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:
• Eden Hazard has been speaking about Belgium's hopes this summer. "We know our strengths," Hazard said. "Few teams are better individually. Marc Wilmots is someone I appreciate a lot. He gives me confidence. There is nothing better for a player than to be applauded and encouraged by his own supporters." Belgium face Algeria, Russia and South Korea in Group H. Full story.
• After being critical of Manaus hosting matches at the 2014 World Cup, England boss Roy Hodgson has changed his tune somewhat. Hodgson wrote to the city's mayor, saying: "We are extremely happy to be visiting your city as part of our World Cup experience; I know the city of Manaus will be a fine location for our team to be based ahead of the Group Stage match against Italy." Full story (Sky News).
• A high-ranking FIFA employee has been quoted as telling the Welt am Sonntag newspaper that taking the 2022 World Cup away from Qatar is a "serious option." Full story.
INTERNATIONAL BIRTHDAYS: Carlos Gamarra (1971), Guiseppe Signori (1968), Sergei Baltacha (1958)
DID YOU KNOW?
On this day in 1993, Ireland's David O'Leary ended his international career. It began 16 years earlier, but for this friendly with Wales in Dublin he was made captain for the first time in nearly 12 years, yet was injured in a collision with Gary Speed after two minutes. The game was held up, but the treatment didn't work and O'Leary was stretchered off and substituted -- 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.