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:
• Cape Verde have lost their latest appeal for their World Cup expulsion to be overturned. Cape Verde finished top of CAF Qualifying Group B but had the result of their 2-0 victory over Tunisia overturned after FIFA ruled that Fernando Varela had been ineligible to play. Tunisia were awarded a 3-0 win and thus finished above Cape Verde, before going on to lose a playoff against Cameroon. Cape Verde have pushed hard to have their expulsion quashed but the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has now upheld FIFA's decision, labelling the appeal "unfouded" -- so there will be no sign of the African minnows in Brazil.
• St Etienne goalkeeper Stephane Ruffier has told RMC he hopes he can produce performances that convince Didier Deschamps he is worth a place in France's World Cup squad. Hugo Lloris and Steve Mandanda are firmly in place as Les Bleus' top two keepers, Ruffier is just behind Bastia's Mickael Landreau in the pecking order. "I am working every day for that, but there has been an established hierarchy for quite some time," Ruffier said. "It's up to me to continue putting in great performances to make the national team coach think... I've always respected the coach's decisions. There are three goalkeepers, I'm the fourth. I'm going to work to make Didier Deschamps think -- and, if I manage to do that, so much the better." FULL STORY
• Mexico coach Miguel Herrera has his say on Carlos Vela not wanting to play in World Cup due to continuing differences with country's FA. "It is very strange because there is Zlatan [Ibrahimovic] saying how frustrated he is not to be able to play the world as his country have been eliminated, or Radamel Falcao with an injury which could leave him out," Herrera said. "The player did not tell me he was dissatisfied with anyone. His thoughts and commitment are just with his club [Real Sociedad]. I do not share his opinion, but I respect it. I need players who are at 100 percent to be able to make an impression at the World Cup."
INTERNATIONAL BIRTHDAYS: Carlos Tevez (1984), Cristiano Ronaldo (1985), Neymar (1992), Gheorghe Hagi (1965)
DID YOU KNOW?
On this day in 2010, Francisco Varallo -- whose record number of goals for Boca Juniors was only broken a year previous -- celebrated his 100th birthday. The last survivor from the first World Cup Final (July 30, 1930), he was Argentina's captain when they won the 1937 Copa America and died the following August as one of the oldest international footballers ever -- Cris Freddi
You can contribute your thoughts on the World Cup by taking part in our Medium Project. Just click this link and get writing.