soccer | Connecticut Public Radio
WNPR

soccer

Need time off from work to watch the World Cup? If you're in China, no problem. Online stores there are providing fake doctor's notes — even extensive falsified medical records — to get you days of sick leave so you can enjoy your favorite teams.

The service may be particularly appealing, given the time difference with World Cup host Brazil. China is 11 hours ahead of Rio. So if you want to catch opening matches, you have to start watching at midnight, Shanghai time.

Update at 4:31 p.m. ET

And Brazil does recover, with a goal from star Neymar a few minutes later.

Update at 4:28 p.m. ET

The beautiful game is not so beautiful for Brazil in the early moments of the game: Croatia is ahead 1-0 after an own goal by the home team. It's early, though. Plenty of time for Brazil to recover.

[A tweet from NPR's Russell Lewis in Sao Paulo.]

Update at 10:25 a.m. ET

Wednesday welcomes the year's second global sports extravaganza, as the World Cup begins. Just a few months ago, we worried that terrorists would invade the Russian Olympics. Now we wait to see if riots will tarnish the Brazilian World Cup.

The global reach of soccer never ceases to amaze me. I travel all over the world, sometimes to incredibly remote areas. More often than not, when I get there, somebody is kicking around a soccer ball.

It doesn't matter if it's Asia or Africa or Central America. Kids make a goal out of a couple of backpacks, throw out a ball and the game is on. The "ball" could be a knotted towel or a tennis ball or a tattered leather shell that's barely holding air.

Landon Donovan, the all-time leader in scoring and assists for the U.S. Men's National Soccer Team, will not be part of the 2014 FIFA World Cup roster in Brazil, U.S. Soccer says.

ESPN writes: "Donovan, 32, has played for the U.S. in the past three World Cups dating back to 2002. He has been the face of the national team for most of the past decade, but spoke in recent months about how his body is no longer what it had once been."

With the 2014 Winter Olympic Games kicking off this week in Sochi, it may seem excessive to look ahead to the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro. However, Brazilian officials are already under significant pressure for not meeting deadlines in planning the 2016 Olympic Games and the 2014 World Cup.

The final draw of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil was announced Friday. The U.S. team will face Germany, Portugal and Ghana in Group G; host Brazil will face world No. 16 Croatia in Group A. Only the top two teams of each group advance to the next round.

The draw puts the U.S., currently ranked as the world's No. 14 team, in the same group with the world's No. 2 (Germany) and No. 5 (Portugal). Ghana is ranked 24th. The showdown with Germany has the potential to be bittersweet for Jürgen Klinsmann, the coach of the U.S. team who was a star for German World Cup teams in the 1990s.

Pages