Previous
Leicester City
Manchester United
5
3
FT
Game Details
Tottenham Hotspur
West Bromwich Albion
0
1
FT
Game Details
Everton
Crystal Palace
2
3
FT
Game Details
Manchester City
Chelsea
1
1
FT
Game Details
Levante
Barcelona
0
5
FT
Game Details
VfL Wolfsburg
Bayer Leverkusen
4
1
FT
Game Details
Toronto FC
Chivas USA
3
0
FT
Game Details
Leicester City
Manchester United
5
3
FT
Game Details
Tottenham Hotspur
West Bromwich Albion
0
1
FT
Game Details
Everton
Crystal Palace
2
3
FT
Game Details
Manchester City
Chelsea
1
1
FT
Game Details
Real Sociedad
Almeria
1
2
FT
Game Details
Villarreal
Rayo Vallecano
4
2
FT
Game Details
Cordoba
Sevilla FC
1
3
FT
Game Details
Levante
Barcelona
0
5
FT
Game Details
VfL Wolfsburg
Bayer Leverkusen
4
1
FT
Game Details
FC Cologne
Borussia Monchengladbach
0
0
FT
Game Details
Chievo Verona
Parma
2
3
FT
Game Details
AS Roma
Cagliari
2
0
FT
Game Details
Genoa
Lazio
1
0
FT
Game Details
Sassuolo
Sampdoria
0
0
FT
Game Details
Atalanta
Fiorentina
0
1
FT
Game Details
Udinese
Napoli
1
0
FT
Game Details
Palermo
Internazionale
1
1
FT
Game Details
Torino
Hellas Verona
0
1
FT
Game Details
Lille
Montpellier
0
0
FT
Game Details
AS Monaco
Guingamp
1
0
FT
Game Details
Lens
St Etienne
0
1
FT
Game Details
Paris Saint-Germain
Lyon
1
1
FT
Game Details
Dundee
Dundee United
1
4
FT
Game Details
Celtic
Motherwell
1
1
FT
Game Details
Osasuna
Mallorca
6
4
FT
Game Details
Girona
Real Betis
1
3
FT
Game Details
Leganes
Racing Santander
2
2
FT
Game Details
Real Valladolid
Tenerife
2
1
FT
Game Details
Albacete
Numancia
0
1
FT
Game Details
FC Union Berlin
RB Leipzig
2
1
FT
Game Details
Fortuna Düsseldorf
Heidenheimer SB
3
2
FT
Game Details
Karlsruhe
Nurnberg
3
0
FT
Game Details
SC Heracles Almelo
Twente Enschede
1
4
FT
Game Details
AZ Alkmaar
PEC Zwolle
1
0
FT
Game Details
Feyenoord Rotterdam
Ajax Amsterdam
0
1
FT
Game Details
PSV Eindhoven
Cambuur Leeuwarden
4
0
FT
Game Details
FC Utrecht
FC Groningen
1
0
FT
Game Details
Belenenses
Maritimo
1
0
FT
Game Details
Rio Ave
Arouca
1
2
FT
Game Details
Benfica
Moreirense
3
1
FT
Game Details
Gil Vicente
Sporting Lisbon
0
4
FT
Game Details
FC Porto
Boavista
0
0
FT
Game Details
CSKA Moscow
Lokomotiv Moscow
1
0
FT
Game Details
Kasimpasa
Karabukspor
2
1
FT
Game Details
Sivasspor
Konyaspor
0
0
FT
Game Details
Eskisehirspor K
Genclerbirligi
5:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Fenerbahce
Gaziantepspor
1
0
FT
Game Details
Asteras Tripoli
Kalloni AEL
1
0
FT
Game Details
Kerkyra
Giannina
2
0
FT
Game Details
Niki Volos
Ergotelis
1
4
FT
Game Details
Panthrakikos
Panionios
1
0
FT
Game Details
Platanias
Panathinaikos
2
3
FT
Game Details
Waasland-Beveren
Standard Liege
0
2
FT
Game Details
Club Brugge
KV Kortrijk
5
0
FT
Game Details
KSC Lokeren
KV Mechelen
3
2
FT
Game Details
SV Salzburg
Austria Vienna
2
3
FT
Game Details
Odense BK
Sonderjyske
1
1
FT
Game Details
FC Copenhagen
Brøndby
1
0
FT
Game Details
FC Nordsjaelland
FC Midtjylland
2
1
FT
Game Details
AIK
Halmstad
0
1
FT
Game Details
Kalmar FF
Djurgarden
0
4
FT
Game Details
Mjallby
Elfsborg
1
0
FT
Game Details
Malmo FF
Helsingborg
1
1
FT
Game Details
IFK
Gefle IF
Postp
Game Details
Viking FK
IK Start
0
1
FT
Game Details
SK Brann
Sandnes Ulf
3:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Aalesund
Stabaek
3
0
FT
Game Details
Lillestrom
Odd Grenland
2
0
FT
Game Details
Sarpsborg FK
Sogndal
3
1
FT
Game Details
Haugesund
Rosenborg
2
1
FT
Game Details
Toronto FC
Chivas USA
3
0
FT
Game Details
Toluca
Monterrey
1
0
FT
Game Details
Guadalajara
Queretaro
1
4
FT
Game Details
FC Edmonton
Tampa Bay Rowdies
1
0
FT
Game Details
Rosario Central
Arsenal de Sarandí
3
1
FT
Game Details
Banfield
Boca Juniors
1
1
FT
Game Details
River Plate
Independiente
4
1
FT
Game Details
Boca Unidos
Aldosivi
1
0
FT
Game Details
All Boys
Temperley
0
0
FT
Game Details
Crucero del Norte
Sarmiento de Junín
0
0
FT
Game Details
Atlético Tucumán
Sp. Belgrano
3
1
FT
Game Details
Instituto de Córdoba
Nueva Chicago
1
2
FT
Game Details
Corinthians
São Paulo
3
2
FT
Game Details
Cruzeiro
Atlético MG
2
3
FT
Game Details
EC Vitória
Bahia
2
1
FT
Game Details
Flamengo
Fluminense FC
1
1
FT
Game Details
Sport
Coritiba FBC
1
0
FT
Game Details
Goiás EC
Palmeiras
6
0
FT
Game Details
Gremio
Chapecoense AF
1
0
FT
Game Details
Santos FC
Figueirense FC
3
1
FT
Game Details
Racing (U)
Tacuarembó FC
1
0
FT
Game Details
Danubio F.C.
Rentistas
0
3
FT
Game Details
Defensor Sporting
Juventud
2
0
FT
Game Details
Wanderers
Rampla Juniors
0
1
FT
Game Details
Atenas
Nacional
0
0
FT
Game Details
Alianza Petrolera
Aguilas Doradas
1
0
FT
Game Details
Envigado
Independiente Santa Fe
2
2
FT
Game Details
Uniautonoma
Atlético Nacional
0
3
FT
Game Details
Deportivo Cali
Fortaleza CE
2
0
FT
Game Details
Cienciano del Cusco
Inti Gas Deportes
0
0
FT
Game Details
Los Caimanes
Melgar
0
3
FT
Game Details
Alianza Lima
San Martin
2
1
FT
Game Details
Rubio Ñú
Olimpia
0
2
FT
Game Details
Sol de América
Nacional
1
0
FT
Game Details
Libertad
12 de Octubre
2
0
FT
Game Details
El Nacional
Liga de Loja
1
1
FT
Game Details
Olmedo
LDU Quito
1
1
FT
Game Details
Club Deportivo Cuenca
Barcelona
0
2
FT
Game Details
Emelec
Mushuc Runa
0
0
FT
Game Details
Llaneros
Carabobo
0
0
FT
Game Details
Atlético Venezuela
Deportivo Petare
0
0
FT
Game Details
Portuguesa
Deportivo Anzoategui
0
0
FT
Game Details
Trujillanos
Estudiantes de Mérida
0
0
FT
Game Details
Aragua
Zamora
0
0
FT
Game Details
Deportivo Táchira
Tucanes
0
0
FT
Game Details
Mineros
Deportivo La Guaira
0
0
FT
Game Details
Sport Boys Warnes
Bolívar
0
0
FT
Game Details
Universitario de Pando
San José
0
0
FT
Game Details
Real Potosí
Wilstermann
0
0
FT
Game Details
Oriente Petrolero
Nacional Potosí
2
0
FT
Game Details
Perez Zeledon
Limon
2
1
FT
Game Details
Universidad De Costa Rica
Club Sport Uruguay
3
0
FT
Game Details
Belen
Santos
1
1
FT
Game Details
Herediano
Pumas Generalena
5
1
FT
Game Details
Alianza FC
Pasaquina FC
3
0
FT
Game Details
Santa Tecla
CD FAS
0
0
FT
Game Details
Metapan
Juventud Independiente
0
0
FT
Game Details
Honduras Progreso
Real Espana
2
2
FT
Game Details
Next

Duarte: Dunga's return is complicated

Brazil Jul 21, 2014
Read
 Posted by Doug McIntyre
Jul 8, 2014

Argentina's defence rises to occasion

Alejandro Sabella keeps his players' feet on the ground by reminding them they haven't achieved anything at this point in the tournament.

SAO PAULO -- Alejandro Sabella faced a high-quality problem when he became Argentina's coach in 2011: how to get Lionel Messi, Angel Di Maria, Sergio Aguero and Gonzalo Higuain on the field at the same time.

Basically, Sabella had two options. He could either sacrifice the defensive balance of his team in order to do it, or he could not do it at all.

It was an easy choice in the end.

With four of the top attacking players on the planet at his disposal, there was no way the coach wasn't going to take his chances, banking that even if his side bled goals, they would always be able to score one more than any opponent.

For the most part, it worked. Heading into the World Cup, the Albiceleste had scored three or more goals 14 times in 34 matches under Sabella, losing just four games along the way.

That track record includes friendlies, however. When results really matter -- and they never matter more than on the sport's grandest stage -- suspect defending gets punished quickly (just ask Brazil). It was little surprise, then, that Argentina's backline was denounced before the tournament as their fatal flaw.

Argentina's defense, lead by Ezequiel Garay, has provided the backbone of the team's success so far.

But a funny thing happened when the games started. Instead of high-scoring shoot-outs with opponents, Argentina's potent offense struggled to find the net, managing just three goals -- two from the incomparable Messi -- in their first two matches.

The trend continued after a 3-2 win over Nigeria in the group stage finale; to reach Wednesday's semifinal here against the Netherlands (4 p.m. ET, ESPN/WatchESPN), Argentina relied on 1-0 wins versus Switzerland and Belgium. Meanwhile, in the absence of goals, the defense has exceeded all expectations.

"Football is about balance between defense and attack," Sabella said at Tuesday's prematch news conference. "We are better in the defensive aspect, but we're going to face a very difficult team which is powerful offensively."

Still, doubts about keeper Sergio Romero and left-back Marcos Rojo coming in have been alleviated. Even mistake-prone centre-back Martin Demichelis, a long shot to even make Sabella's squad, unseated Federico Fernandez in the lineup for the quarterfinal and was excellent. Demichelis' partner, the relatively unknown Ezequiel Garay, started all five games and has been a monster in the middle.

Along with right-back Pablo Zabaleta, the group has conceded just three goals in five games -- all of them won by a single tally.

Maybe it shouldn't be surprising.

For a country best known for producing goal-getters like Messi and Diego Maradona, Argentina has churned out plenty of top-end defenders through the years.

And as has been the case in Brazil, they always seem to do enough. On those days when the Albiceleste can't score, they don't concede many, either. Argentine journalist Sebastian Garcia, a former ESPN The Magazine contributor, likens the current team to a boxer with knockout power.

"Whenever that winning punch doesn't appear," Garcia said, "this guy knows how to defend."

Argentina has failed to score in just five of 39 matches under Sabella, but they lost just one of those, to Venezuela, early in his tenure.

That stinginess should come in handy against the Dutch.

Unlike Germany's 7-1 mauling of host Brazil in the first semifinal, Wednesday's tilt figures to be tight, with the Netherlands sitting deep in an effort to thwart Messi and Higuain.

While Di Maria is out with a thigh injury, Sabella revealed on Tuesday that Aguero could return from his own thigh problem. The Oranje hope to spring winger Arjen Robben on the break, hoping to exploit their foe's perceived weakness.

"He is quite an unbalancing player in a one-on-one," Sabella said of Robben. "When he picks up any speed it is much more difficult to take the ball away from him. We have to be especially careful to have players close."

If their performance in Brazil is any indication, Argentina appears up for the task.

Doug McIntyre

Doug McIntyre is a staff writer for ESPN The Magazine. He has watched or attended almost every U.S. men's national team game since Paul Caligiuri's "shot heard 'round the world" and has covered the Yanks for The Mag since 2005. Follow him on Twitter @DougMacESPN.