READY FOR THE CUP

The World Cup is once again set to visit a growing economy after it will be held in Brazil for the 2014 edition. The 2006 edition was viewed as a highly successful one, but that is not expected of the upcoming World Cup. This is due to the history of violence in Brazil – especially in the poorer parts of the country. The nation has also been troubled by an uprising against the government after the decision to spend millions and millions of money – given by the taxpayers – on improving the stadiums and not developing the infrastructure.

Brazil is vastly underequipped in terms of transportation and infrastructure and it was seen as the major areas that would get a much-needed overhaul as a result of this World Cup. Yet, the public have been astonished to see the government spending huge amounts of money in creating stadiums, which are unlikely to fill once the tournament is over. The Confederations Cup, which acts as a precursor to the World Cup, was marred by troubles involving the supporters. There was even a danger of the competition being called off as a result of the protests.

England manager Roy Hodgson says that England fans travelling to see the team take part in this tournament should take extra precautions to ensure their safety.

“As far as we [the team] are concerned we are going to have a lot of protection. It’s more for the fans that this is a larger concern. But I have great faith in the government, the local organising committee and FIFA. I have to say that I don’t want to suggest there is no reason for concern. Of course, there is. From my point of view I just have to be trusting in our security, the security of the Brazilian government and all the things that FIFA will do to make it secure for the fans and the players,” said Hodgson.

WALCOTT BLOW

England were left with a major blow with the news that Arsenal winger Theo Walcott was set to miss the World Cup after rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament in the match against Tottenham. As a result, he has been ruled out for the rest of the season. Walcott has been one of the important players for the England national team over the years, but the midfielder is yet to feature in the World Cup. He was taken to the 2006 World Cup as a surprise inclusion by Sven Goran Eriksson, but he did not play a match.

The subsequent tournaments have also been missed by the 24-year-old due to injury. He had to be carried off by a stretcher during the 2-0 win over Tottenham. He did not appear to be in serious pain, but the injury has proven otherwise. Roy Hodgson has admitted that this is indeed a major blow for the national team, who are not expected to win the World Cup. They are the same group containing Uruguay and Italy, which makes them third favourites to qualify for the knockout stages. Costa Rica are the other team in the group.

Walcott has been in fine scoring form for Arsenal since last season, but he has missed most of this campaign. He had only returned from a spell on the sidelines.

“It is such a shame that we have lost a player of his calibre for the World Cup. It is a blow for him personally, and for both Arsenal and England. Having worked with him for two years as England manager I know the character he has, and I know he will come back even stronger from this setback,” said Hodgson.

Despite this injury, sports rehabilitation experts have predicted that there is a chance that Walcott may get fit in time for the World Cup.

READY FOR THE DRAW

As the 32 qualified teams are preparing themselves for the draw that will be held on December 6 in a five-star Atlantic holiday resort in Brazil not everybody is expecting the tournament to go as planned with the 47 years old Brazilian Socialist Party politician and World Cup winner of 1994 Romari de Souza Faria concerned about the process in which it will be held.

‘FIFA are only here in Brazil for the money and to line their pockets,’ he told The Mail on Sunday. ‘Do FIFA care if Brazil has proper transport in the cities or a structural legacy? No. FIFA are just worried whether the stadiums will be ready on time.

‘Who rules in Brazil today? FIFA. They come, put on a circus, pay no tax and take the profit. The greatest benefit from the World Cup will not be left to Brazilian people, but to FIFA, to media groups, to sponsors and to contractors’.

‘I am not surprised that there were huge protests in the streets in the summer and I expect the same again. Our hospitals and schools are underfunded and there are huge social divisions, yet we are wasting billions of pounds of public money on mega-events, starting with the World Cup.’ Romario said.

The opening of the upcoming World Cup is scheduled to be in Sao Paulo on June 12 but an unfortunate event saw 2 construction workers dying after a crane toppled the stadium in the place that is supposed to be the inaugurational event which sets the tone for the remainder of the tournament.

Romario’s main worry is that Brazil will be spending money on football instead of where it should be spent on, its people. After all the preparations are completed the amount of money spent is expected to reach £7.6billion and with a country that has already experienced problems hosting events of this caliber, it really does come into mind if they will be ready to be at the eyes of the world by June 12th.

WATCH THE WOMEN

The largest ever UK audience watched the final of the Women’s Euro 2013 European Championships, with the match being screened on BBC1 whilst the rain smashed down across the whole of Britian, prompting many to stay indoors and stick the TV on.

The Germans won the match (taking an impressive sixth consecutive title) over a hard-working but less-than-magical Norwegian side.

It’s good to dream

England kick off their Euro 2012 campaign surrounded by optimism (it might well be mis-placed, but thats a discussion for a different blogpost!)

None are more optimistic than the national TV channel ITV, who have gone back in time to correct all those misdemeanours that happened on the pitch, and give England reasons to be hopeful! Come on England!

MORATTI UNSURE ON MANAGER

Inter Milan owner Massimo Moratti has said that there is a very good chance that he might appoint current interim manager Andrea Stramaccioni as the next full-time manager of the club. Massimo Moratti decided to sack manager Claudio Ranieri after a poor run of results, which left their hopes of qualifying for the Champions League in tatters. Even though it looks highly unlikely that Inter Milan will be able to make it into the top three with only one match remaining, Massimo Moratti is thought to be extremely happy with the performances under Andrea Stramaccioni. The 36-year-old has done a great job with the team so far.

He helped Inter Milan to a 4-2 win over arch rivals AC Milan during the weekend. However, results under Claudio Ranieri were so poor that even with such kind of performances, they are struggling to finish in the top three. Inter Milan would require Udinese to lose their final match of the campaign along with various other results to go their way in order to finish in the top three. However, Massimo Moratti is thought to be extremely impressed with the way the former youth team manager Stramaccioni has turned things around. As a result, Stramaccioni is very likely to get the job as the full-time manager of Inter Milan next season.

“Yes I believe so. In any case when we signed him in a gesture which he considered to be mad, in reality, in my opinion, it was an intelligent solution and hence, I believe we can continue like this. He is a young guy that nevertheless seems to have an experience that allows him to do things well,” said owner Moratti when asked about the future of Stramaccioni. Stramaccioni’s relationship with the players has been one of the key reasons for him to be getting the results according to Moratti.