By DAN KARELL
Three of the 12 World Cup stadiums are expected to be delivered well after the Dec. 31 deadline set by FIFA.
Following a deadly work accident last Wednesday in Sao Paulo, construction on the Arena Corinthians is back underway and FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valke believes that it could be finished in three months. However, two of the other stadiums in Manaus and Curitiba are way behind schedule.
“Two stadiums will be delivered more in the region of February than in January or December,” Valcke told the AP. “Curitiba is the one where we are facing the most problems. Clearly, Curitiba will not be delivered before the end of February 2014, so that’s a fact.”
FIFA has extended the deadline for the completion on their stadiums a number of times, and only two of the six used for the Confederations Cup last summer were finished by their original deadline. Currently, though FIFA has taken ticket applications for next summer’s World Cup, they still don’t know exactly how many tickets will be available, potentially leaving fans out in the cold.
Valke also confirmed that despite the accident, the World Cup opener will still be played in Sao Paulo.
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XOLOS HIRE FORMER VENEZUELA NATIONAL TEAM MANAGER FARIAS
With such an international squad, it makes sense that Club Tijuana would again look abroad for a new coach.
After parting ways with Jorge Almiron on Nov. 10, Xolos took their time to make a decision and finally announced on Tuesday that 40-year-old Cesar Farias is the new head coach for the Clausura campaign. Farias only recently stepped down from his post as manager of the Venezuelan national team, where he led them from being a perennial minnow to a team that nearly piqued Uruguay for fifth place in South American World Cup qualifying.
Farias, for all his accomplishments at the international level, hasn’t coached a club side since 2006 and never won any titles. So it’s certainly a risk taken by Club Tijuana to replicate the success from Argentine manager Antonio Mohamed, who is widely reported in Mexican media to take over at Club America for the soon-departing Miguel Herrera.
PIQUE, SILVA LEAD DEFENDERS SHORTLIST FOR WORLD XI
Eight defenders who met at the Confederations Cup final have been included on the twenty-man shortlist for defenders on the FIFA/FIFPro World XI.
Brazil’s David Luiz, Thiago Silva, and Dani Alves were all included, as were Spain’s Gerard Pique and Sergio Ramos. Others to make the final list included Bayern Munich duo Dante and Jerome Boateng, Manchester United’s Nemanja Vidic, and Everton’s Leighton Baines.
The four members of the FIFPro World XI will be announced on Jan. 13, 2014, in Zurich, Switzerland.
ENYEAMA BREAKS LIGUE 1 SHUTOUT STREAK
Vincent Enyeama picked up his 11th consecutive shutout as Lille continues to roll over opponents in Ligue 1.
Lille topped rival Olympique Marseille on Tuesday evening at home, 1-0, keeping pace with Paris Saint-Germain at the top of Ligue 1 and continuing an incredible run of 11 games without conceding a goal. Lille has lost just once in 13 of their last 14 matches. Goalkeeper Enyeama meanwhile now has a French league record to himself, having gone 1035 minutes without conceding a goal.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has claimed that captain Thomas Vermaelen is unhappy on the bench but that Wenger doesn’t expect him to leave in January. (REPORT)
Barcelona defender Carles Puyol had fluid drained from his bothersome knee on Tuesday after missing last Sunday’s defeat to Athletic Bilbao. (REPORT)
Juventus has been fined €5,000 by the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) for discriminatory chants from the 12,000 children who were invited to sit in the Ultras section that had been closed to adults. (REPORT)
Paris Saint-Germain have decided that forward Ezequiel Lavezzi won’t leave on loan in January but winger Lucas Moura can, with Juventus and Inter Milan fighting it out for the young Brazilian. (REPORT)
Former Portugal international Ricardo Quaresma is set to return to FC Porto and sign a two-year deal after being released from his contract with Al Ahli in the UAE. (REPORT)
Chelsea and Arsenal are tracking the progress of 18-year-old PSG starlet Adrian Rabiot. (REPORT)
What do you think of these reports? Do you see the three stadiums being delivered on time? Worried that the World Cup opener could change venues? Like the signing of Farias by Xolos?
Share your thoughts below.