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FIFA bans Mutko from election

Blog - FIFA
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 By Nick Ames

France and England cruising to World Cup in Russia, Portugal can't slip up

The ESPN FC crew discuss criticisms of UEFA's World Cup qualifying format.

The UEFA qualifiers for World Cup 2018 reach their halfway stage at the weekend but who has one foot in the finals already, and who has it all to do?

In the driving seat

France sit three points clear at the top of Group A and with their nearest rivals facing tougher assignments, have an excellent chance of improving their position away at Luxembourg. The minnows have improved in recent years and ran both Sweden and the Netherlands close at home for long periods on previous matchdays. All eyes, though,...

Europe lacks countries who could host 48-team World Cup - UEFA president

Gianni Infantino delves into FIFA's 48-team revamp of the World Cup and what it means for football development.

Only a few European countries would be able to host a 48-team World Cup, UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin has said.

In January, FIFA decided to expand the tournament from 32 to 48 teams for the 2026 tournament.

Speaking during a visit to the Czech football federation's headquarters, Ceferin said it was hard to find many countries capable of providing a dozen suitable stadiums.

''I think maybe two countries, three countries in Europe, not more,'' he said. ''Nobody in Africa, maybe China, maybe U.S....

ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Spartak Moscow fans respond to BBC Russian hooligan film with banner

Spartak Moscow fans unveil a banner in their match against rivals Lokomotiv Moscow.

Spartak Moscow fans unfurled a banner in response to the BBC's documentary, Russia's Hooligan Army, in which England fans were warned they are "100 percent guaranteed" to be targeted at the 2018 World Cup.

The banner, which was displayed during Spartak's 1-1 draw at Lokomotiv Moscow on Saturday, branded the BBC the "Blah Blah Channel."

A hooligan, known as Denis and the leader of the "Orel Butchers" group that was at the centre of the Marseille violence, said in the documentary which aired in February:...

Russia defender Vasily Berezutsky retires from international football

Vasily Berezutsky pictured during training with the Russia national team in October 2016.
Vasily Berezutsky is Russia's third most-capped player ever.

Russia defender Vasily Berezutsky retired from international football on Friday, one year before his country hosts the World Cup.

Berezutsky, 35, played 101 games for his country after making his debut in 2003, and hopes international retirement will prolong his club career with CSKA Moscow.

Russia coach Stanislav Cherchesov has experimented with various defenders in recent friendlies, with largely unimpressive results, including a loss to Qatar.

"Taking into account my age and most importantly,...

Brazil to play Germany next year for first time since 7-1 World Cup loss

Brazil will face Germany in a friendly in March of 2018.

RIO DE JANEIRO -- Germany and Brazil will meet next year on the field for the first time since the 7-1 rout in the World Cup semifinals.

The game, announced by the Brazilian football confederation (CBF) on Friday, is scheduled for the Olympic Stadium in Berlin on March 27, 2018, only a few months before the next World Cup in Russia.