Featured Matches
Previous
Colorado
Chivas USA
Jul 25, 2014 1:30 AM GMT
Game Details
Morelia
Atlas
Jul 25, 2014 12:30 AM GMT
Game Details
Santos
Cruz Azul
Jul 25, 2014 2:30 AM GMT
Game Details
Gimnasia La Plata
Argentinos Juniors
Jul 25, 2014 9:10 PM GMT
Game Details
Newell's Old Boys
Talleres de Córdoba
Jul 25, 2014 12:15 AM GMT
Game Details
Standard Liege
Royal Charleroi SC
Jul 25, 2014 6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Queen's Park
Berwick Rangers
Jul 25, 2014 6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Shakhter Karagandy
FK Atlantas
3
0
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 3 - 0
Game Details
Hapoel Be'er Sheva
RNK Split
0
0
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 1 - 2
Game Details
MyPa
Dinamo Minsk
0
0
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 0 - 3
Game Details
Omonia Nicosia
FK Buducnost Podgorica
0
0
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 2 - 0
Game Details
Haugesund
FK Sarajevo
1
3
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 2 - 3
Game Details
Kuban Krasnodar
Sillamae Kalev
5
0
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 9 - 0
Game Details
Inter Baku
Elfsborg
(3) 0
(4) 1
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 1 - 1
Game Details
IFK Goteborg
Györi ETO FC
0
1
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 3 - 1
Game Details
Lech Poznan
Kalju
3
0
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 3 - 1
Game Details
Liberec
MFK Kosice
3
0
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 4 - 0
Game Details
Tromso
Víkingur Gøta
1
2
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 1 - 2
Game Details
KS Flamurtari Vlorë
Petrolul Ploiesti
1
3
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 1 - 5
Game Details
SV Grödig Amateure
Cukaricki Belgrade
1
2
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 5 - 2
Game Details
Chikhura Sachkhere
Bursaspor
(4) 0
(1) 0
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 0 - 0
Game Details
AIK Solna
Linfield
2
0
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 2 - 1
Game Details
Zimbru Chisinau
CSKA Sofia
0
0
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 1 - 1
Game Details
Shakhter Soligorsk
Derry City
5
1
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 6 - 1
Game Details
FC Vaduz
Ruch Chorzow
0
0
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 2 - 3
Game Details
Esbjerg FB
Kairat Almaty
1
0
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 2 - 1
Game Details
FC Spartak Trnava
FC Zestafoni
3
0
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 3 - 0
Game Details
FC Groningen
Aberdeen
1
2
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 1 - 2
Game Details
FC Zorya Luhansk
Laci
2
1
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 5 - 1
Game Details
Hapoel Tel Aviv
Astana 1964
1
0
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 1 - 3
Game Details
Sligo
Rosenborg
1
3
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 3 - 4
Game Details
Zawisa Bydgoszcz
S.V. Zulte Waregem
1
3
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 2 - 5
Game Details
Vojvodina
AS Trencin
3
0
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 3 - 4
Game Details
Asteras Tripolis
RoPS
4
2
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 5 - 3
Game Details
Hajduk Split
Dundalk
1
2
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 3 - 2
Game Details
ND Gorica
Molde
1
1
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 2 - 5
Game Details
Jagodina
CFR Cluj-Napoca
0
1
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 0 - 1
Game Details
NK Koper
Neftchi Baku PFC
0
2
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 2 - 3
Game Details
Ferencvaros
Rijeka
1
2
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 1 - 3
Game Details
Siroki Brijeg
Mlada Boleslav
0
4
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 1 - 6
Game Details
Diosgyor VTK
PFC Litex Lovech
1
2
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 3 - 2
Game Details
Crusaders
Brommapojkarna
1
1
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 1 - 5
Game Details
St Johnstone
FC Luzern
(5) 1
(4) 1
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 2 - 2
Game Details
St. Pölten
Botev Plovdiv
2
0
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 3 - 2
Game Details
FH Hafnarfjordur
Neman Grodno
2
0
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 3 - 1
Game Details
Stjarnan
Motherwell
3
2
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 5 - 4
Game Details
Real Salt Lake
Montreal Impact
3
1
FT
Game Details
Vélez Sarsfield
Estudiantes de Caseros
0
2
FT
Game Details
Sport
Paysandu SC
3
2
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 4 - 4
Game Details
AC Milan
Olympiakos
0
3
FT
Game Details
Next

Marcotti: A tournament to remember

World Cup Jul 14, 2014
Read
Jul 5, 2014

Judgment day looms for Brazil

Defender, holding midfielder, game winner, gentleman. David Luiz did it all, including consoling a distraught James Rodriguez at the end of the match.

FORTALEZA, Brazil -- This may well be a great World Cup missing just one thing -- a truly great team.

Of course, 200 million Brazilians were hoping that their team would sweep to success on a tidal wave of fantasy football. But without being the tournament's ugly ducklings, the hosts looked anxious and ordinary even before the injury that has robbed them of Neymar's match-winning quality. The supporting cast of Oscar, Hulk and particularly the hapless Fred have rarely offered the creative spark and threat this tournament demands.

The coach, trying hard to deflect his critics, told them to "go to hell."

But Luiz Felipe Scolari knows he has major problems ahead of the semifinal against a German side that had too much physical and mental strength for the French. The suspension that rules out the impressive defensive lynchpin Thiago Silva is a major headache. Probably Scolari will play Dante, who is yet to kick a ball in the tournament.

Dante will know his Bayern Munich teammates all too well -- but, of course, they know him and his weaknesses, too.

But the central defenders have been the best part of Brazil's engine without exactly looking watertight. David Luiz, famously described by TV pundit Gary Neville as looking as though he were "being controlled by a 10-year-old on a PlayStation," has come good. He has looked a rugged and robust leader, forever offering prayers that have all been answered, with two goals as a bonus. Another display like that will be essential against the clever German attackers.

That said, this is a Brazil team in danger of becoming all steel and no silk, particularly without Neymar. Fernandinho seemed to make it his personal mission to kick Colombian star James Rodriguez out of the semifinal, seemingly sure that hopeless referee Velasco Carballo would do nothing about it.

Yet that amazing stat lingers in the mind. Brazil haven't lost a home competitive game since 1975. That's 62 games ago, suggesting they simply don't do home defeats when it matters.

It's enticing to believe Brazil will deliver because somehow they always have. But that is a romantic notion based on the allure of the famous yellow shirt and the charisma of Pele, Rivellino, Zico, Rivaldo, Ronaldo and all.

The evidence of our eyes is that Brazil are struggling and judgment day is near. Germany, without looking sensational, are making few mistakes. Their sympathies for the injured Neymar are genuine enough, but there will be no tears shed about his absence.

What can Scolari do? Surely he has to gamble that one of Willian or Bernard can provide the missing spark in Neymar's absence. There is a good argument for pushing Hulk up front to replace the out-of-touch Fred and playing three creators behind to pick the locks, while Fernandinho and the presumably restored Luis Gustavo mind the fort.

Whatever, Scolari needs to do something different to freshen up this team, which is getting through so far on little more than home-nation hysteria. That passion play can only take you so far.

Either Brazil improve markedly -- or go out.

Comments

Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.