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Messi and Ronaldo: The view from home

Argentina vs. Portugal
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John Brewin profile picture  By John Brewin

Gulf in class leaves England adrift of Portugal in Under-21 opener

Joao Mario managed to score the only goal of the match, as Portugal defeated England 1-0 in the UEFA Under 21 European Championship.
ESPN FC's Craig Burley does not take anything away from Jack Wilshere's two goal performance against Slovenia, but picks at Adam Lallana's dive where it appears not many are talking about.
The England U21 squad arrived in the Czech Republic for the European championship. Alex Pritchard says the team are in good spirits ahead of their opening game on Thursday.

If this was the England of the future, then it looked disturbingly like those of the past. Already, the under-21 team's chances of progressing beyond the group stages of the European Championship lie in serious doubt.

As at the senior level, a distinct gap in technique between England and their Portuguese opponents proved the difference. The young Englishmen were driven to the type of distraction that befell their older brothers during major tournament exits in 2000, 2004 and 2006. Once Portugal...

 By Nick Miller

Portugal rely too much on Cristiano Ronaldo, Ireland's hopes are fading

The ESPN FC panel discuss Cristiano Ronaldo's hat trick over Armenia, and whether Portugal can progress in qualification.

It's heading toward crunch time in the 2016 European Championship qualifiers. ESPN FC's Nick Miller takes a look at some of the biggest talking points from this week's games.

Portugal jump on Ronaldo's back ... again

We have seen this season for Real Madrid that Cristiano Ronaldo, as he continues his relentless pursuit of cartoon goal-scoring numbers, is rarely happier than when he's doing something on his own. Ronaldo looks positively irked when his teammates score, with the notion of it being...

 By Chris Wright

Ronaldo covers Portugal teammate Quaresma's car in silver foil

Ever the loveable scamp, Cristiano Ronaldo kept himself busy at Portugal's training camp on Thursday by taking a few hours out to prank international teammate Ricardo Quaresma by covering his car in tin foil.

The back and forth began when Ronaldo tweeted a message to the Porto winger:

 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.

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

Cristiano Ronaldo class offered by Canadian university

Having just won his third Ballon d'Or, picked up a suspension for slapping an opponent and turned 30 in the space of a few weeks, the eyes of the world are once again on Cristiano Ronaldo, which is all in a day's work for a sporting icon such as he.

As a direct result of his ascendancy to global superstardom, a university in Canada is now offering a course centred entirely around Ronaldo, his ever-swelling celebrity and his social influence.

CRISTIANO RONALDO AT 30

- Football's Finest: Then & Now
- Martin: 30 reasons to love or hate CR7
- Poll: Ronaldo voted best Prem player ever
- Toe Poke: Ronaldo class offered by Canadian uni
- Profile: Cristiano Ronaldo

Luis Aguiar, a sociology professor at the University of...

 By Chris Wright

Real Madrid star Pepe once again distributes food to Madrid's deprived

He may employ questionable judgement on occasion during matches, but Real Madrid's combative defender Pepe has once again dug into his own pocket to provide free food packages to some of Madrid's most disadvantaged residents.

According to Spanish paper AS, the Portuguese centre-half has paid for 9,000 kilos of staple food items such as rice, flour and tinned goods to be distributed among the people of the Las Rozas area of Madrid in a bid to ensure that nobody will go hungry in his local neighbourhood...