The Panenka

A blog dedicated to European Football, World Soccer, and the 2018 World Cup in Russia

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Paulinho’s Renaissance: Once Ridiculed, Now Idolized

Written off and mocked, the Brazilian midfielder is enjoying a new lease of life with Barcelona – paving the way for a shot at the 2018 World Cup.

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English Officials Snubbed as FIFA Releases List of Referees for 2018 World Cup

FIFA have released a 36-man list of referees that will officiate matches at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

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Pots Announced for 2018 World Cup Draw

After Peru booked the 32nd and final place at the 2018 World Cup, the seedings for next summers tournament can now be confirmed.

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Italy Facing World Cup Humiliation as Pressure Mounts on Ventura

The Azzurri were undeniably unlucky in their 1-0 loss to Sweden but their coach’s failings were once again exposed at the highest level, according to

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How Michael O’Neill Raised Northern Ireland’s Game

A tour to play Chile and Uruguay three years ago helped Northern Ireland to shed their small-time mentality, reach Euro 2016, and earn this week’s two-leg World Cup play-off against Switzerland.

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Denmark’s Schmeichel Aims to Realize World Cup Dream, Coach Pins Hopes on Eriksen

Kasper Schmeichel is aiming to live out yet another fairytale by qualifying for the 2018 World Cup, while De Rød-Hvide boss says that Christian Eriksen will hold the key to their success.

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Ventura “Convinced” Italy Will Reach 2018 World Cup

Italy coach Gian Piero Ventura says a World Cup without Italy does not even bear thinking about and remains convinced that the nation will book their place in Russia over the next week.

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“Socrates Was Puffing on a Cigarette in the Tunnel Before Kick-Off”: Nigel Worthington Recalls the 1984 World Cup

Thirty-one years have passed since Northern Ireland last graced a World Cup finals but, for Nigel Worthington, one image remains seared into his memory.

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UEFA World Cup Playoffs: What You Need to Know

Northern Ireland v Switzerland, Croatia v Greece, Sweden v Italy, and Denmark v Republic of Ireland, this is what you need to know as these eight teams battle it out for a place at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

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UEFA Playoffs: FIFA’s 8 Players to Watch

With the 2018 World Cup playoffs fast approaching, looked at some of the players who could prove decisive in the upcoming playoffs. 

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