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Associated Press
2014-06-26 10:42 AM

The AP World Cup Digest at 10 p.m. EDT (0200 GMT). The supervisor of the World Cup desk in Rio de Janeiro is Simon Haydon. The desk can be reached at 0055 21 348 264 84.

TOP STORIES

WCUP-ROUNDUP

RIO DE JANEIRO -- The race for the World Cup golden boot turned into a Barcelona battle Wednesday as Lionel Messi scored twice to lead Argentina to an entertaining 3-2 win over Nigeria and match Neymar's tournament-leading four goals in three games for Brazil. Xherdan Shaqiri also vaulted into contention by scoring a hat trick as Switzerland beat Honduras 3-0 to qualify second in Group F. By Mike Corder. SENT: 761 words, photos.

WCUP-FIFA-SUAREZ

RIO DE JANEIRO -- As the world was judging Uruguay's Luis Suarez for biting a player in the World Cup, his teammates, coaches and fans in his soccer-crazy country defended the star, blaming the foreign media, his Italian opponents and uneven treatment. World Cup organizers scrambled Wednesday to quickly decide on a punishment before Uruguay plays Colombia Saturday in the round of 16. By Graham Dunbar. SENT: 792 words, photos.

NEW/DEVELOPING

WCUP-NIGERIA-ARGENTINA

PORTO ALEGRE, Brazil -- About a dozen Argentine fans couldn't get enough of the smell of victory in the Beira-Rio Stadium, dancing and singing in their seats more than an hour after their team beat Nigeria 3-2. They had good reason to celebrate. By Karl Ritter. SENT: 694 words, photos.

WCUP-ECUADOR-FRANCE

RIO DE JANEIRO -- France's much-vaunted attack missed a series of chances as it drew 0-0 with 10-man Ecuador to reach the knockout stage of the World Cup on Wednesday, while the South Americans bowed out of the tournament. In the other final Group E game, Switzerland defeated 3-0 Honduras to finish in second place behind the French. By Jerome Pugmire. SENT: 702 words, photos.

WITH: -- RIO DE JANEIRO -- BC-SOC--WCUP ECUADOR. SENT.

WCUP-HONDURAS-SWITZERLAND

MANAUS, Brazil -- Xherdan Shaqiri's hat trick put Switzerland into the second round of the World Cup, and kept coach Ottmar Hitzfeld gainfully employed for at least a few more days. Shaqiri scored a pair of first-half goals and added another in the second Wednesday to give Switzerland a 3-0 victory over Honduras, a result that put the Swiss in second place in Group E behind France. By Chris Lehourites. SENT: 754 words, photos.

WITH: -- MANAUS, Brazil -- WCUP-HONDURAS-SUAREZ QUITS. By Chris Lehourites. SENT.

WCUP-BOSNIA-IRAN

SALVADOR, Brazil -- Bosnia-Herzegovina ended Iran's hopes of advancing to the knockout stages with a 3-1 victory in Group F on Wednesday, registering its first World Cup win in the process. By Dusan Stojanovic. SENT: 611 words, photos.

WITH: -- WCUP--IRAN-COACH QUITS. By Dusan Stojanovic. SENT.

WCUP-ZINZINNATI FANS

CINCINNATI -- There's eager anticipation -- along with some divided loyalties -- for German-American fans who had been rooting for both teams until their pivotal World Cup clash. By Dan Sewell. UPCOMING: 500 words, photos.

WCUP-DISTANT DREAMS

RIO DE JANEIRO -- The big leagues are a dream as distant as the stars, but one that still dazzles boys across soccer-obsessed Brazil. Now, as the World Cup dominates Brazil's attention, the dream tantalizes more than ever. For Andre Rodrigues de Principe, it fuels his daily life even though, at 14, his chance at stardom already may have burned out. By Joshua Goodman. UPCOMING: 910 words, photos.

WCUP-BELGIUM-KOMPANY

SAO PAULO -- Belgium coach Marc Wilmots says that team captain Vincent Kompany has injured his groin again during training and will miss Thursday's match against South Korea at the World Cup. In between leading the Belgian defense during victories over Algeria and Russia, the central defender already had to skip several days of training to treat a left groin strain. By Raf Casert. SENT: 441 words, photos.

WCUP-SUAREZ-COUNTING THE COST

CURITIBA, Brazil -- Luis Suarez faces the prospect of a big financial hit following his alleged biting of Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini, with existing sponsorship deals potentially being ripped up and future endorsements put in jeopardy. Already, two of his sponsors -- 888poker and adidas -- have hinted that they may re-examine their deals with Suarez. By Pan Pylas. SENT: 425 words, photos.

WCUP-WATCHING ONLINE

RIO DE JANEIRO -- The first two U.S. games at this World Cup kicked off at favorable times for watching on television back home.

The Americans' group finale Thursday will be smack in the middle of the workday. By Rachel Cohen. SENT: 532 words, photos.

WCUP-BRAZIL-GUSTAVO

TERESOPOLIS, Brazil -- Luiz Gustavo has the tough job for Brazil at the World Cup. While Neymar is scoring the goals and grabbing the attention, Gustavo is staying back protecting the defense. By Tales Azzoni. SENT: 448 words, photos.

WCUP-ALGERIA

CURITIBA, Brazil -- Now that Algeria has won its first match at the World Cup since 1982, coach Vahid Halilhodzic called on his team to help the country turn the page on one of the most controversial episodes in the tournament's history. By Pan Pylas. SENT: 478 words, photos.

WCUP-SOUTH KOREA

SAO PAULO -- South Korea's coach says part of the beauty of football is that the best team doesn't always win -- and that's what he is hoping for against heavily favored Belgium in their final Group H match Thursday. By Aron Heller. SENT: 434 words, photos.

WCUP-NIGERIA-EXPLOSION

PORTO ALGRE, Brazil -- Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi says he is saddened by the deadly explosion at an Abuja shopping mall shortly before his team played Wednesday at the World Cup, and that his team's progression to the second round is unlikely to offer any solace to the country as it suffers terrorist attacks. "How much of a victory is football going to give for those lives?" he said. By Chris Brummitt. SENT: 297 words, photos.

WCUP-GERMANY

RECIFE, Brazil -- Germany coach Joachim Loew isn't sure his team's extra day of rest this week makes up for the months-long scheduling advantage his friend, Jurgen Klinsmann, has had with the U.S. team. By Brett Martel. SENT: 614 words, photos.

WCUP-JAPAN-ZACCHERONI QUITS

ITU, Brazil -- Alberto Zaccheroni quit as Japan coach in the wake of the Asian champion's disappointing group-stage exit at the World Cup, saying the team needed a fresh influence. Zaccheroni, who was appointed in 2010 on a four-year contract, announced the decision on Wednesday after earlier saying he'd wait until he returned to Japan to consider his future with the team. By Steve Moore. SENT: 510 words, photos.

WCUP-NETHERLANDS-DEPAY

RIO DE JANEIRO -- Memphis Depay is arguably one of the World Cup's most productive strikers, with two goals and an assist in just 63 minutes of play in Brazil. Even so, the young PSV Eindhoven forward knows he is unlikely to break into the Dutch first team at this tournament, with the in-form strike partnership of Robin van Persie and Arjen Robben playing up front and scoring freely. By Mike Corder. SENT: 450 words, photos.

WITH: -- RIO DE JANEIRO -- WCUP-NETHERLANDS-FER. SENT.

WCUP-BRAZIL-NEYMAR'S PRESSURE

TERESOPOLIS, Brazil -- Neymar feels he has nothing to worry about at the World Cup. He is playing in the biggest tournament of his life the same way he played in tournaments in Brazil when he was a teenager. And it's a simple secret that keeps him at ease no matter the stage: He just reminds himself how lucky he is. By Tales Azzoni. SENT: 659 words, photos.

WCUP-NIGERIA-BABATUNDE-INJURY

PORTO ALEGRE, Brazil -- Nigeria's coach says striker Michael Babatunde is undergoing surgery for a broken arm after being hit by a ball struck by a teammate in their World Cup match against Argentina on Wednesday. Babatunde was stretchered off the pitch in a 3-2 defeat which did not prevent Nigeria from advancing to the second round from Group F. SENT.

WCUP-PORTUGAL-BENTO

BRASILIA, Brazil -- Paulo Bento intends to stay on as Portugal coach even if the team fails to qualify from its World Cup group, saying Wednesday his tenure will be judged on results at the 2016 European Championship. Portugal, the world's No.4-ranked team, has just one point from its first two Group G games and is unlikely to reach the knockout stage even if it beats Ghana in Brasilia on Thursday. By Steve Douglas. SENT.

WCUP-GREECE

FORTALEZA, Brazil -- Talk about close. Greece is through to the last 16 at the World Cup by the slimmest of imaginable margins: Thrashed by Colombia 3-0 in the opener, holding Japan 0-0 with 10 men, and only scoring in its final game. By Derek Gatopoulos. SENT.

SOC-WCUP-BRAZIL-NUMBER-9

RIO DE JANEIRO -- The tall gangly figure of Serginho is blamed by many Brazilians for the failure of their sublime side to win the 1982 World Cup. Today's No. 9 in the Brazil shirt, Fred, looked to be following in Serginho's footsteps until he finally found the net after 228 tournament minutes without a goal in a 4-1 victory over Cameroon. By Luke Norman. SENT:

WCUP-ITALY-BALOTELLI

MANGARATIBA, Brazil -- Mario Balotelli has reacted to harsh criticism -- some of it discriminatory -- for Italy's group-stage exit from the World Cup, as the fallout turned into an ugly hunt for scapegoats on Wednesday. "Balotelli was not the only one to lose but he was certainly disappointing," said Italian Olympic Committee president Giovanni Malago, who oversees all sports in Italy. By Andrew Dampf.

WCUP-JAPAN-FINAL WHISTLE

CUIABA, Brazil -- With the likes of stars Keisuke Honda and Shinji Kagawa -- and a seemingly benign Group C -- Japan has never had a better chance to make an impact at the World Cup. And the Asian champions did show touches of class in their failed Brazil campaign. But they learned the hard way that nifty playmaking isn't enough to cut it on the world's greatest stage: Winners have an unquenchable thirst for goal -- and Japan just didn't have it. By Joji Sakurai.

WCUP-BITING BET

Uruguay striker Luis Suarez's practice of biting opponents seems to be a safe bet. More than 150 people across Europe put money down that he would do it again during the World Cup, and raked in winnings 175-fold, a Swedish gambling company said on Wednesday. By The Associated Press. SENT.

WCUP-GERMANY-US

PORTO SEGURO, Brazil -- There won't be friendly phone calls, there won't be any dirty deals. That's the promise from both sides ahead of Germany's final Group G match against the United States. A draw on Thursday in Recife would see both teams advance to the knockout stage at the expense of Portugal and Ghana, who play at the same time in Brasilia. By Nesha Starcevic. SENT.

ALSO:

-- RIO DE JANEIRO -- WCUP-WHAT TO WATCH. SENT. By Mattias Karen.

-- RIO DE JANEIRO -- WCUP-BRAZIL BEAT. SENT.

__ RIO DE JANEIRO -- WCUP-THURSDAY PERMUTATIONS. SENT.

__ NATAL, Brazil -- SOC-WCUP-CAPSULES. SENT.

__ RIO DE JANEIRO -- WCUP-REFEREE APPOINTMENTS. SENT.

-- UNDATED -- WORLD CUP GLANCE. SENT.

-- UNDATED -- WCUP-ON THIS DAY. SENT.

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