Tuesday Kickoff: Deadline looming for Curitiba; Mourinho takes shot at Barcelona; and more

Tuesday Kickoff: Deadline looming for Curitiba; Mourinho takes shot at Barcelona; and more

South American Soccer

Tuesday Kickoff: Deadline looming for Curitiba; Mourinho takes shot at Barcelona; and more

ArenadaBaixadaCuritiba3 (Reuters)

By DAN KARELL

FIFA’s last deadline for Brazil’s World Cup stadiums to be ready has finally arrived.

With members of each of the 32 qualified nation’s technical staffs meeting this week in Florianopolis, FIFA’s staff will be in Curitiba to announce on Tuesday whether the southern Brazilian city will indeed remain a host city. The stadium construction has fallen way behind schedule and contractors have been in a race against time to get the venue ready for action.

The Arena da Baixada in Curitiba is currently scheduled to host four group stage games including a match between Spain and Australia.

Despite making a number of threats to remove the venue from the World Cup, FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke said he is confident the venue will be ready in time.

Here are some more stories to start your Tuesday:

MOURINHO BACKS MAN CITY TO BEAT BARCELONA

Manchester City haven’t had much success in the UEFA Champions League in recent years but Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho thinks that could change against Barcelona.

Speaking to ITV on Tuesday, Mourinho said that the current Barcelona squad is the worst one he’s seen in “many many years,” and liked Man City’s chances to earn a positive result in the highly-anticipated match.

“Of course by history Barcelona is the favorite, but this Barcelona, this season, is showing that it is not the same in previous years,” Mourinho told ITV. “Of course, they have [Lionel] Messi – he is special – and they have more than him. But I think this is the worst Barcelona of many, many years.”

Mourinho formerly coached and worked as a translator at Barcelona under Bobby Robson from 1996-2000.

QUICK KICKS

England manager Roy Hodgson has told fans and the press not to write his side’s chances off before the 2014 World Cup. (REPORT)

CSKA Moscow, Apollon Limassol, and the Serbian FA have all been sanctioned by UEFA for racist offenses during games last fall. (REPORT)

Manchester United sent scouts to watch Porto’s Eliaquim Mangala last Sunday. (REPORT)

Atletico Madrid have signed midfielder Raul Garcia to an extension through 2018. (REPORT)

Palmeiras head coach Gilson Kleina has backed forward Alan Kardec to take the injured Fred’s place in Brazil’s squad for their upcoming friendly at South Africa. (REPORT)

Juventus have agreed to play former star Alessandro Del Piero and the A-League All Stars in an exhibition match on August 10 in Sydney. (REPORT)

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What do you think of these reports? Do you see FIFA pulling Curitiba from the World Cup schedule? How would that affect future World Cups if they did so? Do you agree with Mourinho’s comments?

Share your thoughts below.

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