The 23 best World Cup players after the first round of action

by Steven Clarke June 22, 2018, 3:08
The 23 best World Cup players after the first round of action

Blatter, 82, said he had dined with Putin on Wednesday and congratulated him on Russia's organisation.

Blatter, who is Swiss, said he hoped that the Federation Internationale de Football Association ban on him taking part in footballing activities would be lifted by the end of this year.

"Today I saw Infantino and Blatter at the stadium, it's true", TASS quoted Sorokin as saying.

Former FIFA president Sepp Blatter said Thursday he believes the World Cup should return to England when Europe next gets its turn to host the tournament.

Only time will tell if his Russian hosts can hide him again when he attends Friday's Brazil-Costa Rica game in St Petersburg but Blatter, who is serving a six-year ban from the game for making a dishonest payment to ex-UEFA boss Michel Platini, denies his former colleagues are embarrassed of him.

However, FIFA have expressed they are "satisfied" with the refereeing standards and implementation of VAR at the 2018 World Cup in a statement released on Wednesday.

"I don't think they are embarrassed I'm here - they knew I was invited by the head of state and the two presidents (Putin and his successor at FIFA, Gianni Infantino) spoke about it", said Blatter. "You have to congratulate Russian Federation for the organisation of the World Cup, and naturally the head of state himself".

The voting process for those tournaments is now tainted by suspicions of corruption.

Yet they have all but guaranteed their passage out of Group A and are set to join the knockout stage for the first time since 1986.

Blatter attended Portugal's 1-0 win over Morocco in Moscow, where the losing side felt that a number of decisions went against them and were then not overturned by VAR.

Russian Federation got the World Cup off to a thrilling start when it wowed crowds with a 5-0 victory over Saudi Arabia in the curtain-raising game on June 14, before tournament favourites like Argentina and Brazil failed to register a win.

Thankfully, Blatter will be gone by the end of the week, and can stop pretending the World Cup is all about him.

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