FIFA President Blatter awards Brazil 9.25 mark for special World Cup

first_imgBrazil got 9.25 out of 10 from FIFA President Sepp Blatter for organizing a World Cup that was “very special” because of high quality football.Giving his tournament report on Monday, Blatter also criticized the organization he heads for not better tackling incidents of fan discrimination in stadiums.Blatter said he spoke with Russia President Vladimir Putin at Sunday’s final about making the issue a priority at the 2018 World Cup there.That tournament will be the third straight involving a huge building project of stadiums and public works in one of the BRICS group of emerging nations.”We have improved, you have improved, Brazil has improved since South Africa,” said Blatter, who awarded a 9 mark four years ago to another World Cup which defied doubts and tight deadlines during troubled preparation.The players and matches have been widely acclaimed in Brazil after so many disappointed in South Africa. Blatter said he knew when the Netherlands beat Spain 5-1 in the tournament’s third match that this time would be different.”Especially in the second half,” Blatter said, meaning the Dutch team’s four-goal rout of the defending champion. “Something was on in this World Cup, something very special.”Still, many Brazilian people remain unhappy at their government and the estimated $13 billion spent for the 32-day tournament.Blatter dismissed jeers targeted at him and Brazil state President Dilma Rousseff when they presented the trophy at Maracana Stadium on Sunday to Germany captain Philipp Lahm.”This is normal,” said Blatter, who was booed also at the 2010 final in Johannesburg. “If you are in this business you have to live with that.” Russia’s Putin-backed World Cup has a $20 billion budget, including building or renovating 12 stadiums, plus additional rail projects.Blatter suggested that could be reduced to 10 venues in talks scheduled in September with organizers.”We are in discussions now what is the ideal number,” said Blatter, suggesting a “feasible, reasonable, controllable” project to avoid white elephant stadiums.Russian organizing committee head Alexei Sorokin said after Blatter’s briefing that there had been no talks yet and there were no plans to cut stadiums, though FIFA had the final decision.On football matters, Blatter said he was “a little bit surprised” to present the trophy for best player to Lionel Messi, whose Argentina team lost the final after he failed to score since the group stage. The FIFA leader would not be drawn on the merit of a nine-match, four-month ban imposed on Uruguay forward Luis Suarez for biting an Italy opponent.”I feel that such a punishment it hurts, it hurts,” Blatter said. “I do hope he will be back.”Suarez has completed a transfer from Liverpool to Barcelona, and will ask the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland to freeze the ban during his appeal process.”He is now in the one of the greatest clubs in the world and I do hope he will have a place there,” Blatter said.Blatter declined comment on an investigation by Rio de Janeiro police into alleged ticket scalping involving a longtime FIFA commercial services provider, MATCH. FIFA fought against illegal ticket sales “at 1,000 percent,” secretary general Jerome Valcke said.”I am sure that there will be other stories but what you cannot say is that FIFA is not fighting permanently against this business,” Valcke said.last_img read more

Everton line-up v Young Boys: winger to make rare start?

first_img 1 1 Everton travel to Switzerland on Thursday evening to play Young Boys in the first leg of their Europa League last 32 tie, live on talkSPORT, from 6pm. Everton travel to Switzerland on Thursday evening to play Young Boys in the first leg of their Europa League last 32 tie, live on talkSPORT, from 6pm.The Toffees, who topped their qualifying group in the competition, travelled without eight players, including Leighton Baines and Aiden McGeady.Arouna Kone, Steven Pienaar, and Leon Osman played for the club’s under-21s on Monday as they work back to full fitness, but Tony Hibbert and Sylvain Distin are out.Transfer deadline day loan signing Aaron Lennon is cup-tied after playing for Tottenham earlier in the competition, but on-loan Chelsea winger Christian Atsu could feature after starring for Ghana as they reached the African Cup of Nations final.Possible Everton line-up against Young Boys: GoalkeeperTim Howard returned between the sticks for the Toffees’ visit to Chelsea last week and the American performed well in his first game back since December.DefenceEverton’s defensive record has been their Achilles heel this season, but with three clean sheets in their last four games, confidence will be high.Bryan Oviedo will continue in place for the injured Baines, while Seamus Coleman will look to supply the service for Romelu Lukaku down the right.MidfieldJames McCarthy came on at half-time at Stamford Bridge last week, but with Roberto Martinez wary of the midfielder’s fitness following a month-long absence with a hamstring injury, he could start from the bench again.Ross Barkley should start and the pressure is on the young Englishman to perform, after failing to hit the heights of last season.Atsu will be raring to go after impressive displays at the Africa Cup of Nations, but the Ghanaian may have settle for a place on the bench.AttackLukaku will spearhead the Everton attack and the Belgian will be determined to silence his critics and justify his £28m price-tag.Everton fans, how do you think you’ll line-up against Young Boys? Comment below…last_img read more