2018 World Cup

AFP

Contra named as new Romania coach: Romanian Football Federation

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Bucharest (AFP) – Cosmin Contra on Sunday was named as the new coach of Romania to replace Christoph Daum who was sacked following the country’s failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, officials said.

“The Romanian Football Federation has agreed a two-year contract with Cosmin Contra,” the FRF said in a statement.

Ventura defends record as Italy slide in world football rankings

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Milan (AFP) – Coach Giampiero Ventura has defended his record despite a mixed World Cup qualifying campaign which has seen Italy slip in the world rankings.

Four-time world champions Italy are second behind Spain in European qualifying Group G for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

A 3-0 defeat in Madrid last week all but ended their hopes of automatic qualification.

Ventura defends record as Italy slide in world football rankings

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Milan (AFP) – Coach Giampiero Ventura has defended his record despite a mixed World Cup qualifying campaign which has seen Italy slip in the world rankings.

Four-time world champions Italy are second behind Spain in European qualifying Group G for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

A 3-0 defeat in Madrid last week all but ended their hopes of automatic qualification.

World Cup ticket sales start Thursday

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Moscow (AFP) – FIFA announced Tuesday that ticket sales for the 2018 World Cup will begin on Thursday, nine months to the day that the tournament kicks off in Russia.

“Fans all over the world will also be able to book their place as ticket sales for the tournament start exclusively on FIFA.

World Cup trophy starts tour in Moscow

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Moscow (AFP) – The World Cup trophy tour began a worldwide tour in Moscow on Saturday at a ceremony attended by Russian President Vladimir Putin and FIFA chief Gianni Infantino.

Ten months before the 2018 World Cup kicks off there, the ceremony took place at Luzhniki stadium, which has been fully renovated and will also host the final and five other matches.

World Cup trophy starts tour in Moscow

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Moscow (AFP) – The World Cup trophy tour began a worldwide tour in Moscow on Saturday at a ceremony attended by Russian President Vladimir Putin and FIFA chief Gianni Infantino.

Ten months before the 2018 World Cup kicks off there, the ceremony took place at Luzhniki stadium, which has been fully renovated and will also host the final and five other matches.

South Africa may appeal FIFA replay order

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Soweto (South Africa) (AFP) – South Africa may appeal a FIFA decision ordering the replay of a 2018 World Cup qualifier against Senegal after the referee manipulated the result.

“The South African Football Association (SAFA) is studying the contents of the report and will issue a statement on intentions to challenge that decision,” the organisation said Thursday.

South Africa may appeal FIFA replay order

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Soweto (South Africa) (AFP) – South Africa may appeal a FIFA decision ordering the replay of a 2018 World Cup qualifier against Senegal after the referee manipulated the result.

“The South African Football Association (SAFA) is studying the contents of the report and will issue a statement on intentions to challenge that decision,” the organisation said Thursday.

Di Maria thigh injury raises PSG fears

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Paris (AFP) – Paris Saint-Germain winger Angel Di Maria could be sidelined for several weeks after injuring his left thigh during Argentina’s 2018 World Cup qualifier against Venezuela on Tuesday.

Di Maria was replaced in the 25th minute of the 1-1 draw in Buenos Aires with a muscle injury, according to the Argentine national team’s medical staff.

Immobile lifts Italy closer to World Cup

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Reggio Emilia (Italy) (AFP) – Ciro Immobile’s second half header got Italy back to winning ways in a 1-0 victory over Israel in Reggio Emilia on Tuesday to move them closer to the 2018 World Cup.

After losing 3-0 to Spain at the Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday, Italy needed a win to continue to aspire to first place in Group G, leading to automatic qualification.

Immobile lifts Italy closer to World Cup

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Reggio Emilia (Italy) (AFP) – Ciro Immobile’s second half header got Italy back to winning ways in a 1-0 victory over Israel in Reggio Emilia on Tuesday to move them closer to the 2018 World Cup.

After losing 3-0 to Spain at the Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday, Italy needed a win to continue to aspire to first place in Group G, leading to automatic qualification.

Draw moves Nigeria closer to World Cup

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Johannesburg (AFP) – Nigeria survived a late Cameroon onslaught to draw 1-1 in Yaounde Monday and move closer to qualifying for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Moses Simon put Nigeria ahead on 30 minutes and substitute Vincent Aboubakar equalised from a 75th-minute penalty at Stade Ahmadou Ahidjo to spark a rally by the hosts.

World Cup miracle beckons for Syria, China

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Hong Kong (AFP) – War-torn Syria as well as China, the ultimate sleeping giants, are both aiming to pull off a near-miracle as Asian qualifying for the 2018 World Cup heads into a final showdown on Tuesday.

Among Asia’s heavyweights, Australia’s progress is far from assured and South Korea are in danger of missing out on their first World Cup since 1982 in what will be a nail-biting last round of group games.

Belgium seal World Cup place, France held by Luxembourg

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Paris (AFP) – Romelu Lukaku’s goal allowed Belgium to become the first European nation to clinch qualification for the 2018 World Cup on Sunday as much-fancied France were held to an embarrassing goalless draw by Luxembourg.

Manchester United striker Lukaku headed in a Thomas Meunier cross in the 74th minute in Piraeus for the decisive goal in a 2-1 Belgium win that guaranteed them top spot in European qualifying Group H.

Croatia qualifier abandoned after heavy rain

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Zagreb (AFP) – Croatia’s 2018 World Cup qualifier against Kosovo was abandoned midway through the first half in Zagreb on Saturday because of a waterlogged pitch.

The game was level at 0-0 when the players went off and will be replayed on Sunday.

“The #WCQ match between Croatia and Kosovo has been abandoned due to adverse weather conditions and postponed for Sunday 3 September,” FIFA said on Twitter.

Don’t expect champagne football, says unapologetic Southgate

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Valletta (AFP) – Gareth Southgate tried to assuage fans’ disappointment at England’s lacklustre performance in a flattering 4-0 win over minnows Malta in their 2018 World Cup qualifier saying it was nothing new.

The 46-year-old - who saw late goals by Ryan Bertrand, Danny Welbeck and a second for Harry Kane put a brighter hue on the scoreline - said he had experienced similar frustrations as a player in qualifiers.

Mexico book World Cup berth, US in jeopardy after loss

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Mexico City (AFP) – Mexico became the fifth team to guarantee their place at the 2018 World Cup on Friday as the United States crashed to defeat at home to Costa Rica to place their qualification campaign in jeopardy.

A Hirving Lozano header on 53 minutes was enough to give Mexico a 1-0 win over Panama at the Azteca Stadium as the CONCACAF heavyweights reached the finals for a seventh successive occasion.

Mexico book World Cup berth, US in jeopardy after loss

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Mexico City (AFP) – Mexico became the fifth team to guarantee their place at the 2018 World Cup on Friday as the United States crashed to defeat at home to Costa Rica to place their qualification campaign in jeopardy.

A Hirving Lozano header on 53 minutes was enough to give Mexico a 1-0 win over Panama at the Azteca Stadium as the CONCACAF heavyweights reached the finals for a seventh successive occasion.

Russia in sight for Germany as Kane ends drought

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Paris (AFP) – Mats Hummels fired Germany to the brink of qualification for the 2018 World Cup on Friday with a late winner against the Czech Republic, while Harry Kane scored twice as England downed Malta 4-0.

RB Leipzig striker Timo Werner struck after just four minutes for the world champions in Prague, but Vladimir Darida’s stunning second-half equaliser hauled the hosts level.

Russia in sight for Germany as Kane ends drought

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Paris (AFP) – Mats Hummels fired Germany to the brink of qualification for the 2018 World Cup on Friday with a late winner against the Czech Republic, while Harry Kane scored twice as England downed Malta 4-0.

RB Leipzig striker Timo Werner struck after just four minutes for the world champions in Prague, but Vladimir Darida’s stunning second-half equaliser hauled the hosts level.

Nigeria set to qualify, Ghana, South Africa in trouble in World Cup qualifiers

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Johannesburg (AFP) – Nigeria hammered African champions Cameroon Friday to virtually seal a 2018 World Cup place, but Ghana drew and South Africa lost to suffer serious qualifying setbacks.

Current and former Chelsea midfielders Victor Moses and John Obi Mikel scored one goal and created another as Nigeria overwhelmed Cameroon 4-0 in southeast city Uyo.

Nigeria set to qualify, Ghana, South Africa in trouble in World Cup qualifiers

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Johannesburg (AFP) – Nigeria hammered African champions Cameroon Friday to virtually seal a 2018 World Cup place, but Ghana drew and South Africa lost to suffer serious qualifying setbacks.

Current and former Chelsea midfielders Victor Moses and John Obi Mikel scored one goal and created another as Nigeria overwhelmed Cameroon 4-0 in southeast city Uyo.

Hummels header edges Germany closer to Russia

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Prague (AFP) – Mats Hummels’ late header sealed Germany a 2-1 win over the Czech Republic in Prague on Friday to leave the defending champions on the brink of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup.

The Germans took an early lead at the Eden Arena through Timo Werner, but the Czechs deservedly drew level when Hertha Berlin midfielder Vladimir Darida blasted home a superb equaliser with 12 minutes left.

Hummels header edges Germany closer to Russia

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Prague (AFP) – Mats Hummels’ late header sealed Germany a 2-1 win over the Czech Republic in Prague on Friday to leave the defending champions on the brink of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup.

The Germans took an early lead at the Eden Arena through Timo Werner, but the Czechs deservedly drew level when Hertha Berlin midfielder Vladimir Darida blasted home a superb equaliser with 12 minutes left.

Kane’s double saves England blushes

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Valletta (AFP) – Harry Kane scored a brace to help Gareth Southgate’s lacklustre England to a 4-0 win over minnows Malta in their 2018 World Cup qualifier on Friday.

Kane opened the score early in the second-half but three goals inside the last 10 minutes put a brighter sheen on the result than the performance deserved.

Mbappe wraps up big France win as Ronaldo bags hat-trick

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Paris (AFP) – Kylian Mbappe scored the final goal as France cruised to a 4-0 win over 10-man Netherlands in a key 2018 World Cup qualifier on Thursday, while Cristiano Ronaldo’s hat-trick propelled Portugal to victory elsewhere.

Antoine Griezmann put the home side ahead inside 14 minutes at the Stade de France before Kevin Strootman’s sending-off led to the Dutch being overwhelmed in the final half hour.

Mbappe wraps up big France win as Ronaldo bags hat-trick

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Paris (AFP) – Kylian Mbappe scored the final goal as France cruised to a 4-0 win over 10-man Netherlands in a key 2018 World Cup qualifier on Thursday, while Cristiano Ronaldo’s hat-trick propelled Portugal to victory elsewhere.

Antoine Griezmann put the home side ahead inside 14 minutes at the Stade de France before Kevin Strootman’s sending-off led to the Dutch being overwhelmed in the final half hour.

War-torn Syria keep World Cup hopes alive

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Kuala Lumpur (AFP) – Omar Kharbin struck twice as war-torn Syria gave their 2018 World Cup dreams a huge boost with a 3-1 win over Qatar in Melaka, Malaysia, on Tuesday.

The result propelled Syria, forced to play all their home games in Malaysia because of the civil war back home, to third position in Group A and a potential playoff spot.

US look to finish job with World Cup qualifier against Costa Rica

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New York (AFP) – United States captain Michael Bradley has called on his team-mates to finish the job as they aim to take a giant stride towards the 2018 World Cup with victory over Costa Rica on Friday.

The Americans have gradually hauled themselves back into the CONCACAF qualifying fray after a rocky start which included a 4-0 drubbing by the Costa Ricans in San Jose last November.

US look to finish job with World Cup qualifier against Costa Rica

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New York (AFP) – United States captain Michael Bradley has called on his team-mates to finish the job as they aim to take a giant stride towards the 2018 World Cup with victory over Costa Rica on Friday.

The Americans have gradually hauled themselves back into the CONCACAF qualifying fray after a rocky start which included a 4-0 drubbing by the Costa Ricans in San Jose last November.

Hazard to return from injury for Belgium

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Brussels (AFP) – Chelsea winger Eden Hazard will make his first appearance of the season in Belgium’s 2018 World Cup qualifier against Gibraltar on Thursday after recovering from a fractured ankle.

The 26-year-old has been out of first-team action since the start of June, but did play 74 minutes for the Chelsea under-23 side last week.

Hazard to return from injury for Belgium

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Brussels (AFP) – Chelsea winger Eden Hazard will make his first appearance of the season in Belgium’s 2018 World Cup qualifier against Gibraltar on Thursday after recovering from a fractured ankle.

The 26-year-old has been out of first-team action since the start of June, but did play 74 minutes for the Chelsea under-23 side last week.

Argentina, Uruguay collide in World Cup South America qualifiers

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Montevideo (AFP) – Luis Suarez could yet line up against Barcelona team-mate Lionel Messi on Thursday as South America’s battle for 2018 World Cup places resumes with Argentina’s trip to Uruguay the pick of the fixtures.

With leaders Brazil already locking up their place at next year’s tournament, attention turns to the tussle for the three remaining automatic berths on offer in the marathon 10-team qualifying tournament.

World Cup

World Cup: First Wave Of Tickets For Russia 2018 Put On Sale And They Really Aren’t Cheap…

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The first batch of tickets for the 2018 World Cup in Russia have gone on sale today and, guess what, they're not exactly what you might call affordable.

From Thursday, fans will be able to submit an application to purchase tickets for the tournament the cheapest being a bog standard 'category 3' ticket for group stage at matches priced at £79 matches and the most expensive being a frankly extortionate 'category 1' ticket for the final.

Sensitive Issue: England Players Told Not To Use Public Wi-Fi At 2018 World Cup For Fear Of Russian Hack Attacks

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England players and staff are being advised not to use public or hotel wi-fi at the World Cup in Russia next year for fear of nefarious hack attacks.

According to the Telegraph, the FA have alerted FIFA about their concerns over sensitive information, such as team selections, tactical details and injury issues, being leaked during the tournament.

Preview of World Cup 2018 qualifiers: 83 broadcasts during six days

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With 83 broadcasts during six days of World Cup qualifying, soccer fans in the United States will have plenty of games to choose from.

Here’s our preview of many of the games to keep an eye out for during the next week:

EUROPE (UEFA)

Group A: It’s a cracking race in Group A, where the French – thanks to that incredible Hugo Lloris mistake in Solna in June – have lost their grip on the top spot to Sweden, with the Netherlands trailing just behind.

Preview of World Cup 2018 qualifiers: 83 broadcasts during six days

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With 83 broadcasts during six days of World Cup qualifying, soccer fans in the United States will have plenty of games to choose from.

Here’s our preview of many of the games to keep an eye out for during the next week:

EUROPE (UEFA)

Group A: It’s a cracking race in Group A, where the French – thanks to that incredible Hugo Lloris mistake in Solna in June – have lost their grip on the top spot to Sweden, with the Netherlands trailing just behind.

United States Men's National Team

Updated SEBA World Cup Qualifying forecasts through September 5

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USA is still probable to qualify for the World Cup, but not quite as reassuringly probable as we would prefer.

USMNT vs. Costa Rica: SBI Live Commentary

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Photo by Jerome Miron/USA Today Sports

The U.S. Men's National Team can't clinch a spot in Russia on Friday night, but a win over Costa Rica at Red Bull Arena would go a long way towards booking a spot at the 2018 World Cup.

In the aftermath of this summer's Gold Cup run, the U.S. returns to World Cup qualifying on Friday night still with some work to do heading towards the final four matches.

The Rest

[Video] Marcus Rashford stars as England near 2018 World Cup qualification

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Manchester United's Marcus Rashford put in a man of the match performance and scored the winner as England beat Slovakia 2-1 in their 2018 World Cup qualifier at Wembley this evening. England had to come from a goal down in... Continue Reading →