Wednesday Kickoff: Marquee friendlies galore, Milan official drops Balotelli slur, and more

Wednesday Kickoff: Marquee friendlies galore, Milan official drops Balotelli slur, and more

South American Soccer

Wednesday Kickoff: Marquee friendlies galore, Milan official drops Balotelli slur, and more

BY DAN KARELL

For the first time in nearly three months, international football returns to most of the world, with European powerhouses highlighting Wednesday’s FIFA international schedule.

England, in their Football Association’s 150th birthday year, are hosting Neymar and Brazil at Wembley Stadium, with the match being Luiz Felipe Scolari’s first since he took charge of Brazil for the second time. Neymar has already created controversy, stating that England has no chance of winning the World Cup in 2014.

England meanwhile will be partnering Jack Wilshere with Steven Gerrard in the center of midfield, as Roy Hodgson looks to find the perfect combination for his England side, who currently sit in second place of Group H.

Also on display this Wednesday, second ranked Germany travels to Paris, to take on France, seeing Frank Ribery taken on many of his current Bayern Munich teammates at the Stade de France, while a defensively frail Italian side travel to Amsterdam to take on the Netherlands. Stephen El Sharaway and Mario Balotelli will highlight a young, but supremely talented Italian attack.

Spain play against current South American champions Uruguay in Qatar, while Lionel Messi and Argentina will visit Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Sweden in the Friends Arena in Stockholm.

Here are some other stories to get your Wednesday started:

BALOTELLI RECEIVES ABUSE FROM MILAN VP

It may not be surprising that Mario Balotelli is in the news again, but the reasons why are definitely cause for alarm.

Just days after completing his transfer to AC Milan from Manchester City, Balotelli has already begun receiving racial abuse, and this time from within his own club.

The brother of Milan owner Silvio Berlusconi, Paolo Berlusconi, referred to Balotelli using racially derogatory language while speaking at a political meeting in Monza, just outside of Milan. The club had already been in the news recently for the brave stance that Kevin Prince-Boateng took during a match in January against Pro Patria.

QUICK KICKS

Lazio striker Miroslav Klose has been ruled out for up to two months after suffering a gruesome knee-injury last Saturday. (REPORT)

Portugal’s Sporting Lisbon’s entire board of directors has resigned, as the club sit in ninth place in the Portuguese league table. (REPORT)

Hungarian club Debrecen have confirmed the reports that their 2009 Champions League match against Liverpool was fixed. (REPORT)

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What do you think of these reports? Do you think that Neymar is correct in thinking England have no shot? Do you see AC Milan or UEFA taking any action against Paolo Berlusconi? Do you believe that Mexico can continue their winning ways in competitive matches?

Share your thoughts below.

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