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World Cup countdown

With 20 weeks to kick-off, we get the World Cup build-up including an exclusive Q&A with Adrian Bevington.

Last Updated: 23/01/14 at 17:40

Bevington Q&A

Sky Sports' exclusive interview with Adrian Bevington covered some crucial topics regarding England's build-up to their World Cup campaign, with the Club England managing director elaborating on how they will deal with the soaring temperatures in Brazil, whether he has any immediate concerns about the security of the tournament, and whether WAGS will be allowed.

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He also reveals the Football Association has taken inspiration from England's Rugby World Cup success in 2003 by appointing the highly-reputable Dave Reddin, a key figure in maintaining player fitness during their triumph in Australia.

The Q&A makes essential reading for fans thinking of following Roy Hodgson's side by making the trip to South America, with Bevington revealing England's plans in-between matches.

Read our exclusive full interview with Adrian Bevington here.

Forlorn Falcao

Colombian striker Radamel Falcao has been hit with the news that he will miss the World Cup, with the 27-year-old sustaining a cruciate knee ligament injury.

The Monaco forward was stretchered off during their 3-0 Coupe de France win over Monts Or Azergues on Wednesday, and scans have confirmed he has suffered a serious injury.

A Monaco statement read : "Following Wednesday's injury, Radamel Falcao made a diagnostic examination. It appears that the player is suffering from trauma in the left knee with lesion of ligament anterior cruciate."

Falcao top scored for Colombia in their qualifying campaign with nine goals, and his absence is a bitter blow for a side who have recently rocketed up to fourth place in the FIFA rankings.

Read the full Falcao injury story here

Curitiba catch-up concern

The Brazilian city of Curitiba has been warned they may be dropped as a venue for the World Cup, after it was revealed their stadium has fallen 'critically' behind schedule.

Along with four other grounds, the Arena de Baixada has struggled to complete its renovation with the owners of Atletico Paranaense revealing that it is only 88.8 per cent complete.

With the stadium set to host Iran v Nigeria, Honduras v Ecuador, Australia v Spain and Algeria v Russia, FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke is unimpressed with the progress of the ground: "What is there to say? It is a delicate question. But let us be frank and direct about it. As you must know, the stadium is not to our liking."

Read the full story regarding the Arena de Baixada.

Stadium struggles

Sky's Jason Farrell delivered a report on the troubles Brazilian organisers are facing leading up to the tournament, including the delay in Curitiba's redevelopment.

Recife's stadium is another that is struggling to comply with FIFA's deadlines, with the report highlighting an alarming lack of infrastructure surrounding the stadium.

Stadia across Brazil face a battle to ensure full safety for the travelling fans, with just under five months to go until the big kick off in Sao Paulo on June 12th.

Sky Bet say...

With the legendary Eusebio having passed away at the beginning of 2014, this summer's World Cup will carry extra sentiment for serial under-achievers Portugal. They're currently 28/1 outsiders in the outright betting - the same odds as England - but so long as they have Ballon d'Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo in their side they are surely capable of beating any team they come across.

Portugal are odds-on (4/7) to get through to the second-round, and Sky Bet offer 11/4 for them to go no further, but with Eusebio as their inspiration and Ronaldo their on-field force, a spot in the last eight (4/1) or indeed the semi-finals (8/1) should not be too much of a surprise. So far, a run to the quarter-finals has been the most popular bet with Sky Bet's punters.

They're a 10/1 chance to go all the way to the final but qualification from a tricky group is no formality, though Sky Bet make them second favourites (3/1) to win Group G behind Germany (8/15). USA are given a 2/1 chance of getting out of it, while Ghana are 3/1 to do likewise. Meanwhile, Ronaldo is 11/4 to retain the Ballon d'Or next January.

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