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Brazil's dubious distinction

Five Aside Jul 12, 2014
Read
Jul 30, 2014

Ron Vlaar's Villa future

Aston Villa defender Ron Vlaar has become a coveted transfer target after his stellar World Cup performance with the Netherlands.
Aston Villa defender Ron Vlaar has become a coveted transfer target after his stellar World Cup performance with the Netherlands.

The one player yet to feature in any part of Villa's preseason preparations so far is the individual generating the most interest.

Ron Vlaar, enjoying an extended holiday after Netherlands' run to the semifinals of the World Cup -- the two other Villans involved in the tournament, Brad Guzan and Philippe Senderos, have been back with the squad for a couple of weeks -- will be present at the club's friendly against Groningen on Saturday, but won't play. He'll return to training next week, and ...

 Posted by Andy Brassell
Jul 17, 2014

Young players get chance at World Cup

ESPN FC's Paul Mariner has some harsh criticism for Brazil's golden boy.

There can be no greater experience for a youngster than the taste of a World Cup, apparently. Back in 2006, Sven-Goran Eriksson told us that he "just had a feeling" when selecting 17-year-old Theo Walcott for England's World Cup squad before he had even made his Premier League debut for Arsenal.

In poor Walcott's case, we still don't know whether the trip gave him something to build on in terms of major tournament finals. He wasn't picked in 2010, and when he was nailed on to be selected this ti...

ESPN FC Posted by ESPN staff
Jul 14, 2014

ESPN FC Player of the World Cup

The top performers from the 2014 World Cup have been whittled down to a five-man short list by stats website WhoScored.com and our panel of experts. The nominated players are Arjen Robben, James Rodriguez, Lionel Messi, Neymar and Thomas Muller.

Each has his merits, as detailed below -- but it's up to you to select who deserves to be crowned the ESPN FC Player of the World Cup.

Whether you agree with the nominees or not, let us know on Facebook and Twitter -- using the hashtag #ESPNFCplayer -- a...

Jul 14, 2014

Best XI of the World Cup

The ESPN FC World Cup Encore crew give their picks for Team of the Tournament.

Our 2014 World Cup team would take some beating.

This year's World Cup has seen the rise of the 3-5-2 formation, so it's only fair that our Best XI from the tournament lines up in the same way. Here are the 11 players who did more than any others to impress this summer.

GK: Keylor Navas (Costa Rica)

In a tournament rich in goalkeeping skills, it takes a lot to shine above the rest. There have been some standout performances this summer from the likes of the USA's Tim Howard, Mexico's Guillermo Ochoa and Nigerian stopper Vincent Enyeama. Howev...

 Posted by Elko Born
Jul 13, 2014

Assessment: LVG inspires Netherlands

Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal expresses his pride in his side for surpassing the expectations placed on them.

Sum the WC up in a sentence

Through tactical discipline and superb management, Netherlands managed to exceed expectations by a country mile.

Star Man

Arjen Robben managed to reach a whole new level at this World Cup. In time, we will likely look back on the winger's career and pinpoint this tournament as his absolute peak, with the moment he ran Spain's Sergio Ramos ragged during Oranje's opening match as the standout high point on a personal level. Constantly menacing, even during the scoreles...

 Posted by Raphael Honigstein
Jul 13, 2014

Dutch wonder what might have been

Netherlands cruised to a 3-0 victory over Brazil on their way to the first Dutch third-place finish at a World Cup.

RIO DE JANEIRO -- By the time you read this, Louis van Gaal will have said goodbye to his players and staff in a hotel on the outskirts of Rotterdam. The 62-year-old won't have to hand out any presents because the Dutch team brought their own souvenirs back from Brazil: a box full of shiny bronze medals.

A handful of players tweeted photos of themselves with their medals after the final whistle in Brasilia. "Proud of the team," wrote Wesley Sneijder. The 3-0 win over Brazil in the third-place pl...