Fico Balotelli

Italy national coach Cesar Prandelli has stated emphatically that Twitter and other social networks will be banned from the team’s World Cup training camp in Brazil. This comes in reaction to enigmatic star striker Mario Balotelli’s fury at having his tweets and other messages intercepted and printed by media outlets surrounding his request for a paternity test for the unborn child of on-off girlfriend, model/actress Rafaella Fico (also a former girlfriend of Cristiano Ronaldo, as well as involved in Silvio Berlosconi’s  “Bunga Bunga” scandal).

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Carlos Quieroz, the Portuguese coach of the Iranian National Team, is complaining that he cannot get any competitive friendly matches lined up so his men can prepare. Geographic obstacles are an obvious factor, but geo-political factors also may be coming into play, as well as the unavailability of some of his key players due to professional club obligations.

Iran will have to face Argentina, one of the favorites to win the Cup, at the Group stage. The Albi-Celeste may be soon having a slight controversy of their own, as popular, Maradona-like striker Carlos Tevez may soon be seeking to force his way on a team that dances to the tune of the Barcelona striker and Golden Ball runner-up Lionel Messi.

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Closer to home, the announcement that the U.S. men’s team may be seeking to play a Northern California friendly against Sweden, the team eliminated from qualifying for Brazil by Portugal, one of the U.S.’ Group of Death opponents, could be more good news for San Jose Earthquakes and reported Jürgen Klinsmann favorite striker Chris Wondolowski, who would likely not have a big conflict getting to the match.

Finally, in the Premier League this weekend both Liverpool teams face London opponents. Arsenal should see the return of England international midfielder Jack Wilshere and Belgium international defender Thomas Vermaelen as they are hosted by Luis Suarez’ Liverpool F.C., while Everton travel down south to Tottenham Hotspur, who should be welcoming back THEIR England and Belgium internationals, winger Andros Townsend and midfielder Mousa Dembélé respectively. Everton’s Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku remains out until further notice, and England hopeful Ross Barkley continues to play himself back into fitness from his broken toe, and England central defender Phil Jagielka is hopefully steeling himself for a possible final challenge for a national starting spot from Chelsea and England’s nasty old man in the defense, John Terry.

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