Wednesday Kickoff: Beckham yet to sign, USA unmoved in FIFA rankings & more

Wednesday Kickoff: Beckham yet to sign, USA unmoved in FIFA rankings & more

MLS- LA Galaxy

Wednesday Kickoff: Beckham yet to sign, USA unmoved in FIFA rankings & more

MLSHCS20111030253

Photo by Howard C. Smith/ISIphotos.com

Depending on whom you believe, David Beckham is either set to make a dent on the Paris-St. Germain payroll or is still very much a free agent.

Despite front-page reports in France that Beckham has signed an 18-month deal with PSG, people in his camp have strongly denied that a deal has been completed.

"No agreement with any football club has been reached," a Beckham spokesperson said. "Any talk of a deal is premature. David is presently considering his options."

It's not the first time this week that French media have jumped the gun on a PSG signing, which could still very well end up happening. French Football magazine reported that Beckham was attending PSG's match with Lille prior to signing his new deal, but Beckham ended up not even being in Paris at all. 

Here are a few more items to kick off your Wednesday:

USA FINISHES YEAR 34TH IN RANKINGS

The U.S. men's national team will finish 2011 as the 34th-ranked team in the world after not making any moves in the FIFA rankings in the last month.

Granted, there were not a whole lot of international matches since the previous rankings came out, so few teams made moves in the rankings. One mover was Thomas Rongen's American Samoa, which improved 18 places to 168 after its first win ever during World Cup qualifying.

World-champion Spain finished the year as the No. 1 team in the world, while Mexico ends 2011 as the highest-ranked team in CONCACAF, coming in at No. 21.

The highest-ranking teams from the other confederations are fourth-ranked Uruguay (South America), 16th-ranked Ivory Coast (Africa), 19th-ranked Japan (Asia) and 119th-ranked New Zealand (Oceania). 

CHILE BANS FIVE PLAYERS

Chile's 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign got a bit tougher after five of its players were banned 10 games each.

Arturo Vidal, Jean Beausejour, Jorge Valdivia, Carlos Carmona and Gonzalo Jara — all of whom played big roles in the club's 2010 World Cup run — were suspended after reportedly coming back from time off last month both tardy and under the influence of alcohol. They were all left out of Chile's qualifier against Uruguay on Nov. 7, a match that Chile lost, 4-0.

Chile currently sits in fifth place in CONMEBOL qualifying. The top four teams in the region advance to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, while the fifth-place team plays an Asian side in a playoff for another spot.

SOUTH KOREA NAMES NEW COACH

Despite rampant speculation in UK media that former Sunderland manager Steve Bruce would be named South Korea's new national team coach, the country opted to avoid a foreign hiring by choosing Choi Kang-hee as its new boss.

Choi, this past season's K-League Coach of the Year, takes over for the recently fired Cho Kwang-rae.

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Still holding out hope that Beckham returns to MLS, or have you already accepted that he's gone? What do you make of the year-end FIFA rankings? Think Chile ends up making it to Brazil 2014? Where do you see Bruce ending up?

Share your thoughts below.

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