Russian politicians want US kicked out of World Cup because US politicians want Russia kicked out of World Cup

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Politicians seem to have an uncanny knack for knowing precious little about sports. We need more than our fingers and toes to count the number of times one of the elected elite have mispronounced a player’s name, placed a team in the wrong sport or speculated on how many touchdowns it would take to get a penalty kick in the tie game rivalry.

Wait, that last part was a Postal Service lyric.

In any event, a pair of Russian lawmakers are pretty ticked off with a pair of American lawmakers, who are pretty ticked off at Russia for its actions in the turmoil of Ukraine.

Last week, US Republican senators Mark Kirk and Dan Coats sent a letter to FIFA president Sepp Blatter asking that soccer’s governing body kick Russia out of the 2014 World Cup and take the rights to host the 2018 tournament away from them.

So then Russia was all like, “No. YOU should be out of the World Cup, jerks.”

From the AFP:

“We ask you to call an extraordinary FIFA meeting and suspend USA’s FIFA membership and to expel their national side from playing in the 2014 World Cup,” said the letter by the two State Duma deputies from President Vladimir Putin’s ruling United Russia party.

The letter said action was needed after the US “aggression against several sovereign states like Yugoslavia, Iraq and Libya” and attempts “to occupy Syria.”

I’m sure Blatter is going to spend loads of time with the letters. And by spend loads of time, I mean go watch Netflix.

We here at Pro Soccer Talk have a great solution: a 2v2 match between teams comprised of Kirk and Coats, as well as the two Russian MPs: Alexander Sidyakin and Mikhail Markelov. Or they could just make one of those awesome political bets where if Russia gets kicked out of the World Cup, the United States gets 50 bowls of Okroshka, while if the States get kicked out, Russia gets 83 pounds of chicken wings.

CCL: Lodeiro from 45; Royer’s diving header — SEA, RBNY lead (video)

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After 45 minutes of their respective CONCACAF Champions League knockout-round quests, things are going unnervingly well for the Seattle Sounders and New York Red Bulls.

[ MORE: FC Dallas disappoint in CCL; Club America flying ]

If you’ve watched Major League Soccer teams try, try and try again — only to eventually fail in spectacular fashion — in CCL over the years, you might say things are going a little too well.

There’s still another 45 minutes to be played on Thursday — plus the return legs next week — but both the Sounders and Red Bulls hold 1-0 halftime leads, and the vitally important away goals which come with it. Nicolas Lodeiro’s 45-yard, first-time lob of the Santa Tecla (El Salvador) goalkeeper in the 15th minute has already been eternally etched into the memories of Sounders fans.

Just 15 minutes later, Daniel Royer perfectly executed the diving header and got on the end of Bradley Wright-Phillips’ curling ball into the box to Jesse Marsch’s side ahead of Honduran side CD Olimpia.

Villarreal DF Semedo charged with attempted murder

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MADRID (AP) A Spanish judge has charged Villarreal defender Ruben Semedo with attempted murder and ordered him to be temporarily detained without bail.

Court officials in Lliria say on Thursday the Portuguese player is also charged with assault, robbery, illegal detention, and illegal possession of firearms.

Semedo testified before a judge on Thursday, and left the court in handcuffs.

The 23-year-old Semedo was detained early Tuesday, accused of tying up, assaulting and threatening another man last week. Authorities say he and two other men allegedly held the victim captive while they robbed his apartment.

Semedo’s agents told Spanish media the player denies any wrongdoing.

Villarreal on Tuesday said it was investigating Semedo and would take appropriate disciplinary action.

Villarreal signed Semedo from Sporting Lisbon last summer for a reported fee of $17 million.

Wenger: Arsenal “complacent, had no ideas” in Ostersunds loss

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Perhaps Sunday’s League Cup final had already reached the forefront of their minds, but Arsene Wenger admonished his players, whom he said were “complacent, not focused” and “had no ideas” for much of Thursday’s Europa League defeat, at home, to Swedish side Ostersunds.

[ MORE: Premier League TV schedule | Man United vs. Chelsea ]

The Gunners advanced to the round of 16 on the back of their 3-0 first-leg victory last week, but Wenger was understandably displeased by the effort he saw and expressed such feelings in no uncertain terms, before quickly easing up and praising the fact they were able to pull back a goal against the current fifth-place team from Sweden — quotes from the BBC:

“We were not at the races in the first half,” said Wenger, who saw his side booed off at half-time and full-time. I think in the second half it was much better and we should have scored a few goals.

“In the first half, we were in trouble and in danger because we were complacent, not focused and were open every time we lost the ball. We had no ideas with the ball and that’s why we were in trouble.

“We responded very well because we did the job to qualify, but that’s what we have to take from the night and that’s all.”

With Arsenal now trailing fourth-place Chelsea by eight points (and seven back of fifth-place Tottenham Hotspur), winning the Europa League might just be the Gunners’ last chance at qualifying for next season’s Champions League.

Batshuayi racially abused by Atalanta fans

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Borussia Dortmund striker Michy Batshuayi says he was subject to racist chants from Atalanta fans during a Europa League game in Italy.

The Belgium international, on loan from Chelsea, tweeted:

Dortmund advanced to the round of 16 by drawing 1-1 to beat Atalanta 4-3 on aggregate on Thursday.

The game was played at Mapei Stadium in Reggio Emilia because Atalanta’s home stadium is unsuitable for UEFA games.

There have been several incidents of racism at Serie A matches this season.