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Russia says it thwarted drone attacks at World Cup

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MOSCOW (AP) Russia says it thwarted attempted drone attacks at this year’s World Cup.

Alexander Bortnikov, the head of Russia’s Federal Security Service, says his officers “took measures to detect and foil attempts by terrorists to use drones during the preparation and hosting of various major political and sports events, most of all during the soccer World Cup.”

Bortnikov gave no further details in comments reported by the Tass state news agency.

Russia used thousands of police and cutting-edge surveillance technology to guard the World Cup. However, four Pussy Riot protesters managed to run onto the field during the final.

In April, Russia said “extremists” and nationalist soccer hooligans had planned to attack World Cup events in the city of Samara but were foiled.

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Activist, World Cup final pitch invader in hospital

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A prominent member of the anti-Kremlin movement is seriously ill in hospital, according to protest band Pussy Riot.

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Pyotr Verzilov, who helped organized the pitch invasion with Pussy Riot during the 2018 World Cup final in Moscow, was taken to hospital suffering from a lose of eyesight and he couldn’t walk or talk.

Members of Pussy Riot believe he could have been poisoned.

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“Our friend, brother, comrade Petr Verzilov is in reanimation. His life is in danger. We think that he was poisoned,” Pussy Riot said on its official Twitter feed.

Sergei Smirnov, editor-in-chief of Mediazona, struck a more cautious note however, confirming on social media that Verzilov was in hospital but saying nobody knew his diagnosis, making it difficult to understand what was going on.

Online news portal Meduza cited Veronika Nikulshina, who it said was Verzilov’s girlfriend, describing how he had been rushed to hospital on Tuesday night after he started to lose his eyesight and ability to talk and walk.

After running on the pitch dressed in police uniforms during the final between France and Croatia at the Luzhnkik Stadium on July 15, Verzilov and others were handed a 15-day prison sentence.

With Russian President Vladimir Putin present for the final, and their stunt, Verzilov and Pussy Riot said they wanted to promote free speech in Russia.

VIDEO: France celebrate World Cup success

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This is what it is all about.

For the first time since they won the 2018 World Cup in Moscow, the French national team played on home soil on Sunday.

Les Bleus beat the Netherlands 2-1 in a UEFA Nations League clash at the Stade de France, with wild scenes after the game as they celebrated their second World Cup success in history with their fans.

From superb dance moves, Hugo Lloris holding the trophy aloft and fans going wild when Paul Pogba and Antoine Griezmann were announced, it was one big party in Paris.

Click play on the video below to get a recap of the celebrations.

Plus, there was also a special rendition of N'Golo Kante‘s song which the team sung throughout the World Cup.

Benjamin Mendy was a menace on the mic. And Kante was, well, Kante, as he looked more than a little bashful to be the center of attention.

England keen to extend Southgate’s contract

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LONDON (AP) England manager Gareth Southgate‘s employers want him to extend his contract beyond the end of the 2020 European Championship.

Southgate’s popularity with the fans rocketed last month when England reached the semifinals of the World Cup, where the team was beaten by Croatia.

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He was handed a four-year deal by his Football Association employers in November 2016, after taking over from Sam Allardyce.

“Gareth has been excellent, we’d like him to stay beyond 2020,” FA chief executive Martin Glenn said on Wednesday. “I think we’d both like that, but … he’s on holiday now, so we’ll talk when he comes back.”

Southgate, 47, was previously manager of Middlesbrough and the England Under-21 side.

Neymar talks about embellishment, asks for support in new ad (video)

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Sometimes, advertising is damage control with a side of nationalism.

In an advertisment for Gillette, Brazil superstar Neymar implores his country to stay on his side despite the criticism he’s received for embellishing fouls.

[ VIDEO: USWNT equalizes in stoppage ]

And the 26-year-old PSG star also admits again that, yes, he sure is exaggerating the pain.”You may think I exaggerate, and sometimes I do exaggerate,” he says. “But the truth is I suffer on the pitch.”

He again notes that he’s always fouled when he embellishes, and implies that he’s fouled so often — he truly is — that it’s his way of trying to get it stop.

Neymar was fouled 5.2 times per game last season in Ligue 1, 1.5 fouls more than the next guy (Nabil Fekir of Lyon). His four times fouled per game was the most by a half foul in the Champions League (Paulo Dybala of Juve), and Isco could only get within .4 of Neymar’s 5.2 total at the World Cup.

“You may think I fall too much,” Neymar continued. “But the truth is I did not fall. I fell apart,” he said, in a reference to Brazil’s quarter-finals elimination against Belgium. “That hurts more than any step on an operated ankle.”

But is this a function of that exaggeration? Clearly dribblers get fouled, and it’s just as obvious that Neymar is a magnificent player, but is the embellishment what’s keeping him ahead of the pack?