FIFA World Cup

France prepared not to repeat Germany’s mistakes – Didier Deschamps

ESPN FC's Shaka Hislop and Alejandro Moreno laud Kylian Mbappe's maturity and leadership following his performance against the Netherlands. France's Paul Pogba admits he found the short break between the World Cup and the Premier League season tough, physically and is cautious he doesn't get injured. France coach Didier Deschamps has warned against Les Bleus making the same mistakes that saw 2014 World Cup winners Germany eliminated at the group stage of the 2018 tournament. In a FIFA session dedicated to France's triumph in Russia, Deschamps reflected on the challenge of preventing his newly crowned champions becoming complacent in Qatar in 2022. The question came from St. Kits and Nevis coach Jacques Passy who wondered how Deschamps would ensure France "do n...

Salzburg finally get their glory vs. Leipzig in the ‘Red Bull battle’

Salzburg chalked up a famous win in Leipzig over the 'other' RB club that's siphoned so much talent over the years. LEIPZIG, Germany — They were loud and they were present. Three hours before kick-off, they gathered at the Richard-Wagner-Platz in Leipzig's city centre. Some were drinking beer while others waited in anticipation of things to come. This was their night, this was their match and this was their club: RB Salzburg. But it wasn't their city, and not even their name. In Europe, they go by the name of FC Salzburg as UEFA don't allow sponsor names. (Their opponents, RB Leipzig, maintain plausible deniability…

Croatia FA denies leaders involvement in World Cup final ticket touting

Croatia suffered their worst-ever defeat in international competition as Luis Enrique earned his first victory on home soil for Spain. Croatia's football federation says its leaders were not involved in suspected touting of World Cup final tickets. Prosecutors in Zagreb asked police to investigate the illegal re-sale of tickets for Croatia's 4-2 loss against France in Moscow in July. FIFA says it is "gathering information regarding the matter" and calls illicit sales "a serious issue." The federation, whose president is 1998 World Cup striker Davor Suker, has promised to cooperate with the authorities. It says there were "no indiscretions"…

France, Belgium become first joint leaders in FIFA rankings history

ESPN FC's Shaka Hislop and Alejandro Moreno laud Kylian Mbappe's maturity and leadership following his performance against the Netherlands. Olivier Giroud ended his goal drought in style, scoring the game-winning volley to propel France past the Netherlands. Germany's Manuel Neuer admits that the team needed to change a lot of things after they failed to qualify for the knockout stages at the 2018 World Cup. France's Paul Pogba admits he found the short break between the World Cup and the Premier League season tough, physically and is cautious he doesn't get injured. France and Belgium have become the first-ever joint ranked leaders in the FIFA rankings. The latest published rankings show the two European nations exactly level on 1,729 points, something th...

Spain considers launching bid to host Euro 2028 or 2030 World Cup

Steve Nicol and Brian McBride react to Spain's relentless domination of World Cup runners-up Croatia in a surprising UEFA Nations League result. The president of the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) has reportedly sought the backing of Spain's government for a bid to host either the 2028 European Championship or the 2030 World Cup. On Wednesday, Luis Rubiales attended a protocol meeting between FIFA president Gianni Infantino and Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez at La Moncloa, the official residency of Spain's head of government. El Pais reported that among the issues raised was the possibility that Spain could stage a major…

England’s wing weakness exposed: Gareth Southgate needs a plan B

England manager Gareth Southgate looks forward to seeing how his side cope with the challenge of facing Spain. As Marcus Rashford keeps scoring for England, the FC crew discuss whether he should leave Man United in search of minutes in a central position. Steve Nicol breaks down both sides' performances in Spain's 2-1 win over England and responds to the controversial call on Danny Welbeck. At half-time of England's World Cup semifinal against Croatia in July, Gareth Southgate's side were cruising. A goal up from the fifth minute courtesy of Kieran Trippier's free-kick, England had dominated, enjoyed further chances, and should have been out of sight. Instead, they couldn't sustain their performance. Croatia rallied, enforced long spells of pressure, equalised...

Brazil coach Tite responds to President Trump’s World Cup criticism

Two first-half goals lifted Neymar and Brazil to victory over a young, experimental USMNT squad at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey. The ESPN FC crew are at odds as to whether or not Neymar being named captain of Brazil will make him a more mature player. Brazil's Neymar talks about being fouled at the FIFA World Cup in Russia, and says he's using it as a learning experience so he can handle it better in the future. Brazil coach Tite opened a news conference on Monday by responding to U.S. President Donald Trump's recent criticism of his team's World Cup performance, holding up his left hand to signify the five titles Brazil has won over the history of the competition. Trump joked with a reporter during a ceremony at the White House last month that Brazil "had a littl...

Woman charged for inciting attack on Belgium squad after World Cup

Belgium's Roberto Martinez feels his side don't feel pressure to win things as they expect to perform at the highest of standards. Former Scotland international Craig Burley reacts to Belgium's 4-0 thumping of a young and inexperienced Scotland side. A woman is in jail awaiting trial after inciting a terrorist attack on Belgium's World Cup squad, the country's federal court has stated. The woman, reported by La Derniere Heure as being Yousra Bouhaltit Soulaimane, 25, was detained in custody in early August and has been charged with "incitement to commit a terrorist act," Eric Van Der Sypt, the federal court's spokesperson, told AFP. It is alleged she sent a Telegram post calling for an attack on the July 15 celebrations staged to welcome the…

David De Gea, Paul Pogba among contenders in FIFPro World XI

Manchester United duo David De Gea and Paul Pogba have joined Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk among the contenders in the reckoning to feature in FIFPro and FIFA's World XI.  FIFPro and its affiliated player associations asked professional footballers to pick a team from the best players in world football last season. It will include one goalkeeper, four defenders, three midfielders and three attackers who were the best at their position in 2017-18. Once the 55 players have been selected, the…

Andreas Pereira always wanted to play for Brazil over Belgium. Now what?

Neymar looked like he was enjoying being back with the Brazil squad, as he celebrated in the style of Cristiano Ronaldo after scoring in a shooting drill. Steve Nicol and Alexis Nunes compare their picks for the stand-out friendlies during the international break. Timothy Weah talks about the bright future of U.S. soccer and how much he's looking forward to playing against PSG teammates Neymar and Thiago Silva. So: where were you on the night of July 6? The question was hardly a surprise but Andreas Pereira could have easily screwed up his answer. It was somehow an interrogation but instead of cops in a windowless room, the Manchester United player was surrounded by a press pack composed mainly of Brazilians ahead of Friday's friendly against the U.S. in East Rutherford, N.J. The...

Why a proposed Global Nations League would outshine the World Cup

Steve Nicol and Alexis Nunes face-off ahead of the first-ever round of UEFA Nations League qualifiers. All you need to know about the UEFA Nations League. We've entered a new era in soccer. It's the debut of the UEFA Nations League, a competition of national teams played throughout the continent. There's everything from England-Spain at Wembley in the league's top division, to Liechtenstein-Gibraltar in Vaduz in the bottom one. Meanwhile, international soccer officials are plotting to spread the Nations League across the planet. The idea is that every continent would host its own Nations League, and these would culminate in something even more interesting:…

World Cup photographer receives gift from Croatia’s Mario Mandzukic

While the name might not be instantly familiar, you'll no doubt remember Yuri Cortez as the photographer who quite literally got caught up in Croatia's World Cup celebrations. Cortez was knocked off his stool and engulfed by a muddle of Croatian players after Mario Mandzukic scored against England in the semifinals — which led to some truly brilliant photos being captured amid the chaos. Sensing an opportunity for a little positive PR, the Croatian National Tourist Board then offered the cameraman…