United’s Ashley Young is at the centre of a discussion on diving in football. (Getty Images)

Champions League

Now that Manchester City have booked a spot in the knockout stage ahead of Manchester United, The Guardian’s Paul Wilson discusses which of the “Manchester sides would be considered the more daunting proposition by continental opponents.”
ESPN FC contributor Simon Curtis explores Manchester City’s Champions League success. City midfielder Samir Nasri has shown promise, and Curtis asks, “Can the ‘good ship’ Manchester City continue sailing towards the light?”
The Telegraph features five examples of Manchester United’s Ashley Young diving after winning a “dubious penalty” for United against Sociedad.
Associated Press sports columnist John Leicester offers “five thoughts” from the fourth round of matches in the Champions League group stage. 
ESPN FC writer Colin Randall discusses the notion that Sunderland is simply “doing well in the wrong competition.” Randal considers two factors: the expectation that the joy of winning will “sweep like wildfire through Guy Poyet’s squad” and the “sense of anticipation” that the approach of a Wembley final inexorably inspires.
World Cup Setbacks
BBC Sport writer Ben Smith says the cancellation of Soccerex is a “setback for Brazil and for FIFA.” With seven months to go before the 2014 World Cup, both entities “face a huge challenge to win an increasingly difficult logistical and public relations battle.”

Violence erupted during a match between Shinnik Yroslavl and Spartak Moscow; violence like this “mars Russian sports.” (Getty Images)

Russia is gearing up to host two major sporting events: the 2014 Winter Olympics and FIFA’s 2018 World Cup. National Public Radio reporters James Glynn and Corey Flintoff say “racism and right-wing violence are threatening Russia’s reputation in international sports.”

Japan Today features an AFP report on “mounting anger among the leaders of skiing, ice hockey and other cold weather sports” over the prospect of a Winter World Cup for football in 2022.
In Other News
Swansea City’s Neil Taylor insists there are “no barriers to stop British Asians getting into English football.” The BBC’s Chetan Pathak features comments from Taylor and explores the defender’s career as a revered British Asian footballer.
The Guardian’s Sid Lowe says Barcelona forward Lionel Messi is “still brilliant, just not as brilliant as before.” 
  
Compiled by INSIDER’s Nicole Bennett 

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