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Infantino backs transfer-market reform

FIFA
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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

2018 World Cup draw results and full daily schedule

Stewart Robson feels England lucked out and got a fairly easy group that contains Belgium, Panama and Tunisia.
ESPN's Julien Laurens believes France will be very happy after drawing Australia, Peru and Denmark.

FIFA conducted the draw for the 2018 World Cup on Friday in Moscow.

The 32 qualified teams, allocated in four pots based on their October FIFA ranking, were drawn into eight groups of four teams each. Hosts Russia were automatically the top seed in Group A despite being the lowest-ranked team.

There could be no more than two teams from Europe in any one pot, and no more than one nation from any other continental confederation.

Group stage

After playing each team in their group, the top two...

 By Tom Marshall

Juan Carlos Osorio gets chance second meeting with Sir Alex Ferguson

Mexico head coach Juan Carlos Osorio "patiently waited many days" to have an opportunity to speak to then Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson for five minutes back in the early 2000s. It was a process that involved persistence, a trait that has characterized Osorio's career in general, but perhaps especially so given he was then a Manchester City assistant.

But Osorio has never forgotten the meeting with Ferguson, in particular the words of encouragement about rotating players to increase...

 By Ian Holyman

Benjamin Mendy set for return to Manchester City training - Bernardo Silva

The ESPN FC crew answer your tweets on all things Man City, including how Pep Guardiola handles losing and what their FA Cup exit means for Tottenham.

Benjamin Mendy will be back in full training with the Manchester City squad within a month, teammate Bernardo Silva has told RMC.

Mendy has been sidelined since rupturing knee ligaments in September but is edging closer to stepping back onto the training pitch. 

Earlier this week, France coach Didier Deschamps said he was hopeful of having Mendy in his squad for the World Cup.

Silva, who like Mendy joined City from Monaco last summer, said he also believed Mendy could be in action in Russia.

"Yes,...

ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Sepp Blatter endorses Morocco bid over U.S. to host 2026 World Cup

FIFA president Gianni Infantino speaks to ESPN FC's Gab Marcotti about his hopes of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups being able to change any negative perceptions of both Russia and Qatar.
FIFA president Gianni Infantino tells Gab Marcotti the World Cup 'cannot afford' to be decided by an incorrect refereeing decision.

Former FIFA president Sepp Blatter on Thursday endorsed Morocco's bid to host the 2026 World Cup over the joint bid from the United States, Mexico and Canada.

Blatter, who is banned from any role in global football for financial misconduct, issued his backing for the event to return to Africa, where he still has support after championing South Africa's bid to host in 2010.

Referencing the joint bid from the North American countries, Blatter tweeted: "World Cup 2026: Co-Hosting rejected by FIFA...

FIFA lifts ban on public endorsements of 2026 World Cup bids

LONDON -- A ban on voters publicly endorsing any 2026 World Cup bid has been lifted by FIFA in the face of criticism from football officials.

The governing body last month ordered officials not to openly discuss the merits of either the joint Northern American bid, featuring the United States, Canada and Mexico, or the rival bid from Morocco.

It led to Confederation of African Football President Ahmad to express frustration at being restricted from backing his continent's bid.

But FIFA Secretary...