England up to sixth and France first in Fifa rankings as Germany plummet

• World Cup run sees Gareth Southgate’s side up six from 12th
• Belgium are second and Brazil third – Germany drop to 15th England’s World Cup success has seen them climb to sixth place in Fifa’s world rankings. Gareth Southgate’s side have jumped six places after reaching the semi-finals in Russia last month – the furthest they had progressed in the tournament since 1990. Related: World Cup 2018 player ratings: marks for every single performance in Russia Continue reading...

Just how close is Australia to being suspended by Fifa? | Jonathan Howcroft

It is a doomsday scenario but faced with another FFA failure to pass reform the stakes are rising fast “Welcome to day one of the 20-day PR war.” That was the foreboding message I received last Wednesday by someone close to the latest chapter in Australian football’s governance crisis.
Wednesday was 1 August, the day after the Congress Review Working Group submitted its report to Fifa. As predicted, it was a day full of media releases, a day awash with spin but bereft of substance, and the start of a run of up to 20 days of filibustering. Continue reading...

Digital Ronaldos stay strong in bid for eWorld Cup glory

Playing the Fifa video game was once regarded as a fun hobby but 32 players from around the world are battling this week in London for a $250,000 winner’s cheque On the big screen at the O2 Nicolas99fc is nibbling at his top lip. Short, skinny and barely filling out his junior-sized football shirt, the Argentinian – real name Nicolás Villalba – does not look like an athlete feared the world over. But this is eSports, where the skills required for success are as much mental as physical, and the 18-year-old is favourite to win this weekend’s Fifa eWorld Cup and take home $250,000. Related: Extreme eSports: the very male, billion-dollar gaming industry at a stadium near you Continue reading...

Four weeks of endless drama in Russia has re-energised World Cup | Barney Ronay

After a tournament that was gripping from start to finish with thrilling matches, marvellous midfielders, the rebirth of England and VAR controversy, Qatar has a lot to live up to Thank you Russia, and goodbye! It’s been fun. Not to mention epic, thrilling, dazzlingly well-organised, and with a constantly shifting sense of place from the strangulating heat of Samara, to the fly-marshes of Volgograd, to the mist and drizzle of the north. But that is now a wrap. After four and a half weeks and 64 matches, 1,613 shots, 1,734 fouls and a shared continental-scale avalanche of herring, beetroot, dumplings, vodka and sustained on-field drama, the World Cup can now be packed away for the next four years. Continue reading...

Football and fat fees: questions raised over funding of sporting conference

Was ‘sports integrity’ event that repeatedly questioned 2022 World Cup decision funded by Qatar rivals?
After Russia’s wildly successful World Cup, the eyes of the sporting world have turned to the next host, Qatar – and a recent event in London gave an indication of the scrutiny that lies ahead for the controversial organisers, and of the Middle Eastern diplomatic battle that will shadow the tournament. Journalists who attended the launch of the Foundation For Sports Integrity at the Four Seasons hotel were ushered through security to watch a series of panels featuring high-profile guests. The former Manchester United footballer Louis Saha appeared in a discussion alongside the former FA chairman Greg Dyke. Other guests included Damian Collins MP and the former US women’s goalkeeper Hope Solo. Continue reading...

Saying so long to the 2018 World Cup

fifa-world-cup-trophy Friday's soccer news starts with the obvious. The World Cup concludes on Sunday (11am ET - Fox) with France vs Croatia and FIFA's president Gianni Infantino already letting us know that this is the best World Cup ever. Wait, what? "Since a couple of years I was saying that this will be the best World Cup ever," FIFA said. "Today I can say it even more, with more conviction... It is the best World Cup ever. For this, I would, first of all, like to thank everyone, which was involved in the participation, the organisation of the World Cup. Infantino got even more effusive about the hosts, but we'll leave it at that. His contention that the first World Cup under his leadership is the best in the history of the tournament isn't exactly a shocker, even if it probably won't hold up to a lot of scrutiny. FIFA managed Continue reading "Saying so long to the 2018 World Cup"

Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri escape ban over Swiss celebration

• Duo made eagle symbol of Kosovo in win against Serbia
• Each fined £7,600 and Stephan Lichtsteiner fined £3,800 Switzerland’s Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri have escaped a ban following their controversial celebrations in the 2-1 World Cup win over Serbia last Friday. The pair could have faced two-match bans if Fifa had decided their celebrations broke rules on political and offensive messages. Continue reading...

Ronaldo, Rostov and @Lord_Sugar: World Cup 2018 diary, week two

The best and worst of week two – also featuring: viral clips, Puyol’s hair and America’s Funniest Home Videos Cristiano Ronaldo – setting a European goals record; eyeing a new pay deal to offset his €18.8m tax fraud fine; making this boy’s day; having Madeira Airport ”quietly remove and replace” 2017’s “wonky” bronze bust; and debuting a new CR7 goatee: “It brought me luck. It stays.” Continue reading...

Fifa: Morocco decision to play Nordin Amrabat after concussion ‘questionable’

• Amrabat had six-hour memory blank after Iran match
• Player’s union says selection against Portugal was ‘alarming’Fifa has described Morocco’s decision to allow Nordin Amrabat to play against Portugal only five days after he suffered a concussion as “questionable”, as they said they had written to the African nation’s team doctor to remind him of their protocols. Related: Cristiano Ronaldo strikes again for Portugal to send Morocco out Continue reading...

‘Homophobic and not very clever’: why puto chants haunt Mexican football

El Tri’s victory over Germany on Sunday was marred by alleged homophobic chanting. It’s a common trend across stadiums in the Americas You can say this for Mexican soccer fans: they’ve managed to turn one of football’s least dramatic moments into one of its more controversial and offensive. The pattern is familiar. The opponent’s goalkeeper lines up a goalkick and the chant begins: “Ehhhh…” Then Mexican fans’ voices rise in unison until the kick prompts a cry of “puto!” The term is homophobic slang for a male sex worker. And its use by fans at matches from Mexico City to California and now Russia continues to give Fifa and the Mexican federation headaches. On Monday, Fifa announced it has opened a disciplinary procedure against Mexico after the chants were heard during El Tri’s victory over Germany. Continue reading...

Empty seats at Uruguay’s World Cup win over Egypt spark Fifa investigation

• Thousands of seats unfilled at match in Ekaterinburg
• World Cup organisers looking into reasons behind itFifa is investigating after thousands of seats were left unfilled for Uruguay’s World Cup match against Egypt in Ekaterinburg. José Giménez proved Uruguay’s saviour with a 90th-minute winner in a poor match played at a stadium which had more than 6,000 empty seats – nearly 20% of the capacity. Continue reading...

FA in talks with home nations over UK-wide bid to host 2030 World Cup

• Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland would host with England
• Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay will submit rival joint bidThe Football Association has held secret talks with the other home nations about the possibility of a joint bid for the 2030 World Cup. The FA chief executive, Martin Glenn, and chairman, Greg Clarke, met their counterparts from Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland in Moscow on Tuesday and discussed a potential UK-wide push to host the 48-team event. Over the next year the FA will weigh up the pros and cons of bidding for the World Cup for the first time since a bruising defeat by Russia for 2018. It has agreed to consult the home nations before beginning any campaign. Continue reading...