Mexico's captain: I'm more mature

This time around, Mexico’s 27-year-old captain insists, things are going to be different. “I’m more mature, with more ambition,” he said earlier this week, as Mexico prepared for its World Cup opener against Iran on Sunday. “I’m hoping to do a good job.” In 2002, Marquez was Mexico’s captain as El Tri won its group

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Portugal's Gomes still playing catch up

“I’m ready if I’m called,” said Gomes, who was banned for eight months for excessive protests in the Euro 2000 semi-final defeat by eventual winners France. “I’m confident in my capabilities and I want to play,” he told a news conference. Prolific Pauleta stepped into Gomes’s boots following his suspension and has notched more than

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Ivankovic averse to tinkering with line-up

Speaking to www.the-afc.com’s Farsi writer Shahin Rahmani, Ivankovic said: “The newcomers performed extremely well but the substitutions I made for the friendlies don’t indicate any definitive change from my previous position that I will use only my best players for the World Cup.” “The friendlies are a different matter from the World Cup as here

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Iran to decide on Mahdavikia fitness

The 28-year-old SV Hamburg player has been struggling with a back injury but stepped up his training on Tuesday, doing some sprinting and a little work with the ball. “On Thursday I will know much more than now and on Oriday I will make a final decision,” Coach Branko Ivankovic said. “But I am very

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Germany grants visa for Iranian vice president to attend World Cup

Germany’s Foreign Ministry said Wednesday it has granted a visa to Mohammed Aliabadi, 50, one of seven Iranian vice presidents and the head of the state’s physical education organization. Aliabadi is attending the World Cup to watch Iran play and is not representing hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a spokesman for his organization in Tehran said.

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Simao: Spirit and Scolari are key

Amid all the fanfare, there is hard work to do and Benfica winger Simao Sabrosa sat down with the media on Tuesday to discuss the strengths of the Portugal side. He stressed the “strong” condition of Luiz Felipe Scolari’s squad and was quick to dismiss talk of any personality clashes in a dressing room brimming

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Iran drub club side 5-0

“This was excellent practice with a very fair opponent,” Ivankovic said after his team’s final World Cup warmup match. Iran created more than a dozen scoring opportunities against VFB Friedrichshafen, a club from the Baden-Wuerttemberg state league. Although goalkeeper Ebrahim Mirzapour, striker Ali Karimi, and midfielders Mehdi Mahdavikia and Fereydoun Zandi did not take part

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Europe's biggest joint police effort under way at World Cup

The officers, whose ranks will be boosted by another 200 in the next few days, as well as plainclothes agents, will be sworn in as German police officers for the duration of the tournament, which starts Friday. “We have never seen a European operation in this dimension,” said Christian Sachs, spokesman for Germany’s interior ministry,

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Pele, Maradona and 170 former winners to star at World Cup opening

Pele, widely considered the world’s greatest ever player, will carry the World Cup trophy on to the pitch of the futuristic Munich stadium with German supermodel Claudia Schiffer. The ceremony will take place directly before the opening match of the tournament between host nation Germany and Costa Rica. FIFA President Sepp Blatter said inviting players

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