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Balzaretti given last chance to impress

AS Roma
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 By Uli Hesse

Is the Bundesliga suffering through an injury crisis?

Holger Badstuber's long injury layoff might be part of a fluke in German football. Or it could be a new trend.

I'm rapidly closing in on my 400th column for ESPN FC (formerly ESPN Soccernet), which tells you I've been pushing the pen for quite a while now. Many things have changed during those more than 12 years; the very first column, for instance, name-checked players such as Thomas Linke and Carsten Ramelow while quoting Paul Gascoigne.

Or what about No. 50? It wondered if the lack of quality players forced a certain formation on the Germany coach, whose name was Rudi Voller. Oh, and it included the line:...

Roma's fringe players given chance to impress Rudi Garcia, Walter Sabatini

The last week in Serie A finished up the races for European positions.

Did Roma's 2-1 home defeat to Palermo seem familiar? For once this season, it's actually not a disappointing loss, though it does recall the run of dire results seen after Christmas, when the side couldn't seem to get more than a rare win before they came together to defeat Lazio and ensure second place.

Instead, it harkens back to the series of three losses that came about the past season, after manager Rudi Garcia and his men secured second, featuring a side of second-string players and youth options...

Mexico face do-or-die clash with Uruguay at the U20 World Cup

Hirving Lozano is one of the few Mexican players who played well against Mali.

Now, Mexico's under-20 squad has little-to-no room for mistakes.

After the 2-0 loss to Mali on Sunday, El Tri now sits in last place of Group D. This Wednesday at 4 p.m. in New Zealand -- Tuesday at 9 p.m. PT -- Mexico's youngsters will take on an Uruguayan side that is likely confident after the team's 1-0 victory over Serbia.

Another loss would mean Mexico is one step closer to an embarrassing early exit from the U20 World Cup. With an impressive roster for the tournament, El Tri was expected...

ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Chelsea's Diego Costa hankers for return to Atletico Madrid

Jose Mourinho jokes with the press before Chelsea's friendly match against Sydney FC.

With the dust settled in Europe's big five leagues, the transfer gossip is heating up. Things are starting to get real, transfer fans.

Chelsea to resist Costa homecoming

It would seem ludicrous for Chelsea to sell Diego Costa after the £32 million striker flourished in his first season in England. However, Spanish publication Marca report that the Brazilian-born Spanish international is homesick and has made contact with Atletico Madrid over a return to Spain.

According to the Guardian,...

 By Tom Marshall

The good, the bad and the ugly of the Liga MX Clausura playoffs

ESPN's Leon Lecanda recaps all the storylines following Santos' 5-3 aggregate victory over Queretaro in the Liga MX Clausura final.

QUERETARO, Mexico -- Santos Laguna had labeled itself the "ugly duckling" of the eight Liga MX playoff contenders just a few weeks ago, but the club is now Clausura 2015 champion. Overall, it was a fair result based on what we saw in the playoffs.

On one side of the draw, Club America -- perhaps the favorite going into the postseason -- fell against Pachuca in the quarterfinals, with Queretaro coming back from 2-0 down in the first leg of the semifinal against Los Tuzos to qualify for the final.

...

Surprise final finish appropriate end to an unpredictable Liga MX Clausura

ESPN's Leon Lecanda recaps all the storylines following Santos' 5-3 aggregate victory over Queretaro in the Liga MX Clausura final.

There was a sense of ambivalence before the second leg of the Liga MX Clausura final second leg between Queretaro and Santos Laguna. Just one day before, plenty of emotional energy had already been spent through the highs and lows of Mexico's 3-0 friendly win over Guatemala and the following 2-0 loss for El Tri to Mali in the U-20 World Cup.

Many futbol fans' heads had already turned toward the numerous summer tournaments that were either already happening or about to start. The summer list appears...