Tag Archives: Russia

Russia and Spain fights out thrilling draw at St Petersburg

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Russia rallied from two goals down to draw 3-3 with Spain in an international friendly encounter at St Petersburg, with Sergio Ramos converting two penalties.

The hosts found themselves trailing just after 30 minutes, with Jordi Alba turning in a cross from Marco Asensio to put the visitors ahead after nine minutes before Ramos doubled the lead from the spot after Daler Kuzyaev’s handball.

An exciting first half with plenty of offensive maneuvers from both sides then saw Russia halving Spain’s lead. At the 41st minute, Fedor Smolov emphatically finished as he shaped to shoot and fooled a defender before smashing a left-footed effort into the bottom-right corner from 18 yards.

The World Cup hosts then equalised five minutes into the second half thanks to Aleksey Miranchuk, who puts the ball past David de Gea from close range after good work on the left by Yuri Zhirkov.

However, his team were not level for long — it was just three minutes after their equalizer that poor defending quickly saw Ramos winning another penalty and subsequently converting it with aplomb.

Russia chose to bring more men forward and it rewarded them as they found their second equalizer 20 minutes from time, as Smolov sent a fierce long-range effort into the top-left corner to set up a tantalising finish that ultimately saw the teams end on level terms.

Smolov could have had a hat-trick for the impressive hosts but both him and Aleksandr Kokorin were denied near the end by David de Gea.

A nasty collision between Rodrigo and Andrey Lunev resulted in the Russian goalkeeper being withdrawn late on, forcing Denis Glushakov to go in goal for the final moments due to all of their substitutions being made, but Spain failed to capitalise and the hosts held out for a draw.

Still, the result extended Spain’s unbeaten run this year to 10 games — although this was the first time they conceded more than two goals since they lost 5-1 to the Netherlands in the opening game of the 2014 World Cup.

World Cup 2018: tickets for finals to go on sale on Thursday

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The first wave of tickets for the 2018 World Cup finals in Russia will go on sale on Thursday this week.

The tournament , which begins on 14 June next year with Russia playing the opener at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, already has seven countries booking their places alongside the hosts — which includes five-time winners Brazil, Belgium, Iran, Mexico, Japan, Saudi Arabia and South Korea.

With the offer of tickets prices that range from £79 for a second-round group match to £829 for the final in Moscow, fans will be able to submit their applications via FIFA’s website and tickets will be sold in two phases.

Those applications, which can be made up to 12 October 2017, will enter into a random selection draw if there are not enough tickets available to fulfil all requests, and each applicant will be subsequently notified of the outcome of their applications by 16 November 2017.

The first phase of sales then concludes in the period from 16 November to 28 November, during which tickets will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.

Another phase will begin on 5 December after the draw is made and there will also be a “last-minute” sales phase from 18 April to 15 July, the day of the World Cup final.

The most expensive ticket for the 2018 World Cup final, £829 is a £151 increase on the equivalent ticket at the Brazil 2014 final in Rio de Janeiro. However, Russia residents will enjoy a special price category with tickets starting at £17 in line with previous ticketing policies.

Russia’s 2014 World Cup squad under FIFA doping investigation

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The entire 23-man Russian squad who participated in the 2014 World Cup is being investigated by FIFA for possible violations of drug regulations.

Although the country is currently is in the midst of hosting the FIFA Confederations Cup and is set to stage the World Cup in under a year, the allegations are likely to throw their appropriateness to stage such events into serious doubt.

Russia’s 2014 23-man World Cup team who had been eliminated in the group stages of the Brazil World Cup three years ago, are amongst the 34 Russian footballers currently being investigated by football’s world governing body for possible drug violations.

The allegations made against them were published and authored by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and Canadian lawyer Richard McLaren. It found at least 1,000 people were assisted by what McLaren described as an “institutionalised manipulation of the doping control process in Russia”.

Five of the 23 players tested in 2014 are members of the squad that was knocked out of the Confederations Cup on Saturday.

While it is well-known that Russia is guilty of state-sponsored doping and cover-up across important sport events such as the Olympics, this is the first time top-level footballers in the country have been placed under investigation and there were yet to be evidence of any anti-doping violations.

Although it was understood that FIFA was in possession of detailed evidence and intelligence, a spokesman said: “FIFA is still investigating the allegations made against [Russian] football players.”


France investigating bids for 2018 and 2022 World Cups

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French prosecutors are investigating potential corruption behind the FIFA’s vote for Russia and Qatar to respectively host the 2018 and 2022 World Cup finals.

France’s National Public Prosecutor’s Office began examining the bid to award the tournaments to both countries last year.

The investigation by the Parquet National Financier (PNF) meant there are now criminal investigations in at least three countries into the World Cup vote.

The US criminal proceedings headed by the Department of Justice have said their investigation includes the vote, as has the Swiss attorney general, Michael Lauber, whose office said last February it was examining 152 reports of suspicious financial activity relating to the process. No criminal investigations relating to the 2010 vote have yet begun.

Sources said that investigators have interviewed Sepp Blatter, who was the FIFA president at the time of the controversial December 2010 vote by a majority of the executive committee.

On the other hand, Michel Platini, the then UEFA president whose decision to cast his vote for Qatar was crucial to the Gulf state winning a majority vote, has not been interviewed.

Blatter has always denied any wrongdoing relating to the World Cup vote, or any other aspect of his 17-year tenure as the FIFA president, and has insisted he will not be charged with any criminal offences.

He also claimed that he wanted and lobbied for the 2022 World Cup to be hosted by the US, and has criticised Platini for changing his vote in favour of Qatar.