BREAKING NEWS: Spain to face Germany in World Cup, tough draw for hosts Qatar

By Sports Desk April 01, 2022

Spain will face Germany in the group stage of the 2022 World Cup, while Qatar were given a tough draw as the hosts will come up against Netherlands and Senegal.

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  • Fernandinho returns to Athletico Paranaense after Man City departure Fernandinho returns to Athletico Paranaense after Man City departure

    Fernandinho has rejoined former club Athletico Paranaense after announcing his departure from Manchester City.

    The 37-year-old stated his intention to return to Brazil in April before completing his ninth campaign at the Etihad Stadium, and leaves at the end of his contract having made a total of 383 appearances for City.

    Fernandinho took over as City captain after David Silva's 2020 departure and featured in five Premier League title wins, the last four of them under Pep Guardiola's management.

    But the holding midfielder, who has won 53 caps for Brazil, was reduced to a supporting role during the 2021-22 season, starting just 17 games in all competitions as Rodri enjoyed a terrific campaign at the base of Guardiola's midfield.

    On Monday, Athletico Paranaense tweeted an image of Fernandinho with club president Mario Celso Petraglia, alongside the caption: "Welcome back, Fernandinho!"

    Fernandinho spent three seasons with the Curitiba-based club before joining Shakhtar Donetsk in 2005, where he won six Ukrainian top-flight titles.

    Athletico Paranaense are coached by former World Cup-winning Brazil boss Luis Felipe Scolari, who joined the side in May.

  • Bale: Los Angeles FC move has come at right time in my career Bale: Los Angeles FC move has come at right time in my career

    Gareth Bale says he has joined Los Angeles FC at "the right time" in his career and is hoping to add more trophies to his haul during his time in Major League Soccer.

    LAFC announced on Monday that Bale has joined the club on a 12-month deal, with the option to extend through to 2024, following the expiration of his Real Madrid contract.

    As part of the deal, LAFC must pay fellow MLS side Inter Miami $75,000 in 2023 General Allocation Money (GAM) in exchange for the discovery priority to Bale.

    The Wales international had been linked with a number of teams, including former side Tottenham and hometown club Cardiff City, but he has opted for a move Stateside.

    And 32-year-old Bale, who is looking to maintain his fitness ahead of Wales' World Cup 2022 campaign in November, believes he has made the right choice.

    "I am extremely excited for this move to LAFC," he told the club's official website. "This is the right place for me and my family and the right time in my career. 

    "I cannot wait to get started working with the team and getting ready to win more trophies in Los Angeles."

    Bale spent nine years with Madrid – including a season on loan at Tottenham in 2020-21 – and won 16 trophies in the Spanish capital.

    However, he made just 21 league appearances combined in his final two campaigns at the Santiago Bernabeu, either side of that Spurs loan, after falling out of favour.

    Bale has continued to prove his pedigree over that time with Wales, most recently playing a key part in the recent World Cup qualifying play-off wins over Austria and Ukraine.

    The Southampton academy product will boost an LAFC side who already lead the Supporters' Shield race, and head coach Steve Cherundolo is delighted with the acquisition.

    "There are simply not many players in the world who can have an impact on a match like Gareth Bale," Cherundolo said. 

    "He can be dangerous in so many different ways, and we expect him to complement what we believe is already a strong team from the moment he arrives. 

    "His knowledge of the game and experience in playing in big games will be invaluable for our club."

    LAFC co-president and general manager John Thorrington added: "I am grateful to Gareth's management team who helped make this happen. 

    "It's clear Gareth is highly motivated to continue winning trophies and we're elated he has made the choice to join LAFC and help lead us in our goal of winning championships."

    Bale and fellow new signing Giorgio Chiellini are eligible to make their LAFC debuts against the LA Galaxy in El Trafico on July 8.

  • Billings added to England squad for rescheduled Test with India, Crawley retained Billings added to England squad for rescheduled Test with India, Crawley retained

    Sam Billings has been added to England's squad for the rescheduled Test against India at Edgbaston, while Zak Crawley has retained his place despite struggling for form.

    Kent captain Billings was drafted in as a COVID substitute for Ben Foakes on the fourth day of England's third Test against New Zealand, which concluded on Monday.

    Billings' main contribution in the seven-wicket triumph was a bizarre caught-behind off Neil Wagner that he wedged between his knees.

    He is now in line for a third Test appearance, though Foakes may yet feature as he is due out of isolation on Thursday, a day out from the India Test beginning in Birmingham.

    The addition of Billings is the only change made by England, who have kept faith in Crawley at the top of the order, despite some unconvincing showings against New Zealand.

    Crawley finished the three-match series with 87 runs and was at fault for the comical run-out of opening partner Alex Lees in his side's second innings of the final Test.

    India lead England 2-1 ahead of the final Test, which originally scheduled to be played last September but was cancelled due to COVID-19 concerns.

    The tourists announced on Monday that Mayank Agarwal has been called up after captain Rohit Sharma tested positive for coronavirus.

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