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Blog - The Match

John Brewin profile picture  By John Brewin

Kane's cameo impresses but England's Carrick has a calming influence

Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling scored their first international goal for England as the Three Lions earned a 4-0 win against Lithuania and remain perfect in Group E.
The ESPN FC crew react to England's solid performance against Lithuania at Wembley Stadium and whether it will continue.

LONDON -- Of course, the headlines were all Harry Kane's, and this was not the night when Wayne Rooney entered England's legend as his country's record goalscorer. He is on 47, two short of Sir Bobby Charlton. Five wins from five, Roy Hodgson's England are ruthlessly ticking over in Euro qualifying.

Kane, victim to Hodgson conservatism when consigned to the bench, seized his chance. This is truly his time. In the dug-out, Rooney, who had given way for Kane, smiled as the next big thing scored from...

Confident Brazil beat fragile France in Paris

Goals from Neymar and Luiz Gustavo led Brazil's second-half charge as the Selecao overcame France on their way to a 3-1 victory.
The ESPN FC crew discuss the difference makers and talking points from Brazil's 3-1 comeback victory over France.

Three thoughts on Brazil's 3-1 win versus France, which saw Oscar, Neymar and Luiz Gustavo answer Raphael Varane's opening goal at Stade de France.

1. In battle of hosts, Brazil look more comfortable

It's a fixture rich in history and, although this friendly meeting between France and Brazil obviously wasn't at the competitive levels of their great clashes of the past, the South American side's 3-1 win was at least rich in incident and entertainment. The visitors were occasionally sparkling, especially...

 By Tim Vickery

Brazil bag biggest victory since 2014's World Cup disaster

Goals from Neymar and Luiz Gustavo led Brazil's second-half charge as the Selecao overcame France on their way to a 3-1 victory.
International Friendly: Neymar goal (57') France 1-2 Brazil
International Friendly: Raphael Varane goal (21') France 1-0 Brazil
International Friendly: Oscar goal (40') France 1-1 Brazil
International Friendly: Luiz Gustavo goal (69') France 1-3 Brazil
International Friendly: Jefferson save (7') France 0-0 Brazil

In itself, that Brazil have preserved a 100 percent record since the World Cup does not tell us very much.

After all, their record going into the tournament could hardly have been much better -- nine straight wins, 30 goals scored, just two conceded -- but it did them little good when the real stuff started.

The seven consecutive victories under Dunga, then, need to be placed in context. The time for hard-and-fast judgments comes later.

But there is no doubt that Brazil can take great heart from...

Luis Suarez decisive as Barcelona beat Real Madrid to take control of La Liga

Suarez and Mathieu were the difference makers as Barcelona opened up a four-point lead atop La Liga.

BARCELONA -- Goals from Jeremy Mathieu and Luis Suarez gave Barcelona what could be a title-deciding 2-1 win over Real Madrid in Sunday's Clasico. Here are three quick thoughts from the Camp Nou.

1. Suarez wins it for Barca

Barcelona's 80-million-euro summer signing repaid a large chunk of his transfer fee with the goal that won a potentially decisive La Liga Clasico to send his team four points clear in the title race.

Real Madrid had been the better team for long periods through the first...

Win over Liverpool demonstrates Man United are peaking at the right time

A brace from Juan Mata put a five-point gap between Liverpool and Manchester United in the race for a coveted Champions League spot.
ESPN FC's Craig Burley calls out UK pundits for taking it easy on Liverpool's Steven Gerrard following his red card against Manchester United.
ESPN FC's Craig Burley calls out UK pundits for taking it easy on Liverpool's Steven Gerrard following his red card against Manchester United.
The ESPN FC panel talk managerial tactics and debate whether or not Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal got the better of Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers.
The ESPN FC panel discuss Steven Gerrard's straight red card and how it will reflect upon his legacy.
ESPN FC's Craig Burley breaks down Juan Mata's brace, Steven Gerrard's red card, Wayne Rooney's missed penalty and more in Manchester United's 2-1 win over Liverpool at Anfield.
Liverpool FC manager Brendan Rodgers says Steven Gerrard was frustrated with their play in the first half.

LIVERPOOL, England -- Eleven months after the infamous slip came the indefensible stamp. The end of Steven Gerrard's Anfield era can be measured in disappointments, from the unfortunate to the unpleasant. Ander Herrera joins Demba Ba in the index of every future piece of literature about Gerrard. They are the bit-part players who assumed central roles in meltdowns in successive springs.

Had Gerrard not miscontrolled and stumbled, gifting the ball and a goal to then Chelsea striker Ba last April,...

John Brewin profile picture  By John Brewin

Loic Remy comes off the bench to give Chelsea a lucky late win at Hull City

ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE: Loic Remy goal (77') Hull City 2-3 Chelsea
ESPN FC and former Chelsea man Craig Burley breaks down Chelsea's 3-2 victory over Hull.
ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE: Thibaut Courtois saves (64') Hull City 2-2 Chelsea
ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE: Abel Hernandez (28') Hull City 2-2 Chelsea
ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE: Ahmed Elmohamady (26') Hull City 1-2 Chelsea
ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE: Diego Costa (9') Hull City 0-2 Chelsea
ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE: Eden Hazard (2') Hull City 0-1 Chelsea

HULL, England -- Three thoughts on Chelsea's late 3-2 win over Hull City at the KC Stadium in Sunday's Premier League clash:

1. Chelsea forced to fight for their win

At first it had looked all so easy. And then, suddenly, it wasn't. Relief was the order of the day for Chelsea. This one almost slipped.

Chelsea will be champions. Of that there can be little doubt, but this is not a truly great Chelsea team. It was not until 13 minutes from time, when Loic Remy's strike (with his first touch...