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Five Aside: Group winners reign

Five Aside Jul 1, 2014
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Tactics: U.S. defend deep

Tactics Board Jul 1, 2014
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Matchday 14: Messi, Argentina in round of 16

Five Aside Jun 25, 2014
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 By Kevin Palmer
Sep 8, 2014

Three Points: Switzerland vs. England

Danny Welbeck scored twice as England defeated Switzerland 2-0.

Three conclusions on England's 2-0 victory over Switzerland in Basel that got their Euro 2016 qualifying campaign off to a winning start.

1. Welbeck's hits and misses

Danny Welbeck has long been a polarising figure in English football and you only have to chart his progress in recent days to appreciate as much. Welbeck's ability to find the back of the net was questioned during the opening phase of his career with Manchester United and England, and the reaction to his move to Arsenal on transfer...

ESPN FC  By ESPN staff
Jul 20, 2014

Young Boys' player nets wonder own goal

This is what you want from an opening weekend. Switzerland's top flight saw St Gallen draw 2-2 at home to Young Boys, but there was a goal of majestic class, of precise finishing and perfect delivery. Perfect, except for the fact it was scored at the wrong end.

Young Boys' 27-year-old Serbian midfielder Milan Gajic can take a bow, son. Although his effort won't be remembered favourably by his own fans.

Jul 2, 2014

Assessment: Target attained

Switzerland have bowed out of the World Cup at the last 16 and ESPNFC blogger Brian Homewood gives his verdict on the brighter points of the campaign, as well as what went wrong.

One sentence, World Cup recap

Switzerland, aiming for the last 16, reached their declared target, cast off their "boring" tag and left a young, talented team that should serve incoming coach Vladimir Petkovic for several years to come.

All team assessments

Group Stage: Australia | Bosnia-Herzegovina | Cameroon | Croatia | Ecuador | England | Ghana | Honduras | Italy | Iran
Ivory Coast Japan | Portugal | Russia | South Korea | Spain
Round of 16: Algeria | Chile | Greece | Mexico
Nigeria | Switzerland | Uruguay | United States
Quarterfinals: Colombia | France | Belgium | Costa Rica
Semifinals: Brazil | Netherlands
Finalists: Argentina
Winners: Germany

Star Man

Xherdan Shaqiri. Switzerland have been expecting great things of the stocky...

Jul 1, 2014

U.S. prove they belong once and for all

Bob Ley joins the Men in Blazers as they conduct a postmortem on the United States' bitter defeat to Belgium and look ahead to a bright future for the USA.

Let's talk positives, America. Yes, you're out of the World Cup and it's going to feel pretty bad right now. I've been there. I'm English. We used to be good at football too. You're going to sit in the office, your eyes glazed, your mind screening an internal GIF of that late free-kick that so nearly allowed Clint Dempsey to score the equaliser. Later, someone's going to ask you what you think will happen when Germany and France meet this the weekend and you're going to turn on them with blazing...

Jul 1, 2014

Five Aside: Group winners reign

Julian Green's goal gave the United States hope but Belgium are through to the quarterfinal thanks to strikes by Kevin De Bruyne and substitute Romelu Lukaku.

The Round of 16 ended with the final two group winners advancing to the quarterfinals, marking the first time that all eight have done so in a single World Cup. Belgium reaches the quarterfinals for the second time ever and first time since 1986 with its 2-1 extra-time win over the United States in Salvador. It was the first time that the U.S. had reached consecutive knockout stages in the World Cup. The U.S. has not reached the quarterfinals since 2002.

In São Paulo, Argentina reached its...

Jul 1, 2014

Tactics Board: USA defend deep; versatile Di Maria

USA
The USA were pushed into a defensive effort against Belgium.

BELGIUM 2-1 UNITED STATES

It was one of the great rearguard actions of the World Cup. Belgium's quest for a goal lasted 93 minutes and the United States defended defiantly. The sheer volume of clearances made by Jurgen Klinsmann's team -- and centre-backs Omar Gonzalez and Matt Besler in particular -- was testament to their organisation and spirit, but also indicates the amount of pressure they were under.

The United States actually have quite a high defensive line; indeed, some of Belgium's...