robocup FIFA

England’s WAG’s have lost out on a discussed trip at the close of May to accompany their men to Miami at the English Football Association’s expense for their final two warm-up matches ahead of the Brazil World Cup. No formal explanation has been given, but one must think that Posh and Becks must not be too happy to have to cancel party plans. Beckham has also had to confront the first glitches in his PortMiami stadium plan, as it has been revealed that the city had leased the land to Miami-Dade county 20 years ago on the condition that it be used exclusively for port purposes, while Royal Caribbean has plans for neighboring areas that it doesn’t want soccer matches to interfere with. Appears charm needs to go into overdrive…

The first half of the United States’ ‘friendly’ 2-2 draw with Mexico in Phoenix Wednesday went ‘Wondo’-fully, as the San Jose striker continues to strengthen his case to accompany the team to Brazil, and Michael ‘Breaking’ Bradley was dominant, a hand in both goals. However, the Mexicans charged back in the second half, exposing some potentially serious weakness in the US defense. Central defender Omar Gonzalez may no longer be Jürgen Klinsmann’s first choice, and young Julian Green from Bayern Munich may now be judged ‘too young.’ Coach Klinsmann nevertheless is not making any immediate decisions, as 9 1/2 weeks still remain. As Mickey Rourke and Kim Basinger could tell you, much can happen in that amount of time.

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Meanwhile, according to FIFA, the US has bought up over three times as many tickets for World Cup games as any other country other than Brazil itself, and Péle himself has given their football program his stamp of approval, so it may not be the place for Klinsmann’s men to play the outsiders this time.

Unfortunately for ‘true’ World Cup ‘dark horse’ Belgium, one of their tandem of star strikers, Christian Benteke, will need much more than that amount of time to recover from a ruptured Achilles tendon suffered in training for his relegation-threatened English Premier League team, Aston Villa. This may mean an even more important role will be played by Everton’s Kevin Mirallas and their loanee from Chelsea, Romelu Lukaku, while the main forward focus will still be Lukaku’s former and perhaps again future EPL teammate, the man with the name worthy of Speed Racer, Eden Hazard.

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And in the wake of another worker’s death in Brazil’s stadium preparations (this time in Sao Paulo), the robots have come forth to distract us. The ‘Robocup’ World Cup for soccer-playing robots has opened in the Netherlands, and there has been an announcement that the opening ceremonies in Brazil June 12 will feature the debut performance of a robotic exoskeleton that will allow a paraplegic teen to take the first kick of the tournament.

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