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World Cup

In schools, offices and homes expectation has been building to fever pitch...and not just in England but all round the world. Football is spoken of as the "universal language" and never is that more apparent than when the world's greatest footballing countries don their boots and face each other on the World Cup stage. 

We'll be bringing you all the latest news, interviews and photos right here. So bring on the goals and the glory, it's World Cup time.

In schools, offices and homes expectation has been building to fever pitch...and not just in England but all round the world. Football is spoken of as the "universal language" and never is that more apparent than when the world's greatest footballing countries don their boots and face each other on the World Cup stage. 

We'll be bringing you all the latest news, interviews and photos right here. So bring on the goals and the glory, it's World Cup time.

World Cup World Tour

During the next few weeks we'll be taking you on a virtual tour of the international Church as we explore Christianity across the globe. Listen as we take you to a different country each day to find out more about the highs and lows their churches are facing, as their national team competes in the World Cup.

The World Cup World Tour will be brought to you each morning on Inspirational Breakfast, and you can listen again here:

Brazil

Chile

Japan

Switzerland

Ghana

Mexico

Cameroon

Columbia

France

Argentina

Korea Republic

Australia

Costa Rica

Nigeria

Russia

Uruguay

Netherlands

Germany

Belgium

Brazil

Costa Rica

Germany

Netherlands

 

Your Bible fantasy football team

You've been voting for your ultimate Bible XI and here are the results!

Goal keeper: Jesus...because he saves!

Left back: Barnabas because he defended the Gospel.

Centre back: Go for Peter 'The Rock' as centre half. 

Centre back:  David as a defender because he is very strong. 

Right back: Adam...'cos he goes right back to the beginning! 

Left midfield: Angel Gabriel on the wing.

Central midfield: Solomon in midfield - he has the wisdom to read the situation. 

Central midfield: Get Moses in midfield to feed the strikers: he's great at pass overs.

Right midfield: Elijah has pace, he proved this by outrunning Ahab. Play him on the wings.

Striker: Joshua as a centre forward. He’d fear no opposition! 

Striker: Jehu as striker, he will move so fast and furiously, no one will catch him. 

Subs:

1)            Andrew for his fabulous assists, especially leading Simon-Peter to Christ! 

2)            Samson so he can head in corners

3)            Goliath as a central defender

Manager: St Paul, whose team talk would be based on Philippians 3 verse 14: “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

They can all play against the Sons of Jacob - full team sorted in one hit - mind you they probably wouldn't work well together and would send Joseph away as a sub!

Contributors: Malky Currie, Foluseke Olusanya, Dan Bellamy, Gail Hall, Joseph Ayo Adz, Adebanji Adeola Alade, Helen in London, Ian Turner, Ben Edwards, John F Wallis, Steve Pond, Stuart in Upminster, Emily-Rose Kumiwaa Kumi, Doug Earle, Benny Marsh and Jamie Cutteridge

 

England star says ‘I love you’ after scoring – to whom?

Liverpool and England striker Daniel Sturridge was the man who got England back on track momentarily with the equaliser against Italy in Manaus. However, many may have missed Sturridge's message after his goal.

Sturridge, the joyous, vibrant and extroverted character always seems to bring a smile to football fans. Famous for his infectious dance moves and goal-scoring habits, Sturridge is becoming a true fan favourite.

The striker posed a real threat in front of goal and last season, the former Manchester City and Chelsea player finally found his feet in the Premier League as the goals flooded in.

The 24-year-old bagged 24 goals for Liverpool and he will look to use that confidence as an incentive to shine at the World Cup.

Against Italy, Sturridge played as the main striker and looked dangerous throughout, with intricate touches and skills to create openings; the man seemed full of confidence and duly dispatched England's equaliser in the 37th minute.

Liverpool teammate Raheem Sterling picked up the ball and swiftly turned past the grounded Andrea Pirlo and found Wayne Rooney on the left flank with a beautifully weighted pass.

The Manchester United striker delivered a perfect cross with his weaker foot into the stride of Sturridge, who finished calmly despite the awkward bounce to send the Three Lions' fans into raptures.

England fans then witnessed the swaying moves of the striker before he lifted his head and hands to the sky and said: "I love you. Jesus, I will praise your name forever".

A humbling moment from a man of faith.

With the scrutiny surrounding this industry, being a footballer is a privilege, a talent, a gift. So many use it to abuse themselves and the world around them; divulging into worldly desires that so easily entice them. It is refreshing to see a young man who is so talented and has the chance to be a role model to the world, being a role model for the very core of his life.

Maybe without even knowing it, he is bringing hope and faith to so many, through his career.

His life, is a testament to God. Through football.

By Ollie Baines 

 

“I was 2cm away from being paralysed” – Neymar

A tearful Neymar struggled to contemplate what might have been if the tackle which ended his World Cup had been the tackle which ended his career.

The 22-year-old Brazilian wonder-kid fractured vertebra when he was maliciously kneed in the back by Colombia’s Juan Zuniga in Brazil’s 2-1 quarter final win.

“God blessed me” – the simple words which echoed the press room as Neymar tried to tell the media the story.

“If it had of been another 2cm I could be in a wheelchair today” said Neymar as he stunned silence into the room. The sudden realisation floods ones mind as it allows us to take in the severity of the situation. Football is just a game, as much as we hate to believe it. Sometimes, circumstances take place in which we must take a step back and remember that our reality will not be on the pitch for all of our lives.

Neymar was 2cm away from paralysis. At 22, no-one could imagine the destruction that would have evoked upon that young man’s life – with all the footballing potential he possessed. It would count for nothing.

Football is an art, it is the beautiful game, its infectious and thrilling. But it isn’t wholesome or fulfilling – we are left wanting more each time. Never satisfied.

I love football. More than most things – but there comes a point when people need to realise that it is just a game.

I think Neymar knows how blessed he is.

Goals aren’t a matter of life and death; but 2cm is.

That’s the reality of it.

By Ollie Baines 

Ollie has come to the conclusion of his degree in PE & Sport's Science at Canterbury Christ Church University. His love for writing and sport has culminated in a recent surge into the world of sports journalism and, as a Christian, he also writes his blog All things Faith and Football.

 

Motty's ones to watch

John Motson OBE - known affectionately as Motty - retired from live sports commentary a few years ago but is still a popular and regular face on Match of the Day. He joined Premier to share which teams we should all be watching out for at this World Cup.

Ones to watch

Motty's memories

 

Christians in the beautiful game

Former Arsenal and Bolton midfielder, Fabrice Muamba, made headlines around the world in 2012 when he suffered a heart attack on the pitch. He was clinically dead for 78 minutes. His chances of survival, let alone recovery without brain damage, were minimal. Yet he defied the odds and the devout Christian is here to tell the tale. He chatted about his faith, footfall and why he thinks God saved him.

Muamba

We revisit the archive to bring you this exclusive TV interview with ex-England footballer Linvoy Primus as he talks about his dazzling football career, his life story, and why he feels confident to wear his faith on his shirt sleeve.

 

Brazil's dark side

All eyes are on Brazil this June as both football stars and fans descend for the FIFA World Cup. Just next door to the purpose-built stadia are slums that are home to some of the 250,000 children caught in Brazil’s sex trade. And with the crowds comes a likely increase in the sex tourism that so often attends international sporting events. A life on the streets and educational disadvantage are just some of the other problems facing Brazil’s poorest children. Read more from Premier Christianity...

In this video founder of Happy Child charity, Sarah de Carvalho, explains how children in the world's footballing capital are being exploited, and what she and her colleagues are doing to combat crimes against Brazil's poorest, youngest and most vulnerable citizens.

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