May 18, 2015
Alexandre Loureiro/Getty Images

The 2022 World Cup in Qatar is already a travesty. The government has been severely criticized for using virtual slave labor to build the new infrastructure required for the tournament, which for the first time in history will be played in November and December, thanks to Qatar reneging on a promise to build air-conditioned facilities that could withstand the blistering summers in the Persian Gulf.

Now the regime has arrested a crew of BBC reporters for investigating the living conditions of Nepali laborers:

The working and housing conditions of migrant workers constructing new buildings in Qatar ahead of the World Cup have been heavily criticized and we wanted to see them for ourselves.

Suddenly, eight white cars surrounded our vehicle and directed us on to a side road at speed.

A dozen security officers frisked us in the street, shouting at us when we tried to talk. They took away our equipment and hard drives and drove us to their headquarters.

Later, in the city's main police station, the cameraman, translator, driver, and I were interrogated separately by intelligence officers. The questioning was hostile. [BBC]

They were eventually released. The BBC is demanding "a full explanation and for the return of the confiscated equipment." Ryu Spaeth

December 1, 2014
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Russia won the right to host the 2018 World Cup through an array of underhanded means, including bribing French soccer legend Michel Platini with a painting by Picasso, according to The Sunday Times of London.

A painting, believed to be a Picasso, was allegedly gifted to Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) president and FIFA executive member Michel Platini in return for his support for the eventually successful Russian bid for the 2018 global showpiece.

Another FIFA voting member, Michel D'Hooghe, from Belgium, was also the recipient of a landscape painting, given to him in a package wrapped in brown paper by Viacheslav Koloskov, a former Russian executive committee member working for his nation's attempt to host the 2018 tournament, it is alleged in a report in The Sunday Times. [CNN]

The report is the latest to allege corruption within global soccer's governing body. A recent report from FIFA found little wrongdoing in the bidding processes for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, despite the many claims to the contrary. Ryu Spaeth

October 28, 2014

The 2018 World Cup has its official emblem, and its reveal was out of this world.

During a television program airing Tuesday night, three astronauts in the Russian space station unveiled the colorful design at the same time it was projected onto the front of the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow.

Soccer's biggest event will be held in 11 different cities across Russia in June and July 2018, and the emblem was said to be inspired by "Russia's rich artistic tradition and its history of achievement and innovation." Catherine Garcia

July 17, 2014

German midfielder Mesut Özil plans to spend his ample World Cup winnings not on himself, but on surgeries for 23 Brazilian children. Özil helped cover the surgeries of 11 children before the World Cup began, and used the $600,000 payout from winning the tournament to bump that total up to 23 — matching the number of players on the German team.

"This is my personal thank you for the hospitality of the people of Brazil," Özil wrote on his Facebook page to announce the donation.

Previous reports claimed Özil would be donating the money to children in Gaza, though a spokesman denied the claim. "Maybe in the future, who knows?" his rep, Roland Eitel, told The Independent. "He donated money to causes in Brazil and he is now on holiday." Jon Terbush

July 13, 2014
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For the fourth time, Germany are the World Cup champions.

Germany defeated Argentina 1-0 in a thrilling final match that needed extra time to decide a winner. In the 113th minute, Mario Gotze corralled the ball off his chest and, without letting it hit the turf, slipped a shot into the far corner for the game's lone goal.

Germany played the aggressor for most of the game, keeping possession for 54 percent of the match and repeatedly pressing forward with scoring chances.

Germany last won the World Cup in 1990 — when they beat Argentina 1-0. Jon Terbush

July 13, 2014

It won't quite be the 7-1 thrashing they laid on Brazil, but Germany will win the World Cup 3-1 over Argentina, according to a simulation of FIFA's eponymous video game. It must be true: This random psychic puppy predicted Germany would win, too. --Jon Terbush

July 10, 2014
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The U.S. men's soccer team was "determined," "heroic," and "courageous." At least that was how the English-language media most often described them, according to a study by the Cambridge University Press.

As for other teams in the tournament, Italy was most frequently called "slow" and "vulnerable," while Russia was portrayed as "drab." The most common word associated with Ghana was "money." (The team made headlines by threatening to boycott a game against Portugal unless they were paid ahead of time.) And the Uruguayans, fronted by Luis "I crave human flesh" Suarez, got the worst coverage of anyone. The top two words tied to the team: "Bite" and "disgrace." Jon Terbush

July 5, 2014
Jamie McDonald

Neymar, Brazil's enigmatic forward and leading goal scorer, will miss the remainder of the World Cup after fracturing a vertebra in his back during Friday's win over Colombia.

The 22-year-old was carried off the field on a stretcher after taking a knee to the back in an ill-advised challenge from Colombia's Juan Zuniga. Brazil's team doctor described the fracture as "not serious," saying it would not need surgery. Still, it is serious enough that Neymar will have no chance of returning to the pitch before the tournament ends.

The injury strips Brazil of its most dynamic offensive weapon and clouds the team's odds of winning the tournament on its home soil. Brazil will face a dangerous German team in the semifinals. Jon Terbush

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