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A person with knowledge of the situation says FIFA is exploring Oman and Kuwait becoming co-hosts of the 2022 World Cup if it is expanded beyond Qatar. Although Qatar won a bid for a 32-team tournament, FIFA President Gianni Infantino wants to add 16 more national teams. That would require placing games in other countries in the region.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino says soccer’s biggest names would be banned from the World Cup if they played in a breakaway European Super League. He says the governing body would punish clubs like Barcelona, Manchester City and Bayern Munich if they left soccer’s organized structure to form a privately-owned league.
After France triumphed Sunday in the FIFA World Cup, “Daily Show” host Trevor Noah was ready to celebrate. “I’m so excited,” he said on his show Monday, grinning and breaking into a little ditty. “Africa won the World Cup! Africa won the World Cup!” he sang, before joking that “you don’t get that tan by hanging out in the south of France.”
England’s Gareth Southgate and Belgium’s Roberto Martinez are working on a tricky coaching problem – how to motivate a team for a game no one wants to play? Southgate is looking once again to England’s history. Martinez wants his team to inspire future generations.
Kylian Mbappe has electrified the World Cup with his speed and youthful exuberance. Luka Modric has coolly controlled matches in Russia with his graceful play in the middle. Whether France wins its second title in 20 years or Croatia raises the trophy for the first time Sunday at the Luzhniki Stadium in front of Russian President Vladimir Putin and nearly a billion television viewers could turn on the play of the two stars.
Harry Kane will likely come home from the World Cup with the Golden Boot as the tournament’s top scorer and a burnished reputation as a feared forward.
Croatia is going to its first World Cup final. Mario Mandzukic scored the winning goal in the 109th minute to give the Croats a 2-1 victory over England. Croatia will face France on Sunday in the World Cup final.
It has been two decades since Croatia last played in the World Cup semifinals, and 28 years since England made the final four.
France is back in the World Cup final for the first time since Zinedine Zidane’s headbutt in 2006. Samuel Umtiti used his head to score from a corner kick in the 51st minute and earn France a 1-0 victory over Belgium 12 years after one of soccer’s most infamous moments. France will face either Croatia or England in the final on Sunday in Moscow. Those two teams play in the other semifinal match on Wednesday.
Considering the attacking strength of France and Belgium, there’s potential for a goal-fest when the European neighbors meet in the World Cup semifinals.
A key storyline in Saturday’s quarterfinal matchups at the World Cup will be England coach Gareth Southgate’s strategy in picking what part of the bracket his team is in. Southgate essentially chose Sweden or Switzerland as a quarterfinal foe by sending out a squad of reserves in the last group game, when England had already advanced. He wanted to avoid teams like Brazil or France. Sweden coach Janne Andersson suggests asking Sweden’s beaten opponents how tough the Swedes are to play.
Belgium reached the World Cup semifinals for the first time in 32 years by holding off five-time champion Brazil 2-1. The result sends Neymar home without living up to the expectations of being soccer’s most expensive player. Kevin De Bruyne scored after a Brazil own-goal had given Belgium the lead. Belgium will face France in the semifinals on Tuesday in St. Petersburg.
Killian Tillie wore his jersey Saturday to Hoopfest while signing countless autographs for fans at Gonzaga’s booth. It wasn’t his Zags’ basketball No. 33 uniform. It was France’s national soccer team jersey, and he picked it out for good reason.
Kylian Mbappe and Thierry Henry have similar histories. Henry is France’s leading scorer with 51 goals. The 19-year-old Mbappe is Les Bleus’ new sensation. They both played at the same academy and started at Monaco at the same position. Now Mbappe wants to replicate Henry’s 1998 World Cup title.
The first day of quarterfinals at the World Cup includes several teammates from top clubs playing against each other. The France-Uruguay match features Antoine Griezmann playing against Atletico Madrid squadmates Jose Maria Gimenez and Diego Godin, the godfather of Griezmann’s daughter. Brazil against Belgium pits Manchester City teammates Gabriel Jesus, Fernandinho and Danilo against Vincent Kompany and Kevin De Bruyne.
Brazil coach Tite isn’t a fan of penalty shootouts. He just doesn’t have any better ideas. Tite said “a football match should never end by taking penalties.” Brazil will face Belgium in the quarterfinals on Friday and the team has been practicing spot kicks just in case.
FIFA’s patience with Diego Maradona’s World Cup antics has finally run out. Soccer’s world body said it “strongly rebukes” comments by the Argentina great criticizing American referee Mark Geiger’s handling of England’s win against Colombia in the World Cup round of 16. It was yet another controversial moment involving Maradona at the tournament.
Costa Rica compiled a record of 9 wins, 6 ties and 4 defeats in 16 qualifying and three World Cup matches under Oscar Ramirez. Villalobos thanked the coach but said that “it is not convenient for him to remain.”
Neymar needs Brazil to win the World Cup before he can be voted the world’s best player. That’s according to the world champion who first won FIFA’s top individual award. Lothar Matthaeus, the captain of West Germany’s 1990 World Cup winning team, said Neymar could help himself by cutting out his theatrical play-acting in games in Russia.