Portugal manager Paulo Bento surprised just about everyone by throwing the Ballon d’Or winner into the starting XI for the friendly against Ireland on Tuesday. It worked out just fine, though: Ronaldo looked healthy for his 65-minute stint in the 5-1 victory over the Irish in East Rutherford, N.J.
Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY SportsEd Mulholland
UEFA to Sepp Blatter: Fulfill your promise and step down
Blatter scooped up the plaudits on Monday, but he received through a frostier reception when he met with European delegates on Tuesday. Former Manchester United executive David Gill echoed the thoughts of many observers around the continent after Blatter went back on his word to stand down ahead of the FIFA presidential elections next year: "My personal view is he should have stayed with his comment back in 2011.”
Getty ImagesAlexandre Schneider
Spain boss Vicente Del Bosque highlights utility of Diego Costa
Costa’s direct and powerful style isn’t the perfect fit for Spain’s tiki-taka approach. Del Bosque admitted as much to reporters, but he also noted the importance of a viable alternative as Spain seeks to defend its title. Spain went through its paces in Curitiba as normal despite pervasive flooding elsewhere in the area.
Getty ImagesDavid Ramos
Nishimura appointed for Brazil-Croatia opener
FIFA appointed Japanese referee Yuichi Nishimura to work the first game of the World Cup on Tuesday. Nishimura is a familiar figure to the home nation: he worked the Selecao’s quarterfinal defeat to the Netherlands four years ago.
Getty ImagesMiguel Tovar
Sea turtle picks Brazil to win opening match
Even the wildlife are backing the home team to triumph. The aptly-named Big Head indicated his choice by eating a fish hanging from a Brazilian flag. No need for Luiz Felipe Scolari to even worry about Luka Modrić and company, then.