Previous
Juventus
Malmo FF
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Olympiakos
Atletico Madrid
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Liverpool
Ludogorets Razgrad
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Real Madrid
FC Basel
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
AS Monaco
Bayer Leverkusen
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Benfica
Zenit St Petersburg
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Borussia Dortmund
Arsenal
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Galatasaray
Anderlecht
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
AFC Bournemouth
Leeds United
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Birmingham City
Sheffield Wednesday
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Blackpool
Watford
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Brentford
Norwich City
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Cardiff City
Middlesbrough
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Charlton Athletic
Wolverhampton Wanderers
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Huddersfield Town
Wigan Athletic
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Ipswich Town
Brighton & Hove Albion
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Bolton Wanderers
Rotherham United
7:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Reading
Millwall
7:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Colchester United
Sheffield United
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Doncaster Rovers
Crawley Town
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Gillingham
Peterborough United
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Milton Keynes Dons
Bradford City
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Notts County
Leyton Orient
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Port Vale
Bristol City
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Preston North End
Chesterfield
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Rochdale
Walsall
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Scunthorpe United
Coventry City
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Swindon Town
Oldham Athletic
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Yeovil Town
Crewe Alexandra
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
AFC Wimbledon
Burton Albion
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Bury
Stevenage
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Cambridge United
Exeter City
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Cheltenham Town
Southend United
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Mansfield Town
Morecambe
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Northampton Town
Hartlepool United
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Oxford United
Accrington Stanley
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Plymouth Argyle
Wycombe Wanderers
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Portsmouth
Dagenham & Redbridge
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Shrewsbury Town
Carlisle United
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Tranmere Rovers
Newport County
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
York City
Luton Town
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Aldershot Town
Braintree Town
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Alfreton Town
AFC Telford United
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Bristol Rovers
Nuneaton Town
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Chester City
Southport
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Dartford
Dover
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Eastleigh
Forest Green Rovers
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Halifax
Grimsby Town
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Kidderminster Harriers
Altrincham
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Macclesfield Town
Gateshead
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Torquay United
Woking
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Welling
Lincoln City
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Barnet
Wrexham
7:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Rangers
Inverness Caledonian Thistle
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Waterhouse
DC United
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Cruz Azul
Chorrillo FC
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Portland Timbers
Olimpia
2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Estudiantes La Plata
Gimnasia La Plata
10:00 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 0 - 0
Game Details
Independiente del Valle
Cerro Porteño
10:00 PM GMT
Leg 1
Game Details
Deportivo Capiatá
Caracas F.C.
12:15 AM GMT
Leg 1
Game Details
Peñarol
Deportivo Cali
12:30 AM GMT
Leg 1
Game Details
Guadalajara
Tijuana
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Mérida
Atlante
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Puebla
Morelia
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Celaya
Necaxa
2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Coras Tepic
Zacatepec
2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Dorados de Sinaloa
Mineros de Zacatecas
2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Monterrey
Santos
2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Toluca
UNAM
2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
América Mineiro
Bragantino
10:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Avaí
Sampaio Correa-MA
10:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Goianiense
América RN
10:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Náutico
Joinville
10:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Paraná Clube
Ceará
10:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Portuguesa de Desportos
Boa MG
10:30 PM GMT
Game Details
ABC
AA Ponte Preta
12:50 AM GMT
Game Details
Icasa
Vila Nova-GO
12:50 AM GMT
Game Details
Luverdense
Santa Cruz FC
12:50 AM GMT
Game Details
Oeste
CR Vasco da Gama
12:50 AM GMT
Game Details
Al Hilal
Al-Ain
5:30 PM GMT
Leg 1
Game Details
Bidvest Wits
Amazulu
Postp
Game Details
Kaizer Chiefs
Maritzburg Utd
Postp
Game Details
Next

Zaza and Immobile impress

Italy 7 days ago
Read
 Posted by Miguel Delaney
Jul 29, 2014

World Cup aftereffects create domestic wrinkle

The ESPN FC crew breaks down Manchester United's new defensive line, Luis Suarez in Barcelona, and Tottenham's aspirations for this season.

The world may have been captivated by two of Barcelona's finest attackers during the summer of 1994, but Spain's attention was still somewhat diverted by the movements of the third of the Camp Nou's stars. Because while Hristo Stoichkov and Romario lit up that year's World Cup, Michael Laudrup was preparing for a controversial transfer to Clasico rivals Real Madrid. The speculation was that he had fallen out with Barca manager Johan Cruyff.

Years later, however, Laudrup offered another explanation to BBC Sport.

"I heard stories I'd fallen out with Cruyff, that other things happened, but none of it was true, none of it was my reason for leaving.

"There was another issue -- the 1994 World Cup. Barca had nine players in the Spanish squad plus Ronald Koeman, Hristo Stoichkov and Romario, all going to the U.S.

"I knew from experience that the season after can be difficult if you have a lot of players who have been to the World Cup, with injuries and so on. So I thought, this is the moment to leave."

The question is whether Laudrup is actually right. Does the World Cup have that much of an effect on the club season? If so, what is the extent of it and where? While the manner in which the tournament distorts the transfer market has been widely discussed, does it also influence the domestic leagues?

For his part, Laudrup was immediately vindicated by a 1994-95 Spanish league victory with Real Madrid, ending Barcelona's run of four successive titles.

It is also part of a wider trend. Laudrup seems right. Looking at the four major European leagues -- England, Spain, Germany, Italy -- in the time since the World Cup expanded to 24 teams in 1982, only seven of 32 teams have retained the title in the year after the international tournament. That's an average of just over one in every four, when the usual number for a team retaining a major league is just over one every three, but it would seem to go deeper than numbers.

Laudrup's old 1990-94 Barcelona, known as the "Dream Team," are not the only dominant side to endure a buckle and a break in their success after a World Cup. There were also Giovanni Trapattoni's Juventus in 1982-83, Liverpool's 1986 double winners, Real Madrid's 1985-90 "quinta del buitre," Fabio Capello's Milan in 1994-95, Alex Ferguson's first title-winning Manchester United team from 1992 to 1994, Marcello Lippi's Juventus in 1998-99, Frank Rijkaard's 2004-06 Barcelona and Jose Mourinho's first Chelsea team.

Michael Laudrup swapped the Camp Nou for the Bernabeu in the summer of 1994 and helped Real Madrid end Barcelona's La Liga title streak.
Michael Laudrup swapped the Camp Nou for the Bernabeu in the summer of 1994 and helped Real Madrid end Barcelona's La Liga title streak.

- Smith: Saints submit to football's hierarchy
- Horncastle: Can Vidic's valour revive Inter?
- Brewin: Man Utd need less talk, more action

At the same time, a World Cup has not just proved good for variety. It has also proved good for true diversity. A disproportionate number of unexpected winners, or sides who would be considered genuinely distinctive, have suddenly risen to victory in the year after a World Cup. They include Athletic Bilbao 1982-83, Napoli 1986-87, Sampdoria 1990-91, Kaiserslautern 1990-91, Blackburn Rovers 1994-95, Stuttgart 2006-07 and Borussia Dortmund 2010-11.

While there were obviously a number of factors in the success of these teams, the point is they benefitted from the type of World Cup hangover that Laudrup described.

This should really be no surprise. The most successful teams -- and particularly those who are especially dominant -- will obviously attract the most attention from their international sides. One of the clearest examples was the Milan team that actually beat Laudrup's Barcelona in the 1994 Champions League final. Seven of the Serie A club's squad were picked for Italy's World Cup squad that summer, which consisted of a gruelling run to the final, and that after four years of relentless success. By the time the new season came around without a good break, most of the players complained of exhaustion. Although Milan again reached a Champions League final -- only to be beaten by Ajax -- they finished a distant fourth in the league.

It is a relatively common trend for such sides, even if the nature of the Champions League now makes World Cup fatigue a little more widespread across the super-clubs. You only have to consider Real Madrid and Barcelona.

None of this is to say the World Cup will definitely prevent any of last season's major league champions repeating their success, but the trends of the season will be interesting in that regard. Roma, for example, suddenly appear primed as the primary example of that type of Borussia Dortmund surprise. What's more, they are looking to usurp a Juventus team who had ample representation at the World Cup and are already enduring a host of other complications after three years of success. The defending champions are already teetering and it is possible that the effects of Brazil 2014 could push them over. On another level again, there is Bayern Munich's Germany contingent, and the question of whether their victory in South America will in any way condition Pep Guardiola's second season.

The World Cup, however, doesn't exactly allow that extra second to draw a breath.

Miguel Delaney

Miguel Delaney is London correspondent for ESPN and also writes for the Irish Examiner, the Independent, Blizzard and assorted others. He is the author of an award-nominated book on the Irish national team called 'Stuttgart to Saipan' (Mentor) and was nominated for Irish sports journalist of the year in 2011.