World Cup Daily: Thursday

Posted by ESPN staff

Stuart Pearce England Psycho celebAPEngland's Stuart Pearce celebrates after scoring his penalty in a shootout against Spain at Euro '96.

On June 12, the world’s eyes turn to Brazil for the start of the 20th FIFA World Cup, but the planet’s biggest football tournament will have plenty of news and views in the months leading up to it. ESPN FC’s World Cup Daily blog is the place to be:

TOP STORIES:

•  Belgium coach Marc Wilmots has announced on his official Twitter account that Adnan Januzaj has committed his international future to the country. Full story.
•  Our series of features on players who have divided opinion throughout their careers continues. Continue Reading...

Polarising players: Luis Suarez

Posted by Richard Jolly

Getty ImagesOver the past four years, Luis Suarez has had his share of world class performances and controversial moments.

As part of the build-up to the World Cup, ESPN FC presents a series of features on players who have divided opinion throughout their careers. It began with a look at Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney and continues with a profile of Luis Suarez, Uruguay's top star who has had quite a share of controversial moments in the past four years.

Luis Suarez is divisive. It comes naturally to him. He splits defences with piercing bursts, sharp turns that leave opponents running one way while he darts the other, and moments of incredible audacity. Continue Reading...

World Cup Daily: Wednesday

Posted by ESPN staff

Glenn Hoddle and Terry Butcher 1986 EnglandGettyImagesGlenn Hoddle and Terry Butcher of England celebrate their win Scotland at Wembley Stadium in London.

On June 12, the world’s eyes turn to Brazil for the start of the 20th FIFA World Cup, but the planet’s biggest football tournament will have plenty of news and views in the months leading up to it. ESPN FC’s World Cup Daily blog is the place to be:

TOP STORIES:

• Paris Saint-Germain coach Laurent Blanc has claimed Thiago Silva's recent dip in form is due to him being "a little bit afraid" of missing the World Cup. Blanc said: "He's had a tricky spell, but that could also be explained by the fact he has had some injuries. Continue Reading...

Polarising Players: Wayne Rooney

Posted by Iain Macintosh

Laurence Griffiths/Getty ImagesWayne Rooney is frustrating and brilliant in equal measure.


As part of the build-up to the World Cup, ESPN FC presents a series of features on players who have divided opinion throughout their careers. It began with a look at Cristiano Ronaldo and continues with a profile of Wayne Rooney, arguably the most dominant English player of his generation.

"There's only one Wayne Rooney," sang England supporters once upon a time. Would that it were true. Sadly, for those lingering Anglo-Saxon hopes of summer glory, it has long been the case that there are in fact two Wayne Rooneys. Continue Reading...

Ecuador can use an improvised friendly to find centre-back

Posted by Tim Vickery

Jasper Juinen/FIFA/Getty ImagesJohn Narvaez could earn a spot on the squad after succeeding at centre-back in the U-20 World Cup in 2011.

Ecuador coach Reinaldo Rueda celebrated his 57th birthday last week, but there is a touch of panic along with the festivities.

This week, Rueda has hurriedly set up a match. It is a non-FIFA date, so no foreign based players will be called up. An opposition have been quickly improvised -- an assembly of foreigners based in Ecuador will take on Rueda's team as the coach desperately searches for last-minute solutions.

There are some interesting aspects to the current Ecuador side. Continue Reading...

From spectacular to scandalous: Maradona's World Cup legacy

Posted by Roger Bennett

AllsportMaradona's spectacular individual effort vs. England was one of five goals he scored at the 1986 World Cup.

Part I: “A foot more like the paw of a cat”

Few have used a World Cup as a platform to enthrall the planet. Fewer still have used the same tournament to self-destruct and sully their own name. No man has done both to such radical extremes as Diego Armando Maradona, the Argentine icon who, in a career of excess, utilized the World Cup as the stage for both his greatest triumph and shattering humiliation.

In 1986, the strutting No. 10 delivered the most virtuoso performance a World Cup has ever witnessed, inspiring an otherwise unexceptional Argentine team to victory. Continue Reading...

World Cup Daily: Tuesday

Posted by ESPN staff

Gary and Phil NevillePA PhotosGary and Phil Neville on England duty in 1996.

On June 12, the world’s eyes turn to Brazil for the start of the 20th FIFA World Cup, but the planet’s biggest football tournament will have plenty of news and views in the months leading up to it. ESPN FC’s World Cup Daily blog is the place to be:

TOP STORIES:

•  England boss Roy Hodgson has told kicker that he will call up several young players for the World Cup. Full story.
•  Russia's last game at the 2018 World Cup will also be Fabio Capello's last in management as he announced his intention to retire from the game. Continue Reading...

Polarising players: Cristiano Ronaldo

Posted by Andy Mitten

Carl De Souza/AFP/Getty ImagesCarlos Queiroz consoles Cristiano Ronaldo after Portugal's 2010 World Cup exit vs. Spain.

As part of the build-up to the World Cup, ESPN FC presents a series of features on players who have divided opinion throughout their careers. It begins with a profile of Cristiano Ronaldo, the two-time World Player of the Year who has single-mindedly set scoring records for club and country during a remarkable career.

This could be Cristiano Ronaldo's greatest year yet. Having already lifted the Copa del Rey, Real Madrid are chasing a treble including their 10th European Cup, the semifinals of which begin this week. Continue Reading...

World Cup Daily: Monday

Posted by ESPN staff

Bobby CharltonAPBobby Charlton walks by himself at Hendon, United Kingdom on July 23, 1966. The England players were relaxing in the morning before their vital encounter with Argentina in the quarterfinals of the World Cup.

On June 12, the world’s eyes turn to Brazil for the start of the 20th FIFA World Cup, but the planet’s biggest football tournament will have plenty of news and views in the months leading up to it. ESPN FC’s World Cup Daily blog is the place to be:

TOP STORIES:

• Stephan El Shaarawy believes he can make Italy’s World Cup squad after making his first appearance in four months at the weekend. READ MORE.
•  Nick Miller picks out a selection on some of the most disappointing World Cup teams of all time in Top Tenner. Continue Reading...

Top Tenner: World Cup flops

Posted by Nick Miller

Wayne Rooney vents his frustrations to the media after England's dismal draw with Algeria in 2010.GettyImagesWayne Rooney vents his frustrations to the media after England's dismal draw with Algeria in 2010.

As the countdown to Brazil continues, ESPN FC brings you another World Cup-themed Top Tenner.

The tournament has seen some of the finest teams playing the best football ever known, but it has also showcased some of the biggest flops and embarrassments, too. Here are 10 of them.


10. South Korea 1954

Of course, the word "flop" does imply some sort of expectation -- a team tipped to do well but who fell prematurely, leading to the gnashing of teeth and the periods of introspection that inevitably come with disappointment. Continue Reading...

World Cup Daily: Sunday

Posted by ESPN staff

Republic of IrelandGettyImagesShay Given of Ireland celebrates victory and qualification to the next round after the 2002 World Cup Group E match between Ireland and Saudi Arabia. Ireland won the match 3-0.

On June 12, the world’s eyes turn to Brazil for the start of the 20th FIFA World Cup, but the planet’s biggest football tournament will have plenty of news and views in the months leading up to it. ESPN FC’s World Cup Daily blog is the place to be:

TOP STORIES:

• Iran have been also-rans for too long, and their World Cup preparation has not been ideal, John Duerden writes.
• Brazil star Neymar has told O Globo he will not miss the World Cup with the injury that could end his season at Barcelona, FIFA. Continue Reading...

Iran out to shed reputation as World Cup also-rans

Posted by John Duerden

Carlos Queiroz Iran celebrationGettyImagesCarlos Queiroz is looking to become the first man to guide Iran into the World Cup second round.

Iran may have never reached the second round of the World Cup in three previous appearances but that does not mean Team Melli’s participation has been forgettable -- far from it. When the West Asians appear on the global stage, they may leave fairly early but the stories remain for much longer. With games coming against Argentina, Bosnia and Nigeria this June, just how well Iran do in Brazil under coach Carlos Queiroz is set to become the most fascinating chapter yet. This is episode four, a new hope. Continue Reading...