Ronaldo, laying claim to GOAT status, grows goatee
MOSCOW (AP) — The Latest on Wednesday at the World Cup (all times local):
He implied he was the GOAT. Now he's grown a goatee.
Cristiano Ronaldo sported the facial hair on his chin before Portugal's World Cup match against Morocco on Wednesday.
After the first of his three goals in Portugal's 3-3 draw against Spain, Ronaldo stroked his then-hairless chin — an apparent reference to an ad featuring Lionel Messi of Argentina cuddling a live goat. The ad makes the case that Messi is the GOAT, an acronym for "greatest of all time."
Noureddine Amrabat retains his place in the Morocco team to play Portugal, days after sustaining a head injury in a 1-0 loss against Iran.
Amrabat was treated in a hospital and regarded as a doubtful starter for a game Morocco likely needs to win to have hopes of advancing.
Morocco coach Herve Renard makes three changes, with forward Khalid Boutaib replacing Ayoub El Kaabi, Manuel Da Costa coming in for Romain Saiss in central defense, and defender Nabil Dirar replacing winger Amine Harit.
Cristiano Ronaldo is again partnered in attack by Goncalo Guedes, despite the Valencia forward's unimpressive form in a 3-3 draw with Spain. Joao Mario starts in midfield replacing Bruno Fernandes.
Portugal: Rui Patricio, Pepe, Raphael Guerreiro, Jose Fonte, Cristiano Ronaldo, Joao Moutinho, Joao Mario. Bernardo Silva, William Carvalho, Goncalo Guedes, Cedric Soares.
Morocco: Monir El Kajoui, Achraf Hakimi, Manuel Da Costa, Mehdi Benatia, Hakim Ziyech, Karim El Ahmadi, Younes Belhanda, Khalid Boutaib, Mbark Boussoufa, Noureddine Amrabat, Nabil Dirar
Poland goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski has finalized a move to English Premier League club West Ham while on national-team duty at the World Cup.
The 33-year-old Fabianski has left Swansea, which was relegated from the Premier League at the end of last season, to join West Ham on a three-year deal. He has made more saves than any other goalkeeper over the last four seasons in the English top flight.
Fabianksi is the back-up to Wojciech Szczesny for Poland at the World Cup and didn't play in the team's first group game, a 2-1 loss to Senegal.
West Ham director of football Mario Husillos says Fabianski "fits perfectly the mould of the modern goalkeeper, with excellent agility, presence and distribution."
Joe Hart and Adrian were West Ham's goalkeepers last season. Hart was on loan from Manchester City.
FIFA is "extremely satisfied with the level of refereeing" at the World Cup, and hails the introduction of video review as a success.
The new technology system for helping referees make decisions has "on the whole ... been positively accepted and appreciated within our football community," FIFA says.
The introduction of the video review has coincided with more penalty kicks being awarded.
However, Brazil complained to FIFA about Switzerland's goal in a 1-1 draw being allowed to stand, and wanted audio recordings of communication between the match officials to be released.
England fans were bemused as to why rugby-style tackles by Tunisia defenders on forward Harry Kane at set pieces did not earn a penalty. The same video review official in that game was the referee who in an earlier game awarded a penalty to Croatia for a similar challenge by a Nigeria defender.
FIFA concedes there will "still be discussion and divided opinion" about some incidents.
Rather than risk further outrage from football fans, rights holders in Australia have agreed to keep sharing World Cup matches with free-to-air TV until the end of the group stage.
Telecommunications company Optus bought the broadcast rights for most World Cup games in Russia but technical issues with the live streaming in Australia caused a major backlash from subscription buyers — to the point where the prime minister had to intervene.
The SBS network, which retained the broadcasting rights for Australia's games and the World Cup final under a sharing agreement with Optus for the 2018 tournament, initially stepped in to broadcast all matches for a 48-hour period as the telco tried to rectify its technical problems.
The network issued a statement Wednesday saying "following further discussions with Optus ... it has been mutually agreed that SBS will continue simulcasting the 2018 FIFA World Cup until the end of group stage on June 29."
The technical issues over the first few days of the tournament included poor-quality match footage or no vision at all.
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull took the unusual step of contacting Optus chief executive Allen Lew, wanting assurances the problems would be fixed.
"There's no doubt this has adversely affected the Optus brand," an apologetic Lew said, "everybody is very disappointed, to put it mildly."
Lew on Wednesday said his company would continue to stream matches, but all pool matches would also be telecast on free-to-air TV.
Optus also decided to provide all Australians with free access to its streaming service, and those users who paid 15 Australian dollars ($11) to access Optus Sport during the World Cup will receive refunds.
Australia lost its opening game 2-1 to France and has group games remaining against Denmark and Peru.