The long qualifying road to World Cup 2014 starts on Friday in Tampa for the U.S. men's national team, and while the first semifinal-round opponent (tiny Antigua and Barbuda) shouldn't provide much resistance, there's always a danger in taking World Cup qualifying for granted. The U.S. is one of only seven nations to reach the last six World Cups -- along with Argentina, Brazil, Germany, Italy, South Korea and Spain -- and at least 16 qualifying games over the next 17 months stand between the Yanks and Brazil 2014. As always, there are no guarantees.
Big news in the world of U.S. soccer came on Friday when FIFA awarded the U.S. broadcast rights for 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Fox (English language) and Telemundo (Spanish language). The Sports Business Journal reported the total rights fee for the U.S. to be between $1.05 billion and $1.1 billion, an increase of at least 147 percent over the combined $425 million that ESPN and Univisión paid for the rights to the '10 and '14 tournaments.
The FIFA Women's World Cup set two new records for number of tweets sent per second on Sunday.
With a place in Sunday's Women's World Cup final at stake, here's how the semifinal protagonists match up:
The world's oldest continental tournament, the Copa America has ensured its continued relevance by finding a perfect slot in the global calendar.
It has been 12 years since the U.S. women's soccer team had its iconic moment:
Former Portugal and Real Madrid coach Carlos Queiroz has been handed the challenge of reviving Iran as an Asian soccer superpower and clinching qualification for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
CNN's Ben Wyatt describes how the 2010 World Cup has set new records on Twitter.
South Korea midfielder Park Ji-Sung has confirmed his immediate retirement from international football.
ZURICH -- How convoluted are the politics surrounding this Thursday's FIFA vote to award the hosts for World Cups 2018 and '22? Well, the first person I saw upon leaving airport customs here was Bora Milutinovic, the peripatetic Serbian-born, Mexican-based coach who managed the U.S. at World Cup '94.
The oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico was the most searched term on Yahoo in 2010, the search engine said Wednesday.
ABOARD UNITED FLIGHT 4962 FROM MADRID TO WASHINGTON D.C. -- Lots of fun stuff going on in Planet Fútbol this week--mine and the world at large--so let's crank out a Mailbag. Ready, go!
The octupus who correctly predicted the outcome of the 2010 World Cup has died at age 2.
FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke has admitted to flaws in the ticketing system for the World Cup in South Africa and vowed not to make the same mistakes for the 2014 event in Brazil.
They're killing the most important rivalry in American soccer.
Who should win the 2010 FIFA Ballon d'Or for the best player of the year in world soccer?
The drone of the vuvuzela will not be heard in any European competitions after the continent's governing body banned them from all stadiums hosting UEFA matches.
NEW YORK -- Is a second World Cup cycle one too many for a national-team coach?
A month of intense competition reaches its climax Sunday when either the Netherlands or Spain will make history by claiming its first ever World Cup title.
CNN's Don Riddell braves crowds in Madrid as football fans await their country's World Cup finals clash.
Dutch football legend Ronald De Boer assesses the Netherlands' chances in the World Cup final.
Former Dutch international Ronald De Boer says that the Netherlands are feeling confident as they prepare to take on Spain in the World Cup final.
More hated than daft football referees, the trumpeting vuvuzelas of the World Cup have become a stand-alone phenomenon.
Brazil coach Dunga has been sacked after their shock World Cup quarterfinal exit to the Netherlands.
CNN's Pedro Pinto looks at how fans are reacting to the Netherlands 2-1 win over Brazil in the World Cup.
Dissatisfied with what he sees as tepid effort on behalf of oil giant BP to stop the flow of petroleum from an exploded well in the Gulf of Mexico, a New York-based video producer named Adam Quirk has started raising money for a stunt designed to irritate its executives.
The debate continues over the controversial World Cup soccer ball, the Adidas Jabulani. CNN's Terry Baddoo reports.
CNN's Errol Barnett reports on the controversy surrounding use of the vuvuzela at World Cup matches.
Does hosting the World Cup lead to long-term economic gains? Depends on where you look.
Japan lives with the financial costs of hosting the 2002 World Cup. CNN's Kyung Lah reports.
President Obama told the men's U.S. Soccer team that he will be cheering them on in the World Cup from the Oval Office.
CNN's World Sport team share their thoughts on who will be the star player in the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
World Cup CEO Danny Jordaan has said South Africa is ready for the start of the 2010 World Cup which begins on 11 June, as the Australian national team became the first participating side to arrive in the host country.
Over the past few weeks Barcelona's Lionel Messi has stunned the soccer world with some of the most superlative performances people have ever seen -- relentlessly bettering himself and his team and enhancing the game itself.
Former England and Mexico coach Sven-Goran Eriksson has been appointed as coach of the Ivory Coast national team for the World Cup finals in South Africa.
The United States hasn't caught soccer fever yet, but it's running a bit of a temperature.
It was the ultimate expression of modern player power. In January, Sweden's Zlatan Ibrahimovic announced he was "taking a break" from international football. The Barcelona forward will not play for the Swedish national team for the foreseeable future.
European champions Spain were drawn with 2004 semifinalists the Czech Republic as they begin the defense of their title this year in qualifiers for the 2012 tournament in Poland and Ukraine.
When people name their favorites for the World Cup, Brazil comes up every time. The Seleção conjures up images of excitement and artful soccer. With a record five World Cup titles, it's the most successful team as well, and is the favorite to add a sixth crown in South Africa in July.
The first year of a new decade is upon us, and the stories that will unfold in 2010 will be vast. Soccer lovers around the globe are anticipating the World Cup, one of three that will be played in this new decade.
PLAYER OF THE DECADE: Zinedine Zidane, France Zizou gets our Player of the Decade nod, barely beating out Ronaldinho, who also won two World Player of the Year awards this decade but didn't have anything approaching Zidane's longevity at the top of the global game. No player since Diego Maradona has provided as much joy to viewers who love the artistry of soccer. Case in point: France's stunning upset of Brazil in the 2006 World Cup quarterfinals, in which Zidane rediscovered his mojo on the game's biggest stage. (Bonus points for scoring the greatest goal of the decade in the 2002 Champions League final against Bayer Leverkusen.)
Brazilian legend Pele once called soccer the "beautiful game" and at its best it showcases the very pinnacle of human endeavor as nations and communities are united in the common goal of supporting their teams and heroes.
As the decade draws to a close it is time to reflect and reminisce on 10 years of glorious football drama -- and what better way to do this than by paying respect to the characters who have contributed so much to the soccer story that has captivated fans since 2000.
The gods of soccer smiled upon the United States for once on Friday, giving the Americans one of the most fortunate draws imaginable for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa (FULL DRAW).
Chelsea and Ivory Coast striker, Saloman Kalou talks to CNN about his 2010 World Cup ambitions and playing alongside Didier Drogba.
Soccer star Thierry Henry became the villain of Dublin on Wednesday.
Egypt's Football Association faces punishment after FIFA decided to investigate an incident which saw Algeria's team bus pelted with stones before last Saturday's World Cup qualifier in Cairo.
A controversial extra-time goal by William Gallas saw France reach the World Cup finals after a 1-1 home draw against the Republic of Ireland in Paris on Wednesday night.
The final 32 for the 2010 World Cup finals has become clearer after the latest round of qualifying matches with three more nations claiming places in South Africa.
Football's world governing body FIFA has called for greater security to be provided after three players from Algeria's national football team were injured when Egyptian fans threw stones at the team bus as it arrived in Cairo on Thursday.
Former champions France have been handed a tough task against Ireland in the European playoffs to qualify for next year's World Cup finals in South Africa.
Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo has been ruled out of Portugal's crucial final World Cup qualifier against Malta on Wednesday with an ankle injury and could be sidelined for up to a month.
SAN PEDRO SULA, Honduras -- You'd be forgiven for thinking you had traveled in a time warp back to the 1980s for the U.S.' big World Cup qualifier against Honduras here on Saturday night (10 p.m. ET, closed-circuit TV in English and Spanish).
Brazil and Paraguay already booked their tickets for the 2010 World Cup, but six other teams are still in the running. There are only two automatic tickets left for South America, and one playoff berth against the fourth-place team from CONCACAF.
From the outside looking in, most don't appreciate how hard it is to qualify for the World Cup from the South American region.
It was just more than five months ago that Diego Maradona's reign in charge of Argentina seemed on the right track. After a couple of wins in friendly matches, he debuted in World Cup qualification with a conclusive 4-0 triumph at home to Venezuela.
They are football's royalty, the marquee players whose almost super human ability on the ball wins cups and championships; their faces adorn billboards and magazine covers from China to Colombia.
With South American qualifying for the 2010 World Cup resuming next month, the top four positioned teams of the continent tested their strength in what ended up being worthwhile friendly matches on Wednesday. While Brazil, Argentina and Chile claimed hard-fought victories in Europe, Paraguay lost in Asia.
CNN's Robyn Curnow reports on how ready South Africa is for the FIFA World Cup in 2010.
North Korea qualified for the 2010 World Cup finals for the first time since 1966 by battling to a 0-0 draw away to Saudi Arabia on Wednesday night.
It's past midnight when Bora Milutinovic answers the phone in Qatar, but no matter what time, no matter where he happens to be, the Bora optimism prevails.
Ledley King quit England's squad on Tuesday after Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp hit out at international counterpart Fabio Capello for picking his injury-prone defender in the first place.
When a tough loss follows a string of poor results, it's natural to want to take out frustrations on someone. And when that tough loss comes against a bitter rival in arguably the biggest game of the year, it may seem like a foregone conclusion that the coach should pay with his job.
It is an unwritten rule of all World Cups: if the host nation fails on the pitch, interest in the competition dies off the pitch.
Passes, tackles, shots, saves, goals -- you go to a football match expecting to see these kind of things.
They're the icing on the cake and the cherry on your muffin.
Maykel Galindo won't be here on Saturday for Cuba's historic World Cup qualifier against the United States. The former star forward of the Cuban national team defected to the U.S. in 2005, boarding a bus in Seattle during the 2005 CONCACAF Gold Cup.
France coach Raymond Domenech has opted for youth over experience with veteran goalkeeper Gregory Coupet left out of a 20-man squad for the friendly against Sweden in Gothenburg on August 20.
BEIJING -- It would be easy to put on my TMZ hat to write about Heather Mitts. After all, the right back for the U.S. women's team has posed for FHM and the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue and has dated an NFL quarterback (A.J. Feeley), a major league baseball player (Pat Burrell) and a pro tennis star (James Blake).
My wife thinks I've lost it. And she might have a point.
Got a text from my buddy J.C. right after the best women's soccer player I've ever seen (Brazil's Marta) scored her breathtaking, Maradona-at-the-height-of-his-powers goal to sink the U.S. 4-0 in Thursday's Women's World Cup semifinals.
David Beckham was dropped when new England coach Steve McClaren named his first squad on Friday, for next week's friendly against European champions Greece.
Making the knockout phase in their first World Cup is a great result for Ghana, but beating the U.S. was surely no more than most unbiased football followers expected.
Brazil | Forward
Throughout the World Cup, CNN is compiling its own "Dream Team" of the greatest-ever players who have competed in the tournament.
Real Madrid midfielder Zinedine Zidane is set to announce his retirement after the World Cup finals, Spanish news reports claimed on Saturday.
Uruguay named Oscar Washington Tabarez as their new coach on Tuesday, bringing the 59-year-old back for a second stint in charge.
Former England manager Ron Greenwood has died at the age of 84 after a long illness.
Manchester United and Republic of Ireland star Roy Keane has confirmed he is quitting international football after his team's failure to qualify for the 2006 World Cup.
Zinedine Zidane says he will play in the 2006 World Cup finals should France qualify for the tournament in Germany.
Christian Chukwu was effectively sacked as coach by the Nigerian FA on Tuesday because of disappointing results in the 2006 World Cup qualifiers.
David Beckham will return to the Real Madrid squad for Sunday's league game against Albacete after almost a month out recovering from fractured ribs, the club has announced.
Argentina national coach Marcelo Bielsa has resigned less than three weeks after guiding the nation to their first Olympic title in Athens.
France playmaker Zinedine Zidane announced on Thursday that he was ending his international career after a 10-year spell with Les Bleus.
Dutchman Johannes Bonfrere has agreed to become the new head coach of South Korea.
Zinedine Zidane of France has been voted the best European footballer of the last 50 years by fans, UEFA said at a Golden Jubilee ceremony on Thursday.
Ersun Yanal was named Turkey's coach on Tuesday after leading unfancied Ankara side Genclerbirligi to the fourth round of the UEFA cup this season.
Pele has named 15 Brazilians, including himself, in his list of the 100 greatest living players -- more than those of any country.
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