On June 12, the world’s eyes will turn to Brazil for the start of the 20th FIFA World Cup, but the planet’s biggest football tournament will have plenty of news and views in the months leading up to it. ESPN FC’s World Cup Daily blog is the place to be.
• Australian midfielder Mark Bresciano has been cleared to play at this year’s World Cup after receiving a reprieve in his four-month ban for an alleged transfer breach. The 33-year-old was handed the FIFA ban and a $1.9 million fine in November after his move from Al Nasr to Al-Gharafa was deemed illegal by the world’s governing body. However, Bresciano fought the case and ultimately won a reprieve through the Court of Arbitration for Sport, meaning that despite the ban remaining in place, the former Parma player has been granted permission to play in Brazil. Read more
• Though Park Ji-Sung said said last year that he would not play for South Korea again, coach Hong Myung Bo wants to talk to him about a recall. "I know he has already said he won't return to the national team," Hong said. "But I haven't heard that directly from him. I would like to meet him and listen to what he has to say." Park's father, Park Sung-Jong, however, is not holding out much hope. "I've been a messenger for Ji-Sung so far," he said. "And at this stage, I don't think he's really changed his mind." Read more at Yonhap
• Sabri Lamouchi will base his Ivory Coast side in Sao Paulo during the World Cup at the Oscar Inn Eco Resort. The coach insisted that the Elephants would have a European training camp, probably in Portugal, and will play a pair of friendlies before travelling to Brazil in June. "We need to go to Brazil with a lot of humility and to come back with our heads held high," he added. Read more at Sport24.
PLUS: The 2022 World Cup in Qatar will not be held in June-July and would best be held in the winter, FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke said on Wednesday. “The dates for the World Cup [in Qatar] will not be June-July,'' Valcke told Radio France. “To be honest, I think it will be held between November 15 and January 15 at the latest," said the second most powerful man in international football's governing body.
Then his employer, FIFA, released a statement saying a decision has yet to be made. Oh dear. Read more
INTERNATIONAL BIRTHDAYS: Andre Bikey (1985), David Silva (1986), Mamadou Diarra (1980).
DID YOU KNOW?
Goalkeeper Nader El-Sayed picked up his 100th cap for Egypt today in 2004, but never played at a World Cup. The Pharaohs lost to Ghana in this year’s African qualifying playoff and have only played in two events before: 1934 and 1990. After he began his international career in 1992, El-Sayed saved 21 kicks in penalty shootouts for country and club but could not help Egypt to the showpiece event before retiring from international football in 2005.
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