The Latest: Dembele replaces Meunier for Belgium in semis

Published 07-10-2018

0 Ratings

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

7:55 p.m.

Belgium coach Roberto Martinez has picked Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Mousa Dembele to replace Thomas Meunier for the World Cup semifinal against France.

Martinez has been forced to reshuffle his back line after Paris Saint-Germain wing back Meunier was suspended for the match in St. Petersburg after picking up his second yellow card of the tournament in Belgium's 2-1 quarterfinal win over Brazil.

After using a four-man defense against Brazil, Martinez has reverted to a three-man backline and four-man midfield of Nacer Chadli on the left, Dembele on the right, and Marouane Fellaini and Axel Witsel in the middle.

Eden Hazard, Romelu Lukaku and Kevin De Bruyne make up a potent three-man attack.

Dembele's inclusion was the only change to the Belgium team that beat Brazil 2-1 in the quarterfinals.

Lineup: Thibaut Courtois, Toby Alderweireld, Vincent Kompany, Jan Vertonghen, Axel Witsel, Kevin De Bruyne, Marouane Fellaini, Romelu Lukaku, Eden Hazard, Mousa Dembele, Nacer Chadli.

____

7:45 p.m.

France coach Didier Deschamps has recalled Blaise Matuidi in the only change to his lineup for the World Cup semifinal against Belgium at St. Petersburg Stadium.

Matuidi, who

Dembele's inclusion was the only change to the Belgium team that beat Brazil 2-1 in the quarterfinals.

Lineup: Thibaut Courtois, Toby Alderweireld, Vincent Kompany, Jan Vertonghen, Axel Witsel, Kevin De Bruyne, Marouane Fellaini, Romelu Lukaku, Eden Hazard, Mousa Dembele, Nacer Chadli.

____

7:45 p.m.

France coach Didier Deschamps has recalled Blaise Matuidi in the only change to his lineup for the World Cup semifinal against Belgium at St. Petersburg Stadium.

Matuidi, who was suspended for the 2-0 quarterfinal win over Uruguay last Friday, comes into midfield to replace Corentin Tolisso.

Veteran striker Olivier Giroud hasn't scored yet in the tournament but needs one goal to move ahead of France great Zinedine Zidane on France's all-time list. Giroud keeps his place in a forward line featuring 19-year-old sensation Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann.

France: Hugo Lloris, Benjamin Pavard, Raphael Varane, Samuel Umtiti, Paul Pogba, Antoine Griezmann, Olivier Giroud, Kylian Mbappe, N'Golo Kante, Blaise Matuidi, Lucas Hernandez.

___

7:30 p.m.

The

____

7:45 p.m.

France coach Didier Deschamps has recalled Blaise Matuidi in the only change to his lineup for the World Cup semifinal against Belgium at St. Petersburg Stadium.

Matuidi, who was suspended for the 2-0 quarterfinal win over Uruguay last Friday, comes into midfield to replace Corentin Tolisso.

Veteran striker Olivier Giroud hasn't scored yet in the tournament but needs one goal to move ahead of France great Zinedine Zidane on France's all-time list. Giroud keeps his place in a forward line featuring 19-year-old sensation Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann.

France: Hugo Lloris, Benjamin Pavard, Raphael Varane, Samuel Umtiti, Paul Pogba, Antoine Griezmann, Olivier Giroud, Kylian Mbappe, N'Golo Kante, Blaise Matuidi, Lucas Hernandez.

___

7:30 p.m.

The British government says motorways are expected to have one-third less traffic than normal when England takes on Croatia in the World Cup semifinals.

Highways England says traffic analysis on each of the England match days to date showed that during the games demand reduced by up to 33 percent.

The agency said in a statement that roads were not busier than normal before or after games, "suggesting people are often choosing not to travel or to travel at completely different times."

Frank Bird, one of Highways England's emergency planning officers, says "along with the rest of the country, we'll be cheering on England! We want them to bring it home - and we want everyone on our roads to get home safely."

___

7:15 p.m.

Thousands more England fans are expected to descend on Moscow for their first World Cup semifinal in 28 years, but there's not much sign of them yet.

The Nikolskaya street near the Kremlin, elaborately decorated with hanging lights, has been the main gathering point for fans in the Russian capital.

There were no more than a few dozen England fans there as of late Tuesday afternoon, with those singing team songs heavily outnumbered by passers-by filming them on phones.

Still, Kevin Miles of the Football Supporters Federation expects between 5,000 and 7,000 fans for Wednesday's semifinal against Croatia, but admits "a lot of people are doing it last minute, so it's very difficult to put numbers on it."

Airlines have offered extra places on flights to Moscow and some Russians have sold their tickets after their team lost to Croatia. Still, Miles says high prices "have put a lot of people off" who were thinking of traveling at short notice.

____

6:15 p.m.

England manager Gareth Southgate has been surprised at the vest craze back home, where "Waistcoast Wednesday" is trending.

Stores have been pushing waistcoat sales as England advanced to a World Cup semifinal match against Croatia in Moscow on Wednesday, with people taken by Southgate's style of wearing a vest without his suit jacket,

Southgate says "I was not a renowned fashion icon throughout my playing career, so it's rather strange to feel that way now. But we are really proud of the support that we are receiving."

England has reached the semifinals at the World Cup for the first time since 1990, and confidence among supporters is growing that the national team will win the title for the first time since 1966.

Southgate says, "We've had the chance to make a difference. Our supporters, our country has had a long time of suffering in terms of football, and the enthusiasm they have for these players, because of the way they've – not only the way they've played, but the way they're conducted themselves, they've been brilliant ambassadors for our country, and I think everybody can see that they're proud to wear the shirt."

___

5 p.m.

FOX Sports says it will be simulcasting the World Cup semifinal between France and Belgium on Silvercast's high-definition screen known as "Mega-Zilla" in New York's Times Square.

Soccer fans in the United States have watched the World Cup in Russia on big screens around the country, but this is promoted as the biggest of them all.

The "Mega-Zilla," a 78-foot-by-330-foot (24x100-meter) screen being promoted as the largest TV screen in the world, will be located between 45th and 46th Street on Broadway in Manhattan.

France and Belgium will be playing for a spot in Sunday's final in Moscow.

___

4:45 p.m.

FIFA says players from the youth soccer team rescued from a cave in Thailand will not be able to attend the World Cup final.

The sport's world governing body says it has been informed by Thai authorities that the 12 boys and their coach "will not be in a position to travel" for health reasons.

FIFA expressed its "great joy" at the rescue and says its "priority remains the health of everyone involved in the operation."

FIFA leaders will meet with Thai soccer officials this weekend in Moscow to explore "a new opportunity" to invite the boys to a major event to celebrate their survival.

The last four of the boys and the team coach were rescued Tuesday from a flooded cave in far northern Thailand after an ordeal that lasted more than two weeks.

FIFA expressed "profound gratitude to all persons involved in the rescue operation," and condolences for the family of the diver who died.

___

3:30 p.m.

They're getting the World Cup croissants ready in Paris.

Paris, Russia, that is.

The village of Paris just outside the Russian city of Nizhny Novgorod is embracing its French links ahead of the World Cup semifinal match between France and Belgium.

The village cafe is decorated with images of the Eiffel Tower and is preparing croissants for the game, plus a Russian menu for any French guests who might happen to drop by.

Mayor Sergei Gromov says "we were supporting Russia but now it's turned out like that (that Russia was eliminated), we're going to support France and wish it success."

The village's full name is In Memory Of The Paris Commune, a reference to a socialist rebellion in 19th-century France. The name is so unwieldy most locals use Paris for short. Not everyone in Paris is pro-France, though. Villager Elena Vasilyeva says she's cheering on Belgium because "they're a real team."

___

3 p.m.

The Ukraine Football Federation has offered to pay a fine imposed on a Croatia official for making a pro-Ukraine video at the World Cup.

Soccer's international governing body has fined Ognjen Vukojevic 15,000 Swiss francs ($15,150) for "unsporting behavior" after he and Croatia defender Domagoj Vida recorded a video including the phrase "glory to Ukraine" after the team beat host nation Russia in the World Cup quarterfinals.

The video angered some Russian fans, but was welcomed in Ukraine, where both Vida and Vukojevic formerly played for the Dynamo Kiev club. Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine in 2014 and political tensions remain high.

UFF president Andriy Pavelko, wearing a Croatia shirt and scarf, tells Ukrainian broadcaster 112 that he and other members of the UFF management offered to pay the fine and help Vukojevic with legal costs if he wants to appeal the ruling.

The Croatia soccer federation has already removed Vukojevic from its World Cup delegation. Vida was let off with an official warning and no match sanction, leaving him available to play in Wednesday's World Cup semifinal against England.

___

1 p.m.

The World Cup semifinal stage is beginning with the all-European lineup being celebrated by soccer's governing body on the continent.

Belgium and France play in St. Petersburg on Tuesday and then Croatia and England meet the following night in Moscow.

It is the fifth time the last four has featured only European teams.

UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin says "even though some of our traditional contenders such as Germany, Spain and Portugal were eliminated, there are other teams which have surpassed expectations and can now win the title."

In a statement to The Associated Press, Ceferin added "these results validate all the work that is being done across the continent to develop football, and they also showcase the strength and quality that exists across the whole UEFA region."

___

More AP World Cup coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/WorldCup

No comments found. Sign up or Login to rate and review content.

Belgium's Kevin De Bruyne, right, and Vincent Kompany, second right, stand on the pitch before the semifinal match between France and Belgium at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the St. Petersburg Stadium in, St. Petersburg, Russia, Tuesday, July 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner) - The Associated Press


France head coach Didier Deschamps, second right, inspects the pitch prior to the semifinal match between France and Belgium at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the St. Petersburg Stadium in, St. Petersburg, Russia, Tuesday, July 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein) - The Associated Press


England soccer fans pose for a photo with their club banners in Red Square during the 2018 soccer World Cup in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, July 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko) - The Associated Press


England head coach Gareth Southgate celebrates victory of his team over Sweden during the quarterfinal match between Sweden and England at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the Samara Arena, in Samara, Russia, Saturday, July 7, 2018. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader ) - The Associated Press


An ambulance believed to be carrying one of the rescued boys from the flooded cave heads to the hospital in Chiang Rai as divers evacuated the remaining boys and their coach trapped at Tham Luang cave in the Mae Sai district of Chiang Rai province, northern Thailand, Tuesday, July 10, 2018. Thai Navy SEALs say all 12 boys and their coach were rescued from the cave, ending an ordeal that lasted more than 2 weeks. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian) - The Associated Press


England's Harry Kane, right looks up as he plays a game of tag as he takes part in a training session for the England team at the 2018 soccer World Cup, in the Spartak Zelenogorsk ground, Zelenogorsk near St. Petersburg, Russia, Tuesday, July 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant) - The Associated Press


Croatia's Domagoj Vida jumps to catch a ball during a training session in the Luzhniki sport ground at 2018 soccer World Cup in Moscow, Russia, Monday, July 9, 2018. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco) - The Associated Press


Three man dressed in the colors of France pose prior to the quarterfinal match between Uruguay and France at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium, in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia, Friday, July 6, 2018. (AP Photo/David Vincent) - The Associated Press


Uruguay's Luis Suarez covers his face in dejection at the end of the quarterfinal match between Uruguay and France at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium, in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia, Friday, July 6, 2018. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner) - The Associated Press