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Neil Tovey must shape South African football amid questions over his role

Neil Tovey celebrates South Africa's African Nations Cup victory with Nelson Mandela in 1996.

The South African Football Association has finally called on one of their most successful faces as they look to emulate and ultimately go beyond the success of their 1996 African Nations Cup victory.

Neil Tovey, who captained the team to their only continental triumph, has been appointed technical director of the federation for the next five years but his influence may not be felt at the highest level, where it may be most needed.

Tovey's new job will focus more on grassroots with his main task...

 By Uli Hesse

Germany youngsters seek to defend U19 title after U21 heartbreak

Portugal thrash Germany to advance to the U21 European Championship.
Germany celebrate during their semifinal win over Austria on their way to winning the European U19 Championships in 2014.

For German football fans, the tournament deluge continues unabated. On Sunday, the European U19 Championship starts in Greece and Germany will be looking to retain the title the team won last summer.

They will be also looking to inject the feelgood factor back into German football following the U21's disastrous 5-0 semifinal defeat against Portugal in the European U21 Championship on June 27.

This U19 competition is not as widely covered as the Euro U21 equivalent but there was a time when it was...

Van Gaal has returned the arrogance that once propelled Man United

The ESPN FC panel respond to Wayne Rooney's suggestion that Manchester United are only a few signings away from challenging for the Premier League title next season, while Shaka Hislop indicates they need to sign a marquee striker.

It's too early to judge whether Manchester United are on their way back to the summit of English football, but they've certainly got their old swagger back. From the noises coming out of Old Trafford, you'd think that the club had only just missed out on the title in May and was now regrouping in anticipation of another tilt.

This weekend, Ryan Giggs echoed Louis van Gaal's contentious view that United were "close" last season with such confidence that you actually have to stop to remind yourself...

Brazil in shambles after Copa America loss to Paraguay

ESPN FC's Steve Nicol is at odds as to why Brazil have struggled so much in recent memory and attributes the lack of success to their inability to score goals.

SANTIAGO, Chile -- Nearly five years have passed since Brazil exited the 2010 World Cup in the quarterfinals, losing 2-1 to the Netherlands. Since then, they've only played 15 competitive games, as they didn't need to qualify for 2014. They won just 6 of those 15.

Sometimes, you don't need to see a doctor to know you're unwell. A self-diagnosis will tell you all you need to know.

Brazil's malaise pre-dated their Copa America quarterfinal loss on penalties to Paraguay on Saturday night. Bringing...

John Brewin profile picture  By John Brewin

Are Manchester United struggling to sign new players ... again?

The ESPN FC crew respond to your questions in regards to whether or not players are using Manchester United as a decoy, what Chelsea must do in the transfer market and more.

Real Madrid's Sergio Ramos, Bayern Munich's Bastian Schweinsteiger, Southampton's Morgan Schneiderlin, Monaco's Fabinho are this week's potential arrivals at Manchester United, along with Benfica's Nicolas Gaitan, a player first linked with Old Trafford as far back as 2011. That lot joins at least 25 other rumoured transfers.

"[Mats] Hummels £36 million, [Nathaniel] Clyne of Southampton £15 million, [Paul] Pogba £75m, [Gareth] Bale £120 million...and Jackson Martinez of Porto...

 By Tim Vickery

Paraguay and Brazil's Copa America match is a test of resilience

Brazil midfielder Willian believes new Liverpool signing Roberto Firmino will adapt to English football, and hopes Brazil can beat Paraguay who knocked them out of the Copa America last time.
 

The semifinal lineup will be completed by the winner of the match in Concepcion, Chile between Brazil and Paraguay. A few weeks ago, Brazil would have been seen as overwhelming favourites to win this one. The odds, though, have probably got a bit closer over the last few days.

Twenty years ago at the Copa America in Uruguay, Paraguay turned up at the stadium in Maldonado for a training session. But the ground was closed, with no one around to open it. No problem. Paraguay shut off the approach...