Featured Matches
Previous
AS Roma
Manchester United
0
0
LIVE 0'
Game Details
New York Red Bulls
Arsenal
9:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Internazionale
Real Madrid
10:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Chicago
Tottenham Hotspur
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Houston
Aston Villa
1:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Toronto FC
Kansas City
11:00 PM GMT
Game Details
New England
Columbus
11:30 PM GMT
Game Details
RB Leipzig
Queens Park Rangers
2
0
FT
Game Details
Newport County
FC Carl Zeiss Jena
1
0
FT
Game Details
Accrington Stanley
Burnley
0
1
FT
Game Details
Barnsley
Hull City
1
1
FT
Game Details
Bath
Cheltenham Town
1
1
FT
Game Details
Bradford City
Blackburn Rovers
0
0
FT
Game Details
Chesham United
Stevenage
1
3
FT
Game Details
Chesterfield
Leeds United
2
2
FT
Game Details
Crewe Alexandra
Wolverhampton Wanderers
0
1
FT
Game Details
Dagenham & Redbridge
Colchester United
3
4
FT
Game Details
Ebbsfleet United
Portsmouth
3
0
FT
Game Details
Gillingham
Ipswich Town
0
2
FT
Game Details
Hyde
Altrincham
2
2
FT
Game Details
Kidderminster Harriers
Birmingham City
0
3
FT
Game Details
Luton Town
Antwerp
4
0
FT
Game Details
Northampton Town
Leyton Orient
0
1
FT
Game Details
Peterborough United
Brighton & Hove Albion
2
1
FT
Game Details
Rochdale
Middlesbrough
1
3
FT
Game Details
Scunthorpe United
Huddersfield Town
1
0
FT
Game Details
Tamworth
Rotherham United
2
1
FT
Game Details
Whitby
Hartlepool United
2
1
FT
Game Details
Woking
AFC Wimbledon
1
3
FT
Game Details
Workington
Carlisle United
0
2
FT
Game Details
Wycombe Wanderers
Reading
0
2
FT
Game Details
Brentford
Nice
3
2
FT
Game Details
TSV 1860 Munich
Stoke City
2
0
FT
Game Details
Braintree Town
Cambridge United
1
2
FT
Game Details
AS Roma
Manchester United
0
0
LIVE 0'
Game Details
New York Red Bulls
Arsenal
9:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Internazionale
Real Madrid
10:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Chicago
Tottenham Hotspur
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Houston
Aston Villa
1:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Arbroath
Alloa Athletic
1
4
FT
Leg 1
Game Details
Brora
Stenhousemuir
3
1
AET
Leg 1
Game Details
Cowdenbeath
Brechin City
1
3
AET
Leg 1
Game Details
Dunfermline Athletic
Raith Rovers
Postp
Game Details
East Fife
Forfar Athletic
2
1
FT
Leg 1
Game Details
East Stirlingshire
Falkirk
1
7
FT
Leg 1
Game Details
Elgin City
Stirling Albion
0
3
FT
Leg 1
Game Details
Montrose
Peterhead
0
3
FT
Leg 1
Game Details
Airdrie United
Albion Rovers
(2) 2
(4) 2
FT-Pens
Game Details
Clyde
Ayr United
2
0
FT
Game Details
Greenock Morton
Spartans
1
0
FT
Game Details
Heart of Midlothian
Annan Athletic
3
1
FT
Game Details
Queen of the South
Livingston
3
4
AET
Game Details
Stranraer
Dumbarton
3
2
FT
Game Details
Waasland-Beveren
Club Brugge
0
2
FT
Game Details
Cercle Brugge KSV
KAA Gent
0
0
FT
Game Details
KVC Westerlo
KSC Lokeren
1
0
FT
Game Details
Lierse SK
KV Oostende
2
0
FT
Game Details
Wolfsberger AC
Austria Vienna
4
0
FT
Game Details
FC Magna Wr. Neustadt
SV Salzburg
0
5
FT
Game Details
Rapid Vienna
SV Josko Ried
1
0
FT
Game Details
SC Rheindorf Altach
FC Trenkwalder Admira
Postp
Game Details
AaB
FC Midtjylland
2
0
FT
Game Details
FC Copenhagen
FC Nordsjaelland
2
1
FT
Game Details
Malmo FF
Kalmar FF
3
1
FT
Game Details
Halmstad
Gefle IF
3
2
FT
Game Details
Aalesund
Lillestrom
1
1
FT
Game Details
Sandnes Ulf
Stromsgodset
1
3
FT
Game Details
Grasshoppers
FC Thun
2
3
FT
Game Details
FC Sion Sitten
St Gallen
1
0
FT
Game Details
Athlone Town FC
St Patricks
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Toronto FC
Kansas City
11:00 PM GMT
Game Details
New England
Columbus
11:30 PM GMT
Game Details
America
Tijuana
10:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Puebla
Veracruz
10:00 PM GMT
Game Details
U.A.N.L
León
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Pachuca
Monterrey
1:06 AM GMT
Game Details
Chiapas
Toluca
2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Atlanta Silverbacks
Minnesota United FC
11:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Carolina RailHawks
Ottawa Fury FC
11:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Fort Lauderdale Strikers
New York Cosmos
11:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Tampa Bay Rowdies
San Antonio Scorpions
11:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Rosario Central
Juventud Unida Universitario
8:15 PM GMT
Game Details
Boca Juniors
Huracán
11:15 PM GMT
Game Details
Mérida
Oaxaca
11:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Zacatepec
Correcaminos
11:00 PM GMT
Game Details
At. San Luis
Dorados de Sinaloa
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Irapuato
Coras Tepic
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Celaya
Lobos BUAP
1:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Criciúma
EC Vitória
9:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Cruzeiro
Figueirense FC
9:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Santos FC
Chapecoense AF
9:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Bahia
Internacional
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
AA Ponte Preta
CR Vasco da Gama
0
0
LIVE 45'
Game Details
Goianiense
Náutico
1
0
LIVE 54'
Game Details
Joinville
Avaí
0
0
LIVE 45'
Game Details
Santa Cruz FC
Ceará
2
3
LIVE 58'
Game Details
Paraná Clube
ABC
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Sampaio Correa-MA
Vila Nova-GO
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Universidad de Concepción
Huachipato
0
1
FT
Game Details
O'Higgins
Universidad de Chile
0
2
LIVE 48'
Game Details
Barnechea
Unión La Calera
10:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Unión Española
Universidad Católica
12:30 AM GMT
Game Details
Atlético Huila
Itagüí
0
0
LIVE 21'
Game Details
Envigado
Deportes Tolima
0
0
LIVE 21'
Game Details
La Equidad
Millonarios
10:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Uniautonoma
Atlético Junior
10:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Deportivo Pasto
Independiente Medellín
12:45 AM GMT
Game Details
AS Roma
Manchester United
0
0
LIVE 29'
Game Details
Internazionale
Real Madrid
10:00 PM GMT
Game Details
León de Huánuco
Cienciano del Cusco
2
2
FT
Game Details
San Martin
UTC
8:00 PM GMT
Game Details
César Vallejo
Sporting Cristal
10:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Juan Aurich
Unión Comercio
1:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Sol de América
Libertad
7:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Sportivo Luqueño
Rubio Ñú
9:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Comunicaciones
Coatepeque
10:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Marquense
Suchitepequez
2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Xelaju
Penarol
2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Chicago Red Stars
Houston Dash
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Next

Marcotti: A tournament to remember

World Cup Jul 14, 2014
Read
Jul 12, 2014

Maradona's shadow looms over Messi

If Lionel Messi wins the World Cup, will he overtake Diego Maradona as the best ever in the eyes of his countrymen?

RIO DE JANEIRO -- During the 1986 World Cup in Mexico, Diego Maradona often used to sit up in Argentina's team hotel into the early morning, hanging out with his entourage. His coach, Carlos Bilardo, let him. Indeed, the insomniac Bilardo sometimes joined the night sessions. The other players had been tucked into bed hours before, but his star could do what he liked. As Bilardo later told Maradona's biographer Jimmy Burns, "I said to myself, there's Maradona and there's the rest of the team." Everything revolved around Maradona, and he delivered the World Cup.

Today, everything in Argentina's camp revolves around Lionel Messi. Because he rarely speaks, coach Alejandro Sabella expends a lot of effort trying to find out what would make him happy. When Messi indicated at half-time of Argentina's opening match against Bosnia-Herzegovina that he wanted a different lineup, his will was done. He has helped carry Argentina to the final. But even if his team beats Germany on Sunday, he probably won't dislodge Maradona from the top of the Argentine pantheon. Match for match throughout his career, Messi has been the more consistently brilliant player; yet Maradona's role in football history is bigger.

Jorge Valdano, a teammate of Maradona's in 1986, once told me about the locker-room scene after Argentina had beaten England in the quarterfinal in Mexico City. Maradona had scored both goals: first the "hand of God," then the equally unforgettable dribble. In the locker room, Valdano teased him: While Maradona had been dribbling past Englishmen, Valdano had been running alongside him calling for the ball. Why hadn't Maradona passed? "Yes," replied Maradona. "I was watching you, and kept meaning to pass, but the English kept getting in the way, and suddenly I'd beaten them all so I just scored." Valdano replied, awestruck: "While you scored this goal you were also watching me? Old man, you insult me. It isn't possible." And the midfielder Hector Enrique called from the showers: "Lots of praise for the goal. But after that pass I gave him, if he hadn't scored he should have been killed!" Everyone laughed. Enrique had shoved the ball into Maradona's feet in their own half.

The story captures two characteristics of Maradona in 1986: He towered over his teammates, and yet he always felt as one with them. He didn't worry too much about how the others played. All they had to do was shove the ball into his feet, and he'd do the rest. He played that tournament with painkilling injections, and wore one boot several sizes bigger than the other because his bad ankle swelled during games, writes Burns, but nothing stopped him. Maradona wasn't considered the best player on earth when he landed in Mexico. He was when he left. It was the standout month of his career.

Emotionally, too, it was an unmatched month for Argentines. Cesar Luis Menotti, coach when Argentina won their first World Cup in 1978, once told the writer John Carlin that for most of his countrymen, 1978 paled besides 1986. That was because Maradona in 1986 embodied the best of Argentina's football tradition; and because Maradona beat England, the historical enemy, four years after Argentina's defeat by Britain in the Falklands War. He was avenging history. Then, at the World Cup of 1990, he beat Argentina's other old enemy, Brazil. He provided the happiest moments in Argentine football history.

Messi in 2014 is a less compelling story. He arrived in Brazil as the acknowledged best player on earth of the past five years. Only in flashes has he shown what we already know he can do.

The ESPN FC panel weighs in on Lionel Messi's never-ending comparison to Diego Maradona.

Like Maradona in 1986, he has played damaged: Messi's father says he feels exhausted, as if his legs weigh 100 kilos each. But unlike Maradona, Messi has looked damaged. He has rarely answered his teammates' prayers by running free and calling for the ball. He has dragged himself through matches, saving Argentina with one brilliant moment each against Bosnia-Herzegovina, Iran and Switzerland, and with a bit more against Nigeria. He has barely featured in Argentina's past two games, against Belgium and Netherlands. So far he has four goals and one assist, compared with Maradona's five and five in 1986.

True, just by being on the field, Messi is decisive. Jonathan Wilson, historian of football tactics, explains, "The paradox of Messi: he makes Argentina a better side because nobody dares attack them." The opposition always keep several men near him, which relieves pressure on Argentina's defense and its other forwards.

“Argentina's leader is now Javier Mascherano, not the weary genius wearing the captain's armband.”

Yet he hasn't led the team like Maradona did in 1986. As the tournament has progressed, Messi's teammates have realised he won't play that role, and they have become less dependent on him. Argentina's leader is now Javier Mascherano, not the weary genius wearing the captain's armband.

Messi has yet to provide an unforgettable emotional moment. Beating Bosnia-Herzegovina or Iran in a group game doesn't quite compare with Maradona against England. So far his Argentina hasn't played a game that anyone will be reliving 28 years from now. The Argentines haven't slain an old enemy -- in fact, Germany did that for them, with the 7-1 against Brazil.

And Messi lacks Maradona's wild poetry. Whereas Maradona managed to make himself a central character of every World Cup he played in, Messi has never said an interesting sentence in his life. He has had a brilliant career, but without Maradona's sense for peaking at the supreme moment.

GermanyGermany
ArgentinaArgentina
1
0
ABC, ESPN3 AET
Match 64
Game Details

The last reason why Messi 2014 cannot match Maradona 1986: because Maradona came first. By now, every World Cup is an echo of past World Cups. The Argentine players who line up in the Maracana on Sunday will have the ghosts of all previous Argentine teams on their shoulders. The first time a country wins a World Cup simply means more. Even the fact that everyone is now weighing Messi against Maradona '86 dilutes his importance.

If Argentina lose to Germany, then the parallel becomes 1990: the year that a tired, wounded Maradona managed only flashes of his old magic. Messi, best player of this generation (and possibly any generation), deserves better.

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.