Featured Matches
Previous
Arsenal
Besiktas
6:45 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 0 - 0
Game Details
Athletic Bilbao
Napoli
ESPNDeportes 6:45 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 0 - 0
Game Details
Bayer Leverkusen
FC Copenhagen
ESPN3 6:45 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 0 - 0
Game Details
Aston Villa
Leyton Orient
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Birmingham City
Sunderland
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Stoke City
Portsmouth
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Burton Albion
Queens Park Rangers
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Arsenal
Besiktas
6:45 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 0 - 0
Game Details
Athletic Bilbao
Napoli
ESPNDeportes 6:45 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 0 - 0
Game Details
Bayer Leverkusen
FC Copenhagen
ESPN3 6:45 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 0 - 0
Game Details
Ludogorets Razgrad
Steaua Bucuresti
ESPN3 6:45 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 0 - 0
Game Details
Malmo FF
SV Salzburg
ESPN3 6:45 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 0 - 0
Game Details
Aston Villa
Leyton Orient
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Birmingham City
Sunderland
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Bradford City
Leeds United
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Burton Albion
Queens Park Rangers
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Stoke City
Portsmouth
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Los Angeles Galaxy
DC United
2:30 AM GMT
Game Details
León
Herediano
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Municipal
Pachuca
2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Cobresal
General Díaz
9:00 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 1 - 2
Game Details
Independiente del Valle
Trujillanos
9:00 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 0 - 0
Game Details
Libertad
Nacional Potosí
11:30 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 0 - 1
Game Details
River Plate
Universidad Católica
11:30 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 1 - 0
Game Details
Atlético Nacional
Deportivo La Guaira
2:00 AM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 0 - 0
Game Details
Alianza Lima
Barcelona
2:00 AM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 0 - 3
Game Details
Atletico Rafaela
Newell's Old Boys
8:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Rosario Central
Godoy Cruz de Mendoza
8:00 PM GMT
Game Details
River Plate
Defensa y Justicia
10:15 PM GMT
Game Details
Estudiantes La Plata
Boca Juniors
12:30 AM GMT
Game Details
Irapuato
U.A.N.L
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Morelia
Celaya
ESPNDeportes 12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Oaxaca
Chiapas
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Atlas
Mineros de Zacatecas
2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Correcaminos
Santos
2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
UNAM
Mérida
2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Zacatepec
Guadalajara
ESPNDeportes 2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
América RN
Atletico Paranaense
10:30 PM GMT
Leg 1
Game Details
Cruzeiro
Santa Rita
10:30 PM GMT
Leg 1
Game Details
Botafogo
Ceará
1:00 AM GMT
Leg 1
Game Details
Bragantino
Corinthians
1:00 AM GMT
Leg 1
Game Details
Coritiba FBC
Flamengo
1:00 AM GMT
Leg 1
Game Details
Palmeiras
Atlético MG
1:00 AM GMT
Leg 1
Game Details
LDU Quito
Deportivo Quito
12:15 AM GMT
Game Details
FC Seoul
Pohang Steelers
10:30 AM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 0 - 0
Game Details
Guangzhou Evergrande
Western Sydney Wanderers
12:00 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 0 - 1
Game Details
Amazulu
Bloem Celtic
5:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Mamelodi Sundowns
Orlando Pirates
5:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Pretoria Univ
Free State Stars
5:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Silver Stars
Kaizer Chiefs
5:30 PM GMT
Game Details
SuperSport United
Mpumalanga Black Aces
5:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Saprissa
Santos
Postp
Game Details
Carmelita
Club Sport Uruguay
9:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Cartagines
Perez Zeledon
9:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Antigua
Marquense
9:15 PM GMT
Game Details
Petapa
Coatepeque
2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Vida
Marathon
1:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Next

Group stage worst XI

World Cup Jun 27, 2014
Read

Best XI of the group stage

World Cup Jun 27, 2014
Read

Pekerman showing coaching savvy

Colombia Jun 19, 2014
Read
 Posted by Sam Crocker
Jun 9, 2014

An ode to Souleymane Bamba

ESPN FC's Colin Udoh discusses the Ivory Coast's World Cup chances, which rely heavily on the likes of Didier Drogba and Yaya Toure.

Other than the occasional shrug of indifference, pleasure and anger are the two main forces eminent in the mind of the football fan when watching their teams. However, when certain players are involved, it's more complicated that.

Ivory Coast and Trabzonspor defender Souleymane Bamba is one of these: a player who defies description, who makes you scratch your head and wonder what makes him tick. Indeed, you need a whole new axis with which to measure the 29-year-old, as it can be a bizarre experience to watch him play football.

Referred to as "Sol" for short, attempting to describe the centre-back's form on the pitch is a bit like attempting to explain the plot of "Inception" to your dog. A large man, with a tall body and a broad chest, his skill set is relatively limited: He doesn't have pace; he doesn't have agility; he doesn't have balance. But equally, he is strong, powerful and a bit like a stereotypical old-style defender.

But the thing about Bamba is that, rather than try to enhance the basic skills he has, he has decided to develop skills that don't play to his strengths. Indeed, you could be forgiven for thinking that he has selectively hand-picked characteristics to add to his game from things he has watched on TV; mainly from players who have no parallels with his actual ability.

For example, he struts about the Ivory Coast backline like teammate Didier Drogba does when moodily awaiting service up front. He emits the composure of German legend Franz Beckenbauer, casually knocking it back to his goalkeeper, despite a plethora of on-rushing opposition attackers. Every pass he makes feels reminiscent of Thierry Henry when Arsenal were 4-0 up and the fans were Ole-ing. Somehow, Bamba simultaneously manages to be everything and yet nothing.

Miraculously he doesn't incite anger or outrage from the fans. Usually his efforts are met with a hysterical disbelief that just makes you eventually sit back and smile. Like that bloke in your 11-a-side Sunday league who plays in defence but "fancies himself" as a midfielder, Bamba has an innocent quality about him that makes him quite loveable.

Like those Sunday league players, it feels like he is almost on a constant quest throughout his career to prove to his managers that he has the assets to play further up the pitch. Yet he remains frustratingly entrenched just in front of his goalkeeper , dreaming of dictating the tempo like a deep-lying playmaker.

What makes him the most interesting, however, is that Bamba is in many ways a fine (if slightly extreme) symptom of where Ivorian football finds itself. Despite having some of the finest talent the continent has ever seen, there are also a number of players who you struggle to believe have so many caps. Indeed there are some positions which make you wonder if this is honestly the best that the country can find: to put it into context, uninspiring left-back Arthur Boka has 80 caps; goalkeeper Boubacar Barry has the same; while Bamba now has 44 to his name.

But these are the types of players we are likely to see more and more for Les Elephants, as the veterans of the current group -- such as Drogba, Kolo Toure and Didier Zokora -- get put out to pasture. Looking through the squad, at those who may be pulling on the orange of Ivory Coast at this World Cup, it does make you wonder whether the Toures and the Drogbas were really a one-off for this country. Will the reputation of the Ivory Coast slip in future years, who knows? At least it'll be fun watching Sol Bamba in the meantime.