The Latest: No rainbow ads on field in Russia, Azerbaijan

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The Latest on soccer’s European Championship:

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Rainbow-themed ads on the field have been barred from the European Championship quarterfinal matches in Russia and Azerbaijan by local laws.

UEFA says sponsor artwork has to comply with local laws “and we understand that this is not the case in Baku and St. Petersburg.”

Rainbow flags, banners and commercials have been a political issue at Euro 2020. All seven venues in the round of 16 had rainbow displays in support of LGBT rights.

Russia and Azerbaijan did not host games in the previous round.

UEFA says it supports “messages of tolerance and respect for diversity” but also denied a request from local authorities in Munich to light up the stadium in rainbow colors when Germany hosted Hungary in the group stage.

UEFA says one of its sponsors will still use rainbow artwork at the quarterfinal matches in Munich and Rome.

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Switzerland midfielder Denis Zakaria’s own-goal is the 10th of the European Championship and has put Spain ahead 1-0 in the quarterfinals.

There have been more own-goals at Euro 2020 than the previous 15 tournaments combined.

Zakaria stuck out his leg and deflected a shot by Spain defender Jordi Alba into the net. The goal was originally awarded to Alba but UEFA later changed it.

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Switzerland fans are making some noise inside the half-full Saint Petersburg Stadium by clanking cowbells ahead of their team’s quarterfinal match against Spain at the European Championship.

It is a sound synonymous with Swiss fans in Alpine skiing.

Switzerland eliminated World Cup champion France in the round of 16 but is the underdog against Spain with team captain Granit Xhaka suspended. He has been replaced in the team by Denis Zakaria.

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Denmark coach Kasper Hjulmand says the team is looking to Christian Eriksen as an inspiration ahead of the match against the Czech Republic in the European Championship quarterfinals.

Eriksen suffered a cardiac arrest during Denmark’s opening game of the tournament. Teammates were left shaken after seeing him receive emergency medical treatment on the field.

Hjulmand says “we’ll play with that heart of Christian Eriksen once again.”

The winner will face either England or Ukraine in the semifinals.

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Germany midfielder Toni Kroos says he is retiring from the national team after 106 appearances for his country.

The 31-year-old Kroos says in a podcast that his decision is “irreversible.”

Kroos’ last game was on Tuesday in Germany’s 2-0 loss to England in the round of 16 of the European Championship. The Real Madrid midfielder recovered from the coronavirus in time to take part in the tournament.

Kroos did not say if he had spoken with incoming coach Hansi Flick about staying.

Kroos says “it’s a decision for the family and for me” and adds “I want to be there and needed as a husband and papa.”

Kroos made his Germany debut in March 2010 in a friendly against Argentina. He was a Bayern Munich player on loan at Bayer Leverkusen at the time. He played every minute at the 2014 World Cup when Germany won the title.

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The European Championship quarterfinals are coming with Spain taking on Switzerland and Italy facing Belgium.

The early match will be between three-time champion Spain and a Swiss team playing in the quarterfinals at the tournament for the first time. The match will be played in St. Petersburg.

The late match will be in Munich. Both Italy and Belgium won all three of their group matches before advancing from the round of 16.

Italy won its only European title in 1968. Top-ranked Belgium has never won it but the team finished third at the World Cup three years ago.

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More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

The Associated Press

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