Share story

BRASILIA, Brazil – Switzerland went to virtually the final kick for a 2-1 victory over Ecuador in the World Cup on Sunday, extending a run of come-from-behind triumphs that are becoming a theme of the 32-team tournament.

With seconds left in the third and final minute of stoppage time, substitute Haris Seferovic finished off a length-of-the-field move by slamming home a close-range shot. After wild Swiss celebrations, Ecuador’s shellshocked players barely had time to restart before the final whistle was blown.

“We were naive and that cost us the game,” Ecuador coach Reinaldo Rieda said. “(The loss) is more our fault. We were not beaten by our opponent.”

It was the fifth time in the first nine matches in Brazil a team had come from a goal down to win — but this was the most dramatic of all the comebacks.

This week, save 90% on digital access.

“It was a dream to be able to win this match in the very last minute like this,” Switzerland coach Ottmar Hitzfeld said through a translator. “It was emotional — it will be important for the morale of the team.”

Switzerland — highly fancied after rising to No. 6 in the FIFA world rankings — conceded a sloppy goal to fall behind No. 26 Ecuador when Enner Valencia rose unmarked in the 22nd minute and headed in a free kick from 6 yards.

Admir Mehmedi tied the score on a 48th-minute header.

Messi connects

RIO DE JANEIRO – It took Lionel Messi slightly more than an hour in fifth-ranked Argentina’s World Cup opener against Bosnia-Herzegovina to show why so many fans consider him the best player in the world.

After a frustrating first half, the Argentina captain scored in trademark style in the 65th minute, completing a quick one-two connection with Gonzalo Higuain and running through defenders before striking a brilliant left-footed shot off the post.

The goal — the second for Messi on soccer’s biggest stage — set off celebrations among the throngs of Argentine fans that had turned the famed Maracana stadium into a sea of blue and white. It also energized an unimpressive Argentina team that was ahead at that point only because of an early own goal by Bosnia.

Vedad Ibisevic scored a close-in goal in the 85th, but Argentina held on to win 2-1 in the Group F match.

“It’s the first game, I was anxious, nervous,” Messi said. “It was important to start with a win. We’ve got to improve certain things, but it was important to start with the three points.”

Bosnia got the worst possible start to its first World Cup when Sead Kolasinovic scored an own goal after a mere three minutes.

Coach Alejandro Sabella put in Higuain at halftime, which allowed Messi to take a step back and get more involved in the action.

“The changes gave Messi more support,” Sabella said. “He doesn’t need much, because he’s the best in the world. But there is always a context that can enhance him a little bit more.”

France dominates

PORTO ALEGRE, Brazil – Karim Benzema scored twice and created a third that was confirmed by goal-line technology as France eased into its World Cup campaign with a 3-0 victory over Honduras in a Group E match.


• Superstar striker Cristiano Ronaldo, who is dealing with a left-knee injury, declared himself ready to play in Portugal’s opener against Germany on Monday.

“Obviously I wish I did not have any pain, but that is impossible,” Ronaldo said. “I don’t think there’s ever been a day without pain.”

• A policeman on a motorcycle can be seen on an Associated Press video firing what appeared to be a live pistol round at anti-World Cup protesters near Rio de Janeiro’s Maracana stadium.

Another man in street clothes who identified himself as a police officer pulled a pistol and fired two shots into the air. The AP couldn’t confirm the man was an officer.

• Angered by published photos showing them bathing nude at their training complex’s swimming pool, Croatian players are not speaking to World Cup reporters.

“They are determined that they will not speak to the media,” Croatia coach Niko Kovac said.

Custom-curated news highlights, delivered weekday mornings.