabia which opens the 2018 soccer World Cup at the Luzhniki stadium in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, June 14, 2018. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)
June 14, 2018 - 12:23 pm
MOSCOW (AP) — In jeans, headscarves and veils, dozens of Saudi women draped in their country's green flag and sporting matching face paint streamed into Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium on Thursday to support their national team against Russia in the World Cup's opening match. More importantly, perhaps,...
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June 14, 2018 - 7:37 am
SOCHI, Russia (AP) — At this point, it all feels familiar for John Strong and Stuart Holden. The lead broadcasters for Fox's English-language coverage of the World Cup in the United States are starting their Russian adventure in Sochi, where they spent time a year ago calling the Confederations Cup...
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