Nigeria insist they have drawn a fair first round group for the World Cup, but Ghana admitted they face a battle against Germany, Portugal and United States. The Ivory Coast enjoyed better luck in Friday's draw with Africa's other flag bearers, Algeria and Cameroon, the dark horses in their respective groups. African champions Nigeria have said they are hopeful of reaching the knockout stage in Brazil after they were drawn against Argentina, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Iran. More »Nigeria, Ghana face tough World Cup path
France coach Didier Deschamps could not conceal his glee after seeing his side scoop Switzerland, Ecuador and Honduras in Friday's World Cup draw in Costa do Sauipe. While England were paired with Italy and Uruguay and Spain saw the Netherlands and Chile drop into their section, France's Group E was widely seen as one of the kinder draws. And although Deschamps refrained from openly rejoicing in his team's good fortune, he could not help a beaming smile crossing his lips as he answered questions about his team's draw. there are our friends and neighbours Switzerland, a South American team in Ecuador and then Honduras, which is Central America but their football is similar to that in South America. More »Deschamps cannot hide World Cup draw delight
The former Blues striker says the Potters can cause Jose Mourinho's men problems at the Britannia Stadium and is predicting an exciting game between the two sides More »Mark Hughes confident of ending Chelsea hoodoo
REUTERS - Reaction following Friday's 2014 World Cup draw. Group A Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari "This is the sixth Cup for Croatia. "It's always good to start off against a European team because they have to go through an adaptation period in Brazil and there are a series of things they'll need to implement," he said of the tournament opener against Croatia on June 12. "It will be a balanced first match but we live here, we work here and we know this country better than anybody." - Croatia coach Niko Kovac "Having been drawn in such a tough group we will be delighted to open the World Cup against the host nation. More »Reaction to World Cup draw
Reigning champions Spain will begin their defence of the World Cup with a rematch of the 2010 final against the Netherlands, while England were paired with Italy in Friday's draw. Spain, who won their first title in South Africa four years ago, start their Group B campaign against the three-time runners-up on June 13 in Salvador. "I said to people this morning we were going to get Holland and we did, in the first game no less," said Spain coach Vicente Del Bosque. "We must play every game as if it were the final right from the outset." England, meanwhile, will start off with a Group D meeting against four-time champions Italy in the heat of Amazonian venue Manaus on June 14 -- though it is at least an evening kick-off. More »Spain face Dutch in World Cup repeat, England draw Italy
World governing body FIFA on Friday conducted the draw for next year's World Cup, when 32 national teams will converge on Brazil to compete for the sport's most important prize. Six months and six days before the tournament opens with a game between Brazil and Croatia in Sao Paulo, AFP Sports assesses where the group phase will be decided. GROUP A: Brazil, Croatia, Mexico, Cameroon - Having hit form in spectacular style earlier this year by winning the Confederations Cup with a 3-0 win over world and European champions Spain, Brazil start the tournament as favourites. More »World Cup draw -- group-by-group analysis
The Roja coach was certain the world and European champions would have to face the Oranje, but feels the onerous challenge will be good for his squad's mentality More »Del Bosque: I predicted Spain would face Netherlands
Germany coach Joachim Loew said his side will need to adapt to hot and humid conditions against Ghana, USA and Portugal at the World Cup. Loew's Germany kick off their Brazil 2014 campaign in Group G against Portugal in Salvador on June 16 before facing Ghana's Black Stars in Fortaleza on June 21 then take on the USA in Recife five days later. "I have already been to Fortaleza and Recife, where we will find difficult conditions to acclimatise to. More »Germany's Loew ready to face heat in Brazil
Goal’s experts offer their reactions to the World Cup draw in Group F where Argentina, Nigeria, Iran, and Bosnia-Herzegovina were pooled together More »World Cup Group F: ‘A fantastic and favourable draw for Argentina'
Find out what time Ange Postecoglou and his boys will be playing at next year's eagerly anticipated FIFA showcase More »What time do the Socceroos play at the 2014 Brazil World Cup?
South Korean figure skating star Kim Yu-Na returned from injury on Friday to kick off her Olympic season by taking the lead after the short programme at the Golden Spin in Zagreb. It was the best score in the short programme this season, bettering the 73.18 achieved last October by her Japanese rival Mao Asada, who is currently leading the Grand Prix final underway in Fukuoka. Japan's two-time former world champion Miki Ando, returning to competition after having a baby girl in April, skated to Frank Sinatra's 'My Way' and was sitting second with 62.81. Russia's Elizaveta Tuktamysheva is third 58.81. More »Olympic champion Kim leads in season debut
Luiz Felipe Scolari said his side would not be complacent following a World Cup draw Friday which put the hosts in Group A with Croatia, Mexico and Cameroon. But we shall be paying close attention to the opening phase," said 'Felipao', praised earlier by President Dilma Rousseff for his previous efforts in winning not just the World Cup but the Confederations Cup last June. Brazil lost to the Mexicans in the Olympic final in London last year to leave them without the only title still missing from their collection. "I am happy with the match sequence," added Scolari following a draw which sees Brazil start off in Sao Paulo before taking on the Mexicans in the heat of Fortaleza on June 17 and finishing with Cameroon on June 23 in Brasilia at the national stadium. More »Brazil fired up but not complacent: Scolari
Italy coach Cesare Prandelli remained positive as to his side's chances despite a "difficult" World Cup draw which left the Azzurri in Group D with Uruguay, Costa Rica and England. "It's a difficult group," Italy coach Cesare Prandelli told Sky Sport Italia. "You never win matches on paper, it's 11 against 11 and if we prepare well we can win all three of our matches." Four-time champions Italy kick off their campaign against England with a late-night fixture amid expected hot and humid conditions in Manaus, in the north of Brazil. Italy have played England a total of 24 times, winning nine and drawing seven, and have won two and drawn four of eight previous games with Uruguay. More »Prandelli buoyed despite 'difficult' group
Goal’s experts offer their reactions to the World Cup draw in Group G where Germany, Ghana, USA, and Portugal were pooled together More »World Cup Group G: ‘Germany's Klinsmann reunion is intriguing'
Fulham's bid to avoid relegation from the Premier League suffered a major blow on Friday when Brede Hangeland was ruled out for another six weeks. Hangeland had already been sidelined for a month with sciatic nerve damage in his right leg, but the Norway defender has now been told he needs surgery to cure the problem. Fulham had hoped to bring the 32-year-old back to full fitness without an operation. But Cottagers manager Rene Meulensteen revealed on Friday that Hangeland has decided to have the surgery and will need six more weeks to recover. More »Fulham's Hangeland ruled out for six more weeks
The coach will go head to head with his former mentor after Die Mannschaft were grouped with USA, as well as Ghana and Portugal, for next summer's festival of football in Brazil More »Germany boss Low excited by Klinsmann clash
Spain manager Vicente del Bosque said he predicted his side would be drawn against Holland in the draw for next year's World Cup on Friday. La Roja begin the defence of their title against the Dutch in Salvador on June 13 before facing Chile and Australia. Del Bosque's side beat Holland to win the World Cup for the first time in 2010 thanks to Andres Iniesta's extra-time winner. Louis Van Gaal's men will have an early opportunity for revenge and despite a significant change in personnel over the last four years, Del Bosque is still wary of Holland's star-studded frontline. More »Del Bosque predicted Holland rematch
Roy Hodgson conceded England face a daunting task to qualify for the knock-out stages of the World Cup after being drawn in one of the strongest groups at next year's tournament in Brazil. Hodgson's side were pitted against Italy, Uruguay and Costa Rica in Group D and the England coach could only manage a wry smile when he learnt his team's fate while watching Friday's draw in Costa do Sauipe. Even more revealing was the reaction of English Football Association chairman Greg Dyke, who was seen shaking his head and drawing his finger across his neck in a cut-throat gesture that suggested he has little confidence in England making it to the last 16. In Italy and Uruguay it's almost as though we have got two number one seeds in our group," Hodgson told the BBC. More »World Cup draw not kind to England, says Hodgson
By Mike Collett COSTA DO SAUIPE, Brazil (Reuters) - - The convoluted draw for next year's World Cup finals in Brazil on Friday produced a set of groups in which most of soccer's big guns will fancy their chances of reaching the knockout stages. Group D, featuring former winners England, Italy and Uruguay, along with Costa Rica, is probably the exception, while Spain and Netherlands, who met in the 2010 final, will have to be well prepared to see off Chile and Australia in Group B. Host nation Brazil will kick off the tournament against Croatia in Sao Paulo on June 12 and the favourites should be relatively happy with a Group A also containing Mexico and Cameroon as they seek their sixth title. "We ended up in a strong group, one that gives you goose bumps," said Brazil captain Thiago Silva. It's very difficult but we're ready." One former champion is sure to go out from Group D, with England against Italy in the jungle city of Manaus a mouth-watering opener for the two European sides. More »World Cup draw opens door for game's big guns
USA coach Jurgen Klinsmann has said he is relishing going up against his former assistant Joachim Loew when the Stars and Stripes play Germany at the 2014 World Cup. "That's one of those crazy stories that football writes," Klinsmann, who made 80 appearances for Germany, told German broadcaster ARD. Germany play the USA in Recife on June 26 in their final Group G game having also drawn Ghana and Portugal. The Recife clash pits Klinsmann, who coached Germany to third at the 2006 World Cup, against Loew, who succeeded him as German head coach in 2006 having been his assistant at that year's World Cup. More »USA boss Klinsmann relishing Germany clash
Roy Hodgson's charges have been drawn against Italy, Uruguay and Costa Rica for the summer tournament, but the former manager feels it could work into their hands More »Hoddle: Tough World Cup group can boost England
(Reuters) - Gary Kubiak became the first coaching casualty of the National Football League's (NFL) 2013 season as the Houston Texans fired him on Friday with the team in the midst of a franchise-record 11-game losing streak. The decision comes a day after Houston lost to Jacksonville and fell to an NFL-worst 2-11, a huge swing from last season when they went 12-4 and won the AFC South Division. "This has been a very disappointing year," said Texans chief executive Bob McNair. To have this string of losses is unacceptable." Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips will serve as interim coach for the Texans' final three games of the 2013 season, the team said in a statement. More »Struggling Texans fire head coach Kubiak
PCCL executive director Joe Lipa announced that the Philippine Collegiate Champions League (PCCL) is again featuring the top junior teams from Metro Manila as part of the league’s year-end activities.The mini-tournament is for the benefit of the various projects of ABS-CBN Foundation and will serve as appetizers to the National Collegiate Championship games.Participating schools are UAAP champion National University, Tiong Lian titlist Hope Christian High School and NCAA runners-up La Salle Greenhills. ... More »Charity games
Fulham's bid to avoid relegation from the Premier League suffered a major blow on Friday when Brede Hangeland was ruled out for another six weeks. Hangeland had already been sidelined for a month with sciatic nerve damage in his right leg, but the Norway defender has now been told he needs surgery to cure the problem. Fulham had hoped to bring the 32-year-old back to full fitness without an operation. But Cottagers manager Rene Meulensteen revealed on Friday that Hangeland has decided to have the surgery and will need six more weeks to recover. More »Football: Fulham's Hangeland ruled out for six more weeks