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Analyst tips Germany to win the 2018 FIFA World Cup
8 June 2018, 8:16 PM

A Football Coaches Association’s (SAFCA) Head of High Performance, Sudesh Singh has tipped Germany win the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Singh was speaking to Lelo Mzaca on Radio 2000’s Game On Amplified.

“I think looking at all those factors, history and the pedigree of the teams, I think the four teams, for me, that would go through to the semifinals would be Germany, Brazil, France and Spain. And I can see Germany winning the World Cup again because you look at the way they won the last world cup and the depth in quality … I mean they two guys for each position; they managed to integrate the older players with the younger players. So, I think they are very, very solid.”

Click below to listen to the entire interview:

Sudesh Singh

Brazil looking good going into the 2018 FIFA World Cup
8 June 2018, 7:16 PM

Few national teams have experienced the ups and downs of Brazil over the last five years but the good news for fans of the “selecao” is that they are ascendant as Russia approaches.

Brazil won the 2013 Confederations Cup, hammering an all-conquering Spain side 3-0 in the final.

A year later they were humiliated 7-1 at home by Germany in the World Cup semi-finals and early exits at the Copa America in 2015 and 2016 deepened the gloom.

But the improvement since Tite took over as coach in June 2016 has been remarkable and Brazil are now joint favourites to win a record sixth World Cup.

Much of that credit goes to the wily coach, who has instilled a sense of purpose in a team that looked lost under his predecessor Dunga.

The central defence has been shored up with Marquinhos and Miranda, and Brazil under Tite have conceded just five goals in 19 games.

The midfield has a balance of solid and creative, with Casemiro providing the backbone, Paulinho capable of going box-to-box, and Renato Augusto offering some spark.

Up front Tite has an embarrassment of riches, with Neymar, Gabriel Jesus and Philippe Coutinho the likely starters with able back-up on the bench from speedy wingers Willian and Douglas Costa.

Those players helped Brazil to become the first team to qualify for Russia with a record string of nine successive wins, but they must take care to rein in any euphoria.

Gremio centre half Pedro Geromel and Corinthians pair Cassio and Fagner were the surprise inclusions in Brazil’s 23-man World Cup squad.

Gremio defender Geromel has just two caps but was outstanding in leading the Porto Alegre side to the Copa Libertadores last season.

The former Gremio and Corinthians coach, who was tasked with revamping the country’s reputation after their 7-1 mauling by Germany in the 2014 World Cup semi-final, said he had not decided who will fill the void left by Dani Alves. The defender was ruled out last week with a knee injury.

He selected Fagner of Corinthians and Danilo of Manchester City to replace the Paris St Germain right back and said both were up to the task.

Left back Filipe Luis, who recently returned to the Atletico Madrid side after fracturing his tibia, was selected as back up to Marcelo.

PSG striker Neymar, who was out with an injured foot since Feb. 25, was also named in the squad and showed that he is likely to feature after scoring in his comeback match for Brazil in a friendly against Croatia last Sunday (June 3).

No. Pos. Player Name

1 GK Alisson

2 DF Thiago Silva

3 DF Miranda

4 DF Pedro Geromel

5 MF Casemiro

6 DF Filipe Luis

7 FW Douglas Costa

8 MF Renato Augusto

9 FW Gabriel Jesus

10 FW Neymar

11 MF Philippe Coutinho

12 DF Marcelo

13 DF Marquinhos

14 DF Danilo

15 MF Paulinho

16 GK Cassio

17 MF Fernandinho

18 MF Fred

19 MF Willian

20 FW Roberto Firmino

21 FW Taison

22 DF Fagner

23 GK Ederson

Panama arrive in Saransk for FIFA World Cup
8 June 2018, 3:28 PM

Central American side Panama landed in Saransk, Russia, on Thursday (June 7) as they gear up for their first ever World Cup campaign.

Panama emerged from their Concacaf group in third place, ahead of Honduras and USA, after Roman Torres’ late goal beat already-qualified Costa Rica in their final qualification game last October.

Captain Torres led the players off the plane and they were soon followed by head coach, Hernan Dario Gomez.

Panama are in World Cup Group G alongside Belgium, England and Tunisia and kick off their campaign against the Belgians at the Fisht Stadium in Sochi on Monday June 18.

Ater that they play England in Nizhny Novgorod on Sunday June 24 before rounding off the group stages against Tunisia in Saransk four days later.

On tractor with his dog: German fan takes own pace to World Cup
8 June 2018, 2:54 PM

As soccer fans from around the world begin to congregate in Russia ahead of the World Cup, each person experiences a unique journey. For German fan Hubert Wirth, the journey on a vintage tractor from Germany to Russia can be counted among the most unique ones.

At a speed of 20 kilometers per hour, the fastest that his pre-1960 Lanz Bulldog tractor can reach, Wirth says that making contact with people and enjoying the views of the central European countryside are the important things in the journey. Things that a plane ride can seldom provide.

Accompanied by his trusty dog Hexe, Wirth makes headway to Moscow at his own pace, taking leisurely stops whenever he feels the need to. He even leaves himself the option of switching his mode of transportation, for some variety, with a quality bicycle attached to his trailer.

Wirth plans to reach Moscow in time for Germany’s first game in the tournament against Mexico on June 17. Still holding out hope of acquiring a ticket to that much-anticipated match, Wirth is only sure that he will watch the France-Denmark match in Luzhniki Stadium, and that he will connect with the people of Russia and fans from around the world.

Despite the big “Hello Moscow” stamped on his vehicle, Moscow will be far from the end of Wirth’s journey. He plans to drive north to St Petersburg from where he will take a ferry to Helsinki and make his way home through Denmark.

Wirth is a lifelong motorhead, having worked at Daimler-Benz car manufacturer until its closure in 1998. Speaking with Reuters via telephone (thus the bluetooth earpiece in the corresponding video), Wirth claimed that the Lanz Bulldog tractor is one of many vehicles he restored himself.

 

Spain heads to Russia seeking second World Cup trophy
7 June 2018, 7:11 PM

Spain’s national soccer team travelled on Thursday to their Russian base in Krasnodar ahead of 2018 World Cup where they will try to achieve their second championship victory after the 2010 South Africa win.

After drawing with Switzerland on Sunday Spain will play their last friendly against Tunisia on Saturday.

Julen Lopetegui’s squad will face European champions Portugal on June 15 in Sochi, in their Group B opener which also features Iran and Morocco.

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