The Itaquerao football stadium will host the opening matches for the 2014 World Cup. (Getty Images)

2014 World Cup Countdown

The Guardian’s Owen Gibson answers “all your questions” about the 2014 World Cup. He covers around ten issues including the best flight options to Brazil, ticket prices, and information about the draw as the seven-month countdown to Brazil 2014 continues.
According to Aidan Radnedge at London’s Metro, football fans have been warned to expect a “World Cup of terror at the hands of Brazilian crime gangs.” A local crime syndicate is reportedly threatening to target fans if police “go ahead with moving some of the gang members to tougher prisons.”
The Mirror’s Oliver Holt discusses what makes the 2014 World Cup “more special than any in his lifetime – if you’re a football fan, going to Rio feels like making a pilgrimage to a wonderful shrine.”

Switzerland’s Gokhan Inler during the 2014 World Cup qualifier against Slovenia. (Getty Images)

CNN International reports on two teams “shaking up” the 2014 World Cup seedings: Switzerland and Belgium. “Switzerland won seven of their group matches,” CNN International writes. “Belgium were also unbeaten in qualifying, finishing nine points of second place Croatia. The appearance of these countries in the top bracket of seeds could draw “hosts Brazil into a group with Italy, or Argentina with Netherlands.”

Russia’s Fabio Capello hopes for a better performance at the 2014 World Cup Finals than the one he had in 2010 when the Italian led England to the finals in South Africa.
Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney admits to “underperforming” at major tournaments since “bursting on to the international scene at Euro 2004.” The Guardian features commentary from English football manager Roy Hodgson on Rooney’s performance so far on the road to the 2014 World Cup. Rooney vows to “put things right” at the World Cup finals in Brazil.
Football Association News
ESPN FC’s Mark Payne affirms that Wayne Rooney is “living proof that nothing can be taken for granted in football.” Payne discusses reasons why he says Rooney is standing on the “verge of his most abundant season yet.”
England manager Roy Hodgson shakes hands with Spurs winger Andros Townsend. (Getty Images)
In another article, The Mirror’s Oliver Holt explores the “bitter irony” in the commotion surrounding Roy Hodgson’s “monkey joke.” The English football manager caused a stir following a joke he made in reference to Spurs winger Andros Townsend’s “superb” performance in the team’s match against Poland. Holt discusses reasons why Hodgson’s joke “puzzled” the public such as other “controversies that have afflicted England” in the past two seasons.
Richard Beech features ten things to look forward to this weekend from the Premier League.
In Other News
ESPN London correspondent Miguel Delaney discusses players who have made the transition from “club to country.”
Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola reportedly tells his players to adapt to his style “or sit on the bench.” Guardiola talks strategy, Champions League, and the transition from Barcelona to Munich with Fox Sports.
The National’s Amith Passela writes that the United Arab Emirates’ past record in staging world events “delivers hope” for the FIFA U-17 World Cup. 
Sports writer Rory Smith asks whether international success translates to stardom. “In football’s old world, before 1992, World Cups and European Championships were the only truly communal viewing experiences,” Smith writes. “The fabled ‘international level’ may never have existed. It may always have been in our minds, a dream and a delusion.”
ESPN FC writer John Brewin reports: “Cardiff owner Vincent Tan’s running of the club has allegedly led to manager Malky Mackay considering his position.”
Compiled by INSIDER’s Nicole Bennett 

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