World champions Germany, seeking to equal Brazil’s record of five World Cup wins, will land in Russia on Tuesday, along with Gareth Southgate’s youthful England side.Brazil and Neymar arrived in the Black Sea resort of Sochi in the early hours in buoyant mood after hammering Austria 3-0 in their final warm-up match on Sunday.Argentina’s Lionel Messi has cast doubt over his international future © AFP / Vasily MAXIMOVNeymar, who broke a bone in his foot in February, marked his first start in more than three months by scoring in Sunday’s easy victory in Vienna.– Disputed choice –Russia was a disputed choice when it was handed the World Cup in a closely watched 2010 vote that has since been tainted by bribery charges, and the 2018 tournament takes place against a background of international tensions.Russia and the West have engaged in a major wave of tit-for-tat diplomatic expulsions since London accused Moscow of being behind the poisoning of Sergei Skripal in Britain in March.But as the clock ticks down to the opener in Moscow’s imposing 80,000-capacity Luzhniki stadium, the tournament is beginning to catch the public mood, with about 3,500 fans attending Australia’s training session in the central city of Kazan.Russian supporters, enjoying a holiday, shouted “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, go, go, go”.Australia goalkeeper Mathew Ryan speaks at a press conference in Kazan © AFP / Saeed KHANSocceroos goalkeeper Mat Ryan warned France that a new, improved Australia team are plotting an early World Cup shock when the sides meet in Kazan on Saturday.“Come the France game, we’re going to be ready… and giving ourselves opportunities to win this game,” the stopper who plays for Premier League side Brighton warned. “We can’t wait for Saturday.”France, who boast “world-class” attacking talent, according to Australia midfielder Massimo Luongo, are among the tournament favourites in Russia alongside Brazil, Germany and Spain.The atmosphere also went up a notch in Red Square in Moscow, where dozens of Argentinian, Colombian and Mexican fans sang and played drums in support of their teams as darkness fell.– Salah trains –Mohamed Salah trained with his Egypt teammates, still nursing a shoulder injury © AFP / KARIM JAAFARA big question mark hangs over the participation of Egypt and Liverpool striker Mohamed Salah, who is still receiving treatment for the shoulder injury he suffered in the Champions League final.Team doctor Mohamed Abou al-Ela admitted the striker, who scored 44 goals for Liverpool this season, was unlikely to play in Egypt’s opening Group A match against Uruguay on Friday.But Salah did some light running in Grozny on Monday, monitored by medical staff, as the other Egypt players took part in a group warm-up.Uruguay goalkeeper Fernando Muslera said he hoped Salah would be fit to line up when the two countries clash.“I like the best players to play, I train with the best and I want the best players to play,” Muslera said.Argentina captain Messi said his international future will be determined by his country’s performance at the World Cup.“It will depend on how far we go, how we’re going to finish” at the finals, Messi told Spanish daily Sport.“We’ve just lost three finals in a row, which has led to us going through some difficult moments with the press,” the Barcelona forward said.Argentina lost the 2014 World Cup final 1-0 to Germany after extra time, before suffering successive defeats by Chile on penalties at the Copa America in 2015 and 2016.Even before the tournament gets under way, FIFA has the major task on Wednesday of choosing the host of the 2026 World Cup — a straight fight between a joint bid featuring the United States, Canada and Mexico and Morocco.A long-awaited report from FIFA inspectors left the North American bid as the front-runner in the race to host the first 48-team World Cup.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000The World Cup kicks off on June 14 © AFP / GIUSEPPE CACACEMOSCOW, Russian Federation, Jun 10 – The World Cup big guns limbered up on Monday ahead of the tournament opener in Russia while brash underdogs Australia warned Euro 2016 finalists France to brace for an early shock.As the atmosphere built before Thursday’s curtainraiser between the hosts and Saudi Arabia, Argentina star Lionel Messi and his teammates and France’s talent-studded squad including Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappe were put through their paces.
AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREBlues bury Kings early with four first-period goals It’s likely Murakami won’t try to build a lead, or even stay in the lead pack, early in today’s race, a strategy she used early in the season. Instead, she’ll probably save her energy for the end and try to pick off runners in the race’s closing stretch, Saugus coach Christian Standley said. Murakami didn’t take the lead at the state meet until the final mile, then blew by the leaders for a seven-second victory (17:43). She ran a fast, 5:20 opening mile at the early-season Woodbridge of Irvine Invitational and faded to fourth, 21 seconds behind Serrano of Phelan’s Kauren Tarver, the fourth seed in today’s race after winning last week’s California Div. II title in 17:36. Today’s race will be five kilometers (3.1 miles), the same distance as the state meet. The Mt. SAC course was 2.91 miles at the Mt. SAC Invitational in October. The extra approximately quarter-mile is nearly imperceptible to the runners, Standley said. His team’s sixth-place finish at the state meet was recognized in the community. Saugus principal Bill Bolde took the team to lunch earlier this week, and Murakami said she has received several congratulatory calls. “It’s been a hectic week,” she said. “It started to sink in in the car (after the race), but I’m still amazed (I won).” A change in strategy helped Saugus cross country runner Shannon Murakami win her first state title last week. She’ll use a similar approach in today’s Foot Locker West Regional at Mt. San Antonio College, her first step toward competing at the national level. The top eight finishers advance to next week’s Foot Locker Cross Country Championships in San Diego. Murakami is seeded fifth – seventh overall in the West – according to dyestat.com. Several of the region’s top runners, including Corona del Mar of Newport Beach’s Annie St. Geme, the California Div. III champion, will be in Portland, Ore., today competing at the Nike Team Nationals. The top two Western runners in that race also advance to the Foot Locker national meet. Murakami is ranked behind some of the country’s best runners,including Marie Lawrence of Reno, Nev., and Mission Prep of San Luis Obispo’s Jordan Hasay. Lawrence, the defending West Regional champion, has finished second in the past two Foot Locker Cross Country Championships. Hasay, a freshman, posted the state meet’s best time (17 minutes, 11 seconds over 3.1 miles) in winning the Div. V title. The state title was the most prestigious of her career. She can add to her resume by qualifying for her first national championship. Murakami finished 22nd at last year’s Foot Locker West Regional while suffering from a cold; she won the event’s freshman race two years ago. “There’s a first time for everything,” she said. Also: Former Canyon runner Adam McDonald, last year’s Foothill League champ, will run today at Nike Team Nationals with Mountain View of Orem, Utah. He is expected to challenge for one of the two available Foot Locker berths. Sean Martin, (818) 713-3607 [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!