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Brazil's dubious distinction

Five Aside
 By Michael Cox

Can Verratti, De Gea and Kane break into their national teams' starting XIs?

The ESPN FC crew debate whether or not Harry Kane should start up front for England against Lithuania.
England head coach Roy Hodgson, and striker Wayne Rooney are confident about Harry Kane's debut in the European qualifier against Lithuania.

The European Championship's expansion to a 24-team tournament has a multitude of effects -- one is that it effectively gives the major countries a free pass. Therefore, managers have more license to experiment and evolve their side with significantly less risk of failure.

Here are five fine talents still attempting to break into their country's first-choice XI -- what chance do they have of overhauling more established names?

1. Marco Verratti, Italy

By this stage, we expected Verratti to be Italy's...

 By Chris Wright

Free-agent Dutch midfielder advertises for new club on LinkedIn

Demy De Zeeuw put Anderlecht in front at PSG.
Demy de Zeeuw last played in Belgium.

A free agent since being released by Anderlecht in July and with bills to pay, former Netherlands international Demy de Zeeuw has taken the unorthodox step of advertising his services on social media in a bid to secure gainful employment.

With 27 caps and stints at AZ Alkmaar, Ajax and Spartak Moscow to his name, De Zeeuw is an experienced campaigner but, rather than paying through the nose for an agent, the 31-year-old midfielder has set up a profile on business networking site LinkedIn in the...

ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

#FCtalkingpoints: Bale to United, MLS vs. U.S., Vela, Messi and Ronaldo

Netherlands and Manchester United midfielder Daley Blind picked up a suspected knee injury in the Euro 2016 qualifier between the Dutch and Latvia.

Football always inspires debate, and this weekend was no exception. Here are five white-hot topics on the ESPN FC radar following the weekend.

Vote and comment below or on Twitter using the hashtag #FCtalkingpoints.

They meet again. The world's two best players -- Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi -- play one another when Portugal host Argentina in an international friendly on Tuesday.

Who would you rather have on your team?

The 800-pound gorilla of a transfer rumour right now is that somehow, someway Real Madrid's Gareth Bale will...

 By Elko Born

Guus Hiddink adds more pressure as Dutch face 'must-win' vs. Latvia

Netherlands forward Arjen Robben explains why he feels Netherlands came up short against Mexico and how he believes the team can improve going forward.

Some managers like to set themselves targets, but very few will come out and promise a win. In the buildup to the Netherlands' Euro 2016 qualification match against Latvia, Oranje boss Guus Hiddink has taken things to the extreme. If the Netherlands loses, he has promised multiple times that he will resign immediately.

Hiddink's ultimatum is the latest symptom of the crisis in which the Dutch team currently finds itself. With a squad almost identical to the one that finished third place during...

Three Points: Netherlands vs. Mexico

Carlos Vela scored twice in his return to El Tri as Mexico edged the Netherlands in their international friendly.

Three quick thoughts on the heels of Mexico's 3-2 victory over the Netherlands at the Amsterdam Arena on Wednesday night.

1. Youth movement

It seems clear that this is a new era for El Tri, and not just because this squad now can showcase the prodigious talent of Carlos Vela, back on board with his country in a big way, winning Man of Match honors with two goals. Vela's opening goal in the eighth minute was set up by some nifty play by more than half the XI. The passing of Mexico throughout the...

Europeos have much to prove to El Tri bosses and fans in upcoming friendlies

A quick glance at Mexico's roster for their upcoming friendlies shows it to be very impressive -- at first. Manager Miguel Herrera has made 10 Europeo call-ups, including Guillermo Ochoa, Diego Reyes, Andres Guardado, Hector Herrera, Jonathan dos Santos, Jesus "Tecatito" Corona, Giovani dos Santos, Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez, Carlos Vela and Raul Jimenez.

Most of the stated Europeos are household names for El Tri fans and by far some of the most popular players on the national team as they ready...