Now is the team for Kane to deliver on the world stage


He may be the tournament’s leading goalscorer but Harry Kane has failed to make his full force felt on game so far in this World Cup – as England prepare to play what is easily their biggest tournament fixture since 1996, now is the time for the time’s captain to make his mark on the tournament and propel England to the final of international football’s biggest fixture.

Harry Kane’s World Cup tournament couldn’t have started better, two exceptional poacher’s finishes giving England a victory over Tunisia in a tie that seemed destined to finish all-square.

And whilst the Englishman then went on to net a hat-trick against Panama and another Continue reading

Jordan Henderson highlights credentials as all-round midfielder and leader


Jordan Henderson’s exploits in the World Cup have been critical to England’s success across the tournament. Ahead of the side’s clash with Croatia, we took the opportunity to explore the tenets of his game that have won around fans from across the nation.

Whilst the Englishman has often been accused of being too conservative with his range of passing when in the Red of Liverpool, he has all but put that criticism to bed for his national team – offering an array of passing that has contributed significantly to his side’s journey to the semi finals and firmly established himself as the number one centre midfielder ahead of the likes of Eric Dier and Fabian Delph. Continue reading

Brazil bow out following defeat to Belgium


Five-times World Cup champions Brazil bowed out of the World Cup last week after a mediocre campaign was finally brought to an end by Roberto Martinez’s Belgium side in Kazan.

In a crunch match in which Brazil would have to show their mettle and championship-winning credentials if they were to continue into the latter stages of the competition, the side found themselves behind early on when Nacer Chadli’s corner struck Fernandinho’s arm, beating an unsuspecting Alisson.

Brazil had conceded just one goal in their past four games in Russia and their opponents took advantage of the malaise that followed the surprise goal – creating a Continue reading

Martinez deserves credit for brave decisions


Roberto Martinez is a manager who has certainly faced his critics in English football, especially following a tenure as Everton boss that saw his sides often blow hot and cold.

However, with his side 2-0 down against minnows Japan and in the face of a shock exit from the World Cup, the former Wigan manager showed his nous to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

Many were quick to malign the Spaniard’s tactical decisions when he opted to bring on Maroune Fellaini and Nacer Chadli in a bit to turn the game around.

Those people were soon left with egg on their face as the introductions quickly turned Continue reading

Which players have announced themselves this World Cup?


The World Cup is notoriously a tournament in which new stars can often emerge or firmly establish themselves as someone deemed eligible for the upper echelons of world football.

With us on the brink of hitting the quarter finals of the tournament, we’ve taken the opportunity to look at some of those building a reputation in 2018

Kylian Mbappe, France

Whilst the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi failed to drag their sites through from the round of 16, Mbappe was the man of the hour when his side needed a star to save the day against Argentina. Continue reading

Abject Spain crash out of tournament


Fernando Hierro’s Spain were left licking their wounds as they crashed out of the World Cup Following a disappointing performance that leaves many querying where they go from here.

Spain went ahead early in the tie when 38-year-old Russian defender Sergei Ignashevich inadvertently turning a Marco Asensio free kick into his own net as he bid to stop Sergio Ramos at the back post.

Despite going ahead, Spain failed to turn their dominance into further chances and paid the price before half-time as the tournament hosts secured a shock penalty as Artem Dzyuba’s header from a corner hit Gerard Pique‘s outstretched arm. Continue reading

How Croatia have emerged as serious contenders this World Cup


Few in the Croatian national team would never have dreamt that they would have dreamt that they would have been in the position they find themselves in as they prepared for the advent of the World Cup.

Dropped into a group with the last tournament’s runners-up that boasts one of the most potent attacking line ups in world football, a Nigeria side brimming with confidence and an Icelandic team renowned for their ability to ground out a result, they would be justified in believing that they were in for a gruelling battle to qualify for the knock out rounds.

However, it has not been thus. Continue reading

Has an unlikely hero emerged for the Spanish national team?


Despite topping their group following a dramatic 2-2 draw with Morocco last night, even the most ardent of Spanish football fans will feel that their World Cup campaign has yet to reach the high expectations that are set for the national team.

With the slow erosion of the national team’s tiki-taka prime since the retirement of the iconic duo of Xabi and Puyol, coupled with Iniesta’s waning influence on proceedings and the omission of Chelsea’s Cesc Fabregas, Spanish football is facing an identity crisis shaped by an uncertainty as to the sort of team that they now are.

This loss of a strategic approach to their last two international tournaments, Continue reading

Defeat puts Argentina on brink of shock exit


Argentina’s desperate World Cup campaign continued as they followed up their 1-1 draw with minnows Iceland with an abject performance against Croatia that saw them humbled in a 3-0 thrashing at the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium.

Following a first half in which both sides failed to break the deadlock – the importance of the occasion clearly weighing heavily on the minds of both sets of players – Argentina saw themselves fall behind in this critical tie in horror-show circumstances.

Having fielded a seemingly regulation back pass, Chelsea’s Willy Caballero inexplicably handed his side’s opponents the initiative early on in the second half as his poorly executed chip over Ante Rebic afforded the striker the opportunity to volley home into Continue reading

Abject opening defeat puts big pressure on champions


Incumbent champions Germany kicked-off their World Cup campaign in the worst possible fashion as a lacklustre performance from the side saw them succumb to a 1-0 defeat against opponents Mexico, whose dynamic performance saw Germany full far short of the quality they’ve delivered in past campaigns.

Now, significant questions must be asked within the set-up, if they are to turn around a campaign that is already threatening to derail.

Coming off the back of a round of World Cup warm-up matches that were far than flattering for the world champions – which included a narrow victory over lowly Saudi Arabia – the defeat is the latest in a trend of poor results for a team that look low on Continue reading