FIFA president Gianni Infantino has said that he is not moved by the threat of hooliganism making the rounds in the media ahead of World Cup 2018 in Russia.

The BBC did a documentary that featured a Russia fan saying chaos is “100% guaranteed” at the mundial in Russia.

At the last Euro tournament in France, there were violent clashes between Russian and English fans. Many believe this would reoccur in Russia next year but Infantino is “not all concerned.” He said he has full confidence in the hosts to manage any situation.

“They have been in contact with UEFA and French organizers to learn the lessons from France. As part of this, the Russian government has put in place an ID system which will help us when it comes to any potential trouble,” Infantino said.

The president also spoke about the next editions of the number one football tournament. He said for the sake of travel, multiple host nations for the 2026 World Cup would have to be “ideally” close to one another. The tournament would see an expansion to 48 teams but the bidding for it is yet to begin. (more…)

Douglas Costa Confident of Brazil’s Success at World Cup 2018

After repeated failures in recent World Cup tournaments, Brazil are fast losing theirstatus as one of the celebrated teams in world football.

The five-time winners are in desperate need of a trophy that would go a long way into the collecting the efforts at the 2002 World Cup. Brazil have not been successful in this major tournament since it was held in South Korea and Japan more than a decade ago. The 2018 World Cup will be held closer to this region in Russia. Hopes are once again fly high within the Brazil camp as they have just begun qualification for the tournament.

After having managed victories against Ecuador and Colombia in the opening two games of qualification, Brazil are sitting comfortable in the table. Since the appointment of Tite, the national team has been expected to undergo major revisions in terms of the way they play. This has helped Brazil keep the goals conceded to just one in the last two games. It does look that this Brazil team will be hard to beat, but upcoming games against the likes of Argentina and Venezuela could help come to a conclusion. Douglas Costa, though, strongly thinks that Brazil are now at their strongest and will be capable of winning the World Cup 2018.

Chris Coleman says that he will not consider renewing his contract

Wales manager Chris Coleman says that he will not consider renewing his contract when it expires at the end of the World Cup 2018 campaign.

He says that his decision will not change even if Wales manage to qualify and do well at the World Cup. Coleman has completely revolutionised to the national team since taking over in 2012. They come on the back of an impressive campaign at Euro 2016 where they reached the semi-finals in unexpected circumstances. Prior to the Euro 2016, Wales had struggled to even qualify for a major tournament let alone think about reaching the semifinals.

Coleman has also been helped by a new generation of extremely talented players coming through to the national team. The likes of Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey have added to the gritty players like Ashley Williams . The team now has more talent than ever before. Even though Wales did enjoy players like Ryan Giggs, the former Manchester United winger was not helped by quality elsewhere on the pitch. The scenario is different from Bale and Ramsey, who can seek the help of other quality names on the pitch. Coleman started out with four defeats in his first four games and it remains the worst record of any new Wales manager. However, he is now one of the most in demand international managers around.

Following the resignation of Sepp Blatter, England are now the favorites of hosting the 2018 World Cup

On June 2, Sepp Blatter decided to resign from his presidential role at FIFA and this is due to the corruption scandals and pressure which has been building in the past few weeks. It was already announced that over 5 FIFA executives were arrested and it’s believed that Sepp Blatter is now being investigated due to corruption and bribery involving the international soccer organization and especially some decisions which has been made involving the 2018 and 2022 World Cup.

Sepp Blatter was the main supporter of having the 2018 World Cup in Russia as they were chosen as the hosts ahead of England and joint bids from Spain/Portugal and a few other countries.

However, now that Sepp Blatter has resigned a string of reports have been emerging which are claiming that England has turned into the favorites of hosting the 2018 World Cup.

Speculation is starting to rise suggesting that Russia might be stripped from the rights of hosting the next World Cup and it could be changed to another country. (more…)

Croatia will take on Norway tomorrow

Croatia will take on Norway tomorrow in what’s believed to be a top-of-the-table clash.

Croatia is sitting at the first position in Group H Euro qualifying right now, but, if they lose to Norway, they might even go down to no. 3.

Norway, on the other hand, will be leading the table if they end on the better side in Zagreb.

However, on the basis of what history suggests, Norway’s win is unlikely.

Out of the last 28 Euro qualifiers that Croatia has played on the home turf, they have not lost any and not only have they been unbeaten, if you see the no. of goals that have been scored against them, it’s not that many.

It would definitely not come as a shock for anyone if the hosts end up stretching that unbeaten run to 29.

Also, Norway has not been as good a team away from home as they have been at it and that does not encourage people enough either to put money on them.

Although if you take only these qualifiers into account, you would not agree to that as in this qualifying tournament, the Norwegians already have a couple of away victories under their belt.

But, if you see their overall record when they visit other places, you would use the word ‘ordinary’. (more…)