Brazil to call up Costa
Five-time world champions Brazil are to call up Atletico Madrid striker Diego Costa for their friendly internationals against Chile and Honduras next month, the country’s soccer federation (CBF) said on Thursday. The CBF sent a letter to world governing body FIFA saying they intend to call Costa into their squad for the World Cup hosts’ matches in Miami and Toronto. World champions Spain had been hoping to win Costa’s allegiance for themselves, as he has double nationality and did not feature in Brazil’s successful Confederations Cup campaign in June, when the hosts beat Spain in the final in Rio. In March, Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari called him up for friendly internationals against Italy and Russia, but as they were not competitive fixtures, Costa is not yet tied to one particular nation. The 24-year-old was born in Brazil, but moved to Spain in 2007, signing for Atletico. As a result, he is eligible to play for La Roja on residency grounds, having not yet featured in a competitive match for Brazil.
‘Special one’ gets fine
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho was fined ￡8,000 (US$12,970) by the Football Association on Thursday after being sent to the stands during his team’s 4-1 win against Cardiff last weekend. Mourinho admitted a charge of improper conduct following his dismissal by referee Anthony Taylor in the Premier League fixture at Stamford Bridge on Saturday last week. Mourinho, who accused Cardiff of employing time-wasting tactics from early in the match, ended up sitting with Chelsea supporters behind the dugouts, after being ordered from the touchline midway through the second half for repeatedly voicing his frustration to Taylor and fourth official Trevor Kettle. On Tuesday, he said: “What the referee wrote is true. I was not aggressive, I was not offensive. I just had a disagreement. In the game that is resolved with ‘Shut up and sit down,’ you don’t need to go to the stands. But I accept the fine and against Manchester City on Sunday [tomorrow] I can work.”
Savea swears off violence
All Black Julian Savea, the face of an anti-domestic violence campaign in New Zealand, apologized yesterday after escaping conviction on a charge of assaulting his former partner. Police agreed to withdraw the charge of common assault after Savea completed a counseling program in the wake of the incident in April at his Wellington home. The 23-year-old wing, who has played 18 Tests for the All Blacks, issued a statement saying he was a changed man. He apologized to former partner Dawn Rogers, his family and the organizers of the “It’s not OK” domestic violence campaign he fronted last year.
Fighter dies after knockout
The promoter of a boxing match held in Mexico says the losing fighter has died at a California hospital from a cerebral contusion. Promoter Fernando Beltran says in a statement that Francisco Leal died on Tuesday at a San Diego hospital. He was rushed there after a fight on Saturday last week in the resort city of Cabo San Lucas on Mexico’s Baja Peninsula. Boxer Raul Hilares knocked out the 26-year-old Leal during the eighth round of a match organized by Zanfer Promociones. Leal, whose nickname was “The Little Soldier,” had 29 wins, eight losses and three draws.