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From Russia with Love... Brief Stories from the World Cup

AFP Sport takes a look at some of the stories you may have missed at the World Cup:

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Neymar Fitness Cloud Lingers as Pressure Mounts on Brazil

A battered and bruised Neymar will aim to get Brazil's World Cup campaign back on track here Friday as the pre-tournament favorites seek to re-assert their title credentials with victory over Costa Rica.

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Messi under Pressure at World Cup as Ronaldo Scores Again

Lionel Messi is under pressure to deliver when Argentina face Croatia on Thursday after his eternal rival Cristiano Ronaldo streaked clear at the top of the World Cup goalscoring charts.

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Hierro Relieved Spain Survived Tough Iran Test

Spain coach Fernando Hierro admitted his team had been on the ropes before a lucky Diego Costa goal handed them their first win of the World Cup on Wednesday as dogged Iran came close to causing a major upset.

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Putin Missed Russia-Egypt Match but 'Happy' at Win

The Kremlin on Wednesday said Vladimir Putin did not watch Russia's surprise win over Egypt in the World Cup because he was on a plane but added that he reacted "very positively, like the whole of our country".

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Russia Beat Egypt to Close in on World Cup Last 16

Host nation Russia planted one foot in the last 16 of the World Cup after a resounding 3-1 win over Egypt on Tuesday despite the return from injury of Mohamed Salah.

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In-Form Ronaldo Looms for Morocco, Spain Face Iran

Cristiano Ronaldo will hone in on Morocco on Wednesday after his stunning hat-trick in Portugal's World Cup opener, while 2010 winners Spain play Iran in Group B.

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Spain Rally behind De Gea as Questions Swirl over Goalkeeper's Form

Spain players are rallying behind goalkeeper David De Gea as they prepare for their second group game at the World Cup against Iran in Kazan on Wednesday.

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Germany World Cup Games are Now Finals, Says Neuer

Germany captain Manuel Neuer said Tuesday that his side's two remaining World Cup group games are now effectively finals and revealed frank words were exchanged in the team camp as the holders fight to stay in the tournament.

The World Cup holders are under intense pressure ahead of Saturday's second Group F game against Sweden in Sochi and the South Korea match next Wednesday in Kazan after suffering a shock 1-0 defeat to Mexico on Sunday.

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All Eyes on Salah as Hopeful Egypt Take on Russia

Egypt are counting on the return of Mohamed Salah on Tuesday as they try to salvage their World Cup against a Russian side who know a win could seal a place in the last 16.

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