On June 12, the world’s eyes 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:
• Nabil Bentaleb, you've probably heard the name by now if you follow the Premier League (and certainly if you follow Tottenham). Now Spurs boss Tim Sherwood says that the young midfielder could be on the plane to Brazil. "If he carries on the way he is at the moment, he'll be knocking at the door for the French World Cup squad," he said. "He's got to make a decision. I'm not sure how much love the French are showing him now. "He was in the wilderness. The French would have had to come and scout our Under-21s before, but now he's not in the wilderness and everyone is starting to know about him." Read more at Sky Sports.
• Tottenham legends Ossie Ardiles and Ricky Villa are 'fine' after they were involved in a car accident while in Argentina to film ESPN's 30 for 30 documentary about the World Cup in 1978. According to Mercopress, five people were injured on Monday night and were flown to hospital by helicopter, but Ardiles' daughter tweeted that he was 'fine' after a few stitches. Read more.
• FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke says he doesn't expect the World Cup opener in Sao Paulo to be affected by the construction delays at the stadium where a crane collapse killed two workers last year. Read more.
INTERNATIONAL BIRTHDAYS: Alen Boksic (1970), Ricardo Zamora (1901), Nicky Butt (1975).
DID YOU KNOW?
On this day in 1996, Brazil lost the final of the CONCACAF Gold Cup to holders Mexico. By the time they had Andre Luis sent off, they'd already conceded both goals in a 2-0 defeat, although they did put out their under-23 team and the Brazilian FA don't regard the final as a full international, meaning their world record of 45 consecutive internationals without defeat still stands -- Cris Freddi
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