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2030 World Cup bidding heats up with joint bids

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A World Cup across the southern half of South America is very much in the cards, according to multiple reports.

Chile has joined Uruguay, Paraguay and Argentina in the bid to host the 2030 tournament.

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Once 2030 hits, the World Cup will not have been hosted in South America since 2014 (three World Cups) and Europe since 2018 (two).

Here’s what Chilean president Sebastian Pinera said in a Friday Tweet.

“A few months ago I proposed to the presidents of Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay to incorporate Chile, and jointly, to apply for 2030. They agreed to present their joint candidacy to organise the 2030 World Cup.”

Joint bids look to be the way of the future, with Canada, Mexico, and the United States hosting in 2026 and partners potentially joining Qatar in 2022. South Korea and Japan co-hosted the 2002 World Cup.

Bulgaria, Greece, Romania, and Serbia are considering a combined bid for the 2030 tournament, with England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and the Republic of Ireland also in play.

An expanded field would mean given each of the hosts a place in the tournament wouldn’t be as detrimental to qualifying (though it would make for a bizarre CONMEBOL qualifying field should all three South American teams host).

Juan Carlos Osorio steps down as Paraguay manager

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After only five months, Juan Carlos Osorio is leaving his post as Paraguay National Team manager.

The Paraguayan FA confirmed the news on Wednesday in a press conference from Asuncion, with the FA president Robert Harrison stating that both sides mutually agreed to cancel Osorio’s contract. Osorio then stated that “family problems” were the reason he had to leave the job after such a short time in charge. Osorio coached just one match in charge of Paraguay, a 1-1 draw at South Africa last November.

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“For family reasons of my own, unfortunately I cannot remain in office, I would like to thank you for your support,” Osorio said. “It was a pride for me, directing, driving and training the national team.”

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The decision leaves Paraguay behind the eight ball, just four months before the Copa America. On the plus side for Paraguay, due to the 2022 World Cup being played in November and December, World Cup qualification doesn’t begin for another 13 months.

On the other hand, it’s a strange turn of events for Osorio, who led Mexico to a famous World Cup win over Germany, though he was not able to get to the much-desired “quinto partido,” or fifth game during the tournament in Russia. Osorio goes down as one of El Tri’s most successful managers, even though he had a rocky relationship with the press and fan base during nearly his entire tenure. Despite winning 33 games, beating the U.S. Men’s National Team in Columbus, Ohio and qualifying for both the Confederations Cup and World Cup, he’ll be remembered more for the defeats. There’s the 7-0 shellacking against Chile in the 2016 Copa America, the 2-1 defeat to Portugal at the Confederations Cup and ultimately, the defeats to Sweden and Brazil at the 2018 World Cup.

When Osorio became a free agent last July, there was plenty of speculation in the media that Osorio could become the next USMNT manager, due to his previous work in MLS and understanding of CONCACAF’s qualification maze. However, while the USMNT waffled on candidates and eventually settled with Gregg Berhalter, Osorio quickly found a home in Paraguay.

The timing of the move likely means that Osorio will have to wait a while before he can get a new national team job, though there will likely be club teams vying for his services across South America in the coming months.

Paraguay coach Osorio denies reports of his resignation

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According to ESPN reporter Tom Marshall, Paraguay national team coach Juan Carlos Osorio has denied reports out of Paraguay that he has resigned from his post without having taken charge of a single match.

Osorio was hired by Paraguay in September after stepping down post-World Cup from his position in charge of the Mexican national team.

Sistema Nacional de Television reporter Javier Sosa Briganti tweeted on Sunday evening that Osorio had stepped down due to a payment disagreement with the Paraguayan federation. Marshall, however, reported just two hours later that Osorio had told him the initial reports were false.

While Osorio’s desire to take charge of his home country has been quite public, Colombia has recently hired Portuguese boss Carlos Queiroz. His spell in charge of Mexico saw him lead to a successful period that included World Cup wins over Germany and South Korea, but ultimately ended after yet another Round of 16 defeat to Brazil.

Paraguay was recently drawn into a difficult Copa America group that includes Argentina, Colombia, and Qatar. Osorio will take charge of his first match with Paraguay in March as the country plays against Peru and Mexico in international friendlies, with the Copa America set to begin in mid-June.

According to Marshall’s report, Osorio has been scouting Paraguayan players of late, traveling most recently to Argentina where he met with Atletico Banfield technical director Hernan Crespo. National team players that play in Argentina include Boca Juniors defender Junior Alonso, River Plate defender Jorge Moreira, and Godoy Cruz defender Danilo Ortiz who is currently on loan to Paraguayan side Libertad.

Agent: ‘Almiron did not leave Atlanta happy’ due to transfer process

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Taking into the consideration we’re taking an agent at his word, Daniel Campos had some parting shots for Atlanta United following Newcastle United’s purchase of Miguel Almiron for a club record fee.

Reporter Juan Arango translated a UnionFC800 interview with Campos transcribed by Roberto Rojas in Almiron’s home country of Paraguay.

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Atlanta’s Darren Eales played the negotiations very well, in our eyes, knowing that Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley needed to buy Almiron, a 24-year-old target Rafa Benitez long-identified as an answer to the Magpies’ attacking woes.

Eales also knew he (likely) had to sell Almiron to get past Major League Soccer’s limit of three Designated Players, and also because Almiron was ready to try his hand abroad and the Five Stripes have been clear they won’t hold players back.

But Campos says Eales figure of $30-plus million was not realistic, and that the market quickly set the price tag. As Newcastle fans in a relegation fight still wait for Almiron’s debut, Campos claims the sale price turned out to be the same figure proffered early in the transfer window, and that “bigger” clubs wanted Almiron but only on loan. From Newcastle’s Evening Chronicle:

“Atlanta United put up a lot of obstacles to sell Miguel and we did not expect this kind of attitude from the club. Miguel Almiron did not leave Atlanta happy because of all the difficulties that the club put for him to get transferred.”

It’s also worth noting that Almiron is by far the crown jewel of Campos’ agency, and the agent will be well-served by both the transfer fee and following Almiron’s wishes.

There’s a large part of us that wonders what good it does Campos to complain publicly?

Report: Atlanta “playing poker” over Almiron

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Atlanta United seems prepared to ride out the January window in the hopes that it lands a better deal for Miguel Almiron.

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Atlanta president Darren Eales had made it clear that he wouldn’t be accepting any offer that doesn’t start with a 3, and West Ham initially was linked with interest in a $33 million Almiron move.

Newcastle United has been consistently linked with Almiron, but for no more than $19 million. Eales and Atlanta have stayed consistent in their stance.

Here’s South American football writer Tim Vickery, via The Chronicle:

“They have done very, very well out of him and it seems at the moment they are playing poker. They are prepared to wait until the end of the window to try and get the best deal possible for him. …

“So they have lined up a replacement and now it is all about playing poker until the closing of the transfer window, hoping that either they can get a better deal from Newcastle or they can smoke out some other interest.”

The end of the January window is moving closer. Atlanta has its Almiron replacement in the form of Pity Martinez, who is in the United States as the worst-kept secret in recent MLS history (although Ezequiel Barco, one of Atlanta’s other recent DPs, had a similar arc in his arrival).

Atlanta’s path toward selling Almiron and getting down to the MLS maximum of four Designated Players is a fascinating one. Clearly the club has a plan should no one reach their asking price, but what if famously-stingy Newcastle won’t budge any higher or, even worse, pulls out of the running?

Again, fascinating. And Atlanta is playing high stakes games with one of the most alluring transfer assets in the league.

As for Newcastle, you could make a Best XI with the players initially linked with the Magpies before the club balked at the fee and let another Premier League club buy the player: Michy Batshuayi, Alexandre Lacazette, Virgil Van Dijk, Dele Alli, Mohamed Salah

Almiron’s success in the Premier League is a big question mark, not because of talent or drive but because of size. There’s an air of uncertainty that comes with attackers coming from lesser leagues, and — even for Newcastle — it’s somewhat forgivable that the club isn’t rushing to meet the Five Stripes’ asking price.