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Times Record News (Wichita Falls, Texas)

The findings from FIFA's internal investigation regarding how Qatar was awarded the host rights for the 2022 World Cup should be released later this month.

New allegations prompted soccer's governing body to finally take action. With all the evidence that has been reported by news outlets, it's probable some form of bribery occurred.

FIFA President Sepp Blatter already has stated that awarding the tournament to Qatar was a mistake. If corruption charges ring true, FIFA could justifiably remove the World Cup from the Middle East.

The United States, which finished second behind Qatar in the bidding process, would be the ideal replacement given its infrastructure and having several impressive stadiums already constructed.

The 1994 World Cup in the U.S. still holds the attendance record at 3.58 million despite playing 12 fewer matches than the tournament has now. Some of the major sponsors include American corporations Coca-Cola, McDonald's and Visa.

The United States has given FIFA one more motive to make the switch this month. Americans' interest in the sport, and tournament, has never been greater.

The way the country got behind the U.S. men's national team was impressive as crowds flocked to Soldier Field and AT&T Stadium for watch parties. But it doesn't end there.

A bigger surprise than the staggering ratings from the Portugal-U.S. game was the interest generated from other matches.

For instance, Friday's Brazil-Colombia quarterfinal was viewed by 11.8 million combining ESPN and Univision's viewing. The average viewership for the weekend rounds at the Tiger-less 2014 Masters was 8.6 million.

FIFA already had plenty of reasons to pull the plug on Qatar's bid. This country's increased interest in soccer will only help its cause.

Goals have dried up in this World Cup as the stakes have gotten higher. Only five were scored in the four quarterfinals, tying 2002 for the fewest in that round.

After group play, the 2014 World Cup was on pace to be the highest-scoring tournament since 1970. With a current average of 2.65 goals, this World Cup is in the middle of the pack.

Colombia's James Rodríguez is in a great position to become the winner of the Golden Boot, given to the World Cup's top scorer.

Argentina's Lionel Messi and Germany's Thomas Mueller have the only realistic chances of catching him, as both sit two goals behind Rodríguez's six.

The Netherlands' Robin van Persie and Arjen Robben each have three goals, but they'd need to score four times to beat Rodríguez out because the Colombian owns the tiebreaker with two assists.

July 7, 2014

 

 
 

 

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