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Japan must choose wisely

ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

FIFA president Sepp Blatter backs rule to keep 2026 World Cup out of Europe

E:60 examines the most powerful man in sports and his leadership of the organization overseeing world soccer.
E:60 examines the most powerful man in sports and his leadership of the organization overseeing world soccer.
E:60 examines the most powerful man in sports and his leadership of the organization overseeing world soccer.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter wants a rule on World Cup hosting that would prevent Europe from bidding for the 2026 tournament.

The FIFA executive committee could agree this month to block continental confederations from bidding for the next two World Cups after hosting.

"It should be this way," Blatter told reporters on Friday, adding that the proposal is "more than an option."

Because Russia will host in 2018, a UEFA country would next be eligible for the 2030 World Cup. Russia defeated...

'Japanese Messi' Takefusa Kubo signs for FC Tokyo from Barcelona

ESPN FC's Alejandro Moreno and Ross Dyer weigh on the Champions League final, and Alejandro contends that Barcelona might be to much for the Italian giants to handle.
Takefusa Kubo has been tipped for a bright future.

TOKYO -- Japanese club FC Tokyo have signed 13-year-old prospect Takefusa Kubo from Barcelona.

Kubo, who earned the nickname the 'Japanese Messi', signed with Barcelona in 2011 to train at La Masia academy but FIFA ruled that the Spanish club violated international transfer regulations over the signing of young players, forcing the teenager to return home.

After being handed a 14-month transfer ban, Barcelona are now unable to recruit any new players until the 2016 January window while Kubo, who...

WC Qualifiers: Change of venues for Singapore's Group E games vs. Japan

Singapore coach Bernd Stange will need to prepare his team for the daunting away trip to Japan on June 16 instead of Nov. 12.

Singapore's 2018 World Cup qualification game against Japan on June 16 has been moved from the city state to Saitama in Japan.

The return match in Group E between the two nations on Nov. 12 will now be hosted by Singapore.

The tweaking of the schedule means Bernd Stange's side face the daunting prospect of taking on four time Asian champions Japan on their home turf just five days after their first game, also an away match against Cambodia.

The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and world governing...

ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Netherlands shut out Spain while England, Italy draw in friendlies

Andros Townsend equalises late for England as they play out a 1-1 draw with Italy in Turin.
ESPN FC's Steve Nicol explains that if Raheem Sterling can make all the money in the world if he continues to improve, following reports that he's rejected a new deal with Liverpool.

Netherlands scored twice in a four-minute span and shut out Spain 2-0 on Tuesday in a friendly in Amsterdam.

Stefan de Vrij's header opened the scoring in the 13th minute, and Davy Klaassen doubled the advantage in the 16th.

Klaassen found himself free to shoot in the middle of the 18-yard box, and though his initial shot was saved by David De Gea, he fired the rebound into the back of the net.

A wave of second-half Spain reinforcements included David Silva, Alvaro Morata and Andres Iniesta, but...