World Cup Qualifying

Thursday Kickoff: Uruguay book ticket to Brazil; Ribery out of Dortmund clash; and more

UruguayCelebrateQualifyingWorldCup2014 (Getty)


The field of 32 for the 2014 World Cup is set.

Uruguay became the final nation to qualify for the World Cup after its scoreless draw with Jordan in the second leg of the AFC/CONMEBOL playoffs, finishing with a 5-0 aggregate score in the South American nation’s favor at Estadio Centenario in Montevideo.

Despite the scoreline, Uruguay came out with a strong starting lineup featuring Edinson Cavani and Luis Suarez as well as the introduction of Diego Forlan in the second half. However, La Celeste were missing the final touch, as Cavani sent multiple chances from inside the box over the bar while Diego Godin hit the woodwork from close range. For Jordan, it was an impressive draw on the road but not enough to secure qualification.

Suarez finishes qualification with 11 goals, tied with the Netherlands’ Robin Van Persie and Belize’s Deon McCauley for most in the world.

Here are some more stories to start your Thursday:


Franck Ribery’s participation in France’s two playoff matches with Ukraine last week has cost him a place in the Bayern Munich side ahead of its top-of-the-table meeting with Borussia Dortmund.

The French winger, who helped lead his nation to World Cup qualification in dramatic fashion, returned from international duty with a broken rib and has been ruled out of the upcoming clash with Dortmund on Saturday. In addition, his status for Bayern’s Champions League match with CSKA Moscow on Wednesday is in doubt.

“I’m obviously gutted, because I was desperate to play in the big game in Dortmund,” Ribery told Bayern Munich’s website. “But I’m sure the team can do it without me this time.”

While Ribery will miss out, German international Jerome Boateng has been declared fit for the match. The loss of Ribery is just the latest in a series of injuries that have taken some of the star power out of the match. Dortmund will be without Neven Subotic, Mats Hummels, Marcel Schmelzer, and Ilkay Gundogan, while Bayern won’t have Ribery, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Holger Badstuber, or Xherdan Shaqiri.


With pressure from the media and human right’s organizations growing, FIFA has responded to the global outcry over alleged worker’s rights abuses taking place in Qatar.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter called the current situation in Qatar “unacceptable” following a meeting with the presidents of the German trade union and international trade union and urged Qatar to conform improve conditions.

“Economic and political leaders must contribute to improving the unacceptable situation in Qatar,” Blatter told FIFA. “That is why I welcome the initiative shown by the DFB and ITUC because together we can achieve change. I am convinced that Qatar is taking the situation very seriously. These very discussions about Qatar show just what an important role football can play in generating publicity and thus bringing about change.”

Qatar has recently been accused of refusing to let workers leave the country and denying them wages, essentially holding them against their will. The most high-profile case involves French soccer player Zahir Belounis, who reportedly can’t leave and hasn’t been paid by his club in two years.


Barcelona has added a new member to its injury list.

In addition to the already-injured Lionel Messi and Xavi Hernandez, goalkeeper Victor Valdes returned from international duty with Spain with a calf injury, one that’s serious enough to keep him out for the next six weeks.

The 31-year-old goalkeeper was injured in the 80th minute of Spain’s 1-0 defeat at South Africa on Tuesday, with Spain’s third-string goalkeeper Pepe Reina needing to replace the second-half substitute Valdes.

Without Valdes, Barcelona will look to 38-year-old goalkeeper Jose Manuel Pinto, who hasn’t played a competitive first-team game this season. The injury could force Barcelona to accelerate plans to sign a new goalkeeper, with Valdes announcing last summer his intent to leave Barcelona at the end of this season.


Adidas has extended its deal with FIFA to be the organization’s official partner, supplier, and licensee for the World Cup and other FIFA events through 2030. (REPORT)

Ireland’s head coach Martin O’Neil is considering following his predecessor and scheduling a friendly match or two for a second summer in a row in the United States. (REPORT)

Borussia Dortmund has signed free agent center back Manuel Friedrich as cover with both of their starting central defenders injured. (REPORT)

Reports in Italy state that one of the richest men in the world, Chinese businessman Wang Jianlin, is nearing a move to buy out Italian Bank UniCredit’s 30 percent stake in AS Roma. (REPORT)

Arsenal is waiting to hear whether its Champions League match next week against Napoli will be played in front of an empty stadium after crowd trouble in Napoli’s last home match. (REPORT)


What do you think of these reports? Do you see Uruguay rebounding and playing well in the World Cup? Do you see Ribery’s injury costing Bayern? Do you believe FIFA is doing enough about the situation in Qatar?

Share your thoughts below.

  • Monkeyman

    Just can’t understand how Uruguay has to play in a playoff spot in order to get into the WC yet they are seeded into the 1st pot.


  • Dave

    How do you expect Qatar to treat their foreign workers? They are the kuffar, and they get kuffar treatment.


    • The Imperative Voice

      And if FIFA and some unions meet, that doesn’t oblige Qatar to do a thing, it’s something of a show. Now if Blatter says they have 6 weeks to fix things or lose the Cup, that would have teeth.

      The absurd thing about the Belounis case is his claims basically sound like he was upset about not being paid since he got there, sued, decided to leave, and is now not being allowed to leave because of the lawsuit.

      French special forces? Nudge nudge.


  • KJ

    Blatters words ring hollow, with no intent to act on anything. You shouldn’t give a World Cup to a country with workers rights issues and expect it to fix it. No, the county should have itself in order before even being considered! Putting the cart before the horse…


    • BFBS

      But the other way to look at it is that nothing would have been done regarding the workers (I mean in general, not only the ones building stadiums) but for the high profile situation which is the World Cup. Now, pressure might be brought to bear to make incremental improvements with respect to decent treatment of foreign workers not only in Qatar, but possibly in the neighboring countries that have similar policies/problems as well. While soccer will almost undoubtedly suffer due to the 2022 choice, humanity might ultimately benefit.


    • AcidBurn

      Blatter’s going to talk, support whatever toothless initiative there is, applaud the “findings” of whatever huge report they file, and consider his job of social change in Qatar complete.

      One more notch in his belt for the Nobel Peace Prize!

      Meanwhile he’ll roll up in his private jet, take a Rolls to the stadium, get whisked up to the Sepp Blatter-designed private suite, and bathe in the official FIFA 2022 Champagne. Life is good when you’re the king.


  • Chris

    Its a pity what they’ve done by awarding Qatar a World Cup. It is going to be the single worst World Cup ever held, and all the rest of the world can do is sit back, watch it implode, and hope that FIFA learns a huge lesson.


    • jones

      I actually like it. We have so many structures resembling the phallus, why not one to honor the ladyparts too?


      • SilverRey

        Check out the daily show from 11/19 if you haven’t already. Stewart does a great breakdown of the new stadium.


    • biff

      guys, guys, guys (shaking head). no doubt in my mind that Besler and Omar at the current time are both better than Friedrich, especially after watching Omar’s good game against Austria, and that both could show respectably if inserted into the Dortmund backline. Trouble is, neither of those guys could be available for duty until January 1 and Dortmund needs another body now.


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