World Cup Daily: Sunday

Posted by ESPN staff

Republic of IrelandGettyImagesShay Given of Ireland celebrates victory and qualification to the next round after the 2002 World Cup Group E match between Ireland and Saudi Arabia. Ireland won the match 3-0.

On June 12, the world’s eyes turn to Brazil for the start of the 20th FIFA World Cup, but the planet’s biggest football tournament will have plenty of news and views in the months leading up to it. ESPN FC’s World Cup Daily blog is the place to be:

TOP STORIES:

• Iran have been also-rans for too long, and their World Cup preparation has not been ideal, John Duerden writes.
• Brazil star Neymar has told O Globo he will not miss the World Cup with the injury that could end his season at Barcelona, FIFA. Continue Reading...

Iran out to shed reputation as World Cup also-rans

Posted by John Duerden

Carlos Queiroz Iran celebrationGettyImagesCarlos Queiroz is looking to become the first man to guide Iran into the World Cup second round.

Iran may have never reached the second round of the World Cup in three previous appearances but that does not mean Team Melli’s participation has been forgettable -- far from it. When the West Asians appear on the global stage, they may leave fairly early but the stories remain for much longer. With games coming against Argentina, Bosnia and Nigeria this June, just how well Iran do in Brazil under coach Carlos Queiroz is set to become the most fascinating chapter yet. This is episode four, a new hope. Continue Reading...

World Cup Daily: Saturday

Posted by ESPN staff

Rivaldo feigns injury to ensure Hakan Unsal's dismissal at the 2002 tournamentGettyImagesBrazil forward Rivaldo feigns injury to ensure the dismissal of Turkey's Hakan Unsal at the 2002 tournament.

On June 12, the world’s eyes turn to Brazil for the start of the 20th FIFA World Cup, but the planet’s biggest football tournament will have plenty of news and views in the months leading up to it. ESPN FC’s World Cup Daily blog is the place to be:

TOP STORIES:

• Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure believes he does not get the respect he deserves because he is from Africa. The Ivory Coast international said: "I am very proud to be African, I want to defend African people and I want to show to the world that African players can be as good as the Europeans and South Americans. Continue Reading...

World Cup Daily: Friday

Posted by ESPN staff

Ghana GettyImagesGhana's players celebrate as US midfielder Maurice Edu (C) and goalkeeper Tim Howard (R) react after the 2010 World Cup round of 16 match on June 26, 2010 as Ghana won 2-1.


On June 12, the world’s eyes turn to Brazil for the start of the 20th FIFA World Cup, but the planet’s biggest football tournament will have plenty of news and views in the months leading up to it. ESPN FC’s World Cup Daily blog is the place to be:

TOP STORIES:

• Cristiano Ronaldo has told So Foot Junior of his desire to win the World Cup with Portugal this summer -- and believes it is possible with hard work. That would crown a great career,” Ronaldo told the French magazine. Continue Reading...

All-time Top 20: No. 1 Pele

Posted by John Brewin

ESPN FCOther / ESPN FCComparing the greatest, and the future greats.


ESPN FC has counted down the 20 greatest World Cup players of all time; this is the No. 1.

Name: Edson Arantes do Nascimento (Pele)
Nationality: Brazilian
Position: Forward/attacking midfielder
Clubs: Santos (1956-74), New York Cosmos (1975-77)
International career: 92 matches, 77 goals.
World Cup participation:
1958, 1962, 1966, 1970 - Played 14, Scored 12
Finest World Cup moment: Winning his third title at Mexico '70.
Roll of honour: Winner 1958, 1962, 1970

We live in a football era when many suggest Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are competing to be the best of all time. Continue Reading...

World Cup Daily: Thursday

Posted by ESPN staff

Michael Owen shrugs off Jose Chamot England vs Argentina 1998 World CupGettyImagesMichael Owen escapes the clutches of Jose Chamot on his way to scoring against Argentina in 1998.

On June 12, the world’s eyes turn to Brazil for the start of the 20th FIFA World Cup, but the planet’s biggest football tournament will have plenty of news and views in the months leading up to it. ESPN FC’s World Cup Daily blog is the place to be:

TOP STORIES:

• France coach Didier Deschamps has told BFM TV he would be willing to leave out some of the country’s best players if it gives his team a better chance at the World Cup. “This is not a squad for a friendly match,” the former Marseille manager said. Continue Reading...

All-time Top 20: No. 2 Diego Maradona

Posted by John Brewin

Diego MaradonaAPDiego Maradona celebrates after leading Argentina to the 1986 World Cup title.


ESPN FC is counting down the 20 greatest World Cup players of all time, with the identity of the No. 1 player announced on April 18.

Name: Diego Armando Maradona
Nationality: Argentina
Position: Attacking midfielder
Clubs: Argentinos Juniors (1978-80), Boca Juniors (1981-82), Barcelona (1982-84), Napoli (1984-91), Sevilla (1992-93), Newell’s Old Boys (1993-94), Boca Juniors (1995-98)
International career: 91 matches, 34 goals. 
World Cup participation: 1982, 1986, 1990, 1994 -- played 21, scored 8. Continue Reading...

World Cup gives Asia a chance to shine

Posted by John Duerden

Shinji KagawaGettyImagesManchester United's Shinji Kagawa is just one of a number of Asian stars ready to impress in Brazil.

The World Cup offers an opportunity to show the rest of the planet that football in Asia can be as exciting as anywhere else, as even the stars who make it big in Europe don’t always receive the recognition they deserve. The two biggest so far, Japan's Shinji Kagawa and South Korea's Park Ji-Sung, are different kinds of players but aren't always appreciated at first glance and don't usually score spectacular individual goals. These are intelligent players who make good teams better, and they are best-appreciated over a period of time. Continue Reading...

World Cup Daily: Wednesday

Posted by ESPN staff

Sweden APSweden's Freddie Ljungberg scored the game winning goal with a header against Paraguay in their 2006 group B match at the Olympic Stadium, Berlin, Germany. Sweden won, 1-0.

On June 12, the world’s eyes turn to Brazil for the start of the 20th FIFA World Cup, but the planet’s biggest football tournament will have plenty of news and views in the months leading up to it. ESPN FC’s World Cup Daily blog is the place to be:

TOP STORIES:

• Argentina coach Alejandro Sabella thinks that Brazil are one of the best teams at the World Cup -- in fact, given it's on home soil, they are favourites to take home the trophy. "I’d put Brazil on the same level as Spain and Germany now. Continue Reading...

All-time Top 20: No. 3 Johan Cruyff

Posted by John Brewin

Johan Cruyff GettyImagesUli Hoeness (on floor, l) brings down Netherlands' Johan Cruyff (on floor, r) in the first minute to concede a penalty in the 1974 final.


ESPN FC is counting down the 20 greatest World Cup players of all time, with the identity of the No. 1 player announced on April 18.

Name: Hendrik Johannes Cruyff 
Nationality: Netherlands
Position: Striker/Attacking midfielder
Clubs: Ajax (1964-73), Barcelona (1973-78), Los Angeles Aztecs (1979-80), Washington Diplomats (1980-81), Levante (1981), Ajax (1981-83), Feyenoord (1983-84)
International career: 48 matches, 33 goals. 
World Cup participation: 1974 - Played 7, Scored 3
Finest World Cup moment: Scoring volleyed goal v Brazil that took Holland to 1974 final   
Roll of honour: Runner-up 1974

Johan Cruyff almost certainly ranks as the finest player to fail to win the World Cup trophy. Continue Reading...

Selecao legend Rivelino fears for Brazil's future

Posted by Fernando Duarte

Getty ImagesRivellino has seen the good and the bad with Brazil, winning in 1970 but finishing fourth in '74 and third in '78.


One would think that a football school bearing the last name of a Brazil football legend would bring more traffic jams to the already clogged streets of São Paulo's Brooklyn neighborhood. But the Rivelino Sport Center is not the place hopeful parents and children should head to if they dream of glory days; instead, even the school's website is quite frank when giving information on its activities.

"Our football school aims to prepare kids for a healthy and structured future [sic] through the practice of sports," says the disclaimer, placed side-by-side with an ad about travel packages to the Disney Cup, where the visit to the Magic Kingdom is more highlighted than the tournament itself. Continue Reading...

England duo suffering wear and tear

Posted by John Brewin

Daniel Sturridge and Wayne RooneyGettyImagesDaniel Sturridge and Wayne Rooney are struggling with injuries towards the end of the season.

It is fair to say that Anfield has not proved to be the happiest of hunting grounds for England coach and former Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson. Some might say he is rather brave to bother re-visiting. A mix-up last September that saw him denied access to the directors’ box for the game against Manchester United might hasten further reluctance.

However, needs must. Liverpool might provide England with as many as six players for the summer’s World Cup campaign. On Sunday, Hodgson and assistant Ray Lewington witnessed a classic match between Liverpool and Manchester City and were able to view eight probable squad members featuring for both sides. Continue Reading...