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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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AP Source: FIFA explores Kuwait, Oman as 2022 World Cup co-hosts

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 warns of World Cup ban for players in breakaway league

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.

Trevor Noah jokes that Africa won the World Cup, draws response from French ambassador

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.”

Kylian Mbappe, France to face Luka Modric, Croatia for World Cup title

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.

Vive la France: Les Bleus advance to World Cup final

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.

World Cup kickoff: England’s ‘easy’ path runs through Sweden

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 eliminates Brazil from World Cup, wins 2-1 in quarterfinal thriller

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.

Kylian Mbappe, Thierry Henry would have another link if France wins World Cup

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.

World Cup kickoff: First quarterfinals feature familiar foes

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 not a fan of penalty shootouts at World Cup

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 rebukes Diego Maradona for criticizing World Cup referee

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.

Brazil superstar Neymar urged to stop acting, win titles to get FIFA award

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.