Countdown to Brazil: England, others name roster

Wayne Rooney, Jordan Henderson, and Steven Garrard. (Getty Images)

Here's what's going on around the globe in the run-up to the World Cup in Brazil.

England names 23-man roster: Perhaps the biggest news Monday came from England manager Roy Hodgson, who announced his 23-man squad for Brazil. No Ashley Cole. No Michael Carrick. Though there will of course be familiar faces in Wayne Rooney, Steven Garrard, and Frank Lampard, there will also be some youngsters. Most notably: 18-year-old defender Luke Shaw.

England will have trouble getting out of the group stage, as they'll have to get past both Uruguay and Italy, as well as Costa Rica.

Japan names squad; Russia, Ghana, and Algeria release provisional rosters: Japan manager Alberto Zacheroni announced his 23-man roster and insisted Monday that his team would be fearles in Brazil.

"We will respect our opponents but certainly won't be frightened," Zaccheroni told reporters. "If you go into a game with fear, you're in trouble. We need to go in prepared and bring our own qualities. We have a lot of attacking players."

Russia, Ghana, and Algeria also released provisional rosters. The United States is expected to release its 30-man roster Monday afternoon. Teams have until June 2 to pare down their rosters to 23 players.

Price tag for Cup brings corruption claims: The Associated Press published a wide-ranging report Monday discussing both the costs of the Brazil World Cup as well as hints of corruption within the Brazilian government. It's extensive and worth a read, but here's the upshot: Auditors have allegedly unearthed fradulent billing, and the AP reports that the companies tasked with World Cup projects have significantly upped their political contributions. Since the money comes from public funds, it seems the money is apparently being funneled from the public to the contractors and then into politicians' coffers.

Essentially, many Brazilians believe the $900 million price tag to be both exorbitant and corrupt.

Pepsi to release visual album celebrating soccer: Pepsi, identifying the World Cup as a good time to celebrate soccer, has teamed with artists and will release a visual album throughout the tournament, according to the Associated Press. "Beats of the Beautiful Game" will be released June 10 and include work from Spike Lee and Timbaland.

Milan president has advice for Mario Balotelli: Former Italian Prime Minister and current president of Milan Silvio Berlusconi has some advice for Italian striker Mario Balotelli: "Balotelli needs to learn how to score goals."

Oh really?

Seems like he's okay at it, at least.

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