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Euro 2020 Roundup: France thrashes Moldova, Portugal fails to score

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France showed on Friday that it hasn’t lost its mojo, as it tore apart Moldova on the road, 4-1, in its Euro 2020 qualifying opener.

Antoine Griezmann, Raphael Varane, Olivier Giroud and Kylian Mbappe all scored in the win for France, which jumps well ahead in the Group H standings. For Giroud, it tied him for third in all-time scoring for Les Bleus.

Elsewhere, Portugal suffered a surprising result in a scoreless draw with Ukraine. The defending European champions failed to score, despite starting Bernardo Silva and Cristiano Ronaldo up top. It’s the third straight time that Portugal has started off a qualification campaign without a win.

Here’s a look at the other scores around Euro 2020 qualifying on Friday:

Bulgaria 1-1 Montenegro

Albania 0-2 Turkey

Andorra 0-2 Iceland

Luxembourg 2-1 Lithuania

Chelsea confirm alleged racist abuse of one of its players

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Chelsea have confirmed that one of their players was subjected to alleged racist abuse in Ukraine on Thursday.

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Various reports state that Callum Hudson-Odoi was racially abused by a group of Dynamo Kiev fans in the final minutes of Chelsea’s 5-0 UEFA Europa League last 16 win in the Ukrainian capital.

Although the club haven’t confirmed which player was allegedly abused, it has stated that European soccer’s governing body are investigating the incident.

Here are more details from a club statement:

“We can confirm a report of racist abuse directed at one of our players in the final minutes of the match in Kiev from a small section of home supporters. We wholeheartedly condemn such abhorrent behavior. The matter was reported to the referee at the final whistle and the chairman and club secretary spoke to the UEFA match delegate immediately after the match. We expect UEFA to conduct a fulsome investigation and we will provide full cooperation.”

Arsenal’s Europa League match in Ukraine moved due to Russian attack

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Stay safe, Arsenal fans who chose to travel for Thursday’s Europa League match against FC Vorskla in Ukraine.

[ MORE: Robben electrifies UCL ]

The Russian military has attacked Ukrainian ships, leading to martial law in parts of Ukraine, and UEFA has stepped in to move the match to a safer part of the nation.


UEFA’s Emergency Panel has today taken the decision to relocate FC Vorskla’s UEFA Europa League group stage match against Arsenal FC from the city of Poltava, following the introduction of martial law into certain regions in Ukraine.

Arsenal says it’s working to make sure supporters are directed safely.

“We are currently working closely with UEFA and the relevant authorities to ensure the safety and welfare of all our supporters who have, and will be travelling to Ukraine for this match.”

Problems for soccer clubs in Ukraine due to conflicts with Russia are nothing new.

The Latest: Official fined, banned; Player only gets warning

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A day after a player was let off with a warning, a Croatia official has been fined 15,000 Swiss francs ($15,150) for making a pro-Ukraine video that soon appeared on social media after the team’s World Cup quarterfinal win over Russia.

FIFA says Ognjen Vukojevic was also warned for “unsporting behavior.” The incident also involved Croatia defender Domagoj Vida, who received an official warning but no match sanction from soccer’s international governing body.

Vukojevic, who played for Dynamo Kiev with Vida, stated “This is a victory for Dynamo and for Ukraine!”

Earlier Monday, the Croatia soccer federation said Vukojevic had been sent home from the World Cup.

FIFA says he published the video, which appeared on social media about an hour after Croatia’s quarterfinal victory in a penalty shootout.

FIFA says its disciplinary panel noted that Vukojevic and the Croatian federation soon apologized.

Vida is expected to start for Croatia against England in the semifinals on Wednesday.

8:40 p.m.

Cuneyt Cakir has been selected to referee the semifinal between Croatia and England, making it successive World Cups the Turkish official has handled a game in the semis.

Cakir will be working his third game in Russia on Wednesday at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.

He handled Argentina’s 2-1 win over Nigeria and Iran’s 1-0 win over Morocco in the group stage.

Uruguayan Andres Cunha was appointed to referee Tuesday’s semifinal between France and Belgium in St. Petersburg.

Cakir was referee in the World Cup semifinals at Brazil four years ago when Argentina edged Netherlands on penalties.

More AP World Cup coverage:

FIFA investigates Domagoj Vida’s pro-Ukraine video

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FIFA says it is investigating a video made by a Croatia player praising Ukraine after his team beat World Cup host Russia.

The video shows Croatia defender Domagoj Vida shouting “glory to Ukraine” before the retired ex-player Ognjen Vukojevic adds “this win is for Dynamo and Ukraine … go Croatia.”

[ MORE: Qataris considering 48-team option for 2022 World Cup ]

Vida and Vukojevic played together at Ukrainian club Dynamo Kiev. It wasn’t immediately clear whether they intended the video to be made public, or if it was a personal message later uploaded to YouTube by someone else.

When asked about the video, soccer’s international governing body says it “is processing the different reports of the said match as well as potential evidence concerning the matter referred to in your message. Please understand, until we have evaluated all information available, we cannot comment further.”

Tensions have been high since Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.

2:30 p.m.

Pope Francis is trying to cheer up Brazilian soccer fans after the team’s quarterfinal exit from the World Cup.

The pope, an Argentine and an avid soccer fan, noted a preponderance of Brazilian flags on display in St. Peter’s Square during his traditional Sunday blessing.

He told the crowd: “I see a lot of Brazilian flags: Have courage! There’ll be a next time.”

The five-time world champions left the World Cup empty handed after losing to Belgium in the quarterfinals, leaving only European teams contending for the title in Russia.

Francis often meets with visiting national soccer teams, has a collection of gifted jerseys and frequently promotes the value of sports particularly for young people. Argentina was eliminated from World Cup contention in the first of the knockout rounds.