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  • Paolo Rossi passed away on 9 December
  • Gianni Infantino, Marco Tardelli and Dino Zoff hail Pablito
  • FIFA pays tribute to Rossi with videos, quotes, trivia and stats

Gianni hails Pablito

“Ciao Pablito, symbol of joy, of revenge, of generosity, of sympathy, of success and, personally, symbol of pride for all Italians. A human hero and a world legend.”

Read FIFA President Gianni Infantino’s full comments below….






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Infantino: Pablito was a symbol of joy and pride for all Italians




Inzaghi, Tardelli, Vieri, Zambrotta and Zoff lead homages

“When I was a boy and I played football in the street, Paolo Rossi was to Italy what Pele and Maradona were to Brazil and Argentina.”

Read the full remark from Clarence Seedorf and tributes from other footballing icons in the link below…




The football world mourns Paolo Rossi's passing


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The football world mourns Paolo Rossi’s passing




After Rossi’s exploits in Barcelona, it took 30 years for another player to score a hat-trick against Brazil. Lionel Messi was next in a 2012 friendly.

The interview

“What really stays with me is seeing all the Italian flags in the stadium after the ref had blown the final whistle. Of course I remember the goals, all those great moments. But when I lifted my head and saw all those flags all over the stadium… I’m not a nationalist, but at moments like that you really feel like you belong to something. You belong to a group, to a nation. Seeing the stadium simply covered with Italian flags was an extraordinary moment, one I will remember forever.”

Read Rossi’s full interview with FIFA in the link below…




Rossi: The first Brazil goal changed my life


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Rossi: The first Brazil goal changed my life




Enzo’s art lesson

Paolo Rossi hadn’t scored for Italy in three years and almost 15 hours of action. Enzo Bearzot was under deafening pressure to drop him going into the showdown with overwhelming favourites Brazil.

He refused. “He was the best striker in the world and I knew he was guy who could win us the World Cup,” said ‘The Old Man’.

So, Bearzot came up with an ingenious plan to relax Rossi. He spent the day before the game researching cubist and surrealist painters. That night, he walked to Rossi’s room, knocked on the door, and they spent 40 minutes discussing art.

The next day Rossi painted Barcelona blue against arguably the most artistic side in football history.

“It may sound silly, but I always think back to how important that chat was for everything that happened,” Rossi said years later. “I didn’t know at the time he was pretending [to be interested]. It relaxed me, I slept well, I woke up feeling up good.”

Did you know?

  • Rossi was the first player to top the scoring charts in Serie B and Serie A in back-to-back seasons. He did it thanks to 21 goals in 36 games for Vicenza in 1976/77, and 24 in 30 the following season.
  • Due to the first round, in which the Azzurri had scraped through despite not winning a game, and them being drawn in the same group as defending champions Argentina and overwhelming favourites Brazil in the second group stage, an English bookmaker listed Italy 12th favourites out of the 12 remaining teams to win Spain 1982.
  • Years after he ended the World Cup dream of Falcao, Socrates, Zico and Co, Pablito was on holiday in Brazil when a taxi driver recognised him in the rear-view mirror and angrily ordered him to get out. After a few minutes of the Italian apologising, the Brazilian finally relented and continued the journey.
  • Rossi’s autobiography is titled I Made Brazil Cry.

Italy’s top World Cup scorers










PlayerGoalsAppearances
Christian Vieri99
Paolo Rossi914
Roberto Baggio916
Toto Schillaci67
Silvio Piola54
Alessandro Altobelli57

Only three players have won the adidas Golden Ball, the adidas Golden Boot and a winner’s medal at a World Cup: Garrincha (Chile 1962), Mario Kempes (Argentina 1978) and Rossi (Spain 1982).

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FIFA Club World Cup 2020 – News – When underdogs upset the old order

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  • Club World Cup has been dominated by European and South American sides
  • Nonetheless, several unfancied sides have caused major upsets over the years
  • We look back at some of the finest exploits of these ‘lesser lights’

Teams representing Europe and South America have enjoyed unbroken dominance at the FIFA Club World Cup. In the 16 editions to date, the winners have always been either the UEFA or CONMEBOL champions, with the representatives of the two continents facing each other in 12 of those finals.

That said, the tournament has had its share of upsets and David versus Goliath moments. On five occasions, less fancied teams that were not expected to feature prominently made it to the final or podium. FIFA.com brings you their stories.

United Arab Emirates 2010: Mazembe make their mark

As African champions for the second year running, TP Mazembe headed to the United Arab Emirates determined to make amends for their lamentable sixth-place finish the previous year. Despite having their best player, Treasure Mputu, suspended, Les Corbeaux prevailed against Mexico’s Pachuca in the second round (1-0), before seeing off Brazilian giants Internacional in some style (2-0) to set up a dream final against an Inter Milan side featuring Samuel Eto’o.

And while I Nerazzurri proved too strong in the decider (3-0), Mazembe had the distinction of becoming the first non-European or South American club to reach the final. To add further gloss to their achievement, Dioko Kaluyituka took the adidas Silver Ball back to Congo DR.

Morocco 2013: Raja stun Ronaldinho & Co

Three years after TP Mazembe’s exploits, another African club made it all the way to the final. Raja Club Athletic’s feat was arguably even more impressive, having only qualified for the tournament by virtue of being Moroccan league champions. As such, the Casablanca outfit had to face Auckland City in the first round, only prevailing thanks to a last-minute goal from Abdelilah Hafidi (2-1).

The second round was harder still, with the Green Eagles needing extra time to see off Mexico’s Monterrey (2-1). However, the best was yet to come in the form of a 3-1 semi-final defeat of an Atletico Mineiro side containing Ronaldinho in front of jubilant fans at the Stade de Marrakech.

Just like TP Mazembe, the Moroccan giantkillers fell at the final hurdle, in their case going down 2-0 to European champions Bayern Munich, with Franck Ribery at his best. And while the Frenchman was the deserved recipient of the adidas Golden Ball, Raja had the consolation of seeing their striker Mouhcine Iajour, scorer of two goals, pick up the Bronze Ball.

Morocco 2014: Auckland’s moral victory

While Auckland City ruled the roost for many years in Oceania, the New Zealanders were often overpowered by bigger clubs on the world stage. Often, but not always.

After a historic win (3-2) against TP Mazembe in the match for fifth place in 2009, the Navy Blues went one better in 2014 by gracing the podium. Their epic run in Morocco saw them first triumph over Moghreb Tetouan (0-0; 4-3 PSO) and then ES Setif (1-0). They then pushed Argentinian heavyweights San Lorenzo all the way in the semi-final (2-1 a.e.t.), before winning the match for third place against Mexico’s Cruz Azul (1-1, 4-2 PSO).

The achievement was all the more remarkable given the club’s semi-professional status and an ambitious strategy that favoured a passing game over their normal direct style. “I’m very proud of what we’ve achieved. We didn’t lose a single game in regulation time, and we deserved third place because we were fantastic from start to finish. These players were the moral victors of this World Cup,” said Ramon Tribulietx, Auckland’s Catalan coach.

Japan 2016: Colombians crushed by Kashima

After a laboured 2-1 win over Auckland in the opening round, very few expected Kashima Antlers to reach the final of the 2016 Club World Cup. Having only secured their place by winning the J.League days before the tournament, the Japanese club, playing a high-tempo, technical game, followed up with impressive wins over Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa (2-0) and Colombia’s Atletico Nacional (3-0).

Kashima even went 2-1 ahead in the final against Real Madrid thanks to a double by adidas Bronze Ball winner Gaku Shibasaki, before suffering at the hands of Cristiano Ronaldo, who equalized on the hour then sealed victory with two more strikes in extra time (4-2 a.e.t).

United Arab Emirates 2018: Al-Ain rock River

Two years later, it was Real who once again dashed the dreams of a huge underdog in the final, this time seeing off Al Ain 4-1. The UAE league champions, who were flying the flag for the host nation, began their heroic odyssey by coming from three goals down against Team Wellington in the first round (3-3, 4-3 PSO.)

The Emirati club then kicked on with an emphatic victory over Esperance Tunis (3-0), before eliminating mighty River Plate in an epic semi-final (2-2, 5-4 PSO).

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Canelo Alvarez next fight: Mexican superstar expected to face Avni Yildirim at super middleweight in February

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Canelo Alvarez is ready for his next challenge. The unified super middleweight champion is expected to take on Avni Yildirim — the WBC mandatory challenger — on Feb. 27, Canelo’s trainer and manager, Eddy Reynoso, told Boxing Scene. According to both The Athletic and Sports Illustrated, the fight is expected to take place at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami. 

Alvarez claimed the WBA and vacant WBC super middleweight titles on Dec. 19 with a decision win over Callum Smith in Texas. The pound-for-pound great had been out of action for nearly a year due to the pandemic as well as contractual disputes with Golden Boy Promotions and streaming partner DAZN. Alvarez reached a deal with both in the fall to become a free agent and open up the possibility of fighting whomever he wants. 

Sports Illustrated’s report notes that this is the first matchup in a multi-fight deal between Alvarez and Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing, who promoted Alvarez’s recent win over Smith. Under this agreement, the expectation is that Alvarez would face Billy Joe Saunders at 168 pounds in May. 

Can’t get enough boxing and MMA? Get the latest in the world of combat sports from two of the best in the business. Subscribe to Morning Kombat with Luke Thomas and Brian Campbell for the best analysis and in-depth news.

Yildirim, the 29-year-old from Turkey, has only lost twice as a pro. That includes his most recent bout against Anthony Dirrell in February 2019 when an accident headbutt in the 10th round ended the fight and sent it to the judges’ scorecards. Yilidirim lost on points. His only other loss came in his only other bout against higher-level competition when he was knocked out by Chris Eubank Jr. in 2017.



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England in Sri Lanka 2021

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Joe Root is backing his young openers to come through the tough initiation of a maiden Test tour of Asia stronger for the experience.

Dom Sibley and Zak Crawley both failed to reach double figures in either innings of the first Test against Sri Lanka in Galle and both fell to spin, the same spinner in fact, each time.

Sibley got a faint edge to a ball from left-arm spinner Lasith Embuldeniya which drifted in and spun away slightly for a slips catch while on 4 in the first innings before Crawley chipped to mid-off for 9. On 2 in the second innings, Sibley appeared stunned by Embuldeniya’s arm ball which took the top of off stump, and Crawley fell for 8 to an ill-conceived drive taken at gully.

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