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Trump gets involved in 2026 World Cup bid

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The vote on who will host the 2026 World Cup will take place in Russia on Wednesday and the joint-bid from the USA, Mexico and Canada is expected to edge Morocco to victory.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

But could President Donald Trump have a big part to play in a victory for the North American bid?

A report from the New York Times suggests that Trump has been involved in allaying fears from countries across the world regarding his hard-line approach on immigration. This comes after he previously seemed to threaten countries around the world if they didn’t vote for the North American bid over Morocco.

Below is the crux of the news from the NYT, as Trump has been helping to smooth over fears regarding visas and travel bans.

Since March, Mr. Trump has provided United States soccer officials with three letters addressed to Gianni Infantino, the president of FIFA, soccer’s global governing body. Each letter, part of an extensive but largely unseen United States government effort to support the bid, contained increasingly specific guarantees that foreign teams, officials and even fans will face no restrictions on entering the U.S. for World Cup matches in 2026 if their countries qualify for the tournament. In effect, the letters assured officials voting on the event that Mr. Trump’s hard-line stance on visas would not apply to the World Cup.

The letters were reviewed by The New York Times; they have not previously been reported.

In the most recent letter, dated May 2, Mr. Trump cites the 1996 and 2002 Olympic Games and the 1994 World Cup as examples of major international events hosted by the United States, and he assures Mr. Infantino — and by extension FIFA voters — that “I am confident that the United States would host the 2026 FIFA World Cup in a similarly open and festive manner, and that all eligible athletes, officials and fans from all countries around the world would be able to enter the United States without discrimination.”

Of course, a second Trump term would end in 2025, more than a year before the event, a fact the United Bid officials also have pointed out to voters. That has not seemed to matter, soccer officials from the United States, Mexico and Canada said Monday. What has eased the minds of some voters, U.S. Soccer President Carlos Cordeiro said, is the mere existence of his letters — printed on crisp White House letterhead and marked with Mr. Trump’s distinctive, inch-high signature at the bottom in thick black pen strokes.

So, there you have it.

Even if Trump wins a second term as president, he will not be in office during the tournament in 2026, so how much this helps the North American bid remains to be seen.

The fact that the president of the USA is so involved in this bid suggests he realizes just how valuable this could be not only economically, but also in patching up relations between the U.S. and its neighbors to the north and south.

Pep on Man City win, Sterling’s poor panenka, Mourinho sacking

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Pep Guardiola‘s Manchester City needed penalties to outlast hosts Leicester City in the quarterfinals of the League Cup, but got the job done thanks in no small part to some laughable efforts from the Foxes.

[ RECAP: Leicester 1-1 (1-3 pens) Man City ]

Kevin De Bruyne and Marc Albrighton scored good-looking goals in regulation, and Oleksandr Zinchenko converted City’s third penalty after Leicester missed three-consecutive offerings at the King Power Stadium.

Man City’s only miss was an awful missed panenka from Raheem Sterling, but Guardiola was mostly okay with the outcome given their lineup.

Eric Garcia started and made his first team debut at age 17. Phil Foden and Brahim Diaz also started the match. Young goalkeeper Arijanet Muric starred for Man City, stopping two penalties in the win. From the BBC:

“A tough game, it is always difficult at Leicester. We played with a guy who is 17 years old and some injured players, it was a good game. … Raheem took that decision [to chip his penalty], unfortunately he missed it but that is OK.”

Guardiola was also asked about fired Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho. He feels compassion for his longtime rival.

“I am always sad for the manager when that happens. We are alone in that situation. I am close to all of the managers. You are sacked when results are not good. He doesn’t need me, he is so strong. I wish him all the best and he will be back soon.”

Man City is one win from a third League Cup final in four years, and will face either Burton Albion, Arsenal, Spurs, Bournemouth, or Chelsea. Next up is a visit from Crystal Palace on Saturday and another trip to Leicester on Boxing Day.

League Cup: Man City wins in PKs; Burton upsets Boro

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It took penalty kicks to separate Leicester City and Man City, while Middlesbrough was booed off the pitch after 90 minutes of an upset loss as the first two quarterfinals of the League Cup were played Tuesday in England.

[ MORE: Steffen wins USMNT award ]


Leicester City 1-1 (1-3, PKs) Man City

A bungling batch of penalties ended an entertaining quarterfinal at King Power Stadium, and the reigning champions are alive for their third League Cup in four years.

Christian Fuchs airmailed Leicester City’s second attempt of penalty kicks, but Raheem Sterling chipped his ensuing panenka over the bar for Man City.

It was three-straight misses when Man City’s Arijanet Muric saved James Maddison‘s tame low effort and then nabbed Caglar Soyuncu’s shot to cue up Oleksandar Zinchenko for the winner.

Before that, we learned that Kevin De Bruyne can ball.

Okay, that’s not news, though we haven’t been able to see it in sometime thanks to a pair of knee injuries.

De Bruyne had played just 251 minutes heading into Tuesday’s League Cup quarterfinal at Leicester City, though he’s looking plenty sharp.

Watch the Manchester City midfielder cut his mark with a clever back leg move, then sweep a shot through a defender’s legs and past the reach of Leicester backstop Danny Ward.

It’s delightful stuff. Watch it here.

No sooner had De Bruyne left the contest after 70 minutes, Leicester City restored the stalemate via Marc Albrighton. The veteran midfielder collected a Wilfred Ndidi over-the-top pass with style before lashing past Arijanet Muric.

Middlesbrough 0-1 Burton Albion

There goes Tony Pulis‘ Boro outfit thanks to a strike from Southampton loanee Jake Hesketh, as Burton Albion trumped the ol’ West Bromwich Albion coach at his own game.

The League One side is the only non-Premier League team left in the tournament, and will now face either Man City, Arsenal, Tottenham, Chelsea, or Bournemouth in the semifinals.

Bundesliga wrap: Fortuna Dusseldorf wonder goal ends BVB’s unbeaten season

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Borussia Dortmund’s unbeaten league season is over, stopped at the hands of an unlikely conqueror.

Fortuna Dusseldorf scored twice in the first hour to take advantage of the super sleepy leaders, who could only manage a late Paco Alcacer goal at the Espirit Arena.

[ MORE: Steffen wins USMNT award ]

USMNT winger Christian Pulisic went 90 minutes for BVB, setting up a goal that was called back for offside and also earning a yellow card.

Both of the hosts’ goals were fantastic in the 2-1 win, the first a long dribble from young Belgian wizard Dodi Lukembakio and the second this hammer of Thor from defender Jean Zimmer.

Elsewhere
Borussia Monchengladbach 2-0 Nurnberg
Hertha Berlin 2-2 Augsburg
Wolfsburg 2-0 Stuttgart

Wednesday
Schalke vs. Bayer Leverkusen
Werder Bremen vs. Hoffenheim
Freiburg vs. Hannover 96
Bayern Munich vs. RB Leipzig
Mainz vs. Eintracht Frankfurt

Standings

 

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
 Borussia Dortmund 16 12 3 1 42 17 25 7-1-0 5-2-1 39
 Mönchengladbach 16 10 3 3 35 16 19 8-0-0 2-3-3 33
 Bayern Munich 15 9 3 3 32 18 14 3-3-1 6-0-2 30
 RB Leipzig 15 8 4 3 28 14 14 6-2-0 2-2-3 28
 Eintracht Frankfurt 15 8 2 5 32 18 14 4-1-2 4-1-3 26
 VfL Wolfsburg 16 7 4 5 24 20 4 3-3-3 4-1-2 25
 Hertha BSC Berlin 16 6 6 4 25 24 1 4-3-1 2-3-3 24
 1899 Hoffenheim 15 6 5 4 30 21 9 3-3-2 3-2-2 23
 Werder Bremen 15 6 3 6 25 25 0 3-2-3 3-1-3 21
 FSV Mainz 05 15 5 4 6 14 19 -5 3-3-2 2-1-4 19
 Bayer Leverkusen 15 5 3 7 21 27 -6 3-1-3 2-2-4 18
 SC Freiburg 15 4 5 6 19 24 -5 3-3-2 1-2-4 17
 FC Augsburg 16 3 6 7 23 26 -3 1-4-2 2-2-5 15
 FC Schalke 04 15 4 3 8 16 21 -5 3-0-4 1-3-4 15
 Fortuna Düsseldorf 16 4 3 9 18 33 -15 4-0-5 0-3-4 15
 VfB Stuttgart 16 4 2 10 11 32 -21 3-1-3 1-1-7 14
 1. FC Nürnberg 16 2 5 9 14 37 -23 2-3-3 0-2-6 11
 Hannover 96 15 2 4 9 16 33 -17 2-1-4 0-3-5 10

Men in Blazers podcast: Emergency edition (Mourinho’s sacked!)

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If Men in Blazers aren’t scheduled for a podcast and a major event happens, you can bet at least one of them will race for the microphone.

Emergency Jose Mourinho Pod in which Rog talks the end of the Portuguese’s reign at Manchester United.

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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