Stripping Russia of World Cup 2018? Germany makes the argument

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With unrest in the Ukraine magnifying this week after the downing of Malaysian Airlines flight MH 17, the Guardian is reporting that German politicians have raised the possibility of stripping Russia of the right to host the 2018 World Cup.

The shouts come from several members in German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s ruling conservative party after Western countries blamed pro-Russian separatists for shooting down the aircraft and killing 298 people.

With the European Union contemplating harsh economic sanctions on Russia it is now Germany’s belief that removing Russia’s right to hold the soccer tournament could be an even more impactful move.

Michael Fuchs, deputy head of the conservative bloc in the German parliament, told Handelsblatt Online that “Fifa should think about whether Moscow is an appropriate host if it can’t even guarantee safe airways.”

Removing the tournament from Russia is also a move Germany favors because they argue that economic sanctions on Russia could be difficult to implement due to Russia’s long borders while German trade associations fear such sanctions could hurt business between Russia and Germany.

Peter Beuth,the interior minister of the state of Hesse, told German newspaper Bild: “If [Russian President Vladimir] Putin doesn’t actively cooperate on clearing up the plane crash, the soccer World Cup in Russia in 2018 is unimaginable.”

But for the Netherlands, where the majority of the MH 17 victims came from, stripping Russia of the World Cup is a measure that needs investigating:

“The Dutch football association is aware that a future World Cup in Russia stirs great emotion among all football fans and relatives in the Netherlands,” the Dutch football association said in a statement. “The association believes it is more appropriate to conduct a discussion over a future World Cup in Russia at a later moment, once the investigation into the disaster has been completed.”

So, if Russia is to be denied the right to host World Cup 2018 where would the tournament be held?

According to Fuchs, Germany and France would be happy to take over.

PODCAST: Bob Bradley talks MLS past, USMNT

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Scott Nicholls and Otis Earle welcomed Bob Bradley to their “Beyond The Pitch” podcast to discuss his time coaching the Chicago Fire, the Fire’s current squad, how MLS has evolved, the new generation of players coming into the USMNT and more.

Perhaps most interesting is Bradley talking about previous losses with stinging emotion that sounds like they happened yesterday, including the 2000 MLS Cup.

[ MORE: Latest Men In Blazers pod ]

Since being fired from Swansea City after less than 100 days, Bradley has been linked with the Norway national team gig as well as a return to Los Angeles. Keep up with the U.S. coach here, and check it out:

U.S. Open Cup preview: Which underdog has best odds?

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Every dog has its day, and the three lower-tier clubs remaining in the 2017 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup are hoping for a second.

Miami FC, Sacramento Republic, and FC Cincinnati enjoyed wins over Major League Soccer sides in the fourth round, and now get further MLS tests in this week’s fifth round.

[ MORE: Lampard linked with manager opening ]

Once FC Dallas and Colorado Rapids tangle on Tuesday, attention turns to the underdogs on Wednesday. Who has the best chance to advance?

  1. Miami FC vs. Atlanta United — Playing an MLS expansion side at Riccardo Silva Stadium will give Miami a bit of confidence, and this is also a side with some good experience in pressure spots. Whether it’s manager Alessandro Nesta or MLS vets Michel, Gabriel Farfan, and Michael Lahoud, MFC won’t shy away. Upset chance: Solid.
  2. FC Cincinnati vs. Chicago Fire — The visitors are having a heck of a season in MLS and don’t have a group which will be worried by a huge crowd, but there’s no debating that 25,000-plus in Southern Ohio give FCC more than a puncher’s chance. Upset chance: Improbable, but possible
  3. LA Galaxy vs. Sacramento Republic — If LA puts something close to its best side out there, Sacramento will struggle to stop its attack.  Upset chance: Long shot.

Elsewhere on Wednesday, New England hosts DC United, Philadelphia visits the Red Bulls, Seattle is off to San Jose, and Houston hosts Sporting KC.

WATCH: Spain’s Saul smashes a shot past Italy’s Donnarumma

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Since returning from a loan at Rayo Vallecano, Saul Niguez has been a somewhat under the radar star at Atletico Madrid.

Coming off his best season with Atleti, the 22-year-old Saul is making an even bigger name for himself at the U-21 EURO this summer.

Spain’s Saul scored a hat trick past Gianluigi Donnarumma and Italy on Tuesday, and the second goal was laced with venom.

Getting onto the ball from 30-plus yards out, Saul smashed his shot with enough power that the ball barely had occasion to rotate.

Saul is under contract at the Vicente Calderon through 2022, and has three caps for Spain’s senior team, too. He was rated Atleti’s third-best performer by WhoScored this season.

Men in Blazers podcast: Transfer window, USMNT at Gold Cup, RBNY-NYCFC

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Men In Blazers are back with their latest podcast, and the boys are hitting club soccer here and abroad as well as Bruce Arena’s men in the red, white, and blue.

Rog and Davo break down transfer window activity, rumored and real; get a heat check on the USMNT heading into the Gold Cup; and recap the (Ray) Hudson River Derby.

All of the MiB content — pods, videos and stories can be seen here, but to really stay in touch, follow, subscribe, click here:

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