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...

World Cup Daily: Tuesday

Posted by ESPN staff

NigeriaGettyImagesSunday Oliseh of Nigeria celebrates with teammate Finidi George after scoring the winning goal in the 1998 World Cup group D game against Spain at the Stade de la Beaujoire in Nantes, France. Nigeria won 3-2.


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:

• The World Cup trophy has reached Washington on its latest tour: with Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State John Kerry getting their hands on the famous gold. “This trophy represents the shared hopes and dreams of billions of people around the world,” Kerry said. Continue Reading...

All-time Top 20: No. 4 Ferenc Puskas

Posted by John Brewin

Ferenc PuskasGettyImagesHungary's Ferenc Puskas lashes a shot at goal as West Germany's Werner Liebrich tries to block in the 1954 World Cup 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: Ferenc Puskas 
Nationality: Hungary, Spain
Position: Inside-forward
Clubs: Honved (1943-56), Real Madrid (1958-1966)
International career: 85 matches, 84 goals. 
World Cup participation: 1954 - Played 6 games, scored 4.
Finest World Cup moment: Scoring the opening goal in 1954 final  
Roll of honour: Runner-up 1954

When the 1954 World Cup finals in Switzerland are considered, one team and their star player ring out, and that’s despite Hungary and Ferenc Puskas losing the final. Continue Reading...

World Cup Daily: Monday

Posted by ESPN staff

GermanyAPArgentina's Roberto Ayala scores in the second half of the quarterfinal World Cup match between Germany and Argentina at the Olympic Stadium in Berlin on June 30, 2006. Germany won 4-2 on penalties.

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

• Belgium’s “Golden Generation” have proved nothing yet despite reaching the World Cup, coach Marc Wilmots has told German football weekly kicker. READ MORE.
• Germany midfielder Sami Khedira has returned to full training at Real Madrid and looks set to have a chance to prove his fitness ahead of this summer’s World Cup. Continue Reading...