2018 World Cup

World Cup

Russia remains unfit to host World Cup

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FIFA President Gianni Infantino was in the southern Russian city of Krasnodar on Tuesday, visiting the stadium of the city’s Russian Premier League side and surveying the scene in the country ahead of the upcoming Confederations Cup.

It was a polished occasion. Infantino smiled and posed for photos with the Russian president Vladimir Putin, and proceeded to stamp his approval on Russia’s preparations for its hosting role this and next summer.

Russia remains unfit to host World Cup

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FIFA President Gianni Infantino was in the southern Russian city of Krasnodar on Tuesday, visiting the stadium of the city’s Russian Premier League side and surveying the scene in the country ahead of the upcoming Confederations Cup.

It was a polished occasion. Infantino smiled and posed for photos with the Russian president Vladimir Putin, and proceeded to stamp his approval on Russia’s preparations for its hosting role this and next summer.

This Helpful Russian Robot Named ‘AlanTim’ Is Going To Protect England Fans At The 2018 World Cup (Video)

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Image: Moscow Technological Institute (Youtube)

With Russian hooligans promising to turn the 2018 World Cup into a 'festival of violence', there's a good chance that many England fans have been put off the idea of making the trip for fearing of ending up impaled/hung/drawn/quartered.

However, theMoscow Technological Institute are doing their bit fortrepidacious travellers, having designed a robot guide to help fans navigate safely through the tournament.

FIFA struggles to attract sponsors for Russia’s 2018 World Cup

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The next FIFA World Cup kicks off on June 14 in Russia next year, and there has been much anticipation around it. The Volunteer Programme has been a massive success, and 150,000 applications have been received, setting history.

Worryingly enough, however, two-thirds of the sponsorship slots remain unsold.

Arena believes USMNT can start "talking about winning a World Cup" by 2026

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Bruce Arena is the first to admit that there's work to be done in the present as the U.S. Men's National Team looks to qualify for the 2018 World Cup. However, given all of the recent headlines, the USMNT head coach is looking ahead a bit to what could be a defining moment in U.S. Soccer.

On Monday, the United States, Mexico and Canada announced that the three have submitted a bid to host the 2026 World Cup.

Bundesbanter: Chicago Fire Back Bastian Schweinsteiger As Veteran Midfielder Embarks On ‘Road To Russia’ (Photo)

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Bastian Schweinsteiger's great American adventure got off to a suitably ridiculous start when a befuddled local journalist asked the German midfielder if he was hoping to score at the World Cup with Chicago Fire at his introductory press conference.

Indeed, scholars of the game may note that Chicago Fire aren't technically eligible to compete in World Cups, principally because they are not aninternational side of a recognised FIFA member state.

Russian Politician Suggests Plans To Legalise Hooliganism And Turn It Into Organised Sport Ahead Of 2018 World Cup

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As you may recall, the recent European Championships in France were plagued by outbreaks of hooliganism, not least in Marseille where hordes of Russian yobs staged organisedattacks on groups of England fans.

However, as the rest of the world poured scorn on the perpetrators, one man spoke out in support of the hooligans: that man wasRussian politician Igor Lebedev.

AFP

Russia scrambles to save face with Confed Cup football looming

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Moscow (AFP) – The new World Cup stadium in Saint Petersburg was meant to boast a state-of-the-art pitch and be a showcase for Vladimir Putin’s Russia when it hosts the 2018 football bonanza.

Instead the $800 million venue, which took a decade to build, has caused more embarrassment than pride as Russian authorities scramble to salvage its pitch less than a month before it hosts the opening match of the Confederations Cup, a World Cup warm-up tournament.

Russia scrambles to save face with Confed Cup football looming

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Moscow (AFP) – The new World Cup stadium in Saint Petersburg was meant to boast a state-of-the-art pitch and be a showcase for Vladimir Putin’s Russia when it hosts the 2018 football bonanza.

Instead the $800 million venue, which took a decade to build, has caused more embarrassment than pride as Russian authorities scramble to salvage its pitch less than a month before it hosts the opening match of the Confederations Cup, a World Cup warm-up tournament.

Germany’s Loew wants 2021 Confed Cup scrapped

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Berlin (AFP) – Germany coach Joachim Loew said he would “not be sad” if the Confederations Cup is scrapped for 2021, warning his stars are playing too many international tournaments.

Loew has effectively selected a Germany B team for the 2017 Confederations Cup in Russia from June 17 to July 2, naming just three members of the squad which won the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Germany’s Loew wants 2021 Confed Cup scrapped

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Berlin (AFP) – Germany coach Joachim Loew said he would “not be sad” if the Confederations Cup is scrapped for 2021, warning his stars are playing too many international tournaments.

Loew has effectively selected a Germany B team for the 2017 Confederations Cup in Russia from June 17 to July 2, naming just three members of the squad which won the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Infantino confirms video refereeing at 2018 World Cup

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Santiago (AFP) – FIFA president Gianni Infantino confirmed Wednesday that video assistant referees will be used at next year’s World Cup in Russia for the first time.

“We will use video refereeing at the 2018 World Cup because we’ve had nothing but positive results so far,” he said at a congress of the South American Football Confederation in Santiago, Chile.

FIFA image damaging search for World Cup sponsors – Russia

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Moscow (AFP) – FIFA’s tarnished image is badly hindering the search for sponsors for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko said on Wednesday.

His comments came after the Financial Times reported that the corruption-tainted world football body was struggling to find new sponsors for the upcoming World Cup, with Russian companies being “the slowest to come on board”.

Brazil top FIFA rankings for first time since 2010

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Zurich (AFP) – Brazil surged to the top of the FIFA world rankings for the first time in seven years on Thursday, made all the sweeter as they usurped great rivals Argentina.

It caps a terrific week for forward Neymar and Brazil - last week they became the first country to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, their latest step on the road to redemption after the embarrassment and heartache of their World Cup failure on home soil in 2014.

Brazil top FIFA rankings for first time since 2010

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Zurich (AFP) – Brazil surged to the top of the FIFA world rankings for the first time in seven years on Thursday, made all the sweeter as they usurped great rivals Argentina.

It caps a terrific week for forward Neymar and Brazil - last week they became the first country to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, their latest step on the road to redemption after the embarrassment and heartache of their World Cup failure on home soil in 2014.

China’s Hisense to sponsor 2018 football World Cup

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Zurich (AFP) – Consumer electronics giant Hisense has become an official sponsor of the 2018 World Cup, becoming the second Chinese company to join hands with FIFA as it looks for new sponsors after the scandals of the Sepp Blatter era.

Hisense, a television and white goods manufacturer, follows Chinese conglomerate Wanda in becoming a sponsor of football’s world governing body.

China’s Hisense to sponsor 2018 football World Cup

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Zurich (AFP) – Consumer electronics giant Hisense has become an official sponsor of the 2018 World Cup, becoming the second Chinese company to join hands with FIFA as it looks for new sponsors after the scandals of the Sepp Blatter era.

Hisense, a television and white goods manufacturer, follows Chinese conglomerate Wanda in becoming a sponsor of football’s world governing body.

Thai football coach resigns after crushing World Cup bid

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Bangkok (AFP) – The coach of Thailand’s national football team has shocked fans by resigning from his post after leading the War Elephants through a disappointing 2018 World Cup bid.

Kiatisak Senamuang, a former star Thai striker who has coached the team since 2014, announced the move on his Instagram account late Friday.

Thai football coach resigns after crushing World Cup bid

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Bangkok (AFP) – The coach of Thailand’s national football team has shocked fans by resigning from his post after leading the War Elephants through a disappointing 2018 World Cup bid.

Kiatisak Senamuang, a former star Thai striker who has coached the team since 2014, announced the move on his Instagram account late Friday.

To Russia with Love? Buoyant Brazil on brink of World Cup

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Montevideo (AFP) – A buoyant Brazil could book their place at the 2018 World Cup on Tuesday while Argentina will attempt to give their qualifying campaign more breathing space with a game at altitude against Bolivia.

After sinking into a protracted depression after the trauma of their humiliating 2014 World Cup exit, Brazil have undergone a transformation since new manager Tite took over last year.

To Russia with Love? Buoyant Brazil on brink of World Cup

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Montevideo (AFP) – A buoyant Brazil could book their place at the 2018 World Cup on Tuesday while Argentina will attempt to give their qualifying campaign more breathing space with a game at altitude against Bolivia.

After sinking into a protracted depression after the trauma of their humiliating 2014 World Cup exit, Brazil have undergone a transformation since new manager Tite took over last year.

England, Germany stay on World Cup course, Dutch axe Blind

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Paris (AFP) – England and defending champions Germany remained on course for the 2018 World Cup on Sunday while Danny Blind was sacked as Dutch coach after his misfiring team faced missing a second straight major finals.

At Wembley, Jermain Defoe marked his international comeback with a goal as England toiled to a 2-0 victory over Lithuania.

Sweden cruise, unbeaten Swiss on track for Russia

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Paris (AFP) – Sweden crushed Belarus 4-0 to keep the pressure on their rivals in qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup as Switzerland remain unbeaten with a 1-0 win over Latvia.

Sweden now have ten points from five games to go provisionally top of Group A ahead of France who travel to Luxembourg later Saturday with little room for manoeuvre for group rivals the Netherlands, third with seven points, who play Bulgaria.

Sweden cruise, unbeaten Swiss on track for Russia

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Paris (AFP) – Sweden crushed Belarus 4-0 to keep the pressure on their rivals in qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup as Switzerland remain unbeaten with a 1-0 win over Latvia.

Sweden now have ten points from five games to go provisionally top of Group A ahead of France who travel to Luxembourg later Saturday with little room for manoeuvre for group rivals the Netherlands, third with seven points, who play Bulgaria.

Iran close in on World Cup as Qatar look doomed

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Doha (AFP) – Iran took a major step towards making the 2018 World Cup finals winning 1-0 in Doha on Thursday, a result which virtually ends Qatar’s hopes of reaching Russia.

A cool Mehdi Taremi finish in the 51st minute after breaking clear of the Qatar defence was the difference between the two sides and leaves Iran four points clear at the top of Group A with just four games to play.

Iran close in on World Cup as Qatar look doomed

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Doha (AFP) – Iran took a major step towards making the 2018 World Cup finals winning 1-0 in Doha on Thursday, a result which virtually ends Qatar’s hopes of reaching Russia.

A cool Mehdi Taremi finish in the 51st minute after breaking clear of the Qatar defence was the difference between the two sides and leaves Iran four points clear at the top of Group A with just four games to play.

Wales coach Coleman delighted to have Aaron Ramse back in squad

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Cardiff (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Welsh midfielder Aaron Ramsey being fully fit for the crucial 2018 World Cup qualifier against Ireland in Dublin on Friday is a real filip for the Euro 2016 semi-finalists, manager Chris Coleman said.

Ramsey, instrumental in Wales’s fairytale run to the last four in France last year, has only been involved in one of their four qualifiers so far.

Wales coach Coleman delighted to have Aaron Ramse back in squad

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Cardiff (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Welsh midfielder Aaron Ramsey being fully fit for the crucial 2018 World Cup qualifier against Ireland in Dublin on Friday is a real filip for the Euro 2016 semi-finalists, manager Chris Coleman said.

Ramsey, instrumental in Wales’s fairytale run to the last four in France last year, has only been involved in one of their four qualifiers so far.

Defoe sets sights on ‘dream’ 2018 World Cup

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Burton-on-Trent (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Veteran striker Jermain Defoe has his sights on a “dream” place in England’s 2018 World Cup squad after returning to the fold following a near four-year absence, he said on Monday.

The 34-year-old Sunderland player was recalled by manager Gareth Southgate for Wednesday’s friendly against Germany in Dortmund and Sunday’s World Cup qualifier at home to Lithuania.

Marchisio, Chiellini out as Italy ring Albania changes

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Milan (AFP) – Juventus pair Claudio Marchisio and Giorgio Chiellini were left at home as Italy coach Gian Piero Ventura called five new players into an enlarged 27-man squad for upcoming games against Albania and the Netherlands.

Italy host Albania in Palermo in a 2018 World Cup qualifier on Friday before facing the Dutch in Amsterdam on March 28 as Ventura looks further ahead to a possible Group G qualifying decider away to leaders Spain on September 2.

Marchisio, Chiellini out as Italy ring Albania changes

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Milan (AFP) – Juventus pair Claudio Marchisio and Giorgio Chiellini were left at home as Italy coach Gian Piero Ventura called five new players into an enlarged 27-man squad for upcoming games against Albania and the Netherlands.

Italy host Albania in Palermo in a 2018 World Cup qualifier on Friday before facing the Dutch in Amsterdam on March 28 as Ventura looks further ahead to a possible Group G qualifying decider away to leaders Spain on September 2.

FIFA bars Russia’s Mutko after eligibility test failure

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Zurich (AFP) – FIFA has barred Russian deputy prime minister Vitaly Mutko, chief organiser of the 2018 World Cup, from sitting on the world football’s ruling council after he failed an eligibility test.

Mutko, who has also been accused of involvement in Russia’s sports doping scandal, had been a candidate for a European seat on the FIFA Council to be decided in April.

FIFA bars Russia’s Mutko after eligibility test failure

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Zurich (AFP) – FIFA has barred Russian deputy prime minister Vitaly Mutko, chief organiser of the 2018 World Cup, from sitting on the world football’s ruling council after he failed an eligibility test.

Mutko, who has also been accused of involvement in Russia’s sports doping scandal, had been a candidate for a European seat on the FIFA Council to be decided in April.

Rule-makers IFAB to evaluate video assistance for football referees

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London (AFP) – FIFA’s plans to introduce video assistance in time for next year’s World Cup are on the agenda for Friday’s London AGM of rule-making body, the International FA Board (IFAB).

The IFAB will assess various ongoing tests involving video assistant referees (VAR), as well as discussing the possibility of introducing a fourth substitute in games that go to extra time.

Rule-makers IFAB to evaluate video assistance for football referees

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London (AFP) – FIFA’s plans to introduce video assistance in time for next year’s World Cup are on the agenda for Friday’s London AGM of rule-making body, the International FA Board (IFAB).

The IFAB will assess various ongoing tests involving video assistant referees (VAR), as well as discussing the possibility of introducing a fourth substitute in games that go to extra time.

Central America

Updated SEBA international forecasts through March 29

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SEBA World Cup Qualification, 2018 World Cup, and other updates on projections from matches between 3/26-3/29.

SEBA World Cup projections, qualification, and more projections

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World Cup projections, qualification, gold cup, every kind of cup forecast. Oh, and you will also find complaining about the FIFA rankings algorithm.

The Rest

Major Link Soccer: The end of the international friendly?

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New CONCACAF league would fill up the calendar with intra-confederation play. Also, the North American countries are banding together for a World Cup super-bid. Finally, one man's simple quest for nuggets of chicken.

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CONCACAF seems to be very close to adopting a League of Nations format similar to what UEFA has done, and it will dramatically change friendly competition to being almost exclusively in-confederation.

Greek Tweak: Belgium Forward Dries Mertens Picks Up Weirdest Yellow Card Of The International Break (Video)

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Saturday night's World Cup qualifier between Belgium and Greece was a feisty old affair, with the away side ultimately finishing the night with nine men on the pitch.

The game also saw a blizzard of yellow cards administered throughout, though you'll have to go some way to find an infringement weirder than the one that landed Dries Mertens in the book.

Mexico vs. Costa Rica, Trinidad & Tobago vs. Panama 2017: Time, TV schedule and how to watch World Cup qualifying online

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The CONCACAF Hex is back and the road to the 2018 World Cup continues.

World Cup qualifying in the CONCACAF Hexagonal continues this evening, with Mexico hosting Costa Rica and Panama traveling to take on Trinidad & Tobago. Mexico is looking to take over first place in the Hex with a victory over the Ticos, who are currently atop the standings with victories over Trinidad & Tobago and the United States.