Defending champion Spain will play its opening 2014 World Cup game against the Netherlands, a repeat of the ill-tempered 2010 final, while host Brazil faces a relatively easy path to the knockout stage after Friday's draw.
Swathed in the red-and-yellow colors of Spain, hundreds of thousands packed central Madrid to give a hero's welcome Monday to "La Roja" — the national soccer team that erased the country's gloomy mood by winning the Euro 2012 Championship with such flair.
For all the growth the U.S. national team has experienced under Jurgen Klinsmann in recent months, piecing together a five-game winning streak while at times brandishing an attractive, free-flowing style of play, it's still a work in progress. And a world power such as Brazil is not kind to unfinished products.
For Maurice Edu and Clarence Goodson of the U.S. national team, Monday's training session at Ludwig Field was a throwback, a return to the University of Maryland stomping grounds they once roamed before representing their country at the pinnacle of their sport.
When soccer riots broke out in Egypt in February, Bob Bradley did not hesitate to speak out despite having only just arrived as the new coach of the national team.
Brazilian organizers say the northeastern city of Recife will be ready to help host next year's Confederations Cup despite concerns with slow preparations.
It wasn't a tough choice for convicted bank robber Chiquinho: spend the day in a cell or make money out in the sun helping Brazil build a 2014 World Cup stadium.