World Cup Over for German Referee in Serbia Controversy

Felix Brych, who was criticized by Serbia for his performance in their group-stage defeat to Switzerland, has been told he will not be used again at the World Cup.

Serbia had issued a complaint to football world governing body FIFA after they felt they should have been awarded a penalty in the late 2-1 defeat in Kaliningrad.

Brych waved play on after Aleksandar Mitrovic appeared to have been wrestled to the ground by two Swiss players, and the video assistant review system was also controversially not used.

The FIFA referees committee has selected 17 referees, 37 assistant referees and 10 video assistant referees for the final phase of the tournament.

The quarter-final referees are: Nestor Pitana of Argentina for Uruguay v France; Milorad Mazic of Serbia for Brazil v Belgium; Bjorn Kuipers of the Netherlands for Sweden vs. England; Sandro Ricci of Brazil for Russia vs Croatia.

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Soccer World Cup: What Team I support?

What do you think, feel and do around these days those of us who don’t like soccer?

The Soccer World Cup has begun and, according to estimates, almost half of the world population, nearly 3 thousand million people will be following it in body and soul.

Among them my neighboring Ildelisa joins in. Yesterday, when I walked down her front door it was half opened, she was staring at her television as if her life depended on watching the screen.

She was so absent-minded that I knocked, pushed the door, and she only realized I was there when she heard the cracking of the armchair where I sat next to her.

- Oh, my friend!, that was her greeting accompanied with a deep sigh.

- What happened, did your team lose?

- What team?

- The soccer team dummy; the game just ended now.

- Ah, yes?

- But Ildeliza, weren’t you watching the game?

- Nooo, I was looking at the goalkeeper; that is, both of them, and I could not decide which one was hotter.

In fact, what attracts my neighbor is by far the main motive of fans or simply followers of what has been called, understandable, the sport of crowds.

Undoubtedly this is one of those unique opportunities, just like the Olympic Games that is worthwhile enjoying although no team from Cuba is on the field.

But what is sauce for the goose is not sauce for the gander. And in more than a Cuban home, conflicts because of the World Cup have erupted.

The soap operas, Pánfilo and other coinciding show in schedule with the games broadcast, pit together loving couples, mothers against children, grandparents against the most loving grandsons.

It’s also worth talking about those whom soccer doesn't move them inside not even a twitch, neither for those uninterested in it about that sport - because there are some.

Those who don’t like it, these days usually feel a secret sense of guilt that makes them step aside, like keeping a low profile from the groups where people comment passionately of a given game.

If they can’t help it but joining the debate - because any other way would be drawing much attention - they do it as a mirror, repeating what louder voices have said, or, ultimately, nodding agreement over and over, like the little toy dogs that were in fashion on car dashboards in the Cuban streets for a while.

Around these days, and until July 15th with the great finale, not knowing of soccer is like having bad breath... or something worse.

And if you are a man and know nothing of goals, balls, and fans thing could get complicated. Because even a few eyebrows are raised doubting their manliness, although until he has had a manly image so far.

While the most important world competition of soccer is on - the most popular and best paid - many contradictory emotions are lived. Because there are those who would like to watch all games, all of them, without caring to get blood-shot eyes on the third day, and although they want, they can’t.

Work, family duties, must-do, planned or accidental commitments, prevent most humans from staying put in front of screens for the 31 days with their 64 matches of the World Cup, even wishing it fiercely.

It’s then that strong fans look entertained, they forget things or important data, they are there, but they are not present. As soon as they have a chance they will be updated on the match result, to complain or scream euphoric if among the contestants is his favorite team.

Nobody knows if to avoid mistakes like those described in workplaces or the streets, perhaps for when the semifinal or finale are played, in any of the 32 national teams participating in the World Cup decide to declare a free day.

Meanwhile let happiness or displeasure - according to wins or defeats - don't cloud anyone’s judgment, and that my neighboring Ildeliza, from evaluating the work of goalkeepers, forwards, defenses and midfielders, she really ends up loving soccer, that which today draws multitudes.

Cubasi Translation Staff / Amilkal Labañino Valdés

FIFA: 48 Soccer Selections in the World Cup

The Council of the International Football Federation (FIFA) approved the proposal to increase the number of teams participating in the World Cups from 32 to 48, media reported today.

The idea presented by the FIFA president, Gianni Infantino, was unanimously endorsed in the vote this day in Zurich.

The tournament will have a structure of 16 groups of three teams each, of which two will advance to the round of sixteen, format of competition that will come into effect from 2026.

The news did not escape to criticism like the ones issued by the president of the European Federation of Clubs, the German Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, the holder of the Spanish League, Javier Tebas, and the coach of the Italian group Juventus, Massimiliano Allegri.

Rummenigge, also head of the German club Bayern Munich, commented that 'it is a decision that was taken for political rather than sporting reasons, and it is regrettable,' referring to Infantino's strategy of keeping his electorate happy.

He also questioned the urgency of enlargement, 'When there are nine years before applying a new format, without involving all parties (including clubs) on which there will be an impact with this change.'

'We will analyze the impacts in detail and discuss this issue at our next board meeting at the end of January,' he said.

For its part, Thebes assured the French publication L'Equipe that, 'the method used is not acceptable', since the decision was made without consulting the negative consequences that would cause the clubs.

He also criticized the attitude of Infantino, who 'behaves like (Joseph) Blatter - his predecessor in office - who made decisions alone, without worrying about anyone.

Meanwhile, Allegri said that '48 teams is a lot. Let us see how this format will be installed. Football changes. Decision makers are looking to increase profits. Now, football is spectacle and business.

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Cubans to participate in Chess World Cup

With the presence of 13 Latin American players, including five Cubans, it will be inaugurated on Thursday in Baku, capital of Azerbaijan, the Chess World Cup, attended by 128 contestants.

The Cuban representatives will be the GMs Leinier Dominguez, Lazaro Bruzon, Yunieski Quesada, Isan Ortiz and debutant Ermes Espinosa.

Leinier, 25th in the world ranking with 2732 ELO points, will face in the first round tArgentine GM Federico Perez, who is the fourth player of his country with 2,563 ELO units.

In turn, the second Cuban player GM Lazaro Bruzon ( 2659), who appears 85th in the world rankings, will rival Santos Vidit, who ranks sixth in India (2651).

The GM Yunieski Quesada (2643) will have a tough opponent in the Russian Ernesto Inarkiev (2660), who is located in the 83rd seat of the world list.

Finally, the less experienced in the Cuban delegation, Isan Ortiz and Ermes Espinosa, will clash in the opening with the French Maxime Vachier Lagrave and Russian Sergey Karjakin respectively.

The Frenchman ranks 16th with 2,744 points while the Russian is12th with 2,762 units.

The other Latin Americans competing in the World Cup come from Brazil, Peru and Argentina, all with two players, and Venezuela and Chile , with one each.

The best of these players are the Peruvian GM Julio Ernesto Granda (2667) and Venezuelan Eduardo Iturrizaga, who will face Brazilian Alexander Fier and Israeli Maxim Rohstein in that order.

The top two players of this contest will earn tickets to the Candidates Tournament. The venue will be one of the newly built "Flame Towers ".

Each elimination round includes two games. In case of draw the players would play a tiebreaker match.

The first round will be played from September 11 to 13. The contest runs until October 4.

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Start Believing: Cuba's clairvoyant keeper

It’s fair to say that only a clairvoyant would have predicted that the baseball mad island of Cuba would have made it to the 1938 World Cup to become the first Caribbean country to play at the finals.

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