Spain will go into the World Cup under new management after the country’s soccer association fired manager Julen Lopetegui on Wednesday, two days before its tournament opener against Portugal in Sochi, Russia.
The move came after Spanish club Real Madrid said Lopetegui would become its manager after the World Cup, an announcement that angered Luis Rubiales, president of the Spanish soccer federation.
“The federation cannot be left out of a negotiation by one of its workers and be informed five minutes before the press release,” said Rubiales, who is just a month into his job.
Egypt soccer star Mohamed Salah has been criticized after accompanying Chechen strongman Ramzan Kadyrov to a Gronzy, Russia, stadium where Salah and the rest of his teammates were training for the World Cup on Sunday.
While there, Salah and Kadyrov posed for photos in front of thousands of cheering fans.
“This is Kadyrov trying to capitalize on Chechnya being a team base to boost his own profile; it was 100% predictable,” said Rachel Denber, the Human Rights Watch deputy director for Europe and central Asia.
The architecture in Moscow is among the most varied and spectacular in the world. Left, the Church of Saint Seraphim hides in the shadow of Evolution Tower. The 55-story tower, designed by British architect Tony Kettle, was completed in 2014 pic.twitter.com/J6huknPS0P
Four years ago, as Colombia prepared for its first World Cup in 16 years, Radamel Falcao struggled to get healthy.
An ACL injury had sidelined him for nearly six months but Falcao waited until the week before the tournament to admit he wouldn’t be able to play. His sadness soon turned to envy as he watched an unheralded 22-year-old teammate named James Rodriguez lead Colombia into the quarterfinals unbeaten.
This summer both Rodriguez and Colombia could be even better thanks to Falcao, the country’s all-time leading scorer, who will finally make his World Cup debut at 32.
Mohamed Salah was a quiet teenager who had made just one appearance for Egypt when Bob Bradley took over the country’s national team in the summer of 2011.
Now Salah is Egypt’s leading scorer among active players and the talisman on a team about to play in its first World Cup in 28 years. And he’s not the only one whose career blossomed under Bradley, a former U.S. national team coach and the current Los Angeles Football Club manager who took Egypt to within a game of the World Cup in his only qualifying campaign there.
“Most of the players that are playing now, and the starting players, Mr. Bob is the first one who chose them,” said defender Omar Gaber, who as one of those players unfailingly uses the honorific “mister” when referring to the coach.
Donald Trump isn’t the only president who governs by tweet. Panamanian leader Juan Carlos Varela has also embraced the practice of issuing official decrees in 280 characters or less, taking to Twitter in October to declare a national holiday moments after his country qualified for its first-ever World Cup.
“The voice of the people has been heard,” Varela wrote beneath a picture of himself, in a red national team jacket, signing the presidential order.
And although the holiday has ended, the celebration hasn’t, which could necessitate another Twitter proclamation ahead of Panama’s tournament opener against Belgium next week.
It's not in Cyrillic but the meaning carries over on the scoreboard at Luzhniki Stadium, where the three most hated letters of the @FIFAWorldCup are displayed during a warm-up for the stadium workers pic.twitter.com/nLNHbkqnBV