The Japan national team has sacked their coach VahidHalilhodzic and replaces him with Akira Nishino just two months before the start of the World Cup. This will come as a surprise to many people given that it was the Bosnian coach that has helped Japan qualifies for the World Cup.
However, it is believed that the coach has gradually lost the backing of the Japan federation after a series of poor results that has seen the team losing against Ukraine and drawing with Mali.
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The logo for the 2018 World Cup was revealed in a ceremony that was held a few days ago in Moscow with the president of FIFA, Sepp Blatter being joined by the former Italian defender Fabio Cannavaro along with the chairman of the local organizing committee Vitaly Mutko as they unveiled the emblem or logo that will be used for the upcoming worldwide tournament.
The emblem in itself was actually revealed by 3 astronauts in the International Space Station as they held up a copy of the logo to the camera as a projection which was being beamed to the Bolshoi theatre in Moscow, it was a new and different way to display the logo of the World Cup which is changed in every 4 years.
“The launch of the Emblem is a wonderful event to kick things off and I’m certain that the World Cup will be a success here in four years,” Blatter said during the unveiling.
There have been a series of problems going on in eastern Ukraine with one of the latest incidents that occurred being the shot down of a Malaysia Airlines Airliner with over 250 passengers dying.
Even with that incident that happened not too long ago, the authorities of FIFA have confirmed that the 2018 World Cup will still be held in Russia. There were calls and protest for the upcoming tournament to be moved to a different location but despite all of these ongoing issues that has been going on with Ukraine, the governing body of the sport FIFA insisted in saying that it will continue on as initially planned.
“The FIFA World Cup unites teams and nations from all over the world, from the qualifiers to the final competition in a spirit of fair play and respect.
“FIFA is convinced that, through football, particularly the FIFA World Cup and its international spotlight, we can achieve positive change in the world, but football cannot be seen as a solution for all issues, particularly those related to world politics. We have seen that the FIFA World Cup can be a force for good and FIFA believes this will be the case for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.” Those were statements released by FIFA as they responded to questions and doubts concerning the viability of holding the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
The recently concluded World Cup has witnessed a number of noteworthy incidents that occurred during the event that is celebrated every 4 years with Luis Suarez making his way to the headlines of websites all over the world as he once more bit another player and this time around it was Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini he was subsequently banned.
Criticism was also received throughout the entire tournament due to the number of injuries and extreme changes in temperature that players had to face as they played in different parts of Brazil. The president of FIFA Sepp Blatter was heavily critiqued after the Swedish football administrator allowed players to return to the pitch even though they had already been removed after picking up injuries and this was the case with Christoph Kramer as he crumpled down and after being sent back to the pitch.
All of these events that occurred helped increase the amount of viewers of the 2014 World Cup as this latest edition of the tournament turned out to be the one that smashed all previous records that were established in streaming records.
The American delivery network provider Akamai confirmed that it was the biggest event in terms of video content streaming and this is due to the large amount of fans and their demand of seeking an online platform to watch the matches of their favorite teams and players from the online platforms of FIFA’s Media Rights Licensees.
“We are proud to say that this FIFA World Cup has been the biggest multimedia sporting event in history, with more people watching matches and highlights online than ever before,” said FIFA Director of TV Niclas Ericson.
FIFA successfully launched an app that was downloaded more than 9 million times which helped fans stay up to date with the scores, videos and even statistics from the matches that were played through entire competition.
Australia’s defender Lucas Neill has been looking forward to getting into the national team for one final major tournament, as the nation has qualified for the World Cup 2014. The 36-year-old is in the final legs of his career. It was highly anticipated that he will announce retirement after being allowed to leave Omija Ardija earlier in the season. After being five months without a club, Neill has managed to find himself an opportunity to play for Watford till the end of the season. He signed on a free transfer with the championship outfit, but his stay there did not last long.
He played only for 6 minutes for the club before being sent out on loan to Doncaster Rovers, who are currently managed by Neill’s former Blackburn Rovers teammate Paul Dickov. Dickov said that they are extremely delighted to bring in a player like Lucas Neill, who has tremendous experience in the game. Dickov is of the opinion that several clubs in the championship tried to get him after knowing that he was available, but his relationship with the 36-year-old from his time at Blackburn was key in getting him to the club, who are fighting against relegation.
Dickov says that Neill has managed to keep himself extremely fit despite being out of the game for a considerable amount of time.
“I played with him at Blackburn and I know him very well. Lucas is as fit now as I have ever seen him, which is credit to him and his attitude. There were a lot of other Championship clubs interested in signing him, but he wanted to come to Doncaster,” said the Doncaster Rovers manager. Australia’s manager Ange Postecoglou has not ruled out any players still making it into the squad following a string of good performances. Neill still has a chance according to him.
With 2014 World knocking at the door the participating nations are already prepping up their list of players for the esteemed fiesta which is to unveil at Brazil this year. Spain too has come up with its possible player list and, disappointingly for some of the fans, Juan Mata might not be in the World Spanish squad this time.
He has already been dropped from Spain’s upcoming match against Italy this week. The Man U star is currently showing off form which has created ripples both in his Old Trafford squad & mostly I the national team.
The final Spanish team for the Worlds is yet to be officially declared in May, but the head coach has already made it clear that he is not in the mood to offer any lax for under-performing players.
“There are footballers who haven’t been able to show up with good consistency. We are really fond of Juan. We are quite aware of his immense potential- yet we do not have space for everybody in the team”, stated Del Bosque, the head coach of Spanish national soccer team.
Along with Mata, many other Spanish favorites have been dropped out from the national team. These include Fernando Torres (Chelsea) & David Villa (Atletico Madrid). David Silva and Alvaro Negredo from Manchester City, Santi Cazorla from Arsenal and César Azpilicueta from Chelsea, however, have been able to make way.
Villa’s club-mate Costa (Diego) might make debut in Worlds this time, post switching nationality. Previously the originally Brazil native had made a couple of friendly appearances as a Brazilian player. Costa was in Spanish squad to play in the autumn friendly matches against South Africa an Equatorial Guinea but was forced to withdraw given injury issues.
However, the head coach has stressed his present Spanish team might not be the exact replica for the World party.
Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo has sent a message of hope to former Atletico Madrid striker Radamel Falcao, who looks set to miss the World Cup 2014 due to his injury. Falcao is regarded as one of the best strikers in the world right now and he recently sealed a £ 50 million move to Monaco. Despite moving to the French league only six months ago, he has been linked with a move to the likes of Chelsea and Real Madrid.
Any hopes of such a move in the January transfer window have been quashed with the news that he has ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament injury, which will rule him out for more than six months. This will also potentially rule him out of the World Cup 2014. Falcao was expected to be one of the names to watch in Brazil 2014 along with stars like Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. Ronaldo, who recently won the FIFA Ballon d’Or award beating Messi, said a message of support to the 27-year-old by saying that he feels confident that he will be able to return back much stronger.
Falcao was for the best players in the French league before getting injured. Colombia’s chances of progressing past the group stages have been significantly reduced after this injury.
“The only message I can give him is that I know he has so much strength and courage. I hope that he recovers very fast because football needs Falcao. The World Cup and the Colombia team await him. I hope he recovers soon and can return to action in time. It’s what we all want. Stay strong, Falcao,” said Ronaldo, who himself qualified for the World Cup at the expense of Zlatan Ibrahimovic of Sweden. Ronaldo’s Portugal defeated Sweden 4-2 on aggregate in the World Cup play-offs.