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World Cup countdown

With 22 weeks to kick-off, we get the best World Cup build-up and look at the threat of protests.

Last Updated: 16/01/14 at 13:43

People Power

FIFA president Sepp Blatter this week expressed his concern about the possibility of a repeat of the mass public protests that marred last summer's Confederations Cup in Brazil. This time, rather than causing controversy, Blatter is well within his rights to reveal such apprehension, with football's pinnacle in danger of major disruption.

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The FIFA president's comments come as the construction of new stadia has missed yet another deadline, adding to his ever-decreasing confidence in this summer's showpiece going to plan.

Read the full story as we analyse the threat of protests in Brazil.

Setting Targets

Liverpool and England striker Daniel Sturridge is now back in full training after his injury and will likely be a key man for his country at the World Cup this summer.

If England are to get out of their difficult group, they will need Sturridge to be at his best and likewise he is hoping for a successful 2014 at home and abroad.

Check out the full interview with Daniel Sturridge.

All Hope Lost

Adam Johnson of Sunderland

Unlike Sturridge, Adam Johnson admits his ambitions of breaking back into the England squad ahead of the World Cup finals have virtually gone.

The Sunderland winger has 11 caps to his name but has not played for his country since August 2012 when he featured in the friendly win over Italy at Wembley.

Read the honest opinions of Adam Johnson.

Walcott Woe

Ray Parlour says Theo Walcott's season-ending injury is a "massive blow" for Arsenal and England.

Parlour, though, believes the return to fitness of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will offset the loss up to a point for both club and country.

Find out more of what Ray Parlour had to say.

Sky Bet Say...

England have a history of succumbing to penalty shoot-out defeats when it comes to major international tournaments, and Sky Bet offer 8/1 on that familiar story repeating itself in Brazil. The Three Lions, who are 28/1 outsiders to win the World Cup, are 10/1 to get knocked out in extra-time, but they are just 6/5 not to even get out of their group.

Meanwhile, now that Theo Walcott is unlikely to recover from injury in time to travel to Brazil, there is a spare spot on the plane and Sky Bet are taking bets on who will make the final 23-man squad. Walcott was a shoo-in at 1/10 before betting was suspended upon his injury, and his club team-mate, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, has since been trimmed from 5/2 to 2/1.

Raheem Sterling's recent form has seen him come in from 12/1 to 2/1 to make the cut, while Ashley Young has also enjoyed a return to form and is now just 4/1 to be on the plane. Of the outsiders, Stewart Downing is a big price at 16/1, but Sky Bet have seen plenty of money on Ravel Morrison getting the call - he is now 6/1 having been 12/1 at the start of the season.

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Readers' Comments

I

may well get slated by other United fans for this, but out of the three contenders, I'd far prefer Liverpool to win the title. Yes some elements of their fanbase can be a bit OTT, yes they're our biggest rivals and yes it will make our poor season feel even more like the end of an era (Fergie's gone, Liverpool are back on top). However I just have to applaud Brendan Rodgers and the way he's turned Liverpool around in just a couple of seasons. It...

Mike_Christie
Please Stop Telling Us What To Think

H

ooray! We are all excited now, we beat a very mediocre team! With all due respect to WHU supporters, not winning that game shouldn't even be a consideration. This is the problem, there is no winning mentality at the Emirates - we're all congratulating ourselves beating a team that we have a winning record against.

TheWhiz
Wenger hails important win

I

s this meant to be an aspiration for United supporters? Moyes mediocrity strikes again. I see the Bayern boys don't want to sign for him, and his reputation amongst the senior European coaches make other key signings unlikely.

redbornandbred
De Gea's Europa League target

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