2014 World Cup

AFP

Belgium’s Marc Wilmots named new Ivory Coast coach

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Abidjan (AFP) – Former Belgium coach Marc Wilmots has been appointed to lead Ivory Coast’s World Cup qualifying bid, the country’s football authorities said on Tuesday.

Wilmots, 48, is one of an elite band of players to have played at four World Cups, and also led Belgium into the 2014 World Cup during his stint as coach with them between 2012-2016.

Belgium’s Marc Wilmots named new Ivory Coast coach

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Abidjan (AFP) – Former Belgium coach Marc Wilmots has been appointed to lead Ivory Coast’s World Cup qualifying bid, the country’s football authorities said on Tuesday.

Wilmots, 48, is one of an elite band of players to have played at four World Cups, and also led Belgium into the 2014 World Cup during his stint as coach with them between 2012-2016.

Werner set for Germany debut as Podolski bids farewell

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Berlin (AFP) – World champions Germany open their 2017 campaign by bidding farewell to veteran forward Lukas Podolski while rising star Timo Werner is set to make his debut against Gareth Southgate’s England on Wednesday.

Germany have struggled to settle on a striker to replace all-time top-scorer Miroslav Klose, who scored 71 goals in 137 internationals, and retired after they won the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Werner set for Germany debut as Podolski bids farewell

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Berlin (AFP) – World champions Germany open their 2017 campaign by bidding farewell to veteran forward Lukas Podolski while rising star Timo Werner is set to make his debut against Gareth Southgate’s England on Wednesday.

Germany have struggled to settle on a striker to replace all-time top-scorer Miroslav Klose, who scored 71 goals in 137 internationals, and retired after they won the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Massive overbilling for Rio’s Maracana stadium rebuild

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Rio de Janeiro (AFP) – The major refurbishment of Rio’s famous Maracana football stadium ahead of the 2014 World Cup was marred by millions of dollars in overbilling, a government watchdog says.

The renovation of the stadium cost about $500 million, more than double the original bid.

Injury-cursed Reus to miss Dortmund’s Benfica clash

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Berlin (AFP) – Germany winger Marco Reus will miss Borussia Dortmund’s Champions League, last 16, second-leg clash at home to Benfica on Wednesday due to a hamstring injury, coach Thomas Tuchel said Saturday.

Reus limped off on 44 minutes of Dortmund’s 6-2 rout of Bayer Leverkusen in the Bundesliga with a suspected tear in his left hamstring.

Injury-cursed Reus to miss Dortmund’s Benfica clash

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Berlin (AFP) – Germany winger Marco Reus will miss Borussia Dortmund’s Champions League, last 16, second-leg clash at home to Benfica on Wednesday due to a hamstring injury, coach Thomas Tuchel said Saturday.

Reus limped off on 44 minutes of Dortmund’s 6-2 rout of Bayer Leverkusen in the Bundesliga with a suspected tear in his left hamstring.

Shabby Maracana to reopen after dispute

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Rio de Janeiro (AFP) – Rio’s mythic Maracana stadium, fallen into disrepair since taking centre stage at the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics, is due to reopen next month.

Left abandoned due to a political-legal dispute over upkeep Brazil’s legendary venue will stage its first game this year on March 8.

Top Rio football stadium in disrepair as firms quarrel

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Rio de Janeiro (AFP) It is revered as a temple of the beautiful game but the footballing gods have forsaken Brazil's legendary Maracana stadium after the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics.

The grass of the pitch is yellowing, the stands are rusting and thieves have stolen seats symptoms of a legal mess that have left this Rio de Janeiro landmark abandoned.

Galaxy sign US international Jones

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Los Angeles (AFP) The Los Angeles Galaxy confirmed the signing of US international Jermaine Jones on Wednesday, bolstering the midfield resources following the departure of Steven Gerrard.

Jones, 35, was a key member of the USA squad at the 2014 World Cup and joins the Galaxy after three Major League Soccer seasons with the New England Revolution and Colorado Rapids.

Egypt take World Cup revenge over Ghana

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Johannesburg (AFP) Egypt avenged a humiliating World Cup defeat by Ghana three years ago with a 2-0 victory Sunday in a 2018 African Group E qualifier before an 85,000 crowd in Alexandria.

Ghana triumphed 6-1 in the first leg of a 2014 World Cup play-off to set up an aggregate victory that prolonged the agony of Egypt, who have not competed at the finals since 1990.

Brazil, Uruguay march towards 2018, Argentina crash again

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Montevideo (AFP) Brazil thrashed arch-rivals Argentina to tighten their grip on South America's 2018 World Cup qualification campaign as Uruguay maintained their push towards the finals with a hard-fought defeat of Ecuador.

Barcelona superstar Neymar outshone club-mate Lionel Messi with his 50th international goal for Brazil in Belo Horizonte as the five-time World Cup winners romped to a 3-0 win in the Estadio Mineirao.

Brazil, Uruguay march towards 2018, Argentina crash again

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Montevideo (AFP) Brazil thrashed arch-rivals Argentina to tighten their grip on South America's 2018 World Cup qualification campaign as Uruguay maintained their push towards the finals with a hard-fought defeat of Ecuador.

Barcelona superstar Neymar outshone club-mate Lionel Messi with his 50th international goal for Brazil in Belo Horizonte as the five-time World Cup winners romped to a 3-0 win in the Estadio Mineirao.

World Cup

Mesut Ozil Reveals Exactly What He Said To David Luiz After Germany’s 7-1 Humiliation Of Brazil At 2014 World Cup

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Because he is fundamentally incapable of doing anything bad, Mesut Ozil has revealed that he was an absolute gentleman in the wake of Germany's brutal massacreof Brazil's hopes and aspirations at the 2014 World Cup.

As you may well recall, the mighty Mannshaft eviscerated the host nation in a mercilesssemi-final, sauntering their way to a 7-1 trouncing.

Classic Commentary Clanger: Peter Drury Prematurely Roars THE NETHERLANDS Into 2014 World Cup Final (Video)

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With his premeditated prose and propensity for meretriciousverbiage, Peter Drury is a commentator who tends to split opinion.

Some regard him as a footballing poet of sorts. Others think he's just a bit of a simpering gas bag.

Drury: Poet or gas bag?

Regardless, Drury is responsible for one of Pies' favourite commentary clangers of recent years, specifically the wonderful ricket he dropped while chuntering away over the 2014 World Cup semi-final between Argentina and the Netherlands.

US get Colombia, Costa Rica and Paraguay in Copa America draw

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The USMNT will face Colombia, Costa Rica and Paraguay in the 2016 Copa America Centenario.

The United States national team know what it's like to face a Group of Death at a major tournament- they played Germany, Portugal and Ghana at the 2014 World Cup. Now they will have to use that knowledge as they drew Colombia, Costa Rica and Paraguay for the 2016 Copa America Centenario.

Did soccer get better in 2014?

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The 2014 World Cup might not lead to rule changes, but it also might not have shown us anything we haven't seen before. Read More

Russia

New captain Manuel Neuer out to raise Germany’s standards

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Berlin (AFP) New captain Manuel Neuer says Germany have room for improvement when the world champions start their journey to the 2018 World Cup on Sunday in their opening qualifier against Norway.

Germany's path to the finals in Russia starts at Oslo's Ullevaal Stadium and they also face Czech Republic, Northern Ireland, Azerbaijan and minnows San Marino in Group C of their qualifying campaign.

New captain Manuel Neuer out to raise Germany’s standards

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Berlin (AFP) New captain Manuel Neuer says Germany have room for improvement when the world champions start their journey to the 2018 World Cup on Sunday in their opening qualifier against Norway.

Germany's path to the finals in Russia starts at Oslo's Ullevaal Stadium and they also face Czech Republic, Northern Ireland, Azerbaijan and minnows San Marino in Group C of their qualifying campaign.

Igor Akinfeev a Russian icon despite World Cup blunder

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Moscow (AFP) Igor Akinfeev's international name has been marked by a calamitous error at the 2014 World Cup, but he remains Russia's best goalkeeper and he is looking to make amends at Euro 2016.

As the clock ticked towards 70 minutes in Russia's opening group match in Brazil, South Korean Lee Keun-ho hit a speculative shot that looked an easy take.

Igor Akinfeev a Russian icon despite World Cup blunder

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Moscow (AFP) Igor Akinfeev's international name has been marked by a calamitous error at the 2014 World Cup, but he remains Russia's best goalkeeper and he is looking to make amends at Euro 2016.

As the clock ticked towards 70 minutes in Russia's opening group match in Brazil, South Korean Lee Keun-ho hit a speculative shot that looked an easy take.

Manchester United

Mikel John Obi Welcomes Paul Pogba Back To The Premier League With Timely Reminder Of His Midfield Superiority (Video)

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The newly-rechristened Mikel John Obi has found time inhis busy schedule to welcome old pal Paul Pogba back to the Premier League with a timely reminder of the kind of midfield foe he'll be coming up against this season.

Indeed, the Chelsea veteran sought to put the willies up Pogba, who you may have heard made an understated return to Manchester United a few days ago, by chucking in a video clip of the time he nutmegged the bejesus out of his French counterpart at the 2014 World Cup.

Is James Rodriguez Another Memphis?

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According to reports out of England and Spain, Real Madrid have quoted Manchester United a price £60m for 24-year-old Colombian star James Rodriguez – or Hamez to those of a Spanish persuasion.

At first glance this is a deal that United should not need to think twice about accepting. Rodriguez was the star of the 2014 World Cup, and at 24, he is still several years away from his prime.

5 reasons why Radamel Falcao will fail at Manchester United

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5 reasons why Radamel Falcao will fail at Manchester United - originally posted on Soccerlens.com

The Holy Trinity for the Red Devils?

There was much media hype when Manchester United announced the deadline day signing of Colombian superstar Radamel Falcao, with many broadcasters hailing his arrival in the North West of England as a statement of intent from Louis Van Gaal.

Brazil

Brazil without Neymar and David Luiz for Paraguay trip

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Photo credit: AFP

Brazil will be without Barcelona star Neymar and Paris Saint-Germain defender David Luiz on Tuesday when they face a tricky 2018 World Cup qualifying trip to Paraguay with renewed uncertainty swirling around their campaign.

The Brazilians are licking their wounds after the disappointment of Friday's 2-2 draw with Uruguay, when they squandered a two-goal lead and finished the game clinging on for the point.

Brazil without Neymar and David Luiz for Paraguay trip

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Photo credit: AFP

Brazil will be without Barcelona star Neymar and Paris Saint-Germain defender David Luiz on Tuesday when they face a tricky 2018 World Cup qualifying trip to Paraguay with renewed uncertainty swirling around their campaign.

The Brazilians are licking their wounds after the disappointment of Friday's 2-2 draw with Uruguay, when they squandered a two-goal lead and finished the game clinging on for the point.

Green and Gold and Red all over

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2014 was the end of a delusive dream for Brazil
While Germany stole the headlines in 2014 for their deserved World Cuptriumph, it was surely their 7-1 humiliation of the hosts Brazil in the semi-final which sticks in the memory.
Belo Horizonte used to be the bête noire of English football, but the name will now live in infamy in Brazilian soccer annals too; the 'beautiful horizon' was a dark sky of doom over Brazil.

FIFA

FIFA fires secretary general Jerome Valcke

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Photo credit: AFP

FIFA has fired secretary general Jerome Valcke, who is under investigation for misconduct, world football's governing body said Wednesday.

The former right-hand man to Sepp Blatter, the FIFA president banned for eight years, has been accused of aiding a scheme to sell 2014 World Cup tickets on the black market.

FIFA fires secretary general Jerome Valcke

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Photo credit: AFP

FIFA has fired secretary general Jerome Valcke, who is under investigation for misconduct, world football's governing body said Wednesday.

The former right-hand man to Sepp Blatter, the FIFA president banned for eight years, has been accused of aiding a scheme to sell 2014 World Cup tickets on the black market.

Belgium keeps top spot in final FIFA rankings of 2015

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Photo credit: AFP.Photo credit: AFP.

Belgium will go into 2016 atop FIFA's national team rankings ahead of World Cup finalists Argentina, European champions Spain and World champions Germany after winning eight of their nine games this year. The nation of just 11.2 million is doted with a multi-talented national squad headed up by Chelsea midfielder Eden Hazard and Man City's Kevin De Bruyne.

Belgium keeps top spot in final FIFA rankings of 2015

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Photo credit: AFP.Photo credit: AFP.

Belgium will go into 2016 atop FIFA's national team rankings ahead of World Cup finalists Argentina, European champions Spain and World champions Germany after winning eight of their nine games this year. The nation of just 11.2 million is doted with a multi-talented national squad headed up by Chelsea midfielder Eden Hazard and Man City's Kevin De Bruyne.

FIFA Ethics Committee Donate ‘Dodgy’ Brazilian World Cup Watches To Street Football Charity

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FIFA's Ethics Committee have announced today that the dodgy watches gifted toFIFA representatives by the Brazilian football federation as a sweetener before the 2014 World Cup will be donated to charity.

TheParmigiani watches were ordered to be returned by the Ethics Committee two months after the conclusion of the tournament after they were deemed to be "inappropriately expensive".

Switching Nationalities

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Amidst the controversy that surrounds FIFAs decision to host the 2022 World Cup in Qatar in the winter, I've been thinking quite a bit about some of FIFAs policies. In particular FIFA's nationality policies became of particular interest to me.

Article 7 of the FIFA Statutes (the Regulations Governing the Application of Statutes) is quite relevant in this case.

2018 World Cup logo revealed

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It was midnight in Moscow as three Russian astronauts from the international space station revealed the emblem of the next World Cup finals. The image was then projected onto the facade of the famous Bolshoi Ballet.
As World Cup logos go it is pretty inoffensive, if not rather conservative, as perhaps befitting of the Russian Republic, but it is undeniably elegant at the same time and given the litany of dodgy sporting emblems, we can hardly complain.

Greg Dyke

‘We’ll shoot ourselves’ if England fail at Euro 2016, says FA boss

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Photo credit: AFP

England Football Association chairman Greg Dyke declared "We'll all shoot ourselves" if Roy Hodgson's team fall at the group stage of Euro 2016.

England face Wales, Russia and Slovakia in the tournament in France from June 10, haunted by the memory of the 2014 World Cup where they were eliminated at the group phase for the first time since 1958.

‘We’ll shoot ourselves’ if England fail at Euro 2016, says FA boss

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Photo credit: AFP

England Football Association chairman Greg Dyke declared "We'll all shoot ourselves" if Roy Hodgson's team fall at the group stage of Euro 2016.

England face Wales, Russia and Slovakia in the tournament in France from June 10, haunted by the memory of the 2014 World Cup where they were eliminated at the group phase for the first time since 1958.

The Rest

Julian Green and FIFA Nationality Eligibility Rules

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This past summer, many of us watched nervously as Belgium finally found a way in the 92nd minute toscore on the impenetrable force that was US goalkeeper Tim Howard. Many of us groaned in angstas Belgium doubled their lead shortly after. However, the US would not go down without a fight, and 19-year old Julian Green scored a dazzling volleygoal to inspire hope for the millions of anxious onlookers.

Ronaldo wins the Ballon D'Or again

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CR7 beats Messi & Neuer to the title; James wins best goal and Jogi Low top coach. Cristiano Ronaldo kept his title as the world's top player at the FIFA Ballon D'Or gala tonight.

The Real winger had a disappointing World Cup for Portugal but 31 La Liga goals, 17 Champions League strikes and the Champions League and World Club Cup trophies ensured he took home the award for the third time.

Arsene Wenger Temps Injury Gods

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Arsene Wenger says his team will improve in 2015 after claiming that it is 'nearly impossible' that they will have as many injury problems in the next 12 months.

The Gunners have been struck with crisis after crisis this season, as key players in all positions have suffered injuries, something that Wenger puts down to so many of his stars taking part in the World Cup.

The End of an Era

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Photo credit: Kari Heistad/capturedimages.biz

Landon Donovan came within inches of scoring in his final cap as the U.S. Men's National Team settled fora 1-1 draw against Ecuador at Rentschler Field in Hartford, Ct.

Donovan, whowas left off thesquad that represented the U.S. at the 2014 World Cup,wore the captain's armband and grabbed a backheel from Jozy Altidore inside the box before he fired a shot that that smacked off the far post in the 25th minute.