Showing posts with label Sports. Show all posts







Sir Alan Sugar has sparked outrage after he posted an allegedly racist tweet about the Senegal World Cup team this morning.
Posting on Twitter, the businessman wrote: ‘I recognise some of these guys from the beach in Marbella. Multi tasking resourceful chaps.’
Alongside his caption, he shared a picture of sunglasses and handbags on sale on what appears to be a beachfront.
To make it worse, the entrepreneur, who is the 95th richest person in the UK, responded to Twitter users asking what was wrong with his tweet.



Captive bear forced to play vuvuzela for World Cup fans in Russia
It was driven around while people shouted and took photos from the roadside (Picture: Twitter)
 
Disturbing footage appears to show a bear forced to play the vuvuzela for World Cup fans as it is driven around the streets of Moscow.
The animal is seen sitting up in the back of a jeep grasping the horn, which became famous in the South African World Cup eight years ago.
It is thought to have been filmed after Russia’s opening match, when they won against Saudi Arabia 5-0.

Mohamed Salah starts on the BENCH for Egypt against Uruguay
Mohamed Salah starts on the bench (Picture: Getty)
 
Liverpool star Mohamed Salah has had to settle for a place on Egypt’s bench for their World Cup opener against Uruguay.
The winger has been struggling to prove his fitness after sustaining a shoulder injury in Liverpool’s Champions League final defeat to Real Madrid.
Salah was crowned PFA Player of the Year after lighting up the Premier League last season, scoring 44 in all competitions for the Reds following his arrival from Roma.
However, Egypt will be without their main man from the start as Salah was picked to start on the bench.


Much was made about the nature of Salah’s shoulder injury with a large portion of Liverpool fans claiming Sergio Ramos purposely injured the winger.
Salah left the field in the first half when the score was 0-0 and watched from the sidelines as his side lost 3-1 after the interval.
Egypt are second favourites for their group which consists of Uruguay, Saudi Arabia and Russia.

Kylian Mbappe pays the ultimate tribute to Arsene Wenger after his Arsenal exit

Kylian Mbappe has paid the ultimate tribute to Arsene Wenger after naming the former Arsenal manager as the coach of his dreams.
Wenger called time on his 22-year reign at Arsenal at the end of last season and walked away with three Premier League titles plus a record seven FA Cup trophies.
Before his departure, Wenger had tried to sign Mbappe and even visited the 19-year-old at his home in France to put forward Arsenal’s proposal.
Mbappe, who is currently preparing for France’s World Cup campaign, ended up joining Paris Saint-Germain and his chances of joining the Gunners are now slim.
Speaking on Canal+ show Au Tableau, Mbappe was asked to name the coach of his dreams.

EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 45 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications Mandatory Credit: Photo by Dave Shopland/BPI/REX/Shutterstock (9695424bt) Kylian Mbappe-Lottin of France France v Republic of Ireland, International Friendly, Stade de France, Paris, France - 28 May 2018
Mbappe is preparing for France’s World Cup campaign. (REX/Shutterstock)
And the France striker named Wenger.
‘He is French, he had a great career, and in addition he is free as he has just left Arsenal,’ he said.
Wenger is yet to find a new role after leaving Arsenal but his former player Bacary Sagna believes the 68-year-old will not manage France’s national team after Didier Deschamps.


Arsenal's French manager Arsene Wenger waves during a lap of honor after the match between Arsenal and Burnley at the Emirates Stadium in London, Sunday, May 6, 2018. The match is Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger's last home game in charge after announcing in April he will stand down as Arsenal coach at the end of the season after nearly 22 years at the helm. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
Wenger is yet to find a new role after leaving Arsenal. (AP Photo)
 
‘I don’t think he will be the France national team manager one day because he wants to be part [of the game] every single day in what he is doing,’ Sagna told ESPN.
‘There’s only some momentum with the French national team and for him it’s not enough. I think he will try to get a team [a club].
‘After being such an important man in the football world, such a big manager and having so much influence on so many players, he can’t stay away from the pitch.’


HIV epidemic
 
A HIV-positive man who might have consciously passed on the deadly virus to more than 200 sexual partners has been arrested in Italy.
A spokesman for police in Ancona, a city on Italy’s eastern Adriatic coast, told dpa on Thursday that 35-year-old Claudio Pinti had been arrested two days earlier.
Despite having been diagnosed “for at least 11 years,’’ he did not take precautions nor warn his partners about his condition, Ancona police said in a written statement.
When officers apprehended him, Pinti declared himself a “negationist’’ on the existence of HIV, police said.
The virus is known to cause AIDS.
In a press conference on Wednesday, police said Pinti was a regular user of dating websites and might have infected more than 200 people.
He was caught after one of his most recent partners checked herself into hospital after feeling ill and discovered she had contracted the virus.
Authorities urged potential victims to contact police, and in a breach of usual practice, released a picture of the suspect so people who could recognise him.
The police spokesman said several calls have come in and are being verified.
“People are very reluctant to come forward because of the shame,’’ he said.
Thanks to medical advances, life expectancy for HIV and AIDS patients has greatly increased in recent years, but the disease still killed one million people in 2016, according to the World Health Organisation.
In a similar case in 2017, a Rome court sentenced a man to 24 years’ imprisonment for infecting more than 30 people with HIV, including a pregnant woman who passed on the disease to her son.

Arsene Wenger spotted in Arsenal tracksuit weeks after leaving club
Arsene Wenger was wearing Arsenal tracksuit bottoms for the match
 
Arsene Wenger proved that he will never truly be able to part with Arsenal earlier this week.
The 68-year-old stepped down at the Emirates at the end of the season but immediately returned to management this summer… to take charge of an All Star 98 XI against France’s 98 legends.
Twenty years on from their World Cup triumph, the likes of Thierry Henry, Zinedine Zidane and Marcel Desailly reunited and won 3-2 in Paris.

Patrick Kluivert and Hristo Stoichkov both featured for Wenger’s All Star side and the pair posed with their manager before the match.
Many eagle-eyed Arsenal fans noticed that Wenger was wearing some Arsenal tracksuit bottoms for the occasion.
He just can’t let go, can he…? 
Henry produced the moment of the match on Tuesday evening as the former Arsenal striker combined brilliantly with Zinedine Zidane in the 22nd minute.
Henry pulled off one of his famous ‘no-look’ passes before slotting the ball past Francesco Toldo to equalise for France.
Goals from Zidane and Gaizka Mendieta made it 2-2 to set up a tense finish with 30 minutes remaining at the U Arena Stadium in Nanterre.
Vincent Candela was the unlikely hero for France as he found the winner in the 67th minute.

Arsenal 2018/19 Premier League fixtures in full



Unai Emery reign at Arsenal in the Premier League will begin with a clash at home to champions Manchester City.
The Spaniard was appointed as Arsene Wenger’s successor last month and has wasted little time in addressing several of the weaknesses in the squad he inherited.
Stephan Lichsteiner arrived on a free transfer, while deals for goalkeeper Bernd Leno, Sampdoria midfielder Lucas Torreira and Borussia Dortmund centre-half Sokratis Papastathopoulos are all in the pipeline.
The Gunners start against Pep Guardiola’s City before heading to Stamford Bridge to face Chelsea.
Arsenal’s 2018/19 fixtures in the English top flight…

AUGUST 2018

11 AUG Manchester City (H)
18 AUG Chelsea (A)
25 AUG West Ham (H)

SEPTEMBER 2018

1 SEPT Cardiff (A)
15 SEPT Newcastle (A)
22 SEPT Everton (H)
29 SEPT Watford (H)

OCTOBER 2018

6 OCT Fulham (A)
20 OCT Leicester (H)
27 OCT Crystal Palace (A)

NOVEMBER 2018

3 NOV Liverpool (H)
10 NOV Wolves (H)
24 NOV Bournemouth (A)

DECEMBER 2018

1 DEC Tottenham (H)
4 DEC Manchester United (A)
8 DEC Huddersfield (H)
15 DEC Southampton (A)
22 DEC Burnley (H)
26 DEC Brighton (A)
29 DEC Liverpool (A)

JANUARY 2019

1 JAN Fulham (H)
12 JAN West Ham (A)
19 JAN Chelsea (H)
29 JAN Cardiff (H)

FEBRUARY 2019

2 FEB Manchester City (A)
9 FEB Huddersfield (A)
23 FEB Southampton (H)
26 FEB Bournemouth (H)

MARCH 2019

2 MAR Tottenham (A)
9 MAR Manchester United (H)
16 MAR Wolves (A)
30 MAR Newcastle (H)

APRIL 2019

6 APR Everton (A)
12 APR Watford (A)
20 APR Crystal Palace (H)
27 Leicester (A)

MAY 2019

4 MAY Brighton (H)
12 MAY Burnley (A)


Emery claimed he was looking forward to the ‘challenge’ of managing Arsenal at his opening press conference last month.
‘It is a great challenge but in my career, every year I grow up with a new challenge. For me, the challenge is a dream come true,’ he said.
‘I want to know how we will grow this team, this squad. I know all the players, they are all very important. I will speak individually with all the players face to face.
‘I believe in the players who are here. The objective is to work hard.
‘We want to work to improve individually and collectively all that we can. All the titles are important for us, I think we can -and we want to be – candidates for them.
‘I don’t promise we will win but I can promise you we will work hard, work together.’

Chelsea 2018/19 Premier League fixtures in full
Chelsea will open their campaign with a trip to Huddersfield Town. (AMA/Getty Images)
 
Chelsea will begin their Premier League campaign with a trip to Huddersfield Town before hosting Arsenal at Stamford Bridge.
Antonio Conte’s future at Stamford Bridge remains uncertain but any new manager who replaces the Italian will not face Premier League champions Manchester City until December.
Remember, all dates are subject to change.

AUGUST 2018

11 Aug – Huddersfield Town (A)
18 Aug – Arsenal (H)
25 Aug – Newcastle United (A)

SEPTEMBER 2018

1 Sep – Bournemouth (H)
15 Sep – Cardiff City (H)
22 Sep – West Ham (A)
29 Sep – Liverpool (H)

OCTOBER 2018

6 Oct – Southampton (A)
20 Oct – Manchester United (H)
27 Oct – Burnley (A)

NOVEMBER 2018

3 Nov – Crystal Palace (H)
10 Nov – Everton (H)
24 Nov – Tottenham (A)

DECEMBER 2018

1 Dec – Fulham (H)
4 Dec – Wolves (A)
8 Dec – Manchester City (H)
15 Dec – Brighton (A)
22 Dec – Leicester City (H)
26 Dec – Watford (A)
29 Dec – Crystal Palace (A)

JANUARY 2019

1 Jan – Southampton (H)
12 Jan – Newcastle United (H)
19 Jan – Arsenal (A)
29 Jan – Bournemouth (A)

FEBRUARY 2019

2 Feb – Huddersfield Town (H)
9 Feb – Manchester City (A)
23 Feb – Brighton (H)
27 Feb – Tottenham (H)

MARCH 2019

2 Mar – Fulham (A)
9 Mar – Wolves (H)
16 Mar – Everton (A)
30 Mar – Cardiff City (A)

APRIL 2019

6 Apr – West Ham (H)
13 Apr – Liverpool (A)
20 Apr – Burnley (H)
27 Apr – Manchester United (A)

MAY 2019

4 May – Watford (H)
12 May – Leicester City

Manchester United 2018/19 Premier League fixtures in full


Manchester United will begin their Premier League campaign against Leicester City at Old Trafford.
Jose Mourinho’s side finished a distant second behind champions Manchester City last term and also tasted defeat against Chelsea in the FA Cup final.
The United boss has already kick-started his summer spending with the additions of Fred and Diogo Dalot and both will be in line to make their debuts at Foxes on August 11th.

August fixtures

Sat 11 Aug Leicester City H
Sat 18 Aug Brighton & Hove Albion A
Sat 25 Aug Tottenham Hotspur H

September fixtures

Sat 1 Sep Burnley A
Sat 15 Sep Watford A
Sat 22 Sep Wolverhampton Wanderers H
Sat 29 Sep West Ham United A

October fixtures

Sat 6 Oct Newcastle United H
Sat 20 Oct Chelsea A
Sat 27 Oct Everton H

November fixtures

Sat 3 Nov Bournemouth A
Sat 10 Nov Manchester City A
Sat 24 Nov Crystal Palace H

December fixtures

Sat 1 Dec Southampton A
Tue 4 Dec Arsenal H
Sat 8 Dec Fulham H

Sat 15 Dec Liverpool A
Sat 22 Dec Cardiff City A
Wed 26 Dec Huddersfield Town H
Sat 29 Dec Bournemouth H

January fixtures

Tue 1 Jan Newcastle United A
Sat 12 Jan Tottenham Hotspur A
Sat 19 Jan Brighton & Hove Albion H
Tue 29 Jan Burnley H

February fixtures

Sat 2 Feb Leicester City A
Sat 9 Feb Fulham H
Sat 23 Feb Liverpool H
Tue 26 Feb Crystal Palace A

March fixtures

Sat 2 Mar Southampton H
Sat 9 Mar Arsenal A
Sat 16 Mar Manchester City H
Sat 30 Mar Watford H

April fixtures

Sat 6 Apr Wolverhampton Wanderers A
Sat 13 Apr West Ham United H
Sat 20 Apr Everton A
Sat 27 Apr Chelsea H

May fixtures

Sat 4 May Huddersfield Town A
Sat 12 May Cardiff City H

Premier League 2018-19 opening day fixtures in full


Manchester City will begin the defence of their Premier League title away against Arsenal.
Pep Guardiola’s side dominated the division last season, becoming the first side in the history of the competition to reach 100 points.
The game represents a baptism of fire for new Arsenal manager Unai Emery, who will come up against Guardiola and his assistant Mikel Arteta who was also in the running to succeed Arsene Wenger.


Premier League 2018-19 opening day fixtures in full
Unai Emery faces a daunting start to his Arsenal tenure (Picture: Getty)
 

Premier League | Opening Day Fixtures

Arsenal vs. Man City
Bournemouth vs. Cardiff
Fulham vs. Crystal Palace
Huddersfield vs. Chelsea
Liverpool vs. West Ham
Man Utd vs. Leicester
Newcastle vs. Spurs
Southampton vs. Burnley
Watford vs. Brighton
Wolves vs. Everton
Fixtures to be played on on the weekend of August 11
Elsewhere, Manchester United start with a home game against Leicester, while Liverpool host West Ham at Anfield.
Chelsea, who are still to resolve their managerial situation, travel to Huddersfield while Tottenham visit Newcastle.
Promoted Wolves entertain Everton, while Craven Cottage will host its first Premier League game for four years when Crystal Palace travel to west London for an opening day derby.



1. This will be the 21st World Cup.

2. The first qualifier was played on March 12, 2015 between Timor-Leste (the national team of East Timor) and Mongolia. Timor-Leste won 5-1 on aggregate but the games were later awarded to Mongolia after it was revealed that Timor-Leste had fielded ineligible players. However, the decision took so long that Timor-Leste had already progressed, so Mongolia were not reinstated. Perhaps it was an omen…
3. This will be the penultimate World Cup with 32 nations. From 2026 onwards there will be 48 teams.
4. Iceland and Panama have qualified for their first ever World Cup.
5. One hit wonders. The list of teams to play one World Cup makes for great reading. It's a long one, but here are some of the nations not often heard of in world sport, let alone on its biggest stage: Wales, Jamaica, Cuba, Kuwait, Iraq, Indonesia, Haiti and Canada.
6. The distance between the easternmost (Kaliningrad) and westernmost (Ekaterinburg) host cities in Russia is about the same as the distance between Moscow and London (2,424 kilometers, 1,500 miles).
7. Brazil are the only nation to have played in every World Cup and have won the most titles (5). Number six could follow in Russia.
8. Germany are aiming to become the first nation to win back-to-back titles since Brazil in 1958 and 1962.
9. Germany have scored the most goals at the last three tournaments (18 in 2014, 16 in 2010 and 14 at home in 2006).
10. Russia's Oleg Salenko holds the record for most goals in a World Cup game (five vs. Cameroon in 1994). Perhaps Thomas Müller has a new record in his sights…
11. Around 3.2 billion people watched the last World Cup. That's nearly half the planet's population. Football eh?
12. Of all current players, Germany's Thomas Müller has the most goals (10) and assists (6) in the World Cup.
13. Every World Cup has been won by a coach who is the same nationality as his team. Is this where you've been going wrong all these years, England?
14. Tim Cahill, Rafael Marguez and Cristiano Ronaldo could score in their fourth World Cups.
15. Speaking of Tim Cahill, he has scored has scored 45 per cent of Australia's World Cup goals (five of 11). Blimey.
16. Russia (not the USSR) have never made it out of the group stage at a World Cup. Perhaps home advantage will help?
17. 2018 will be Nigeria's sixth World Cup. No African country has qualified as often since the Super Eagles made their debut in 1994.
18. South Korea have qualified for their 10th World Cup – more than any other Asian country.
19. The last eight Belgium goals at World Cups were scored after their 70th minute. Surely Kevin and Eden would like to start a bit better in Russia.
20. Iran have qualified for back-to-back World Cups for the first time in their history.
21. Is the world ready for Iceland's Viking claps?
22. Iceland are the smallest nation to qualify for a World Cup (just 334,000 inhabitants). Size doesn't matter.
23. The Netherlands have made the most World Cup appearances without ever winning it. They won't get a chance to do so in Russia. Oh Oranje…
24. Italy failed to qualify for the first time since 1958 and are the only previous winners not to qualify.
25. For the first time since 1986, the US men's national team didn't qualify for the World Cup. More awkward was that Fox Sports paid a reported $400 million (€324 million) for broadcasting rights. Still, the US women's team are involved in qualifying for 2019 in France and the three-time World Cup winners probably won't miss out (they're defending champions).
26. Some US fans have taken the men's team's absence at the tournament in Russia well, offering scarves for US fans that say: "Undefeated: Can't lose if you don't play" – certainly one way to look at it!
27. Some other familiar World Cup nations that will be watching from home this summer include: Chile, Turkey, Cameroon, Ghana, Algeria, Ecuador, Venezuela and the Republic of Ireland.
28. This is the first time a tournament has taken place across two continents – Europe and Asia.
29. Russia vs. Saudia Arabia is the curtain raiser on June 14 at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow at 1700 CET.
30. The Luzhniki Stadium has almost the same capacity as the Signal Iduna Park and will be remembered by many European football fans as the stadium in which Manchester United beat Chelsea in the 2008 Champions League final. Fit for the big game, the Luzhniki will also host the World Cup final.


Russland Luzhniki-Stadion (Getty Images/AFP/D. Serebryakov) The Luzhniki stadium will host the first and last game of the tournament - and is fittingly perhaps the most impressive of all the venues


31. In terms of dates: The Last 16 starts on June 30th, the quarterfinals on July 6 and the semifinals on July 10. Mark those dates in your diary.
32. The 2018 opener will make history, perhaps not for intended reasons, as it becomes the first World Cup opener to be played by the two lowest-ranked teams in the competition (Russia 65th, Saudia Arabia 63rd).
33. Ekateringburg's stadium has seating outside the stadium so as to keep up with FIFA's regulation of World Cup venues having at least 35,000 seats. How good can the view be?
34. Panama's president declared a national holiday on October 11th after the nation had qualified for the tournament. Imagine what might happen if they make it out of the group stage…
35. Sochi's Olympic stadium – the Fisht Olympic Stadium – was used to open the Winter Olympics in 2014, and will be a venue at the 2018 football tournament. This is only the second stadium ever to have done both – Stadio Olimpico in Turin, Italy is the other.
36. Referees will also have the right to stop or abandon a game if racist or other discriminatory incidents occur.
37. Apparently, there will be over 17,000 volunteers (around 2,000 more than in Brazil) at the World Cup in Russia – from over 176,000 applications. Interestingly enough, 64 percent of the volunteers are female. Volunteers include the captain of an oil tanker, a world champion dragon-boat racer and a man from New Zealand who will have to travel over 16,000 kilometers for the honor. World Cups eh? Everyone gets involved.
38. A deaf cat called Achilles who resides at a St. Petersburg museum is to predict the outcomes of World Cup games, after getting all but one right at the Confederations Cup last year. How cool is that?
39. Russia's agricultural department has warned of an extreme plague of locusts during the 2018 World Cup. Don't forget to pack your mosquito nets!
40. Ticket prices range from €85 ($105) to €892 for the final. Russian residents will be able to obtain cheaper tickets with prices starting at €19. This is higher than four years ago – with the cheapest group stage matches in Brazil costing €69 and the most expensive final tickets costing €730.
41. Slowly but surely ticket applications are increasing. Germany's football fans are particularly keen on watching their team live (go figure!) – After the hosts they have made the second most ticket requests (338,414).
42. The World Cup is expected to cost Russia close to $12 billion. This is still less than Brazil spent four years ago, but is over half a billion more than they expected to spend. Who knows what the final bill will look like?
43. There will be 12 stadiums in 11 different cities (two in Moscow) in Russia this summer. Nine were built just for the tournament. Costly.
44. Hard to imagine now but: every match in the first World Cup was hosted in one city. In Montevideo, Uruguay, 13 teams played out the 1930 tournament.
45. Aged 45, legendary Egyptian goalkeeper Essam El-Hadary is set to become the oldest player ever at a World Cup. He played and captained in all but the final game of qualifying, has 156 caps for his country and Russia will be his World Cup debut. Age ain't nothing but a number.
46. Apparently, if Neymar wins the World Cup with Brazil, he'll get $50,000 from Nike. Throw in another $200,000 (from Nike) if he wins Player of the Tournament and the 26-year-old could have quite the year in 2018. First though, he has to get fit.
47. Despite a swathe of young talent, Norman Whiteside's record as the youngest ever player to feature at a World Cup - 17 years, 41 days, back in the 1982 tournament - will not be broken.
48. Germany and Spain are the only two nations who have managed to win all 10 qualifying games ahead of a World Cup. Spain did it in 2010, Germany did it to qualify for this tournament.
49. Winning the World Cup final means $38 million in prize money. To be fair, losing it means $28 million so, that's some consolation. Just making the group stage is worth $8 million. All in all, there's 12 per cent more prize money on offer than for the 2014 tournament. Where does it all come from?
50. If Germany win, each of their players will get €350,000. Not bad.
51. As revealed by The Guardian, FIFA's former medical chief investigating alleged Russian state doping of footballers had his work terminated in November 2016. What if the Russian team does better than ever?
52. World-famous coach Jose Mourinho will be the expert for state-funded Russian network RT at the tournament. Perhaps he'll be scouting a few players too…
53. VAR will be used at the World Cup for the first time after the IFAB (International Football Association Board) approved the use of the technology on a permanent basis. Expect more controversy.
54. Not all technology is bad though. Team doctors will also have access to cameras so as to improve player safety. So VAM and VAR now? Think I prefer VAM.
55. A fourth substitute will be allowed in extra time. All this pressing is just tiring the players out, clearly…
56. The chance to see Lionel Messi (30) and Cristiano Ronaldo (33), perhaps for the final time at a World Cup. Honestly, what a joy it is. Iran head coach Carlos Queiroz has said Messi should be banned for the tournament until it can be proved he is human. Fair enough.
57. Farewells? This could be the last time we see the likes of Luis Suarez (31), Andreas Iniesta (33), Luka Modric (32), Thiago Silva (33), Rafa Marquez (39), Vincent Kompany (31), Jakub Blaszczykowski (32), Keisuke Honda (31), Falcao (32).
58. Sixty-four matches of football in just under a month. Yes.
59. Amazing kits. Nigeria's has become the latest item for modern hipsters.
60. The iconic makers of the black-and-white ball of the 1970s have made the ball for the 2018 tournament. Apparently there's a chip in the ball that allows fans to interact with it using their smartphones. I don't know what to say. The main thing is, we won't have a repeat of the 1930 World Cup final where Argentina used their ball for the first half (and led 2-1) before the Uruguayans used their ball for the second (and won 4-2).
61. Another Iceland entry you say? Yes, but this really is amazing. Goalkeeper Thor Halldorsson is also one of the country's most famous filmmakers. He even made the music video for Iceland's 2012 Eurovision entry. Talented man.
62. Russia is the world's largest country in terms of area, spanning across 11 time zones. Only four will be relevant for the World Cup though. Still, four time zones…
63. Miroslav Klose holds the record for most World Cup goals (16 across four tournaments). Another record Thomas Müller is keen to break, I think…
64. All of Denmark's 27 World Cup goals have been scored from inside the box. Best to start thinking outside the box then?
65. Worth mentioning that perhaps Morocco should also do some thinking. None of their 12 World Cup goals has come from a set-piece.
66. Reports of state-sponsored doping in Russian sport, the country meddling in foreign elections and huge question marks over racism, homophobia, and LGBT and human rights abuse, have set the scene for this tournament to be the most politically charged ever. Apparently, Vladimir Putin doesn't really like football. Perhaps it's best the US didn't qualify…
67. In preparation for the tournament, the Russian government has spent millions on eliminating the public health threat of stray animals by killing stray dogs in all 11 of the Russia cities set to host games. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty has reported that between $107-$142 is being paid for each dog corpse. The same was done ahead of the 2014 Winter Olympics.
68. From lions to jalapenos with a moustache, there have been World Cup mascots since the 1966 tournament. After an armadillo in Brazil, Russia's is, rather unsurprisingly, a wolf called Zabivaka (The goal scorer). Probably forget all about him after the first game, but still. Mascots.
69. One million international fans are expected  to visit Russia for the World Cup and with so many anticipated, Russia's has done away with visas for football fans (so long as they have valid ID).
70. Warning for Germany: The last two defending champions were knocked out in the group stage. Surely not again?
71. The Golden Ball – the award for the tournament's best player – has been awarded to an attacker on all but two occasions. The first-ever winner was Uruguay's defender Jose Nasazzi in 1930; the other non-attacker to win was Germany goalkeeper Oliver Kahn in 2002. Another year for the attacker in Russia?
72. Teams with amazing nicknames like "The Atlas Lions," "Taeguk Warriors" and "The Soccceroos."
73. In 2001, Australia beat American Samoa 31-0 on their way to qualifying for the 2002 tournament. For context, the highest score in qualifying this year was a 15-0 win for Qatar against Bhutan. Goals are harder to come by these days.
74. Germany and Sweden are in the same group. In 1958 they played against each other in the semifinal, with the Swedes winning 3-1. Afterwards, the wheels of Swedish cars in Hamburg were slashed and a popular Swedish dish was removed from restaurant menus. Let's hope things are a bit more civil this time around, eh?
75. Germany released their final 23-man squad on 4. June. The biggest surprise was the omission of the Premier League's Young Player of the Year Leroy Sane. Will the decision come back to haunt Löw?
76. The irrelevance of player values. France have the most expensive squad (€1.08 billion), followed by Spain (€1.04 billion) and Brazil (€952 million). Panama the cheapest (€8.28 million), but World Cups have seen some of the greatest upsets in football history.
77. Group D (Argentina, Nigeria, Iceland, Croatia) is one very exciting group.
78. India qualified for the 1950 World Cup but withdrew after FIFA said they couldn't play barefoot. Having never qualified since, they are the only country to qualify but never play a game. Barefooted football. Is that the way to level the playing field against Messi perhaps?
79. There were more goals scored in the 2014 World Cup by substitutes (32) than in any other tournament. More super subs this time around?
80. According to Google data since 2004, the Internet's average interest in Kim Kardashian is as high as that of the World Cup. Must be because everyone is watching the football rather than tweeting about it? I hope so anyway…
81. The Panini sticker collection went on sale March 22nd. Have you got yours?
82. Kalachs (baked bread, often with stuffed pastries), Chudu (crescent-shaped pie), Pyshki (sweet donuts) and Black Sea Fish. There's a whole host of new foods for visiting fans to try in Russia – and those visiting Sochi will get special lunch boxes with Black Sea cuisine. Finger-licking good!
83. France's Just Fontaine holds the record for most goals scored at a single World Cup (13 in 1958). Can that record be broken in Russia?
84. The architects who designed the Kazan Arena also designed Wembley and the Emirates.
85. The highest.scoring game was in 1954 when Austria beat Switzerland 7-5. There were two hat tricks and it was 5-4 at halftime. Defending wasn't a thing back then, I don't think.
86. There were eight hat tricks in the 1954 World Cup. Yeah. Think defending will be more of a thing in Russia…
87. Nine months after the World Cup in South Africa, the birth rate went up. The same was true after Germany hosted the competition back in 2006, with a 30 percent rise in some parts of the country cited. So, whoever wins, lots of babies in April 2019? Happy hormones.
88. Winning the World Cup trophy is one of those unforgettable moments, but when the party is over FIFA takes the real trophy and hands over a cheaper replica. I guess FIFA doesn't trust anyone with the real thing. How ironic…
89. Only heads of state or World Cup winners are allowed to touch the real trophy.
90. We'll have to wait a while before we get a new World Cup trophy. The "three wins and it's yours" rule doesn't apply to the current trophy. In 2038, there will be no more space for winners to have their names engraved so expect a new one in around six World Cup's time.
91. Germany have the most finishes at a World Cup in the top two (8), three (12), four (13) and eight (17). In Russia, they're aiming for that No. 1 spot again.
92. Mexico have qualified for the World Cup the most times (16) without winning it. Not sure that will change in Russia, but it's not always about the winning, is it?
93. Zimbabwe were supposed to be a part of African qualifying for 2018, but were expelled after not paying an outstanding debt to their head coach. Silly.
94. Indonesia were in Group F in Asian qualifying, but were disqualified for governmental interference.
95. Egyptian excitement. Perhaps the best and most dramatic qualifying campaign of all the teams was Egypt's. Needing a win in their final game, Egypt conceded an equalizer in the 88th minute. In injury time, they won a penalty and Mo Salah converted to win the game and seal the country's World Cup qualification for the first time since 1990.
96. Not one English referee was appointed to officiate at the 2018 World Cup. Do they know something we don't?
97. Peru return to the World Cup for the first time since 1982 – the longest absence of any team playing in Russia.
98. Uruguay's head coach, Oscar Tabarez, will be at his fourth World Cup – more than any other coach at the tournament.
99. The amazing tournament poster, which is a throwback to legendary Russian goalkeeper Lev Yashin. He played in the 1958 and 1970 World Cups and is still the only keeper to win the Ballon d'Or.
100. One more amazing Iceland team fact to finish. Winger Johann Berg Gudmundsson played in the most famous "Counter Strike" tournament in Iceland when he was younger. Is there anything this team can't do?

England fan beaten and Frenchman left disabled after homophobic attack in Russia
An England fan was allegedly robbed and attacked by five local men in Moscow on Monday (Picture: PA)
 
Violence has broken out for the first time in Russia ahead of the World Cup.

An England fan was allegedly robbed and attacked by five local men in Moscow on Monday while a French gay man and a friend suffered serious injuries on Saturday after being beaten by two men in St Petersburg.
The attacks are reportedly the first to hit the World Cup, which starts in Moscow today.
The England fan was said to be drunk at the time of the attack and could not remember much.

Security presence near the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow ahead of the opening match of the World Cup which will be held at the stadium on Thursday. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday June 12, 2018. Photo credit should read: Aaron Chown/PA Wire
The attacks will heighten security fears as Western fans head to the stadium to watch the first game today (Picture: PA)
 
He was allegedly made to withdraw cash from an ATM and hand over the money, he told police, but he ‘doesn’t know how much – or simply could not explain it’.
A translator was called in to help with the investigation, the report said.

Soccer Football - World Cup - England Training - Saint Petersburg, Russia - June 13, 2018 England's Dele Alli poses for a picture with fans REUTERS/Lee Smith
The attacks are reportedly the first to hit the World Cup, which starts in Moscow today (Picture: Reuters)
 
The Frenchman, who was identified as being O Davrius, suffered head and brain injuries and a jaw fracture during the ‘homophobic’ attack, the OperSlil Telegram channel reported.
A report on the channel said: ‘Even though the injured are homosexuals, it does not justify the monsters who beat him.’

Kate Garraway was overcome with World Cup fever on Good Morning Britain, recreating the official trophy with custard before chucking it all over co-host Sean Fletcher.
With Russia’s 2018 World Cup kicking off later today (June 14), Garraway and Susanna Reid decided to recreate the official trophy with a bucket of custard and a melon.
So far, so jovial. Garraway soon decided to cover Sean in some of the custard – flinging it his way after taking jokey pot-shots throughout the show.
Kate Garraway recreates World Cup trophy with custard – chucks it all over co-host
Kate was pretty excited for the World Cup (Picture: ITV)
 
Sean, a bit rattled by what had just happened to his pristine suit, said: ‘Did she just do that? Look at me, I’m a mess!

Chelsea considering World Cup manager to replace Antonio Conte


Jorge Sampaoli is once again being considered by Chelsea as their potential new manager as Roman Abramovich weighs up paying off Antonio Conte, according to reports.
The Italian coach is still widely expected to leave Stamford Bridge this summer, though he insists he will not walk out on the club and will instead make Chelsea pay off the remainder of his £9million-a-year salary.
Abramovich had hoped Conte might be prised away by another club, avoiding needing to pay compensation, but Real Madrid’s decision to appoint Julen Lopetegui has killed those hopes.


Chelsea considering World Cup manager to replace Antonio Conte
Chelsea do not want to allow Conte to continue at the helm into next season (Picture: Getty)
 
 
Now The Telegraph report that, with no more big jobs left for Conte to take over, Chelsea are expected to sack the Italian.
While former Napoli boss Maurizio Sarri and Laurent Blanc have both been heavily linked with the job, Argentina boss Sampaoli is also in the mix to take over.
Sampaoli was interviewed for the Chelsea job two years ago before Conte got it, but still has plenty of admirers at Stamford Bridge.
A deal for the Argentina boss – who is currently in Russia with the national team for the World Cup – would be far simpler than trying to sign Sarri.

The ex-Napoli coach has got his lawyers working on a way to get him out of his contract with the Serie A club, who want at least £3.5m in compensation despite already appointing Carlo Ancelotti.
Chelsea fear that sticking by Conte could see the likes of Eden Hazard, Willian and David Luiz all seek a move away.

Confirmed: Anthony Martial wants to leave Man United amid Chelsea and Arsenal links


Anthony Martial wants to leave Manchester United this summer, his agent has confirmed.
The French forward, who became the most expensive teenage footballer in history when he joined United from Monaco in 2015, endured a frustrating season at Old Trafford.
Forced to play back-up to Romelu Lukaku and January signing Alexis Sanchez, Martial started just 18 Premier League games across the campaign.
A lack of regular football saw him left out of the France national squad for the upcoming World Cup in Russia.
Martial has been heavily linked with a move this summer – Chelsea and Arsenal are among the clubs interested in a deal – and his agent has confirmed he wants out.
Asked whether Martial had made a decision on his future, Philippe Lamboley – who represents the 22-year-old – told RMC Sport: ‘After thinking about all the possibilities and settings, Anthony wants to leave Manchester United.

Confirmed: Anthony Martial wants to leave Man United amid Chelsea and Arsenal links
Martial has struggled for regular game-time at Old Trafford (Picture: Getty)
 
 
‘There are many parameters, for now it’s premature to talk about it [the reasons for his decision]. Anthony will speak later to discuss all of this.’
Pressed on whether Martial’s decision stems from a friction with the hierarchy at Manchester United, Lamboley said: ‘They want to extend [Martial’s contract] and do not want him to leave but we do not find agreement for several months.
‘I think that when Manchester United, which is the most powerful club in the world, does not find an agreement in eight months of negotiations, it is that it does not really want to make him an important player.
‘That’s why this decision comes in. It is a well-considered decision. However, it is quite obvious and it is very important to remember that he is under contract, that United will have the last word and that we will respect the decision of the club, it will go to the end of its commitment.

‘However we do not have the same vision on Anthony’s future. Today, Anthony is disappointed because he has shown for three seasons the love he had for the club and his supporters.’
Martial’s agent also claimed his representative would have already handed in a transfer request had it not been for the ‘unconditional support’ from the United fans.
‘I can tell you that without the unconditional support of the fans, Anthony would have already asked to leave United,’ he said.
‘However, Anthony got hooked, he showed great professionalism, he was successful. I think he has done his best for three years.
‘It is important to remember that this season he scored 11 goals and gave ten assists in five months. He was elected three times as the player of the month by fans.
‘Then arrived the transfer window of January. I will not comment on the consequences of this transfer window. Everyone will have his opinion, I think he must resume the course of his career. The time has come.’

How incoming Arsenal signing Lucas Torreira impressed Luis Suarez


Arsenal fans are getting acquainted with their incoming signing Lucas Torreira – but the Sampdoria midfielder already has a huge admirer in Luis Suarez.
The 22-year-old is close to completing his £26.4 million move to Arsenal and will provide Unai Emery with a defensive midfield option which Arsene Wenger lacked for several seasons.
Torreira started his career as a striker before Italy’s World Cup-winning defender Massimo Oddo, who was managing Pescara, realised that the Uruguayan’s talents were better suited to a shielding the defence.
Torreira has thrived in the role and his performances have landed him a place in Uruguay’s World Cup squad.
And even Suarez has admitted how impressed he was with Torreira’s early displays as a defensive midfielder after Barcelona had played Sampdoria for the Gamper Trophy in August 2016.


Uruguay's midfielder Lucas Torreira arrives to take part in a training session of Uruguay's national football team ahead of the Russia 2018 World Cup at the Sport Centre Borsky, in Nizhny Novgorod, on June 12, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / MARTIN BERNETTIMARTIN BERNETTI/AFP/Getty Images
Torreira is preparing for Uruguay’s World Cup campaign. (AFP/Getty Images)
‘We played Sampdoria once,’ Suarez told Telemundo earlier this season.
‘I was surprised by the young lad who had been in the middle of the park for the whole match.
‘After that evening, I learned he was Uruguayan, and from that moment, I started to follow him a bit in Serie A.

How incoming Arsenal signing Lucas Torreira impressed Luis Suarez
Torreira played against Luis Suarez and Barcelona in the Joan Gamper Trophy in August 2016. (Getty Images)
 
‘He surprised me, he’s improved a lot and been playing at a very high level.
‘He came on the scene at a very young age, when it’s not at all easy to assert yourself, but he succeeded in performing at a high level.
‘Obviously it’s up to the coach Tabarez to call him up but, if there was the possibility, he’d be welcomed and I’m sure he’d make the most of it.’

Jack Wilshere drops huge hint that Arsenal career is over
The Gunners midfielder is out of contract this summer and could leave the club (Picture: Getty)
 
Jack Wilshere has dropped a major hint on Instagram that he is ready to ‘close the book’ on his Arsenal career after failing to agree terms on a new contract with the Gunners.
The midfielder will become a free agent at the end of the month when his contract expires and has been heavily linked with a move away from the Emirates.
Clubs as varied as Premier League new boys Wolves and Italian champions Juventus have been mooted as potential suitors for Wilshere, who has been weighing up his future.

Jack Wilshere drops huge hint that Arsenal career is over
Wilshere was left out of England’s World Cup squad despite impressing this season (Getty)
 
The 26-year-old, who joined Arsenal as a schoolboy and has been at the club for over a decade, took to Instagram late on Wednesday night to give an insight into his current mood.
He wrote: ‘There comes a time when you have to choose between turning the page and closing the book.’







Jack Wilshere drops huge hint that Arsenal career is over


It had been previously reported that manager Unai Emery was keen to sign Wilshere up to a new deal, but the player himself wanted assurances over his role and game time.
Granit Xhaka and Aaron Ramsey are both ahead of Wilshere in the pecking order at Arsenal, while the club are close to completing the £26m signing of Lucas Torreira from Sampdoria which would create even more competition.

Massimiliano Allegri urges Juventus to sign Anthony Martial from Man Utd
Anthony Martial is wanted by Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri. (Getty Images)
 
Massimiliano Allegri has asked Juventus to sign Anthony Martial from Manchester United as a replacement for Gonzalo Higuain, according to reports in Italy.
The Argentine striker has been heavily linked with a move away from Juve this summer and he admitted last week that he would ‘love’ to play in the Premier League.
According to La Gazzetta dello Sport, Allegri is already considering replacements in the event of Higuain’s departure and has identified Martial as the 30-year-old’s long-term successor in attack.
The report also claims that Allegri has Chelsea striker Alvaro Morata on his shortlist if Juventus are unable to sign Martial.

 La Gazzetta dello Sport’s report on Monday claims that Allegri has informed Juventus of his two choices to replace Higuain, while Robert Lewandowski and Edinson Cavani are not top of his shortlist because they are of a similar age to the Argentine striker.
Martial’s future at United remains uncertain after a difficult season under Jose Mourinho.
The 22-year-old missed out on a place in France’s World Cup squad and struggled for regular playing time following Alexis Sanchez’s arrival from Arsenal in the January transfer window.
Reports have already claimed that Mourinho has given the green light for United to sell Martial this summer.


£53m Portugal star wants to join Arsenal as Gunners submit second bid
Gelson Martins reportedly wants to join Arsenal. (Getty Images)
 
Sporting Lisbon winger Gelson Martins is keen to join Arsenal this summer, according to reports in Portugal.
The 23-year-old was one of Sporting’s standout performers last season with 13 goals and 13 assists in 52 appearances.
And Martins’ displays in Portugal’s top flight has reportedly led to strong interest from Arsenal.
Last week, A Bola claimed that the Gunners had a €30 million (£26m) bid rejected for Martins.
And on Monday, the same Portuguese newspaper reported that Arsenal have returned to Sporting with a second offer but have stuck with the same €30m bid.
A Bola report that Martins wants to leave Sporting this summer and Arsenal are hopeful that their continued pressure could lead to a deal.
Sporting, however, consider the offer ‘insufficient’ and have rejected it for a second time.


£53m Portugal star wants to join Arsenal as Gunners submit second bid
Martins has a £53m release clause in his deal with Sporting. (Getty Images)
 
Several Sporting players are considering cancelling their contracts with the club after they were attacked at the training ground by fans last month.
But it’s understood that Martins is reluctant to use this option as a way to leave and would prefer Sporting to sell him.
Martins, who is with Portugal’s squad preparing for their World Cup campaign, has a €60m (£53m) release clause in his contract.

7 of the worst misses in the history of the World Cup


World Cup fever is returning and with it, so is a slew of memories of tournaments gone past.
There’s the glorious moments of unbelievable play: Maradona’s mesmeric dribble through the heart of the England team in 1986; Cruyff’s turn in 1974; Banks’s save against Brazil in 1970.

SEE ALSO: From Finidi to Maradona: The greatest goal celebrations in the history of the World Cup

And, then there’s the howlers: the missed opportunities in front of the goal.
Of course, those that sit in this particular video library of shame are in good company. After all, as the old adage goes, in all of Pele’s greatest moments, he failed to hit the target.
With the 2018 World Cup kicking-off on June 14, with Russia v Saudi Arabia in Moscow, here’s a look back at some of the absolute sitters and wayward penalty kicks missed at the tournament.

Kevin Keegan: England v Spain, 1982

7 of the worst misses in the history of the World Cup
(Picture: Bob Thomas/Getty Images)
 
England, who needed a win against Spain to get to the semi-finals, threw on the semi-fit Trevor Brooking and Kevin Keegan, with less than half an hour to go in their second round match against the hosts.
Without having played a minute between them in the tournament, Keegan soon found himself six yards out from the Spanish goal, with the ball at his head.
Blame it on the lack of match fitness or the 80s bouffant, but Keegan, despite being totally unmarked after some admittedly quality footwork, deftly flicked the ball wide.
With that, England were out.

Yakubu Aiyegbeni: Nigeria v South Korea, 2010

7 of the worst misses in the history of the World Cup
(Picture: Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)
 
Yakubu’s heel-poke shank from three yards in front of an open goal ranks among the top five unmissable misses in any tournament, let alone the World Cup.
The only possible excuse for the former Everton striker putting the ball wide of the post, was surprise at not being flagged for offside.

Christian Vieri: Italy v South Korea, 2002

7 of the worst misses in the history of the World Cup
(Picture: Sandra Behne/Bongarts/Getty Images)
 
Italy’s elimination from the 2002 World Cup, at the hands of South Korea, was one of the most controversial in the history of the tournament, due to a questionable refereeing performance from Ecuadorian official, Byron Moreno.
But, none of that would have mattered had Inter forward Vieri not fired the ball high and wide of the goal from five yards out, in the final minute of normal time.
Instead, Ahn Jung Hwan’s golden goal saw the co-hosts through.

Chris Waddle: England v West Germany, 1990

7 of the worst misses in the history of the World Cup
(Picture: Bob Thomas/Getty Images)
 
From the moment he started his walk to the penalty area, you knew Waddle wasn’t going to score his penalty in the shoot-out.
With his head tilted to one side and shifty eyes pointed at the ground, Marseille’s mulleted maverick strode up to face Bodo Illgner with all the purpose, enthusiasm and desire of a man who’s just remembered that he promised his neighbours he would care for and feed their dog that summer, and failed to remember that he’d double-booked that responsibility with a World Cup in Italy.
Needing to get out to check that kennel ASAP, Waddle blasted the ball high and wide, with a trajectory similar to that of a failing space rocket, presumably landing safely somewhere in Stadio delle Alpi’s car park. And with that, England went out.

Roberto Baggio: Italy v Brazil, 1994

With the whole world watching and the nerves involved, it’s pretty understandable that someone would miss their team’s decisive spot-kick in a World Cup final.
But, not when the person taking that kick is Roberto Baggio.
The rat-tailed playmaker was a spot-kick specialist, and scored 68 penalties during his time in Serie A.
But, the one he missed at the Rose Bowl against Brazil is the only one people remember, where he hit the ball so far over the bar, Jonny Wilkinson would have been proud of the effort.

Gonzalo Higuain: Argentina v Germany, 2014

7 of the worst misses in the history of the World Cup
(Picture: Martin Rose/Getty Images)
 
In an alternate reality, it’s Toni Kroos who is unable to live down his World Cup howler. In this one though, it’s Higuain, having failed to capitalise on the German midfielder’s dreadfully misplaced headed backpass that put the then-Napoli forward clean through.
Manuel Neuer in the German goal never even got tested, with Higuain – who had enough time to return to Argentina to pick up his shooting boots from home, before flying back to the Maracana to take his shot – scuffing the ball well wide from the edge of the penalty.
In the end it was Kroos who became a World Cup winner, with Higuain left wondering what might have been.

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