Outer space: the Russia World Cup stadium with a novel seating extension

Architects working on the Ekaterinburg Arena have come up with a unique answer to the tricky question of how to fulfill World Cup minimum capacity of 35,000 spectators

World Cup stadia come in all shapes and sizes but next year’s tournament in Russia will violate new ground with fans at one venue seated outside.

Architects working on the Ekaterinburg Arena have come up with a unique answer to the tricky topic: how do you seat the Fifa-sanctioned minimum of 35,000 spectators when the stadium has a capability of many thousands less? Simply build a stand outside.

FIFA World Cup (@ FIFAWorldCup)

The Ekaterinburg Arena is beginning to look

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South Africa v Senegal World Cup qualifier to be replayed after referee ban

Fifa has ordered a World Cup qualifier between South Africa and Senegal be replayed after the referee awarded a penalty for a nonexistent handball

Fifa has ordered the World Cup qualifier between South Africa and Senegal be replayed after the referee awarded a penalty for a nonexistent handball and was banned for life for match manipulation.

The game, which South Africa won 2-1 in November last year, will be replayed this November on a date still to be decided. It says it made the decision to order a replay after the court of arbitration for athletic upheld a life forbid for the referee in question, Joseph Lamptey of Ghana.

Fifa observed Lamptey guilty of breaching the rule relating to” unlawfully influencing match results “.

He devoted a penalty for a nonexistent handball against the Senegal defender Kalidou Koulibaly during the game in Polokwane, South Africa. Replays showed the ball struck Koulibaly’s knee and dropped to the ground.

South Africa scored the penalty and went on to win the qualifier for their only victory so far in the final round of qualifiers in Africa. A different result could have a big impact on the South Africa-Senegal group. Senegal trail the joint-leaders Burkina Faso and Cape Verde by a point.

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World Cup qualifying: 10 talking points from this weeks action

Its time for Gareth Southgate to fell Joe Hart, Aaron Hughes exemplifies Northern Irelands ambition and Ben Woodburn has once again proved himself for Wales

1) Time for Southgate to be ruthless and drop Hart

Before video games against Malta and Slovakia Gareth Southgate indicated no other goalkeeper had” staked a strong enough claim” to take over from Joe Hart. It seems a strange statement given the fine form and obvious talent of Jack Butland and Jordan Pickford. It is an oddity of the goalkeeping position that, while mistakes are always highlighted, it generally takes a run of howlers to lose your place. Sustained middling form, or the mild uncertainty that Hart has emanated for more than a year doesn’t seem to be enough. Southgate missed a chance in the current violate to demonstrate a little ruthlessness and address this. In the event Hart failed to get a hand on the first shooting on target across the two games, Stanislav Lobotka’s goal at Wembley poked past a starfish-pose-by-numbers England keeper. Tournament games come down to fine details, just as a goalie at the top of his powers can disguise many failings.” Showing faith in your human” is one thing. Right now Hart looks like the last outpost of the undroppable celebrity player culture that blighted successive England squads. Barney Ronay

* Match report: England 2 Slovakia 1
* FA tells it can back up Dele Alli over one-finger salute
* Southgate kudoes Rashford and Manchester United

2) Veteran Hughes embodies Northern Ireland’s determination

In the case of Northern Ireland statistics do tell an accurate tale of their remarkable achievement in finishing second in Group C and, in all likelihood, procuring a place in the World Cup play-offs. A record five consecutive wins, over 10 hours without confessing a aim, seven clean sheets in eight qualifiers- the finest defensive return in Europe- and beating the Czech Republic for the first time at Windsor Park on Monday with merely 28% possession; 72% possession countings for nothing when you do not difficulty Michael McGovern once in the Northern Ireland goal. It again underlines Michael O’Neill’s outstanding organisation that the defensive record may proceed with an injury-hit back-line against the Czechs and San Marino. The is a lack of Gareth McAuley and Craig Cathcart heightened responsibility on the 37 -year-old Aaron Hughes in the double-header. A veteran who received his first international call-up almost 20 years ago excelled. His central defensive partner Jonny Evans reflected:” He was my human of the match against the Czechs but he’s not get my champagne. He dragged me through the game. I was feeling it in the last half hour and here’s this guy who’s 37 operating past me to push out and clear the box. He inspired me to get through video games. He’s a great role model .” Andy Hunter

* Match report: Northern Ireland 2-0 Czech Republic
* Evans says Manchester City interest spurred him on to improve

3) Woodburn again presents he is the real deal for Wales

Well, “hes been gone” and did it again. Ben Woodburn, the 17 -year-old Liverpool prodigy, scored the winning objective on his international debut on Saturday. In Moldova on Tuesday he provided a jet-heeled assist to give Wales a crucial breakthrough. The accuracy of his control while operating Vitalie Bordian ragged down the left flank was an indication of the player’s pedigree, as was his cross that zipped along the six-yard line. Hal Robson-Kanu foresaw the ball, adjusted his body and threw his head at it, leaving the goalkeeper with no chance. Up until that phase, Moldova had defended deep and defended well, but fortune favours the brave and Chris Coleman went for it. In the first half his Wales team were stodgy. But in the second they came out with clear instructions to press higher. Fifteen minutes later and Woodburn came on. Ultimately with just over 20 minutes remaining Coleman paired Sam Vokes with Robson-Kanu and the pressure became relentless. It was a deserved outcome even if it took a moment of individual class to unlock it. Second place is now Wales’ to lose. Paul MacInnes

* Match report: Moldova 0-2 Wales

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4) Ireland must hope Hogan can have a striking impact

In a route the Republic of Ireland’s defeat by Serbia was more deflating for their fans than the abomination in Georgia had been three days previously. Because against Serbia Ireland played close to the best that they can play but still were not good enough. They have scored two objectives in four home matches and Martin O’Neill told afterwards that he wished he could call on someone such as a young Robbie Keane. If such a player were to appear again, it would have little to do with the developmental efforts of O’Neill’s employers. As it happens, O’Neill’s striking options may be enhanced in time for next month’s showdown with Wales: the Aston Villa forward Scott Hogan, having proclaimed for the country of his forefathers at the age of 25, could be parachuted straight into the Ireland team. A short-term fix to a deep-rooted problem? Paul Doyle

* Match report: Republic of Ireland 0 Serbia 1

5) Syria’s incredible run may not be over yet

Sometimes football’s impact renders terms unnecessary and that was certainly the case when a Syrian television commentator broke down in tears after witnessing his country secure an Asian play-off place with an unlikely late equaliser in Iran. The Syria team’s story is a complex one and perhaps not your standard feelgood affair; you may query whether they represent a regime or a nation but it certainly does no harm to admires the sporting accomplishment of a squad that has been forced to play its home games in Malaysia and was given scant hope at the outset.


The giant striker Omar Al Somah, scorer of that equaliser, had only this month returned from self-imposed international exile; he plays his football in Saudi Arabia and so does the gifted forward Omar Khribin, who is one of his continent’s most exciting players and can seriously trouble Australia in next month’s two-legged tie-in. More than anything, Syria are a proper team- tough, technically adept and wonderfully coached by Ayman Hakeem. The natural tendency is to suppose they have reached their limit but nobody who watched a few cases of their qualifiers will be in much doubt that they have a chance of beating Australia. The prospect of an intercontinental play-off against the US after that would be quite another matter; for now it is enough to savour what they have done so far. Nick Ames

* Syria reaching World Cup play-off with Australia after late equaliser
* Socceroos must face Syria after Saudi Arabia take finals spot
* Socceroos lose game of inches as scrutiny falls on Postecoglou

6) Is David Silva Spain’s greatest ever player?

David Silva scored the pick of Spain’s eight goals against Liechtenstein on Tuesday night, curling a left-footed free-kick beyond the reach of Peter Jehle as Spain recorded their highest ever victory away from home. The Manchester City midfielder, who is not a regular penalty taker for our own countries, has scored 33 objectives for our own countries* and sits fourth in the top goalscorer records for Spain’s national squad behind three strikers: Fernando Torres( 38 ), Raul( 44) and David Villa( 59 ), an astounding return for a footballer renowned more for his creative nous than goalscoring prowess. Although there are no records available for the number of assistances Silva has provided on the international stage, it is almost certainly even more mind-boggling considering Spain’s pre-eminence between 2006 and 2012 and the fact that he has notched up 66 in 223 Premier League appearances since joining Manchester City in the summer of 2010. Aged 31, he could yet overtake Torres and perhaps even Raul in the scoring charts and, devoted his country’s successes during his pomp, is arguably a contender for the commendation of Spain’s greatest player of any epoch.*( spotter’s badge @giveittosilva) Barry Glendenning

7) Time for out-of-date Hampden to find its roaring again

A fascinating subplot to Scotland’s crucial meeting with Slovakia next month relates to match venue. Hampden Park, once a venue afforded iconic status as Scotland conquered all before them, is now widely regarded as a relic the country can easily do without. The Scottish FA is known to be considering the abandonment of Hampden after it is used as a Euro 2020 venue. Three sides of the stadium are out of date, access is poor and acoustics similarly. The visit of Malta on Monday, while barely a marquee occasion, was against a horrendously flat backdrop. Such a scenario has become common. Conservatives will vehemently object to a Hampden exit. Players, too, might want to retain the appeal of their own nationals stadium rather than stimulating routine visits to Celtic Park, Ibrox, Tynecastle or Easter Road. The significance of the Slovakia tie entails a gripping atmosphere is to be hoped for. In its absence, a wider debate will ensue. Ewan Murray

* Match report: Scotland 2 Malta 0
* Strachan not astonished reversal of fortune

8) Salah takes Egypt to the verge of World Cup return

It has been a long, hard road back to football relevance for Egypt but they are tantalisingly close to a first World Cup appearance since 1990 and the identity of their inspiration is little astonish. Mohamed Salah has made a vibrant start to the season with Liverpool but, like the rest of his team-mates, was subdued during the course of its 1-0 defeat in Uganda last Thursday; that needed to be put right when the sides met again in Alexandria and he duly scored the win, his 30 th international aim in just 55 caps, six minutes in. But for the visiting goalkeeper Denis Onyango, Salah would have scored a couple more; “the worlds biggest” painting is that a home victory over Republic of the Congo next month, coupled with anything bar a Uganda win over Ghana, will volume them a place in Russia with a game to spare.

That is one of several tempting scenarios in a thrilling situate of African qualifiers that should, in many cases, go to the wire. Salah’s club-mate, Sadio Mane, appeared to have set Senegal in the driving seat of a wide-open Group D with a late aim in Burkina Faso, but the Stallions hit back to draw and are the best bet for a new African presence at next year’s tournament. Ivory Coast could hardly have expected the 2-1 home defeat to Gabon, three days after beating the same opponents 3-0 away, that has abruptly tightened up Group C. If Salah and Egypt keep their heads, they should at last banish such concerns to the past. NA

Mohamed Salah scored his 30 th objective in 55 caps for Egypt as they beat Uganda in Alexandria. Photo: Khaled Elfiqi/ EPA

9) Chile slowing up and in danger of crashing out

Chile’s hopes of a World Cup place hang by a thread and , not for the first time, the suppose occurs that a wonderful generation of players is collectively slowing up. If a 3-0 home defeat to Paraguay, perhaps not aided by the insulting deadline-day lunacy around Alexis Sanchez, was problematic then losing to an already-eliminated Bolivia on Tuesday night may have been a fatal jolt. They can describe comfort from the fact that Argentina and a dazzlingly in-form Peru play one another next, which entails a play-off place should not be impossible; the wider point is that a lot of the old energy is lack and that should be no astonish. Chile have played 51 full internationals since their elimination by Brazil at the 2014 World Cup; the Peruvians, to give one example, have played 40 in that time and perhaps a phenomenally successful core of footballers that have been together for a decade are starting to burn out. Sanchez is 28 and Arturo Vidal 30; there are plenty older than them and only two of the squad that vied this month were under 25. Under previous managers Marcelo Bielsa and Jorge Sampaoli they played at a ferocious tempo and that cannot be sustained eternally. There were a few signs of wear at the Confederations Cup, a tournament they should still have won, and with a younger generation slow in coming through you fear Chile is a possibility reaching the end of their natural cycle. NA

10) Iceland demonstrate they are no flash in the pan

Iceland stimulated plenty of friends following their qualification for France 2016 and their unlikely subsequent foray into the quarter-finals of the same tournament, but their progress- or absence of it- afterwards was always going to be interesting. Despite the deviation of co-manager Lars Lagerback after their adventures in France, the squad he left behind has maintained its excellent progress and sits joint top of what is arguably the toughest European qualification group for next year’s World Cup, behind Croatia on aim difference. With Turkey and Ukraine inhaling down the necks of both countries, Group I remains tight as a drum and Iceland may not qualify. Nevertheless, the fact that they are in an excellent position to win the group with two matches to go proves that a squad who would, as recently as four years ago, been considered cannon fodder are a genuine force to be reckoned with and should be treated as such for some time to come. BG

* Football, fire and ice: the inside story of Iceland’s remarkable rise

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Morocco to challenge North American joint bid to host 2026 World Cup

Morocco announced a last-minute challenge to the joint proposal of the United States, Mexico and Canada for the right to host the 2026 World Cup

Morocco has announced it will bid to host the 2026 World Cup, positioning itself as a last-minute challenger to the joint bid from the United States, Mexico and Canada.

The Moroccan football federation unveiled the bid on Friday with a brief two-sentence statement, corroborating it had submitted a formal application to the relevant Fifa committees. The announcement came hours before Fifas deadline for countries to confirm their intention to bid, and denies the North American bid an unopposed victory at the eleventh hour.

The US-Mexico-Canada bid, first reported by the Guardian and formally announced at an April news conference in New York City, remains the overwhelming favorite to win hosting rights for the 2026 tournament. A successful joint bid would mark the first time the Football world cup has been hosted by multiple countries since the 2002 tournament in South Korea and Japan.

Under the proposal, the US will host 60 games including every match from the quarter-finals onwards with Mexico and Canada dividing the remaining 20 fixtures equally. The United States previously hosted the Football world cup in 1994, and that 24 -team, 52 -match tournament still holds the attendance record( with nearly 3.6 million spectators ), despite a subsequent expansion of the format to 32 squads and 64 matches.

Mexico hosted the tournament in 1970 and 1986, while Canada hosted the womens World Cup in 2015.

In May, Fifa announced a four-stage bidding process for the 2026 tournament with a final decision in May 2020. It later confirmed that the previous two World Cup hosts, Europe and Asia, will not be eligible to host the tournament.

That left North Americas Concacaf( which last hosted in 1994 ), Africas CAF( which last hosted in 2010 ), South Americas Conmebol( Brazil in 2014) and Oceanias OFC( never ).

The CAF offered its backing to the Moroccan bid last month, and Morocco could spring an upset if it can broker an adequate voting confederation. Europe has 55 members in the Congress, Africa 54, Asia 46, Concacaf 35, Oceania 11 and South America 10.

Fifa will now inspect the two finalists bids and report to the governing bodys member associations by March. The final referendum will take place at the Fifa congress in June.

Weve always been prepared for the fact that other countries could also decide to bid for the 2026 FIFA World Cup, US Soccer president Sunil Gulati said in a statement on Friday. Competition is good, and overall it shows the value and importance of the World Cup.

Over the next eight months weve got a lot of work to do.

The North American bid is bolstered by a fleet of gleaming new NFL stadia built over the past two decades that are suitable for international matches, which puts it in step with the cost-conscious, infrastructure-ready leanings of the day.

But Morocco, which would become only the second African nation to host a World Cup after South Africa in 2010, has six soccer stadiums with 45,000 seats or more already in use, meaning it would not require as much new construction as previous host nations.

The North African country with long coastlines along the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea previously bid for the Football world cup in 1994, 1998, 2006 and 2010.

Two years ago, the Daily Telegraph reported that Morocco had, in fact, won the vote to host the 2010 competitor even though Fifa awarded the tournament to South Africa. Morocco also came close in its campaign for the 1998 tournament, losing to France in the final round by a margin of 12 to seven.

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World Cup qualifier: USA draw with Mexico after Michael Bradley wonder goal

A superb strike from Michael Bradley dedicated the US a bonus point in the quest to reaching next years World Cup and a big psychological boost

A superb strike from Michael Bradley gave the US a bonus point in the quest to reach next years World Cup, and a big psychological boost.

A squad still finding their feet under Bruce Arena shrugged off a dismal history at the Estadio Azteca to assert a draw on Sunday night, seeming liberated by the lack of pressure that comes with restriction expectations.

The captain, whose attacking prowess has not been to the fore in recent matches, intercepted the ball in midfield in the sixth minute, dashed forward and, spotting the goalkeeper out of stance, chipped him from 40 yards for a sensational opening goal. The shoot sank over Guillermo Ochoa in a mesmerising arc: a piece of craftsmanship, imagination and beauty so perfect that a video replay should run on an endless loop in a permanent exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Planet Ftbol (@ si_soccer)

WHAT. A. GOAL.( Via @FOXSoccer) https :// t.co/ essdEgwgt6 #MEXvUSA

June 12, 2017

Obviously it gave us an advantage early on, Bradley told Fox Sports 1. They had a lot of the ball but tactically video games ran the route we expected any time you get a point here its great, the mentality and specific commitments from every guy was really good. Bradley nearly scored again from distance inside the last 20 minutes with a thunderbolt that clipped the outside of a post.

Carlos Vela scored Mexicos goal, but a point was most welcome and fully merited for the US after an obdurate display in Mexico City against the side that results academic qualifications standings. The US moved level on phases with Costa Rica, who the hell is second, although the Americans have played a game more.

Since Mexico won the previous meeting between the teams, the outcome also stands as a yardstick indicating improvements since Arena became coach-and-four. We had let a lot of little things drop and I believe Bruce has come in and done a really good job, Bradley said in his post-match interview.

Mexico beat Honduras 3-0 last Thursday and – in stark contrast to their commotion four years ago – have seemed impressive in this qualifying campaign under their coach, Juan Carlos Osorio, a Colombian who is a former coach-and-four of the Chicago Fire and New York Red Bulls and a one-time student in Liverpool.

They also looked good a year ago in the Copa America Centenario before the bizarre blip in the quarter-finals when they lost 7-0 to eventual winners Chile. Here they were missing the injured Rafael Marquez, Miguel Layun and Andres Guardado, though Carlos Salcedo made an unexpected recovery from a leg injury.

Starting off the final Hexagonal round of Concacaf qualification, Mexico beat the US 2-1 in Columbus, Ohio, last November thanks to a late Marquez goal. It was an occasion freighted with political as well as sporting importation, three days after the election of a certain former failed athletics franchise owned to the White House.

The outcome objective the Americans 30 -game home unbeaten run in World Cup qualifiers as well as the dos a cero scoreline streak. When the US lost to Costa Rica a couple of days later, Jurgen Klinsmanns tenure as head coach-and-four was doomed.

Arena had said after the win over Trinidad& Tobago last week that he would change the team; he transformed it, with seven new names in the starting XI. Perhaps most astonishingly, the in-form Tim Howard, who played in the Americans merely win at the Azteca, a 1-0 friendly victory in 2012, was rested and replaced in objective by Brad Guzan.

Geoff Cameron, Bradley, DeAndre Yedlin and Christian Pulisic were the only four to retain their places; left back Jorge Villafana was injured. The energetic 21 -year-old, Kellyn Acosta, of FC Dallas, came in to act as a midfield disrupter in a formation that was a 3-4-3 in possession. It is the kind of dramatic rotation that, were Klinsmann still in the dug-out, might have inspired insinuations about his competence and/ or sanity. But Arenas pedigree, demeanor and the current performances of the team inspire more trust in his judgment.

The short rest between games was undoubtedly one factor; another, perhaps, was that with three points collected against T& T, Arena could afford to experiment at a venue where avoiding defeat felt likely to be a long-shot no matter who he picked.
While Arena understandably fretted about the health risks physical effects of the Aztecas high altitude its factor as a competitive advantage risked being exaggerated; only two of the Mexico line-up play their club football in the country. The pace of video games scarcely dipped as the night wear on, with both teams attempting a winner.

The 18 -year-old Pulisic has become the USs get-out-of-mediocrity free card, as “hes in” the fitful 2-0 win over bottom side T& T in the Denver suburbs last Thursday, scoring two second-half aims. On Sunday, though quieter, he made an adroit run and pass to set up a chance for Yedlin late in the first half, and an audacious attempted sand-wedge of a pass through the back line that was cleared.

Pulisic had boldly predicted victory ahead of this game. He had the opportunity to stimulate his prophecy come true with two minutes remaining as he fashioned an enticing chance, but shot wide from the leading edge of the area. This time, for once, he would not be the headline-maker.

It was the kind of intense occasion that would have benefitted from firm officiating. But in the first three minutes, Salcedo was lucky to escape a booking for an elbow on DaMarcus Beasley, and seconds later, ought to have been sent off for another flailing limb that caught Bobby Wood.

Then arrived Bradley: it was the Toronto FC midfielders second international objective since July 2015 and a rare moment of adversity under Osorio; merely the second aim Mexico had confessed in six Hex matches.

Chicharito should have levelled after 20 minutes when set clear, but with the ball ricochet, mishit his lob over Guzan and injured himself colliding with the goalkeeper, though he played on. The competition was tied soon after. On the counter-attack, Beasley in his US-record fifth cycle of World Cup qualifiers was unable to stop Vela cutting inside and dribbling along the leading edge of the penalty area, giving him enough of an slant to lash a low shoot beyond Guzan. The US defender Omar Gonzalez fluffed a free header inside Mexicos box as both teams looked dangerous, but went in at the infringe locked at 1-1.

More direct than Mexico who worked the ball from side to side in search of space that the visitors largely closed down effectively the US were spirited in the second half and made a couple of half-chances.

Still, Mexico virtually scored again with 20 minutes left as Hector Herrera cannoned a free kick off Guzans crossbar. Then arrived Bradleys effort that reached the post. As rainfall has declined in Mexico City, the Americans held on amid late pressure.

With a goalscoring turn from one of his starrings and solid showings from lesser lightings, Arenas choice of players was vindicated and indicates a degree of depth that will give him the kind of selection problems that all managers enjoy as the US heads into this summers Gold Cup feeling good about making it to Russia.

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