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World Cup Today: Swiss, French set to thrill; CRC looks to upset Italy

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WORLD CUP TODAY: FRIDAY, JUNE 20

England’s World Cup hopes are on the thinnest of threads after losing to Uruguay on Thursday, while Japan couldn’t break down 10-man Greece and Colombia looked like world beaters in a 2-1 win over the Ivory Coast.

So what’s on tap for today? Plenty.

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MATCH 24: ITALY VS. COSTA RICA
Location: Arena Pernambuco, Recife
Time: Noon ET
SOCCERLY PREVIEW | SOCCERLY MATCHCENTER

What they’re saying:
Costa Rica coach Jorge Luis Pinto on hearing that Jose Mourinho thinks a second upset is unlikely: “I am really surprised that José Mourinho said something like that. He plays Sundays and Wednesdays and he is not able to repeat what he did the match before? Of course he is. We know that Italy is a very difficult opponent but we are confident that we will be able to repeat our performance.

“At the beginning, some people said that we were the worst and that we wouldn’t even get one point,” he said. “But we think about what we are able to do. Other people said that Spain would play the final against Brazil. That will not happen now.”

History:
Italy won 2-0 in 1985, the only meeting.

MLS Players:
Costa Rica: Giancarlo González, Waylon Francis (Colombus Crew), Roy Miller (New York Red Bulls)

RELATED: World Cup news, analysis from Soccerly

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source: APMATCH 25: SWITZERLAND VS. FRANCE

Location: Arena Fonte Nova, Salvador
Time: 3pm ET
SOCCERLY PREVIEW | SOCCERLY MATCHCENTER

Cheater’s guide: The Swiss know they have to attack France in order to balance out the French club’s desire to push its offense forward. Frankly, this one could be one of the matches of the tournament as the nations battle for the top spot in Group E.

What they’re saying:
Switzerland assistant coach Michel Pont: “Us, favourites? Absolutely not. Frankly, the current French team impresses me, they have found harmony… It’s extremely difficult to find their weak points, it is the first time I have experienced this in 13 years.”

History:
France leads with 15 wins, nine draws and 12 losses and, though the nations have drawn their last three meetings, Switzerland hasn’t won a match-up since May of 1992.

Premier League players:
Switzerland – Philippe Senderos (Aston Villa)
France – Hugo Lloris (Tottenham Hotspur), Mathieu Debuchy (Newcastle), Bacary Sagna (Manchester City), Mamadou Sakho (Liverpool), Patrice Evra (Manchester United), Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal), Moussa Sissokho (Newcastle), Morgan Schneiderlin (Southampton), Olivier Giroud (Arsenal), Loic Remy(QPR).

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source: Getty ImagesMATCH 26: HONDURAS VS. ECUADOR

Location: Arena da Baixada, Curitiba
Time: 6pm ET
SOCCERLY PREVIEW | SOCCERLY MATCHCENTER

Cheater’s guide: Two Colombian managers (and friends) square off in an elimination game. Honduras will be without star Wilson Palacios on a red-card suspension.

What they’re saying:
Honduras coach Luis Fernando Suarez on a 3-0 loss to France: “”We ran away from football in the last match. It seems to me we were missing something … we needed more confidence with the ball.”

History:
Ecuador has a slight edge in an even series, with three wins, eight draws and two losses.

Premier League players:
Honduras – Maynor Figueroa (Hull City), Wilson Palacios (Stoke City)
Ecuador – Antonio Valencia (Manchester United)

MLS players:
Honduras – Victor Bernardez (San Jose), Boenik Garcia (Houston), Marvin Chavez (Chivas USA), Jerry Bengtson (New England).
Ecuador – Oswaldo Minda (Chivas USA)

Qatar to set up desert tent camp to house World Cup fans

Sepp Blatter, FIFA
AP Photo/Keystone/Walter Bieri, File
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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) The committee organizing the 2022 World Cup in Qatar plans to try out a “fan village” that could house up to 2,000 soccer spectators in Arabian desert tents.

The Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy said Tuesday it is seeking bids to develop a pilot project near the Sealine Beach resort south of the capital, Doha.

[ MORE: NCAA star’s fastest hat trick ]

It will offer different types of accommodation in 350 temporary tents and 300 permanent tents, along with big viewing screens and other entertainment options. A total of five fan villages could eventually be built.

Qatar is racing to build hotels and other infrastructure needed to host the games. Visitor accommodation in Qatar is currently dominated by higher-end hotels in Doha.

Once more, with feeling: Who could be the next England manager?

MANSFIELD, ENGLAND - JULY 19:  Steve Bruce manager of Hull City during the pre-season friendly match between Mansfield Town and Hull City at the One Call Stadium on July 19, 2016 in Mansfield, England. (Photo by Clint Hughes/Getty Images)"n
Photo by Clint Hughes/Getty Images
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It seems like mere months ago we were discussing who would take over for Roy Hodgson as the next manager of England.

That’s obviously because it was just 67 days ago that Sam Allardyce was hired as the next manager of the Three Lions, and 22 days since he oversaw what would be his only match in charge: a 1-0 win in Slovakia.

[ MORE: Ranieri laughs off England speculation ]

Now Allardyce’s mouth has engineered his exit from the job. How much has the landscape changed for managerial candidates?

Not too much. In no particular order, let’s look through some of the same names we studied this summer:

Steve Bruce — The ex-Hull City boss interviewed for the gig before Allardyce was hired. Is it as simple as going with choice No. 2?

Jurgen Klinsmann — The USMNT coach is again being listed by the oddsmakers despite the fact that England didn’t contact U.S. Soccer regarding an interview last time around. Has anything changed?

Gareth Southgate — The caretaker boss has worked with several of these players when they were U-20 and U-21 players, with his only other managerial experience coming with Middlesbrough between 2006-09.

Alan Pardew — The Palace man fancies himself for the job, that’s for sure. Would England really hire a ‘look at me’ man for such a high-profile position?

Eddie Howe — Bournemouth, and maybe Arsenal, fans won’t want to hear it, but the young manager would be a terrific choice for the job. But would he like running a team that doesn’t entail weekly game prep?

Harry Redknapp — If you’re looking for Pardew, only older and somehow even more sure of himself.

[ MORE: Dempsey out for 2016 ]

Other names on the oddmakers’ books are ex-Spain boss Vicente del Bosque, current Arsenal man Arsene Wenger, and Manuel Pellegrini (who is with Chinese club Hebei China Fortune). Leicester’s Claudio Ranieri has also been mentioned.

Allardyce’s issues really did no favors to club football in England, let alone country. The 61-year-old was hired in July, when clubs could’ve addressed their manager leaving better. Now in late September, the next England coach could wreak havoc on a PL team.

England hosts Malta on Oct. 8 in its second World Cup qualifier, before visiting Slovenia three days later.

Man City: Guardiola updates De Bruyne, Kompany injury status

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 20:  Vincent Kompany and Kevin De Bruyne of Manchester City talk during a training session at the City Football Academy on October 20, 2015 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images
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Kevin De Bruyne has been as valuable an attacker as any in the Premier League season, so his injury suffered this weekend is quite a big deal.

There were fears that Manchester City’s Belgian attacker would be gone for more than a month, but manager Pep Guardiola has quelled those concerns to an extent.

[ MORE: NCAA star’s fastest hat trick ]

De Bruyne will miss Wednesday’s UEFA Champions League match against Celtic, which shouldn’t bother the club too much, though his absence Sunday against Tottenham Hotspur could be felt more keenly.

Guardiola said that both De Bruyne and his Belgian teammate, Vincent Kompany, should be back in two to three weeks time. In De Bruyne’s case, Guardiola’s specifically mentioned after the international break. That puts him in line for an Oct. 15 trip to Everton.

The manager also related that he’s excited for his first trip to Celtic Park, as he’s not been to Glasgow to face Celtic in his career.

From ManCity.com:

“Everyone talks to me about the atmosphere, I’m looking forward to playing here. I know how strong they are here. I spoke with my old players, and they have said this is a special environment.”

Kickoff from Scotland is 2:45 p.m. ET.

Champions League preview: Arsenal match sees Xhaka vs. Xhaka; Man City hosts Celtic

ST ALBANS, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 27:  Manager Arsene Wenger of Arsenal talks to Granit Xhaka during an Arsenal training session ahead of the Champions League Group A match between Arsenal and Basel at London Colney on September 27, 2016 in St Albans, England.  (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images
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There are some absolute beauties on tap for Wednesday in the UEFA Champions League, with two Premier League clubs in play and a pair of matches pitting top teams from Germany and Spain.

[ MORE: UCL Tuesday roundup ]

All Wednesday matches kick off at 2:45 p.m. ET.

Celtic vs. Manchester City

Having been hammered 7-0 at home by Barcelona, Celtic’s “reprieve” is a trip to face Pep Guardiola and Manchester City. Brendan Rodgers will need to pull every trick out of his hat to avoid another blowout, as City had little trouble in dispatching a solid Borussia Monchengladbach side 4-0.

Arsenal vs. FC Basel

Both Group A matches were 1-1 draws to open the stage, though few expect draws on day 2. That’s because giants Arsenal and Paris Saint-Germain move onto perceived lesser lights in Basel and Ludogorets Razgrad.

The Gunners are flying, having gotten their toughest fixture out of the way in a 1-1 draw at PSG. Arsene Wenger‘s crew is fresh off a 3-0 thumping of Chelsea, and will be aware of Basel’s best: Serey Die, Birkir Bjarnason, and Taulant Xhaka, brother of Arsenal’s Granit. That’s right… all the Xhakas.

Atletico Madrid vs. Bayern Munich

A road goal led Diego Simeone’s Atleti past Bayern in last year’s UCL semifinal, and the Bavarians will hope for a better fate under new boss Carlo Ancelotti.

Borussia Monchengladbach vs. Barcelona

Man, this group. A very good Gladbach side will have to rebound from a 4-0 loss to Man City by hosting Barcelona. The good news for the Germans is that Barcelona will be without Leo Messi, though that mattered little in Barca’s 5-0 win in La Liga play this weekend.

Elsewhere
Ludogorets Razgrad vs. Paris Saint-Germain
Napoli vs. Benfica
Besiktas vs. Dynamo Kyiv
FC Rostov vs. PSV Eindhoven