Socceroos to meet familiar foes on path to fifth straight World Cup


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  • Australia drawn with Jordan, Taipei, Kuwait and Nepal
  • Top two from Group B advance to final qualifying round

Australia have drawn Nepal, Jordan, Taiwan and Kuwait in the second stage of Asian qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

The Socceroos are gunning for a fifth straight World Cup appearance and head one of five groups made up of 40 teams in the Asian confederation.

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USA 94 – 25 years on: football’s evolution captivates the world


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Italy’s heartbreak and Brazil’s mastery are memorable moments of an event that proved a catalyst for the game’s global expansion

A quarter of a century ago on Saturday millions of people all over the planet stopped what they might normally be doing to watch the World Cup semi-finals. Both games were played on the same day. First up Italy v Bulgaria at the Giants Stadium, New Jersey. Roberto Baggio was one of those players blessed with a style and personality that always felt singular. He arrived at USA 94 as the reigning World Player of the Year, was at the peak of his powers, and had elevated himself from an underwhelming group stage to inspire his nation through the knockouts with goal after important goal.

Related: Rob Smyth: On Second Thoughts – USA Football World Cup 94

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The USMNT U-17s in World Cup Group D


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Concacaf’s next move


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How does Rose Lavelle’s goal compare to other World Cup final classics?


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The USA midfielder sealed her team’s fourth title with a wonderful strike. Here are a few other classics from down the years

Rose Lavelle, the diminutive USA midfielder, watched the last Women’s World Cup final in a pizza shop. On Sunday she scored one of the best World Cup final goals of recent years. With the score at 1-0 to the US, and the result still in question, Lavelle scored what proved to be the game-sealing goal with a marvelous effort. She meandered down the pitch and, with two Dutch defenders closing in, thumped the ball past Sari Van Veenendaal.

ROSE. LAVELLE.

A beautiful solo effort doubles the @USWNT‘s lead in the #FIFAWWC final! pic.twitter.com/ToznvQiuxb

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Australia considers joint bid with Indonesia to host 2034 World Cup


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  • FFA confirms it has held talks with Asian nation
  • Australia is bidding to host 2023 Women’s World Cup

Australia and Indonesia are exploring the possibility of a joint bid to host the 2034 World Cup after officials from FFA and their Indonesian counterparts discussed the bid during the Asean Football Federation Council meeting in Laos last week.

“Football Federation Australia confirms it has held discussions with the Indonesia Football Association (PSSI) about the possibility to jointly bid for the 2034 Fifa World Cup,” FFA said.

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Michel Platini was ‘hurt’ by detention and Qatar World Cup questioning


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  • ‘It hurts for everything I can think of, everything I’ve done’
  • Platini released and lawyer says his client is innocent

The former Uefa president, Michel Platini, was released in the early hours of Wednesday after having been questioned over the awarding of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar. Platini‘s lawyer, William Bourdon, said his client was innocent and that he had been questioned on “technical grounds.”

Related: A Sarkozy lunch, PSG and beIN sports: questions for Platini over Qatar 2022

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A Sarkozy lunch, PSG and beIN sports: questions for Platini over Qatar 2022


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Why was Michel Platini detained by French investigators? What are they looking for? And could Qatar lose the 2022 World Cup?

France’s Parquet National Financier, which investigates serious financial crime, has since 2017 been looking into possible French corruption in the vote that made Qatar the hosts for the 2022 World Cup. Platini was the Uefa president at the time and, as one of the 22 voting Fifa executive committee members in December 2010, he has acknowledged that he voted for Qatar.

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Michel Platini arrested over award of 2022 World Cup to Qatar


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  • Former Uefa president detained in Paris
  • Platini taken into custody as part of investigation

A justice official in France says the former Uefa president Michel Platini has been arrested in relation to the awarding of the 2022 World Cup.

Confirming a report published by online news publication Mediapart, the official says Platini was taken into custody on Tuesday as part of the investigation into the awarding of the tournament to Qatar. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to discuss an ongoing investigation.

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Gianni Infantino trumpets ‘new Fifa’s’ vast wealth at unopposed re-election | David Conn


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Congress hears recitations of body’s eye-watering revenue and how ‘we have turned things round’ since the 2015 corruption scandalsThe last time football’s world governing body held a one-candidate election for president was eight years ago when the winner, Sepp Blatter, pledged to captain his Fifa “bateau” to calmer waters, before he was capsized in the ensuing tempest of corruption scandals.

This year in Paris Blatter’s thunderously ambitious replacement, the Swiss former Uefa secretary general Gianni Infantino, sailed to another unopposed re-coronation in an atmosphere around Fifa that was remarkably less stormy. He had greeted this annual gathering for the presidents and officials of football’s 211 countries by claiming his is “a new Fifa”, transformed from pariah status since his election in 2016.

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The Englishman looking to make football bigger than cricket in Bangladesh | Ben Fisher


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Jamie Day, a former Arsenal trainee, goes into World Cup qualifiers aiming high as manager of BangladeshSouth Korea, Indonesia, Cambodia and then Thailand, for a training camp. The past 12 months read like a backpacker’s paradise but, for Jamie Day, those Asian countries equate to business, pit stops on his journey as the head coach of a cricket-mad nation: Bangladesh.

For the majority of the last year Day has been in Dhaka, one of the world’s densest cities, preparing his side for the 2022 World Cup qualifying campaign, which begins on Thursday against Laos – who are 184th in the Fifa rankings, four places above Bangladesh.

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FIFA opts against 2022 World Cup expansion


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fifa-world-cup-trophy

We start the soccer news with FIFA not bringing their proposed World Cup expansion for 2022 to a vote. Amid several questions about how expansion would work with the limited number of stadiums in Qatar and their relationship with other Gulf countries, FIFA had expansion on the agenda for the June 5 Congress in Paris. That is now off, with FIFA opting against trying to start expansion a cycle early.

FIFA released a statement reading in part, “Following a thorough and comprehensive consultation process with the involvement of all the relevant stakeholders, it was concluded that under the current circumstances such a proposal could not be made now…. The FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 will therefore remain as originally planned with 32 teams and no proposal will be submitted at the next FIFA Congress on 5 June.”

The immediate result of this is certainty for the 2022 World Cup Continue reading “FIFA opts against 2022 World Cup expansion”

FIFA’s World Cup expansion and Concacaf’s problem


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Ivor Broadis obituary


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Footballer who was the first Englishman to score twice in a match in the World Cup finalsThe footballer Ivor Broadis, who has died aged 96, played in all three of England’s games in the World Cup finals of 1954 as they reached the last eight in Switzerland.

In that tournament Broadis, a powerful inside forward, became the first Englishman to score twice in a match in the World Cup finals, 30 minutes ahead of Nat Lofthouse, who also got two in the same 4-4 draw against Belgium in a group match in Basel. England, whose strong team featured Stanley Matthews, Tom Finney and Billy Wright, topped their group after beating the host nation 2-0, but then lost 4-2 in the quarter-finals to Uruguay.

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Brent Sancho: ‘I told Peter Crouch, in Trinidad they absolutely hate you’


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Before Trinidad and Tobago face Wales their former defender recalls a ‘bodily assault’ by Crouch at the 2006 World CupA globetrotting playing career took Brent Sancho from Portland to Priestfield, Ross County to Rochester Rhinos but, speaking to the former Trinidad and Tobago defender, there really is only one place to start: that unforgettable night in Nuremberg at the 2006 World Cup.

For 82 minutes Sancho and Dennis Lawrence, now the manager of the Caribbean nation, had held firm against Sven-Göran Eriksson’s England, until Peter Crouch pulled on Sancho’s dreadlocks for leverage and headed beyond Shaka Hislop. Steven Gerrard sealed victory in stoppage time, by which point Crouch had established himself as public enemy No 1.

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From the archive: England 0-1 Brazil, World Cup match report (1970). By Albert Barham


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7 June 1970 No one could fault Gordon Banks. He pushed away the swerving shots at which the Brazilians are so adept as England lose group match

Guadalajara, June 7

Brazil, the masters of football technique, triumphed over England in the Jalisco Stadium here today. Only one goal was scored, by Jairzinho, after an hour, but it was sufficient to remind England that they have never yet beaten Brazil in their own hemisphere.

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Gordon Banks obituary


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Supremely agile World Cup-winning England goalkeeper responsible for ‘the greatest save ever made’

Gordon Banks, who has died aged 81, was the best goalkeeper England have ever had and is widely regarded as one of the finest to have played for any side in any era. A World Cup winner in 1966, he also appeared in the 1970 World Cup finals, where, against Brazil, he was responsible for what is often cited as “the greatest save ever made” – a supremely agile effort from a close-range header by Pelé.

The scene of Banks’s famous save was Guadalajara in Mexico, where England were playing Brazil in the group stage. Jairzinho, the fast and powerful Brazilian outside-right, crossed the ball after beating the England left-back, Terry Cooper.

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Revealed: Lynton Crosby’s £5.5m offer to undermine 2022 Qatar World Cup


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Tory strategist’s pitch detailed how CTF Partners would spread negative stories and press Fifa to ‘restart bidding process’

Sir Lynton Crosby offered to work on a campaign to cancel the 2022 Qatar World Cup and get it awarded to another country in return for £5.5m, according to a leaked plan that gives a rare insight into the activities of one of the world’s best-known political operatives.

The detailed pitch document – “a proposal for a campaign to expose the truth of the Qatar regime and bring about the termination of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar” – was written in April last year and personally signed by Crosby.

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Hugo Lloris forgets World Cup to concentrate on glory days at Tottenham


This post is by David Hytner from Football | The Guardian


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The goalkeeper believes that Mauricio Pochettino’s side can keep the pressure on the Premier League leaders

It was the fulfilment of the ultimate footballing fantasy. Only 20 men had done it previously, each one a titan, a name to stir awe and respect. Think of Bobby Moore and Carlos Alberto, Franz Beckenbauer and Diego Maradona. On a tumultuous evening in Moscow last July, Hugo Lloris became the 21st, when he hoisted aloft the World Cup as the captain of France.

It was an occasion of high drama, with even the elements reinforcing the feel of a primal epic – thunder, lightning and tipping rain framing France’s 4-2 win over Croatia. When Lloris got his hands on the trophy, and fireworks and golden confetti lit the scene, it was tempting to wonder how he could possibly drink it all in.

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Qatar ready to make history in Asian Cup … but the world is not watching | Barney Ronay


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The 2022 World Cup hosts are excelling on the pitch in the UAE but political turmoil in the region and poor crowds mean Fifa’s fervent interest is not matched across the globeWhen the Qatar 2022 World Cup was announced in Zurich by a sweating, slightly fevered Sepp Blatter, the idea was floated almost immediately that this could become a regional tournament; that Qatar’s gulf neighbours might share the burden and the riches, bringing them together in one great happy football-stinking embrace.

It is a theme Fifa has returned to even as the Gulf itself has atomised in the eight years since, with the suggestion still out there that an expanded 42-team tournament could bring Qatar’s neighbours on board.

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