Tottenham Hotspur's Harry Kane is set to make a swift return from an ankle injury as manager Mauricio Pochettino expects the prolific striker to be available for selection before the end of the season.
Kane, the Premier League club's leading marksman with 24 goals, sustained the injury during Tottenham's FA Cup win over Millwall this month.
The north London side refused to put a time scale on the 23-year-old's return but media reports had suggested he was set for a lengthy spell on the sidelines.
ZURICH FIFA announced its proposed slot allocation for the expanded 48-team World Cup on Thursday, including an automatic place for Oceania, 16 places for Europe - up from 13 - and a six-team inter-zonal playoff tournament for two more spots.
The proposals will be submitted to the FIFA Council at its next full meeting in Bahrain in May for a final decision, FIFA said.
BERLIN The International Olympic Committee said on Thursday it had disqualified four Russian athletes from the 2012 London Olympics after re-tests of their samples came back positive for banned substances.
The IOC said all four - Victoria Valyukevich, a triple jumper who was eighth in the women's competition, hammer throwers Gulfiya Khanafeeva and Mariia Bespalova, and weightlifter Khadzhimurat Akkaev, who did not compete due to a back injury, had tested positive for anabolic steroid turinabol.
Self-taught sculptor Emanuel Santos defended his grinning bust of Cristiano Ronaldo on Thursday, telling his thousands of online detractors he had followed the soccer star's instructions down to the last wrinkle.
Santos, a 40-year-old former airport cleaner, said the Real Madrid striker had asked him to make the portrait more jovial, and had praised his efforts.
"It's impossible to please the Greeks and the Trojans, and even Jesus couldn't please everyone ... It's a matter of taste and not as simple as it seems," Santos told Globo Esporte.
CHICAGO For all the talk of how the United States has embraced soccer, it became clear there is still some way to go to complete the conversion after newly arrived Bastian Schweinsteiger was asked if he thought his club, Chicago Fire, could win the World Cup.
Chicago is a huge sports city, boasting fanatical followers of ice hockey, American football, basketball and baseball. Last year, 60,000 even turned out to watch Ireland shock New Zealand in a rugby union test. But not everybody has quite bought into the "other football".