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Messi, Neymar, Pogba and Italy's teen sensation headline international break

Your favorite team's season has only just started up, you're psyched to see whatever new signings arrived in the final hours of the transfer window and -- boom! -- everybody leaves. They're off with their national sides and it will feel like an eternity without football.

Except you're not without football. It's just a different kind: same actors, different stage. Like seeing Bryan Cranston in the theater rather than cooking up some meth on your TV in "Breaking Bad." Truth be told, there's plenty...

 By Simon Kuper

Van Basten and the greatest European Championship goal ever scored

Arnold Muhren's cross was wafting slowly, aimlessly, over the Soviet Union's penalty area. Muhren, then 37, had a crafty left foot and had been aiming to supply Dutch striker Marco van Basten at the back post. But he knew he had overhit this one.

It was the 54th minute of the final of the 1988 European Championship, and Holland was beating the Soviets 1-0. I was an 18-year-old Holland supporter, sitting behind the goal in Munich's Olympic Stadium (amid many empty seats) and wasn't expecting anything...

Manchester United's Memphis Depay shot conversion shows his failings

Manchester United winger Memphis Depay has been criticised for his lack of end product this season and the statistics show the extent of his wastefulness. He is United's most profligate player by some distance.

Among the Premier League players who have scored more than one goal and taken 20 shots this season, nobody has a worse shots-to-goal conversion rate than Depay. The 22-year-old has scored twice from 34 shots during his 23 league appearances for United, giving him a conversion rate of 5.88...

Memphis Depay's contrasting fortunes for Man United and Netherlands

Memphis Depay had an afternoon to forget on Boxing Day at the Britannia.
Memphis Depay had endured a difficult season at Manchester United following his summer move.

Manchester United winger Memphis Depay played the full 90 minutes for Netherlands in their 2-1 win over England on Tuesday, as their head coach Danny Blind kept his faith in him.

Now the question is whether his club manager, Louis van Gaal, does the same. Depay commented a week ago that working with Blind boosts his confidence -- and that will have been helped by being kept on the field at Wembley despite failing to find the net or offering an assist.

When he was asked last week if Van Gaal also...

 By Nick Miller

John Stones' uneven display reflects uncertainty of England defence

The ESPN FC crew recap England's 2-1 loss to the Netherlands and question which Three Lions side will show up at Euro 2016.

After a relative high, a relative low. Anyone sensible should not have got too carried away after England's victory against Germany over the weekend, just as they should not descend to the pits of despair after the 2-1 defeat to the Netherlands at Wembley on Tuesday.

The edge was certainly taken off the English optimism that the previous victory had built, and Roy Hodgson emerged after the game looking perhaps disproportionately disappointed with the result and performance.

"I suppose whenever...

John Brewin profile picture  By John Brewin

England get a reality check, lose 2-1 to the Netherlands at Wembley Stadium

The ESPN FC crew recap England's 2-1 loss to the Netherlands and question which Three Lions side will show up at Euro 2016.

LONDON -- Three quick points from Tuesday's international friendly as the Netherlands rallied from 1-0 down to defeat England 2-1 at Wembley . . . 

1. Dutch stun England's lax defending

After the joy of Berlin came a jolt back to earth for England. Defeat by a Dutch team in the doldrums appeared highly unlikely for long stretches of the match, only for lax defending and a pair of disputed refereeing decisions to deliver victory for Danny Blind's team. Roy Hodgson was left raging on the...