One to watch: Ross Barkley

One to watch: Ross Barkley

Ross Barkley is not afraid of being thrown in at the deep end when England start their World Cup campaign against Italy on Saturday.

2014 has echoes of 1950

2014 has echoes of 1950

Today's Brazil is a completely different country from the one that last hosted the World Cup in 1950 but some things have hardly changed even after 64 years.

Italy the masters of tournament timing

Italy the masters of tournament timing

With a squad containing the quality of Gianluigi Buffon, Andrea Pirlo and Mario Balotelli, the intelligence of coach Cesare Prandelli, an excellent record in finals tournaments and the team’s fine showing in last summer’s Confederations Cup, things are looking good for the “Azzurri” in Brazil.

Suarez makes Uruguay 23

Suarez makes Uruguay 23

Luis Suarez has been named in Uruguay's final 23-man squad for the FIFA World Cup despite struggling with a knee injury.

England face cutthroat group

England face cutthroat group

When England were drawn with Italy, Uruguay and Costa Rica in a tough first-round group, Football Association chairman Greg Dyke was caught by the TV cameras making a throat-slitting gesture as he sat alongside manager Roy Hodgson in the VIP audience in Salvador, Brazil.

Ruiz spearheads Costa Rican final 23

 Ruiz spearheads Costa Rican final 23

Costa Rica's Bryan Ruiz and Joel Campbell are expected to spearhead the attack at the World Cup finals in the absence of Alvaro Saborio and Bryan Oviedo as the country's final 23-man squad was named on Friday.

Costa Rica prepare for heavyweight battle

Costa Rica prepare for heavyweight battle

Jorge Luis Pinto's favourite formation is 5-4-1 although it often appears to be more of a 5-2-3. He always uses three centre-backs, and two full-backs who are not entirely free to attack all the time, but are certainly expected to do so whenever they can.

Gerrard optimistic about World Cup success

Gerrard optimistic about World Cup success

England captain Steven Gerrard is optimistic of his side enjoying success at this year's FIFA World Cup.

Italians always so flexible

Italians always so flexible

When Giancarlo Antognoni was injured in the 1982 World Cup semi-final against Poland, Enzo Bearzot, Italy’s pipe-smoking coach, could have named Giuseppe Dossena or Daniele Massaro in his place for the final.

Hodgson picks youthful 23

 Hodgson picks youthful 23

Roy Hodgson named the following 23-man provisional squad plus seven standby players for the World Cup finals on Monday.

Prandelli not about to panic

Prandelli not about to panic

Italy coach Cesare Prandelli is not about to press the panic button despite seeing his side's winless streak stretch to seven matches with Wednesday's 1-1 draw against minnows Luxembourg. 

Tabarez says Uruguay not part of elite

Tabarez says Uruguay not part of elite

Copa America champions Uruguay are fifth in the FIFA rankings, finished fourth at the 2010 World Cup and in Luis Suarez have one of the world's deadliest strikers, but coach Oscar Washington Tabarez does not rate his side among the elite football nations.

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