Federation Internationale de Football Association delays talks on possible 48-team Qatar World Cup


Do the victors of Brazil 2014 face an impossible task?

And the chances are that you've probably developed a pretty serious case of World Cup Fever by now (it's a registered medical condition, look it up). France, boasting the likes of Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappe in an attack-minded squad, also arrived in Russian Federation, seeking to win their second World Cup 20 years after their 1998 triumph. They are looking to re-focus after their World Cup preparations were thrown off track when their match against Israel was called off.

With Pele no longer their talisman, Brazil found the going tough in their group, narrowly progressing in second place after finishing level on points with both Yugoslavia and Scotland.

This is Juan Antonio Pizzi's first World Cup as manager.

1-1 draws against Bulgaria and Argentina and a 3-2 win over Korea Republic meant the Italians only narrowly avoided exiting the competition after the group stage.

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"If there is no possibility then we know what we have and it will stand to what we have".

Aside from their venomous offence, the Uruguayan team also boasts of depth and talent on the defensive end with players like Diego Godin and Jose Gimenez able to stabilize the back line.

Benzema, who scored in the Champions League final last month and has been a prominent figure for Real Madrid over the last nine years, has scored 27 goals in 81 global appearances for Les Bleus and has been named as the French Player of the Year on three occasions. "I think that the most important thing is to produce a good team energy, that the team is together no matter what". One can never forget the image of that old Brazilian man holding on to a replica of the World Cup trophy with tears trickling down his eyes after Brazil's infamous 7-1 defeat to Germany in the semi-final, tragic but full of passion. A total of 16 cities were proposed for the opening match, including Los Angeles, Mexico City and New York City/New Jersey.

It is hard to imagine a worse title defence than France's in 2002.

However, the Dutch finished third in qualification Group A, missing out on a play-off spot to Sweden on goal difference, which means that Holland have failed to qualify for both of the previous two major global tournaments. "We don't understand what happened there", defender Bixente Lizarazu later said. "To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the 1998 final, France-Brazil, wouldn't be a bad final", he said smiling.