World Cup 2018: countdown to opening ceremony and first game – live!

And what of yesterday’s decision to award hosting rights for the 2026 World Cup to the US, Canada and Mexico? “Hosting World Cups and Olympic Games is openly a politicians’ prestige-burnishing project now,” writes David Conn. More below.

Related: Money talks for Fifa as Morocco pays price for Infantino’s expansion plan | David Conn

On a day when nuclear tensions were perhaps eased in one part of the world, Sid Lowe writes astutely on how the fallout from Julen Lopetegui’s decision to become Real Madrid coach went nuclear in Russia so quickly, with the president of the Spanish Football Federation finding the move unforgivable – and acting decisively.

Related: Anger and ethics at heart of Spain’s decision to sack Julen Lopetegui | Sid Lowe

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via Football | The Guardian

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