Cup hopes low: report
Pessimism about England’s World Cup prospects seems to have reached the highest levels after a government document suggested that the national team faced their customary early exit from the tournament. “While England are certain to be playing in the matches in the first period, there is a high probability that they will not be playing in the later matches,” said a report looking at the arguments for allowing pubs to open later during next month’s World Cup. England are to face Italy, Uruguay and Costa Rica in a tough opening group from which two teams advance. “England have a 54 percent probability of progressing past the group stage and an 11 percent probability of progressing past the quarter-finals,” it added. The forecast was not based on the predictions of a soccer-loving civil servant, but drawn from the odds offered by online betting exchange Betfair. “The government is of course 100 percent behind the England soccer team and we wish the players every success in the World Cup,” said a spokeswoman for the Home Office, the government department responsible for the report.
Ronaldo named in squad
Cristiano Ronaldo is to lead Portugal’s World Cup campaign after being named on Tuesday in their provisional 30-man squad for the finals, despite currently being out with a hamstring injury. The Portugal captain picked up the injury playing for Real Madrid against Real Valladolid last week, and missed their defeat to Celta Vigo on Sunday. However, the 29-year-old is expected to recover in plenty of time for Portugal’s opening World Cup match on June 16. Portugal coach Paulo Bento also included Porto winger Ricardo Quaresma in his provisional squad. The 30-year-old former Barcelona player rejoined Porto in January after six months out of the game following his departure from Dubai’s Al-Ahli last year.
World Cup travelers warned
Japanese visitors to the World Cup in Brazil have been told by their government to guard against crimes there such as robbery, kidnapping and credit card skimming. In a safety advisory to overseas travelers, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said: “Crimes occur in Brazil at a very high frequency by world standards, including many organized crimes involving narcotics.” Japan are to play Ivory Coast on June 14 in Recife; Greece on June 19 in Natal and Colombia on June 24 in Cuiaba. The notice said that the number of murders occurring in Recife’s state is 43 times higher than in Japan, while there are about 200 times as many robberies. The frequency of crimes is also high in the other areas. It advised Japanese visitors to move in groups, refrain from going out at night, avoid deserted places, dress modestly and keep cameras and smartphones out of sight. The ministry is to set up temporary offices in the three cities to help Japanese travelers in trouble.
Sherwood axed by Spurs
Tim Sherwood has been sacked as manager of Tottenham Hotspur, the English Premier League club announced on Tuesday. The 45-year-old replaced the axed Andre Villas-Boas on an 18-month deal in December, but the short-term nature of his contract meant his position was subject to constant speculation. Sherwood, whose final game in charge was a 3-0 league win at home to Aston Villa on Sunday, guided Spurs to a sixth-placed finish in the Premier League, ensuring the north London club’s qualification for next season’s Europa League.
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