Russia

Spain join list of World Cup shocks

Following the elimination of reigning champions Germany in the group stages and defeats for Argentina and Portugal in Saturday's round of 16 matches, Spain were held to a 1-1 draw at Luzhniki Stadium on Sunday and lost 4-3 on penalties to Russia – the lowest ranked team in the World Cup – who had managed just one shot on target in 120 minutes of football.

Salah helpless as Russia march on

Whatever was to unfold at Krestovsky Stadium – ultimately almost certainly a swift World Cup exit via a chastening 3-1 defeat for his country – Salah would be in no position to influence the outcome.

Having scattered defences across England and Europe throughout a dizzying 2017-18 campaign that yielded 44 goals, here Salah was on the periphery. A powerless, forlorn victim of circumstance.

World Cup:Russia 5 Saudi Arabia 0

Yuri Gazinskiy and Cheryshev struck first-half goals to open their international accounts at Luzhniki Stadium, Artem Dzyuba adding a third 89 seconds after his introduction as a second-half replacement, but an injury to star man Alan Dzagoev will cause concern for Russia.

Dzagoev hurt his hamstring in the opening period and could be a doubt for the rest of the tournament, depending on the results of a scan.

Gazinskiy headed in Golovin's cross to score the first goal of the 2018 event, with Dzagoev's replacement Cheryshev lashing in the second before the interval.

Pacific kids to feature in World Cup opening ceremony

Children from American Samoa, Cook Islands, Fiji, New Caledonia, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tahiti, Tonga and Vanuatu are in Russia this week as part of the sixth annual Football For Friendship programme, which aims to promote essential values embodied by football with the younger generation.

Abraham Iniga from Solomon Islands began football at an early age.

"I started playing football when I was five. My dad is a national player for our country and with his help and encouragement, I dream that one day, I can follow my father's footsteps," he said.

Russia v Saudi Arabia: Pressure on hosts in World Cup opener

The hosts are somewhat ill-equipped to deliver the fireworks expected of such an occasion, having tumbled to an all-time low of 70th in the world ahead of a tournament that will be debated as much for events on the pitch as those that rumble on in the shadows.

Thankfully for head coach Stanislav Cherchesov, a former national team goalkeeper who was appointed to the top job in August 2016, the order of Group A fixtures has at least been kind.

Parkop promotes PNG as investment and tourism hub

Governor Parkop said the visit by the Russian navy officers in their warship was historic, conveying his warm welcome to them.

During a dialogue hosted yesterday in Parliament, he commended them for showing interest in the city which is hosting the APEC Leaders’ Summit in November.

Mr Parkop said the visit was a testament of Moscow placing value in the Indo-Pacific region.

He added that the countries had a long history dating back to the settlement of Russian scientist and traveler Nikolai Miklouho-Maclay in the country from 1846 to 1888.

Dozens die in Kemerovo shopping mall blaze

Russian media say dozens more are missing, children believed to be among them.

The blaze started on the fourth floor of the Winter Cherry building, Russia's Sputnik news site reports.

Video posted on social media showed smoke billowing from windows as fire crews worked to evacuate the property.

People were also seen jumping from windows to escape the flames on Sunday.

Initial reports said only five people had died.

FA clarifies World Cup stance

Prime Minister Theresa May confirmed on Wednesday that UK politicians and members of the royal family will boycott the World Cup in Russia.

The announcement came in the wake of the attempted murder of Russian former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, by use of a nerve agent in Salisbury.

Russia has denied all involvement in the incident, which has led to heightened political tensions, with both victims still critically ill in hospital.

And the FA has moved to clarify the organisation's stance on England travelling to the World Cup in a statement.

World Cup faces locust threat

Pyotr Chekmarev, head of the agriculture ministry's crop farming department, is concerned there could be "a global scandal" if the insects strike during the finals.

"One way or another, we have learnt how to deal with locusts, but how do we not fall into a global scandal with locusts this year?" he said at an agricultural event in Moscow.

"The whole world is coming here. Football fields are green. Locusts love it where there is lots of green. How would they not come to the place where football is being played?"

Russia and Indonesia hold military exercise in Papua

The Jakarta Post reported two Ilyushin-76 strategic airlifters brought 81 personnel to Frans Kaisiepo Airport in Biak regency.

A Biak Airport spokesperson Putukade Wempy said the military personnel, who would be in Biak until Saturday, would only be in Biak.

The paper reported that two Tupolev TU-95 bombers were also coming, taking total personnel to 110.