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A world without Messi: Enjoy him while you can

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 10:30:00 PDT

Lionel Messi is the football version of Gaudi's cathedral, and unlike Barcelona's other monuments, we won't get the chance to visit the iconic No. 10 -- who turns 30 on June 24 -- for much longer. More »

Wayne Rooney's best option is to stay at Manchester United this summer

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 02:51:00 PDT

Shaka Hislop believes it is in Wayne Rooney's best interest to continue his career at a club other than Man United. Shaka Hislop believes it is in Wayne Rooney's best interest to continue his career at a club other than Man United. Shaka Hislop believes it is in Wayne Rooney's best interest to continue his career at a club other than Man United. Shaka Hislop believes it is in Wayne Rooney's best interest to continue his career at a club other than Man United. Shaka Hislop believes it is in Wayne Rooney's best interest to continue his career at a club other than Man United. Shaka Hislop believes it is in Wayne Rooney's best interest to continue his career at a club other than Man United. It is 29 days since Wayne Rooney admitted after the Europa League final win at Stockholm's Friends Arena that he had "more or less" made a decision on his Manchester United future. Yet with just 23 days until the club plays their first preseason friendly, the world is still waiting to discover where he will be next season. The former England captain -- a title he must now learn to live with after being overlooked for Gareth Southgate's last two international squads -- has since been on holiday with...

VAR experiment at Confederation Cup illustrating football's price of 'justice'

Wed, 21 Jun 2017 10:30:00 PDT

The ESPN FC panel answer your tweets on Dani Alves and Manchester City, the latest VAR decisions and much more. With a few controversial decisions already in the books, the FC crew provide their early thoughts on the impact of VAR. SOCHI, Russia -- It fell to Chile boss Juan Antonio Pizzi -- speaking after his side had seen what looked to be (but as replays showed was not) a perfectly good goal disallowed by the video assistant referee (VAR) -- to be the voice of reason. "Emotionally, it's difficult, because you don't know what to do, you're so conditioned by years of football," he said after Chile's 2-0 victory over Cameroon in the Confederations Cup. "The ball goes in, you look to the linesman and if the flag is down,...

A Moscow cab ride for nearly $1,000? Diego Saez's Confederations Cup story

Tue, 20 Jun 2017 02:30:00 PDT

Diego Saez speaks to the media once his ordeal with a cab driver was concluded. MOSCOW, Russia -- "Do you want us to put him in jail?" That was the last question that Diego Saez, a journalist from Chile on duty at the Confederations Cup in Russia, was asked by a police officer. On Thursday, the 38-year-old Saez landed at Domodedovo airport, tired and exhausted after two overnight connecting flights. Going online and checking the currency exchange rates were the last things he wanted to do at that moment. He withdrew some money from an ATM, got in the official airport taxi...

Confederations Cup hosts Russia under pressure to win but need luck

Tue, 20 Jun 2017 02:29:00 PDT

While Russia defeated New Zealand in the Confederations Cup opener, many questions still surround their predictability. MOSCOW, Russia -- Hosting its first ever major tournament couldn't come at a worse or a better time for Russia equally. How is that possible? It's pretty simple. Russia came into the Confederations Cup having fallen to their lowest-ever FIFA ranking: they're currently 63rd, between Uzbekistan and Haiti. You may say it's normal for teams not participating in qualifiers to slump given the lack of competitive fixtures but the downfall began well before they were named as hosts for the 2018 World...

Man United rightfully wary of pursuing Cristiano Ronaldo given Real history

Mon, 19 Jun 2017 04:58:00 PDT

ESPN FC's Mark Ogden addresses the latest news on Cristiano Ronaldo and looks ahead to his upcoming press availability. The FC panel debate the rumours of Cristiano Ronaldo requesting a move out of Spain, possibly back to Manchester United. MOSCOW -- Manchester United have a pretty poor track record when it comes to dealing with Real Madrid, one of a number of reasons why nobody at Old Trafford is getting too carried away by the prospect of luring Cristiano Ronaldo from the Santiago Bernabeu this summer. United may have kept David De Gea from Real's clutches two years ago, when the Spain goalkeeper appeared all set for a return to his home city with the European champions, but it was only because of a paperwork hitch on Madrid's part...

IFAB proposals: Rating penalty goals, 60-minute matches, quick free kicks

Sun, 18 Jun 2017 05:08:00 PDT

Former Premier League referee Howard Webb shares his thoughts on the subjectivity of handball decisions in the modern game. Manager of VAR Operations Howard Webb dissects the use of video technology in France's friendly with England. For as long as football remains ever-so-slightly broken, there will always be attempts to fix it. The International Football Association Board (IFAB, a gloriously old-fashioned body that allows Northern Ireland 12.5 percent of the voting power to change the global Laws of the Game) has published "Play Fair!," a strategy document with a snappy title. The document's proposals are broadly aimed at two deep-lying bugbears of the modern game: time wasting (or, more specifically, the natural wastage of...

Everton future looks bright if they can resolve Romelu Lukaku issue

Sat, 17 Jun 2017 06:42:00 PDT

The guys answer your tweets about Kylian Mbappe, Everton's big day of signings and the Confederations Cup. Shaka Hislop feels Jordan Pickford has done enough to warrant a potential starting job at Everton. Brian McBride talks Ross Barkley's future as the Everton midfielder finishes up a forgetful season with Everton. There are still two and a half months before the end of the current transfer window, but Everton have wasted no time laying out their plans for the new season. This week, the Blues announced the signings of Sunderland goalkeeper Jordan Pickford and Ajax midfielder Davy Klaassen for fees that could eventually rise to £56 million for the pair. With more spending planned, a host of young starlets pushing for first-team football and a new stadium in the pipeline, are things finally looking up for...

Juan Carlos Osorio's door into football began with a window in Liverpool

Fri, 16 Jun 2017 03:12:00 PDT

A family with a view of Liverpool's training ground helped put Juan Carlos Osorio on the path to becoming a manager. On Sunday against Portugal, Osorio will manage his first official match in Europe. There is one household in Liverpool, England that will be cheering on the Mexican national team every step of the way in Russia at the 2017 Confederations Cup. Tom McManus, his wife Mary and sons Peter and Thomas welcomed Mexico's manager Juan Carlos Osorio into their home back in 1997, when he was studying at John Moores University in the city. He became part of the family. Osorio's name has become synonymous with...

Russia under pressure not as hosts, but as a footballing nation in decline

Fri, 16 Jun 2017 07:59:00 PDT

Mark Ogden reports from Saint Petersburg Stadium on the eve of the opening match of the Confederations Cup. Mark Ogden isn't overly convinced Cristiano Ronaldo will be leaving Real Madrid after recent reports suggesting otherwise. SAINT PETERSBURG, Russia -- Russia's underperforming national team cannot escape the sense that they are letting a proud country down, as their preparations for the 2018 World Cup on home soil begin in earnest with Saturday's Confederations Cup opener against New Zealand in Saint Petersburg. The majestic new $1.4 billion Krestovsky Stadium on the banks of the Neva River is not sold out for the encounter with the champions of Oceania -- as of Friday, 7,000 tickets remained on sale -- and when...

Confederations Cup gives football chance to celebrate Marc-Vivien Foe

Fri, 16 Jun 2017 06:45:00 PDT

The ESPN FC crew look ahead to the Confederations Cup. The ESPN FC crew look ahead to the Confederations Cup. The ESPN FC crew look ahead to the Confederations Cup. The ESPN FC crew look ahead to the Confederations Cup. The ESPN FC crew look ahead to the Confederations Cup. Cameroon will play in the Confederations Cup for the first time since 2003 -- a tournament forever remembered for the tragic death of Marc-Vivien Foe. The midfielder was just 28 when he collapsed and died on the pitch in Lyon during a semifinal victory over Colombia. He was later found to have suffered from hypertrophic cardiomyopathy -- a rare hereditary heart condition, which affects fewer than 0.2 percent of people. Foe will be in the thoughts of many Cameroon players and supporters when they...

Millwall fan Roy Larner: People call me a hero; I don't look at it that way

Thu, 15 Jun 2017 07:00:00 PDT

Bob Ley discusses Millwall supporter Roy Lerner's defiant stand against London terrorists. LONDON -- As Roy Larner sits in the sunshine outside St Thomas' Hospital, a woman calls across to him to say "thank you." Less than half an hour later, recognition spreads across another passer-by's face before she goes to shake his hand. Larner had trouble accepting her gesture of kindness properly because his slashed hands and arms were in plaster. He needed more than 50 stitches when he was attacked by knife-wielding terrorists who carried out the London Bridge attack on June 3 and killed eight...

Nick Hornby looks back on Arsenal's worst season in 21 years

Thu, 15 Jun 2017 05:17:00 PDT

Former Arsenal midfielder Stewart Robson gives his assessment into which positions Arsenal must strengthen this summer. (Editors' note: We asked Nick Hornby -- novelist and screenwriter who wrote about his obsessive fandom of Arsenal in "Fever Pitch" -- to assess Arsene Wenger and the Gunners after a painful campaign that saw them finish outside the top four.)  Arsene Wenger, the Arsenal manager -- if "manager" is not too demeaning a description of Wenger's all-encompassing role at Arsenal -- and Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of Her Majesty's Opposition in Great Britain, have been joined at the hip for much of the...

Uli Stielike leaves South Korea with Russia 2018 hopes hanging by a thread

Thu, 15 Jun 2017 02:30:00 PDT

Uli Stielike has been axed as coach of South Korea. Uli Stielike may have been the longest-serving South Korean coach in history but the German's legacy as he leaves the country is the endangerment of a proud record of successive World Cup appearances. It seems strange he could be fired with the team still in the automatic qualification slots for 2018 but few in the country disagree that the time was right to make the change. Stielike was given his marching orders by the Korea Football Association (KFA) on Thursday, less than 48 hours after a 3-2...

Confederations Cup gives Cristiano Ronaldo another chance at glory

Thu, 15 Jun 2017 12:44:00 PDT

With Ronaldo reportedly intending to quit Real Madrid, ESPN FC's Mark Ogden assesses the chances of a Man United return. Portugal's head coach Fernando Santos believes Portugal are determined to win the Confederations Cup to prove they're the best in the world. Cristiano Ronaldo is ready for the Confederations Cup: Portugal's talisman has a new haircut for the tournament and a pair of specially designed boots, so do not be in any doubt that he is taking it seriously. Love him or loathe him, Ronaldo elevates every game he plays and every tournament he competes in simply by being there. The personalised touches with the boots, the hairstyle and whatever else he has planned, merely sprinkle a little more stardust in his wake. Every competition needs a star...

Glenn and his computer: How the Premier League fixture list is made

Thu, 15 Jun 2017 12:37:00 PDT

Steve Nicol breaks down the early season fixtures from the top six clubs ahead of the 2017-18 Premier League campaign. Deep in the gloomy basement of Premier League HQ, there is a corner where even the rats refuse to go. For most of the year, there is only silence. But every summer ... it comes again. There is a click. There is a hum. And then a single red light throbs in the darkness. It is the fixture computer. On June 4, 1997, the system went online. Human decisions were removed from the scheduling process. The fixture computer began to learn at a geometric rate. It became self-aware at 2:14 a.m. Greenwich...

With 365 days to go, 2018 World Cup faces an uphill, but winnable, battle

Wed, 14 Jun 2017 01:51:00 PDT

Shaka Hislop reveals an international edition of his power rankings, listing the favourites to win the 2018 World Cup. The hype and excitement surrounding the 2018 World Cup hasn't yet started. Are we excited for it? MOSCOW -- In some ways, it's sneaking up on us. Russia 2018 is a year away, yet it feels almost subdued relative to the hype and anticipation ahead of the previous two World Cups. A clear narrative for 2018 has not emerged. In 2010, you had Africa's first-ever World Cup and a nation bouncing back from the ravages of racism and apartheid. Four years later in Brazil, it was about an economic boom and a World Cup coming home to the country that most defines it -- 64 years after hearts were broken...

Change, fresh tactics evident in Jorge Sampaoli's debut as Argentina boss

Wed, 14 Jun 2017 12:38:00 PDT

Shaka Hislop reveals an international edition of his power rankings, listing the favourites to win the 2018 World Cup. Jason Dasey and PJ Roberts break down the friendly between Singapore and Argentina, as the visitors won 6-0 at the National Stadium. Two games, two wins: in terms of pure results, it's been a perfect start for Jorge Sampaoli as Argentina manager. Of course, both of those games were friendlies and one of them (no offence, Singapore) could hardly be said to be against elite opposition. Regardless, we're still a little wiser now than we were a week ago about Sampaoli's Argentina. Here are five early lessons about his progress. 1. He's eager to refresh the squad Mauro Icardi's injury frustrated things in attack and the match...

Lloris, Pogba, Kante, Alli & Mbappe part of France-England Combined XI

Tue, 13 Jun 2017 02:16:00 PDT

ESPN FC brings you all the news, analysis and interviews ahead of France vs. England ESPN FC brings you all the news, analysis and interviews ahead of France vs. England ESPN FC brings you all the news, analysis and interviews ahead of France vs. England ESPN FC brings you all the news, analysis and interviews ahead of France vs. England ESPN FC brings you all the news, analysis and interviews ahead of France vs. England ESPN FC brings you all the news, analysis and interviews ahead of France vs. England They are two of European football's biggest rivals, with France taking on England in Paris on Tuesday night.  Between them they've won the World Cup twice, while France are two-time European Championships winners. Each side is packed with talent -- but what if we combined the two XIs? Who would feature and who misses out? Here's our France-England combined XI in a 4-2-3-1 formation. Have we missed anyone? Let us know your side in the comments below ... ESPN FC's Combined France-England XI. Goalkeeper Hugo Lloris -- While the Tottenham...

Top Premier League clubs set to spend, but money doesn't guarantee success

Mon, 12 Jun 2017 10:42:00 PDT

With the Premier League season behind us, take a look at the latest predictions of how the top 4 will shape up next season. ESPN's Manchester United correspondent Rob Dawson tells us who he thinks Jose Mourinho will recruit this summer. ESPN's Arsenal correspondent, Mattias Karen, explains who he thinks is likely to be playing at the Emerates next season. Steve Nicol evaluates what Liverpool need to do over the summer in order to manage their return to the Champions League. ESPN's Chelsea correspondent, Liam Twomey, reveals whom he thinks the Champions will add to their squad for the 2017-18 season. ESPN's Manchester City correspondent Jonathan Smith tells us who he thinks could be playing under Pep Guardiola in the 2017-18 season. ESPN's Tottenham correspondent Dan Kilpatrick tells us who he thinks Tottenham will sign this summer. The summer sales are on, and there's nothing like a bit of retail therapy to forget the frustrations of the season just ended. However, whether a spending spree can drag English clubs anywhere nearer the European summit is another matter. After all, many millions were spent this time last year, but only Leicester City made it past the Round of 16 in the Champions League -- an overall deflating national performance. Manchester City, after a trophyless first season under Pep Guardiola, have been fastest...


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