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Upsets of Euro 2016 qualifying

Five Aside Oct 11, 2014
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 By Rob Train
3 days ago

Asier Illarramendi's career at Real Madrid needs a kickstart

ESPN FC's Alexis Nunes breaks down what Luka Modric's injury will do to the Real Madrid midfield.

Many professional footballers wait for that "lucky break" -- a golden chance to add the prefix make-or to their first-team situation. One of few exceptions is Asier Illarramendi, who either stands to benefit hugely from the injury sustained by club teammate Luka Modric, or find that his prospects at Real Madrid are as limited as a Spanish comedy film script.

The Basque midfielder's role at the Bernabeu has gone beyond an audition, and the 24-year-old now faces gallows humour at best. Signed in the...

3 days ago

Patience needed as Vicente Del Bosque takes Spain into a new era

Spain manager Vicente Del Bosque discusses his team's 1-0 defeat by Germany, La Roja's third loss since the World Cup.

Vicente Del Bosque has been here before.

In 1981 as his Real Madrid playing career began to wind down, his status as an admired -- indeed, much-loved -- ball-playing midfielder transformed into that of the player the crowd found it most easy to moan about.

The easiest player to blame.

There were some in the media who could see that this was really nothing more than the 30-year-old being used as a whipping boy for much wider problems. At the time Del Bosque told El Pais, Spain's leading quality...

4 days ago

A week's worth of watching the international 'week of football'

The ESPN FC team discuss Tuesday's international friendlies, including Scotland's loss at home to England and what the United States need to do to get back on track.

With the novelty of the "Week of Football" wearing off, ESPN FC asked Iain Macintosh to watch as many games as he possibly could and tell us whether he still thought it was a good idea at the end. Here's what he made of it all. -- FC editors

Wednesday, Nov. 12

Turkey vs. Brazil

For some reason impossible to comprehend, British broadcasters have no interest in a relatively meaningless exhibition game between two foreign nations, but we are made of sturdy stuff at ESPN FC, and lights are cast upon...

4 days ago

Three Points: Spain vs. Germany

A late, long-range strike from Toni Kroos handed Spain their first loss at home in 34 games.

VIGO, Spain -- Three quick points from Germany's 1-0 win over Spain in Tuesday's friendly meeting at Celta Vigo's Balaidos ground...

1. Kroos missile decides meeting of two experimental sides

The meeting between the last two world champions was always going to attract attention and each coach talked beforehand about their respect for their counterpart and wish to put on a good show. But this game caught both sides in transition -- after respective unexpected slip ups in qualifying for Euro 2016,...

 By Rob Train
6 days ago

Can Isco lead Spain and Real Madrid into another golden era?

Spain's Isco opens the scoring in Huelva with a stunning strike that freezes Belarus goalkeeper, Yuri Zhevnov.

"It's sometimes good to shake things up a bit," said Spain manager Vicente del Bosque after his side saw off Belarus on Saturday night. After the debacle of La Roja's World Cup campaign and the Euro 2016 qualifying loss against Slovakia, Spain certainly needed a lift.

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A good team performance against a fairly limited Belarus was the minimum expected by the crowd at the Nuevo Colomino Stadium, and a more youthful Roja provided just that. But, as has been the case on several occasions this season,...

6 days ago

Rate Your Rival: What do Germany make of Spain ahead of their friendly?

Vicente del Bosque claims it was 'inevitable' Spain were dumped out of the World Cup's group stage.

World Cup champions Germany face 2010 winners Spain this Tuesday when the pair meet in a glamour friendly. Vicente del Bosque's side will feel they have a point to prove against such tough opposition following their dreadful performance at the World Cup -- so should Germany be worried?

ESPN FC Germany blogger Stephan Uersfeld runs the rule over Spain's likely XI to see whether Joachim Low's men should fear the former world champions.

GK Iker Casillas, 7 -- Anything can happen with the Real Madrid...