Monday, June 30, 2014

Robben dive sinks fuming Mexico

The Netherlands progressed to the quarter-finals of the World Cup in controversial circumstances on Sunday, as Arjen Robben's apparent, and flamboyant, dive resulted in a clinically dispatched penalty that sent Mexico crashing out late on.

El Tri had taken the lead in Fortaleza through a long-range screamer from Giovani dos Santos, but a volley from Wesley Sneijder followed promptly by Klaas-Jan Huntelaar's spot-kick completed a stunning turnaround.

But Robben has been harshly criticised for his theatrics and even admitted to diving in the match - though not for the penalty!

Charismatic Mexico boss Miguel Herrera, meanwhile, was apoplectic after the final whistle: "[The referee] put us out of the next stage... [Robben] dived three times, and the referee should have booked him the first time."
Monday, June 30, 2014 11:30

Sunday, June 29, 2014

All hail King James!

Forget Falcao, there's a new hero of Colombia and he goes by the name of James Rodriguez... or just James, if you'd prefer.

The Monaco star put in another outstanding performance, scoring two superb goals, as the South Americans defeated Uruguay to go through to the World Cup quarter-finals.

James now has five goals to his name at the tournament in Brazil and, who knows, by the end of the World Cup he may just be a more famous 'James' than NBA star LeBron...!
Sunday, June 29, 2014 12:00

Friday, June 27, 2014

Fifa bites back in Suarez saga

After Luis Suarez's bite on Giorgio Chiellini, Fifa moved to show their own disciplinary teeth by handing the Liverpool and Uruguay forward a lengthy ban.

Football's governing body suspended Suarez from all football-related activity for four months, which means he will miss the first nine Premier League matches of the upcoming season.

The 27-year-old has also been forced to leave the Uruguay training camp, and last night jetted out of Brazil as his World Cup came to a premature, and deeply controversial, end.
Friday, June 27, 2014 11:30

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Ronaldo lights up the World Cup...with a new haircut?

While Barcelona team-mates Lionel Messi and Neymar have been lighting up the World Cup for Argentina and Brazil respectively, Cristiano Ronaldo has endured a frustrating tournament with Portugal.

The Real Madrid star has made just one notable contribution, a stoppage-time assist against USA, while Neymar and Messi have both leapt to the top of the goalscoring charts with four strikes each.

However, highlighting his enduring stardom, Ronaldo could overshadow his rivals' achievements merely by his latest trip to the barbers. The 29-year-old has gone for a dramatic new Mohawk hairstyle that could prove a welcome distraction from his nation's struggles. 
Thursday, June 26, 2014 12:30

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Third time unlucky? Suarez bites again

Luis Suarez shocked the world on Tuesday by appearing to bite the shoulder of Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini in Uruguay's must-win clash against the Azzurri.

The 27-year-old was supported by domestic club Liverpool the last time he was involved in such an incident, with the Reds standing by the former Ajax man during a 10-game ban for delving his teeth into Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic.

With Fifa now investigated his latest indiscretion, Suarez could be set for another lengthy ban, which would be a major blow to both the Merseysiders and manager Brendan Rodgers.
Wednesday, June 25, 2014 12:30

Royal Rumble: Balotelli fails England

Mario Balotelli rallied English supporters on Friday, declaring on Twitter: "If we beat Costa Rica i want a kiss,obviously on the cheek, from the UK Queen."

It seemed a fair trade, all told, as England's slim hopes of qualifying from Group D depended entirely on Italy winning both of their remaining group stage matches.

What a pity then - for Queen and country - that Balotelli missed a series of chances against Costa Rica as the Azzurri stumbled to a 1-0 defeat - eliminating England in the process. No royal kiss for Mario.
Saturday, June 21, 2014 11:56

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Neymar carries Brazil into last 16

Brazil and Barcelona ace Neymar has lived up to his billing as the poster boy for this summer's World Cup as his double against Cameroon helped the Selecao on their way to top spot in Group A and a place in the last 16.

Luiz Felipe Scolari's men ran out 4-1 winners over the African side, with Neymar twice putting his side ahead in the first half before they romped to victory late on.

Neymar has now scored four of Brazil's seven goals at this summer's showpiece, topping the tournament's scoring charts, and if the home nation are to claim a sixth World Cup title then they are likely to do so on the back of their star player, who has carried the side into a last-16 clash with Chile.
Tuesday, June 24, 2014 10:00

Monday, June 23, 2014

Ronaldo stops USA in their tracks

USA were on course to reach the last 16 of the World Cup before Cristiano Ronaldo, who was subdued for the majority of the encounter, whipped in a sublime cross for Silvestre Varela to head home in the 95th minute and salvage a draw for Portugal.

Despite the draw, Jurgen Klinsmann's side are still in the driving seat to reach the knockout stage but they must still get at least a point out of their final game against Germany to ensure that goal difference will not be a factor in dumping them out of the competition.
Monday, June 23, 2014 12:00

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Klose equals Ronaldo's World Cup record

Germany striker Miroslav Klose hit the headlines yet again on Saturday as he bagged his 15th World Cup goal and a place in the history books.

The 36-year-old came off the bench to level the scores against Ghana, in an entertaining 2-2 draw, with a goal that sees him equal Ronaldo’s record that has stood since 2006.

Next up for Germany is their final group game against USA, with Klose able to move clear at the top of the standings should he find the target again.
Sunday, June 22, 2014 11:47

Friday, June 20, 2014

Suarez pushes England towards World Cup exit

A World Cup campaign that began with cautious optimism appears to be over after just one week and two games for England, as a double from Luis Suarez in Sao Paulo consigned the Three Lions to their second successive 2-1 defeat in Brazil.

Roy Hodgson's men are not quite out of the tournament just yet, but now require a miracle to progress from a competitive Group D. England must hope Italy can beat both Costa Rica and Uruguay, while must overcome the former themselves in their final match.

But no side has ever lost their first two group games at a World Cup and still progressed to the knock-out rounds, while only one team - Chile in 1998 - has qualified with just three points (since three points were awarded for a victory). Thus, Suarez's brace appears to have handed England a premature flight home.
Friday, 20 June 2014 13:00

Balotelli and Wenger: The Odd Couple

Mario Balotelli could be set for a sensational return to the Premier League with Arsene Wenger set to meet his agent on Saturday.

As revealed by Goal, the Arsenal boss is set to discuss a £25 million move for the Italy internationalas he attempts to seal the Gunners’ first major transfer of the summer.

Balotelli’s agent Mino Raiola has previously admitted that “anything is possible” when asked about a potential transfer to Arsenal, as Wenger prepares to gamble on the controversial striker.
Wednesday, 18 June 2014 13:06

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Stark reality bites in Spain's Roja wedding

It's over, it's finally over. Spain, reigning world and European champions have been dumped out of the World Cup thanks to a colossal performance from Chile.

Jorge Sampaoli's side, also nicknamed La Roja, scored twice in the first half in a frantic end-to-end game of football in Rio de Janeiro.

And for Vicente del Bosque's team it was very much a case of one tournament too far for a group of players who have defined an era. There will be casualties from this exit, not least if they fail to even take home the wooden spoon in their final game against Australia.
Thursday, 19 June 2014 12:46

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Half-fit Ronaldo overrun by ruthless Germany

Poor Ronaldo. He spent all week battling an ongoing knee problem to make Portugal's opening game in Group G against Germany, only to be shackled over the course of a 90 minute 4-0 defeat.

Tendonitis may have restricted his training time in the lead up to the game but the 29-year-old looked fit enough and did draw Manuel Neuer into a couple of good saves.

But when all was said and done (and Pepe had received his marching orders), Ronaldo could do nothing to drag his side away from a heavy defeat.
Tuesday, 17 June 2014 12:22

Perfect Pirlo hands out lesson to England's youngsters

England were made to pay for their missed chances as they slipped to a 2-1 defeat to Italy in their opening Group D fixture.

Claudio Marchisio opened the scoring in Manaus but while Daniel Sturridge was quick with England’s leveller, Mario Balotelli had the final say with his second-half header.

Andrea Pirlo put in another masterclass performance as his superb distribution was capped by a cute dummy in the build-up to Marchisio’s strike.
Sunday, June 15, 2014 12:00

Portugal 2014 Tribute

Cristiano Ronaldo and Co.

France 2014 Tribute

Don't forget to watch GoalToons episode about France world cup history: 


Monday, June 16, 2014

Messi follows in Maradona's foosteps

Lionel Messi began his World Cup campaign in fine style with a thrilling goal to secure a 2-1 win over Bosnia & Herzegovina in Argentina’s opening game in Brazil.

The South American side have not won the World Cup since 1986 when Diego Maradona inspired his country to victory in Mexico with Messi out to emulate the Argentina legend.

Of course the 1986 tournament is famously remembered for Maradona's 'Hand of God' goal against England which was followed by a superb, individual second goal as Argentina won 2-1 on their way to being crowned world champions.
Monday, June 16, 2014 12:01

Saturday, June 14, 2014

A tribute to England 2014

Don't forget to watch the animation of England's history in the World Cup:

Van Persie and Robben tuck into Spanish feast

Spain endured a miserable start to their World Cup 2014 campaign after being thrashed 5-1 by Netherlands on Friday night.

Xabi Alonso gave the holders the lead from the penalty spot but Louis van Gaal’s men scored a stunning equaliser from Robin van Persie to ensure the two sides went in level at the break.

The second half was one to forget for the Spanish, with goals from Stefan de Vrij, another for Van Persie and an Arjen Robben double sealing an incredible win. 
Saturday, 14 June 2014 11:51

A tribute to Spain 2014

Don't forget to watch the animation of Spain's history in the World Cup:

Neymar the star of the World Cup circus

The World Cup kicked-off in Brazil on Thursday with the hosts securing a 3-1 victory in their opening game against Croatia.

The hosts survived conceding an own goal to clinch the win with Neymar scoring twice before Oscar poked home a late third.

However, the game was not without controversy with Croatia furious at the award of Brazil’s penalty, while Niko Kovac's side were also denied a goal when Ivica Olic was adjudged to have fouled goalkeeper Julio Cesar.
Friday, 13 June 2014 12:25

Thursday, June 12, 2014

A tribute to Brazil 2014

Don't forget to watch the animation of Brazil's history in the World Cup:

Out of this world: Blatter predicts interplanetary football

Fifa president Sepp Blatter has insisted there is no reason why football could not be played on other planets in the future.

Speaking at a Fifa congress in Brazil, the 78-year-old said future tournaments could be contested between planets, rather than countries.

"We should wonder if one day our game will be played on other planets,” he said.

“Why not? And then instead of a World Cup we would have an inter-planetary competition.”
Thursday, 12 June 2014 12:15

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Van Gaal scouts Shaw ahead of record-breaking deal

With his duties at Manchester United not set to start until after the World Cup, Louis van Gaal is wasting no time assessing his desired transfer targets while in charge of Netherlands.

Goal exclusively revealed on Tuesday that Luke Shaw has agreed a deal with £160,000 a week to leave Southampton, making him the highest-paid teenager in the world.

Despite reports of a training group bust-up between Arjen Robben and Bruno Martins Indi at the Netherlands' training camp, Van Gaal's focus appears to be elsewhere.
Wednesday, 11 June 2014 12:00

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Inzaghi edges out Seedorf at Milan

The change that had been expected for some time finally arrived on Monday as AC Milan confirmed that Clarence Seedorf had been removed as coach after only half a season in Serie A.

Taking his place in the dugout for the Rossoneri is Pippo Inzaghi, who has had a great deal of success in charge of the club's youth side since retiring from playing in 2012.

The perennially offside former striker found himself on the right side of Adriano Galliani this time as he edged out his old team-mate.
Tuesday, 10 June 2014 12:26

GoalToons: World Cup moments

Get animated by watching the heroes, villains and highlights of previous tournaments as you have never seen them before. Eight episodes on World Cup greatest nations. The videos are available in English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Japanese, Portuguese and Arabic.

GoalToons: Brazil

GoalToons: Italy

GoalToons: Germany

GoalToons: Argentina

GoalToons: England

GoalToons: France

GoalToons: Spain

GoalToons: Netherlands

GoalToons credits:
Animation Director: Omar Momani
Animation: Sameer Aburezeq
Animation Assitant: Bassem Nabil
Narration on Germany, England and Netherlands: Mike V. Derderian

Napoli scoff at Arsenal's Insigne interest

Clubs are always looking to drive a hard bargain, but it seems Arsenal have pushed their luck already this summer.

Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis has scoffed at the Gunners’ supposed interest in Italy winger Lorenzo Insigne and suggested there is no chance of signing the 23-year-old for a cut-price fee.

“Arsenal offer 20 million for Insigne? This makes me laugh. I want to make Insigne rise to a value of 60-70 million,” De Laurentiis told Repubblica.
Monday, 9 June 2014 12:00

France suffer Ribery blow

France have been dealt a major blow to their World Cup hopes after Franck Ribery was ruled out with a back injury.

"He is not capable of training for a few weeks, let alone playing a game," said Didier Deschamps.

But despite the absence of the Bayern Munich attack, the France boss is still not inclined to call up Manchester City’s Samir Nasri.
Saturday, 7 June 2014 12:00

Sunday, June 8, 2014

World Cup party about to get started

With the dust having settled on most nation's World Cup warm-up friendlies, attentions can now be turned to the main event with the World Cup just four days away.

England concluded their preparations in a feisty encounter against Honduras and can next be seen taking on Italy in Manaus on Saturday, while hosts Brazil kick off the tournament on Thusday.

The Three Lions flew from Miami to Rio de Janeiro straight after their 0-0 draw, while plenty of other sides, including the likes of Germany, have finally touched down in Brazil.
Sunday, 8 June 2014 12:45

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Scholes orders Welbeck to shackle Pirlo

Much like Euro 2012, Andrea Pirlo could prove to be the thorn in England’s side when Roy Hodgson’s charges face Italy in their World Cup opener.

But Paul Scholes has a plan to keep the midfield maestro quiet.

"For Manaus, we need an English Park Ji-Sung - one England player designated to man-mark him. Looking at the squad,” the former Manchester United star told Paddy Power.

Danny Welbeck (a good defender who can nick the ball well) could be an option and would be a bold decision, one which gives England a creative outlet and saddles Pirlo with defensive work."

All the best, Danny.
Friday, 6 June 2014 12:00

Friday, June 6, 2014

Injuries pile up ahead of World Cup

Injuries have already made their mark on the World Cup with the likes of Victor Valdes, Kevin Strootman and Theo Walcott all failing to make the tournament long before its even begun.

And the injuries continue to pile up.

Italy have been dealt a blow as midfielder Riccardo Montolivo will miss out with a broken leg, while there were scares during Wednesday’s friendlies for Robin van Persie and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Thursday, 5 June 2014 12:00

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Scolari fumes at sub-par show in Brazil training

It's back to the drawing board for Brazil boss Luiz Felipe Scolari after Sunday’s training session did not turn out as well as he had hoped.

"I did not like the training, I did not like anything, all wrong," the 65-year-old told Globo TV.

"When I do not like something I have to find a solution, put it on the field, until I'm satisfied."

You’ve only got eight days left to get it right, Luiz.
Tuesday, 3 June 2014 12:00

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Lampard calls time on Chelsea career

After 13 years at Chelsea which included winning three Premier League titles, four FA Cups, two League Cups, the Champions League and the Europa League, Frank Lampard will be looking for a new club this summer.

Reports suggest that no less than 16 sides are keen on a move for the 35-year-old, who has admitted that a switch to MLS is an option.

"I'm looking at different options but I want to carry on playing,” said the midfielder.

"I'd like to get it sorted soon, not in World Cup time, but after that. I'm not sure it's possible to do now.

"I can go into the World Cup with a clear head. I can handle it. It's a weight off my shoulders to a certain extent.

"I'm a big enough boy to get on and concentrate fully on this World Cup with England."
Wednesday, 4 June 2014 12:00