Confedrations Cup - France vs Turkey
Given the support afforded to Turkey by their fanatical fans the atmosphere at the Stade de France could get as hot as the soaring temperatures the teams have had to contend with since the competition began a week ago.
Paris has a sizeable Turkish community, and many of them will be turning up to ensure Gunes' side don't lack for support.
The coach is planning a number of changes from the team that knocked Brazil out on Monday although it is uncertain whether Real Sociedad striker Nihat Kahveci, on Spanish league duty up to now, will be among them.
Jacques Santini has rotated his France side like a circus juggler, and with telling effect.
'Les Bleus' without talismanic midfielder Zinedine Zidane have looked more and more solid as the competition's progressed, and they should have a distinct fitness advantage.
Manchester United goalkeeper Fabien Barthez will be in high spirits after the birth of his first child, while Thierry Henry is enjoying his newfound popularity with the fans who were chanting his name over and over again at Saint Etienne against Japan even when he was on the bench.
The Arsenal forward said of the 'Henrymania' sweeping France: "It gives you pleasure to hear your name ring out at a stadium, it's something you dream of when you're a kid."
Santini, who for the second match running will have to do without his suspended Bayern Munich defender Willy Sagnol, said after the New Zealand drubbing that France was still in her "progressive stage".
"I think we'll be even better in the semi-final.
"Our aim was to still be around in the second week, and we've made it," said the former Lyon manager.
Confedrations Cup - Colombia vs Cameroon
Maturana's men were unlucky to lose to France 1-0 in their opening match, the damage inflicted by a questionable late penalty, but they got back on track beating minnows New Zealand and then Japan 1-0.
Playmaker Giovanni Hernandez said he felt like crying after he capitalised on an error by the Japanese defence to get the second half winner.
"Getting through to the semis has strengthened our mental resolve to get the best result," said the 27-year-old Deportivo Cali player.
He predicted: "Colombia will essentially be relying on its technical quality to contain the phsyical nature of Cameroon.
"We can't be thinking about what we've done up to now, we just have to give our all to ensure we get the best result possible."
After a clean bill of health was issued for all his key players Maturana has the luxury of fielding a full strength side as both Inter Milan's Ivan Cordoba and the pacey Elson Becerra had to sit out the last game due to suspension.
Not many meanwhile would have predicted before the competition started that it would be Cameroon and not world champions Brazil topping Group B.
But German coach Winfried Schafer's team made it into the last four with a 0-0 draw against the United States to add to their stunning 1-0 defeat of an out-of-sorts Brazil at the Stade de France, and a victory over Turkey by the same margin.
Already the African champions showing here has gone some way to restore their wounded pride incurred after their first round elimination at the World Cup - a far cry from 1990 when they made it through to the quarter finals.
One of the stars of Schafer's side, Real Mallorca's Samuel Eto'o, said: "There are no minor matches - they're all difficult - and here we are again trying to beat Colombia.
"Nothing's impossible and we'll be doing everything to try and qualify."
Eto'o will be leaving the squad after Thursday's game to return to Mallorca to help his club try and lift the Spanish Cup.
Up to now Cameroon have not conceded a goal - they'll be hoping Idris Kemeni maintains that fine record come Thursday night.
Queiroz joins Real Madrid
Manchester United assistant coach Carlos Queiroz has agreed a two-year deal to take over at Real Madrid.
Queiroz will be officially named at a news conference in Madrid on Wednesday evening.
Queiroz was Real's first choice after the ruthless sacking of Vicente del Bosque - and he has confessed it is a "once in a lifetime" opportunity.
Congrats to Real Madrid
Real Madrid won the Spanish league title for the 29th time on Sunday as two goals from Ronaldo and a thunderous Roberto Carlos free kick earned them a 3-1 victory over Athletic Bilbao.
On a nerve-jangling final night of a long Spanish league season, second-placed Real Sociedad won 3-0 at home to Atletico Madrid to ensure that nothing less than victory would be good enough for Real Madrid.
With Real leading 2-1 at halftime in Madrid that was far from a formality, but a second strike from Ronaldo just past the hour mark gave them the breathing space they needed.
Real Madrid coach Vicente del Bosque had the luxury of substituting Ronaldo to an ear-splitting ovation in the closing minutes before his side were crowned champions amid a spectacular firework display at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium.
MADRID, June 20 (AFP) - Only two words will be heard in the dressing room of league leaders Real Madrid before Sunday's game against Athletic Bilbao and they will not be David Beckham.
Real coach Vicente Del Bosque in what some pundits believe could be his last game in charge of the club, instead will be urging his squad to forget all thoughts of the imminent arrival of the England captain and concentrate on the winning the trophy that has 'campeonato nacional' - national championship - inscribed on it.
Madrid have 75 points from their 37 games and are two ahead of their only rivals Real Sociedad.
The mathematics are simple. If Real Madrid beat their Basque visitors, they are the Spanish champions for a record 29th time.
However, if they can only muster a draw against Athletic, who have everything to play for as they are vying with Barcelona for a UEFA cup place, then they have to hope that Sociedad do not win at home to Atletico Madrid.
The San Sebastian club, who are unbeaten at home this season, have better results in the head-to-head contests between the two protagonists for the league title, and under Spanish league rules, if the points are equal then Real Sociedad will win the league for the first time in 21 years.
There has been no denying that signing of Beckham on Tuesday has been a distraction.
"But from now until Sunday night, David Beckham does not exist," said Real's Spanish international right back Michel Salgado.
"It was an inopportune time for the news (of Beckham coming to Real Madrid on Tuesday) to come out but the squad have listed to the explanations of the club and accepted them. The club were also aware it was not the best time to release the news but felt there was no alternative."
"However, if we can win the title in the last game and in front of our own fans it will be fantastic," added Salgado, letting his hard-man facade drop for once.
Real Sociedad believe that the furore over Beckham will work in their favour.
"They have got to be distracted because it's all that has been talked about," said Sociedad's Xabi Alonso.
"This league is far from over and we have still plenty of chances to snatch the title. The Bernabeu is a difficult place to play but Athletic are one of those teams that don't seem to show their nerves there and they are playing for a place in the UEFA Cup," added the Spanish international playmaker.
"As far as we are concerned, we are playing for our pride after last Sunday's defeat at Celta Vigo."
Athletic Bilbao have pride and dignity at stake as well, following a traumatic week.
Coach Jupp Heynckes announced on Tuesday that he was not going to renew his contract for next season and issued a withering attack on the club's directors and fans for not supporting him and his players in the manner he wanted.
Tragedy was added to the emotional mix on Wednesday when the club president Javier Uria died of throat cancer at the age of just 41.
"We will be playing for Javier on Sunday and want to win for him. It was his dream to see us back in Europe," said striker Ismael Urzaiz on Thursday.
Athletic have gone nine games unbeaten and lie sixth with 55 points, two points and one place ahead of Barcelona, who are the only club that can stop them returning to European competition after a hiatus of four years.
In the event that Athletic draw in the Bernabeu and Barcelona beat Celta Vigo - who can relax as they are secure in fourth and will playing in the Champions league for the first time next season - the Catalan club will finish ahead as they have a better record in their two meetings this season.
Barcelona could get a boost by the return of their inspirational Brazilian midfielder Thiago Motta, who is fit to play again after an absence of nearly two months due to back problems.
Becks to Real
David Beckham says he's relishing the "challenge" of playing for Real Madrid after agreeing to a £25million move from Manchester United.
Beckham is in Tokyo with wife Victoria as part of a promotional tour of the Far East.
"I'm very excited to become part of Real Madrid," said Beckham.
"It's a very exciting experience and it's going to be a very good challenge for me, on the football field and off it," added the England captain.
England captain David Beckham has agreed a four-year contract with Real Madrid.
Manchester United confirmed to the London Stock Exchange on Wednesday that they will sell the 28-year-old midfielder to the Spanish giants for a fee of £24.5m.
"The deal is expected to be completed in July, conditional upon approval by the boards of Manchester United and Real Madrid, and on the provision of satisfactory payment guarantees," the Premiership champions said in a statement.
"David Beckham has agreed personal terms with Real Madrid and expects to sign his new contract with the club on completion."
Pires might leave!
Patrick Vieira has admitted he fears Arsenal could lose FA Cup final hero Robert Pires this summer.
Pires, who is reportedly wanted by Valencia, has two years left on his current contract and is stalling on a new deal with the Gunners.
Arsenal skipper Vieira believes his French internaitonal team-mate could quit Highbury and feels that keeping Pires is more important than any signings boss Arsene Wenger might make this summer.
He told the News of the World: "My biggest fear is not who we will sign this summer, but who we will lose.
"I know Manchester United and Newcastle will probably buy big players but, despite that, we will still hvae enough to get the championship back next season.
"But it is vital the current team stays together - and my real concern is that Pires will go."
Pires scored the winner in the FA Cup final against Southampton and got 16 goals this season after winning the Football Writers' Player of the Year award in 2001-2.
Vieira added: "I'm not worried about speculation over Arsene Wenger's future or even my own - but Robbie must stay."