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Argentine manager struggles: Five in Russia but none win first World Cup match

ESPN FC’s Shaka Hislop and Alexis Nunes look ahead to Portugal-Morocco, Uruguay-Saudi Arabia and Iran-Spain and predict who’ll come out on top. Argentina arrived in Russia with a World Cup record already under their belt. With five coaches, the nation has the greatest number of managers at the 2018 World Cup, matching the record that Brazil held in Germany 2006. Jorge Sampaoli (Argentina), Jose Pekerman (Colombia), Ricardo Gareca (Peru), Hector Cuper (Egypt) and Juan Pizzi (Saudi Arabia) emulated the feat of their Brazilian counterparts 12 years ago when Carlos Alberto Parreira (Brazil), Luiz Felipe Scolari (Portugal), Zico (Japan), Alexander Guimaraes (Costa Rica) and Marcos Paqueta (Saudi Arabia) sat on their respective benches. This number says a lot about the respect Argent...

World Cup Daily: Harry Kane to the rescue; Belgium cruise; Mohamed Salah watch

Shaka Hislop believes that Romelu Lukaku’s double will do wonders for his confidence. Monday at the World Cup saw Harry Kane lead England to a win over Tunisia, while Belgium flexed their attacking muscles against first-timers Panama. Elsewhere, Sweden topped disappointing South Korea. The big story: Kane you believe it? England win! It looked like more bad headlines — “England remember that they are England and draw with Tunisia” is what I had written — but Harry Kane showed that, indeed, this is a different England. The captain scored two goals on his World Cup debut, doubling Wayne Rooney’s whopping total of one from three tournaments. For the first 30 minutes, England were a revelation: They sang the anthem! It should have been 3-0 just five minutes ...

Russia World Cup star Denis Cheryshev’s luck is finally in

No host nation has ever lost it’s opening World Cup match as Russia put on a clinic in their 5-0 win over Saudi Arabia. The FC crew break down Russia’s hot start to the World Cup and try to temper expectations ahead of their remaining group stage games. ESPN FC’s Kasey Keller praises Russia’s direct play and how well they used their strengths in a convincing 5-0 win against Saudi Arabia. Two things caught the eye as Denis Cheryshev took his place at the news conference after Russia’s opening World Cup fixture, in which he scored a magnificent brace in the host’s 5-0 win over Saudi Arabia. Firstly, he was astonished and unprepared. After all, Cheryshev wasn’t expected to be at the tournament. Pundits were surprised to find his name in Stanislav Cher...

Colombia’s chance to build on 2014 World Cup heroics

With Radamel Falcao teaming up with the heroes of Colombia’s 2014 World Cup run, can Los Cafeteros make even more noise in Russia? James Rodriguez burst onto the international scene in 2014 and carried Colombia to the quarterfinals. Can he do it again in 2018? Are Poland any good? What’s up with Senegal’s nickname? The Exploding Heads ponder that and more in their Group H preview. Going into the last World Cup, Colombia coach Jose Pekerman announced that Brazil 2014 would be the moment that his national team took a definitive place at football’s top table. Phase one is complete. Colombia reached the quarterfinals for the first time and supplied the tournament’s breakout star in James Rodriguez. Now comes the moment of truth. Can they enjoy continued success? T...

Manuel Neuer won back his No.1 role for Germany but did he deserve it?

ESPN FC’s Stewart Robson believes Juan Carlos Osorio and Mexico hatched a perfect, counterattacking game plan against an aging Germany side. MOSCOW — About 15 minutes before kickoff on Sunday, Marc-Andre ter Stegen laughed with his teammate, Niklas Sule, as he made his way onto the field at Luzhniki Stadium. Ter Stegen is one of the best goalkeepers in the world and the starter for FC Barcelona. He’s been in good form, too; this past season, he recorded the second-most shutouts in all the top European leagues. But here, as Germany faced Mexico in a World Cup group stage game, ter Stegen was a substitute, a reserve ambling out to the bench ahead of the formal walk-on for the starters. It was a strange sight, and — particularly after Mexico stunned the defending champ...

Switzerland draw proves Brazil need to work hard to win the World Cup

Philippe Coutinho began Brazil’s World Cup campaign with a brilliant goal, but a header from Steven Zuber earned Switzerland a draw. Philippe Coutinho began Brazil’s World Cup campaign with a brilliant goal, but a header from Steven Zuber earned Switzerland a draw. It wasn’t enough to ensure victory, but Philippe Coutinho provided a sensational opening for Brazil’s World Cup campaign. A day filled with rollercoaster of emotions, as Mexico revel in victory against reigning champions Germany while Kane hopes to emulate World Cup rival Ronaldo against Tunisia ESPN FC’s Taylor Twellman and Kasey Keller assess the areas of concern for Brazil, following their 1-1 draw against the Swiss. The guys give their take on Neymar constantly going to ground, how VAR has fared...

Mexican fans celebrate opening goal vs. Germany in enemy territory in Berlin

There wasn’t much to celebrate in the first half at the German public watch party in Berlin… for most of the attendees that is. Hirving Lozano’s 35th-minute goal put Mexico ahead 1-0 and sucked the life out of the watch party minus one small section of brave and proud Mexico supporters.  Mexicans celebrating their goal…in Berlin…surrounded by Germans. Beautiful stuff 🇲🇽 #WorldCup #GERMEX pic.twitter.com/6SsSfCxSNa — Jack Young (@JCY33) June 17, 2018 The Mexican contingent was clearly outnumbered but did not hold back with their celebrations, jumping wildly and waving Mexican flags right in the center of the German masses. Brave fans indeed. They weren’t the only ones celebrating, either. Mexico City entered a state of utter pandemonium af...

Brazil can’t live in past at World Cup, only first place matters – Rivaldo

Brazil legend Rivaldo doesn’t want to talk about tactics. “The team is in good shape,” he tells ESPN FC of Brazil ahead of their Group E opener against Switzerland on Sunday, speaking in his capacity as a Betfair World Cup ambassador, but that’s about the limit of the analysis as far as Tite’s system is concerned. What Rivaldo really wants to get into is the mental side of being at a World Cup: the business of coping with pressure, overcoming difficulties, writing a new story for oneself. These are subjects the current crop of Brazil players would do well to confront head on as they seek to bounce back from the seismic shock of the 7-1 semifinal defeat to Germany in 2014. And Rivaldo, who still looks like he could do a job for the Selecao at the age of 46, is ...

World Cup LIVE: Costa Rica vs. Serbia; Mexico-Germany face-off; Brazil begin

Ronaldo joins episode five of Project Russia to discuss Brazil’s World Cup hopes and his ambitions for Neymar. Favourites Brazil and Neymar open the tournament with Switzerland, Germany and Mexico meet in a Confederations Cup semi-final rematch and Costa Rica and Serbia face-off in Samara. Join the chat and post comments / questions using the hashtag #AskESPNFC.

Gary Neville interview: Times change, but England must always beat Tunisia

Stewart Robson predicts how the Three Lions will line up ahead of their opening match against Tunisia. Fabian Delph revealed he knows who will start for England against Tunisia on Monday. The FC crew debate England’s outlook for the World Cup, with Steve Nicol suggesting fans back home will shrug off a group-stage exit. Former England midfielder Frank Lampard regrets allowing the pressure of playing in the World Cup to ruin representing his country. England defender Phil Jones showed off his darts skills in front of the cameras at their World Cup training base. MOSCOW — For Gary Neville, England’s World Cup opener against Tunisia on Monday feels like déjà vu all over again, except that what looks like a case of history repeating itself is anything but. The former Manchest...

Lionel Messi messes up penalty as Argentina frustrated by resolute Iceland

Iceland’s goalkeeper Hannes Por Halldorsson stopped Lionel Messi from putting Argentina ahead from the penalty spot. World Cup: Alfred Finnbogason (23′) Argentina 1-1 Iceland World Cup: Sergio Agüero (19′) Argentina 1-0 Iceland MOSCOW – Three quick thoughts in Argentina 1-1 Iceland in Group D at the World Cup on Saturday. 1. Iceland gain valuable point as Messi disappoints Iceland have made a habit of pulling off shock results in recent years, and while they didn’t come away with a victory in this case, the draw amounts to another impressive effort, one that could prove valuable indeed as the rest of the group shakes out. There was always going to be a strong impulse to see if Lionel Messi could match the hat trick heroics of Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo...

Mexico fan’s incredible World Cup journey from 1986 to Russia 2018

Follow Sebastian Salazar and Herculez Gomez along as they immerse themselves in all the excitement at the World Cup opening fan fest in Moscow. ESPN FC’s Sebi Salazar and Herculez Gomez speak to Diego Reyes’ injury and how Juan Carlos Osorio will go about choosing his starting XI. MOSCOW — June 15, 1986 was an important day in the history of Mexican football. Manuel Negrete produced the best goal in the history of the World Cup, at least according to a recent FIFA poll, to help El Tri defeat Bulgaria 2-0 in Estadio Azteca and advance to the quarterfinals of its home World Cup. Mexicans took to the streets to celebrate. Mexico City native Beto Granados woke up that morning ready for a celebration. It wasn’t only Father’s Day in Mexico, Granados also had a ticke...