Previous
France
Croatia
4
2
FT
Match 64
Game Details
Belgium
England
2
0
FT
Match 63
Game Details
Next

World Cups are the worst time to buy a player

FIFA World Cup
Read

Diego Godin showing he's the world's best defender

World Cup
Read

Spanish FA was right to fire Lopetegui

Spain
Read
 By Nick Hornby

Nick Hornby: How England fell back in love with their national team

The ESPN FC boys dissect what went wrong in England's semifinal loss to Croatia.

(Editors' note: We asked Nick Hornby -- novelist and screenwriter who wrote about his obsessive fandom of Arsenal in "Fever Pitch" -- to reflect on what it's like to follow England during a World Cup. This is the third of three pieces he wrote for ESPN while England chased glory in Russia. His first, on the unbearable hope that comes from supporting England, can be read here. His second was about the World Cup of dreams.) 

These past three weeks have felt like they will soon serve as the backdrop...

 By Simon Kuper

Why World Cups are the worst time to buy a player

ESPN FC's Gab Marcotti shares the latest on Cristiano Ronaldo's links to Juventus, including his motives for wanting to leave Madrid.
With Croatia and England set to meet in the World Cup semifinals, the FC crew explain why the Three Lions will likely prove too much for Croatia.
With France brushing aside Uruguay and Brazil's elimination, the FC crew discuss whether Les Bleus are the clear favourites to win the World Cup.

MOSCOW -- A great soccer tradition is dying: the tournament transfer.

The way it worked for decades, some obscure player would transfix the world with an unforgettable goal or a few brilliant dribbles at a World Cup or European Championship. Some big club, treating the tournament as a scouting opportunity, would buy him. The signing of a "World Cup star" would delight fans and media. But usually everyone came to regret it.

Take Arsenal's purchase of Danish midfielder John Jensen in July 1992. The...

Uruguay's Diego Godin showing at World Cup that he's the best defender in football

The guys respond to your tweets about Brazil-Mexico, Simeone for Argentina, Uruguay's World Cup chances and Mbappe's performance against Cavani's.

It was a famous year for footballers called Diego. Famously, Diego Maradona won the World Cup in 1986. Less famously, Diego Godin was born. Thirty-two years on, this probably will not be a World Cup defined by a Diego -- not in the way 1986 was, anyway. Yet it might be a tournament in which another reaches new heights or, perhaps more accurately, in which his excellence gets the belated recognition it deserves.

Godin has been the best defender of the World Cup so far. He might have been the finest...

How the biggest teams in football could lure Cristiano Ronaldo to their club

Where will Cristiano Ronaldo go?

After Real Madrid won the Champions League in May, Cristiano Ronaldo cast doubt over his future. "It has been great being at Real Madrid," he said.

Was Ronaldo simply angling for a pay rise? Probably. Was he trying to hog the spotlight? Most definitely. But his cleverly worded yet vague statement put the world on notice that CR7 might be back on the market. The latest rumours link Ronaldo with Juventus

Even at 33, he wouldn't come cheap -- those Bugatti Veyrons don't pay for themselves,...

 By Nick Hornby

England to bring the World Cup home? This really is a World Cup of dreams

Steve McManaman explains why he's not concerned by England's defeat, after the Three Lions fielded a rotated squad against Belgium.
Jesse Lingard opens up about the strong spirit within the England squad and how they've responded to Gareth Southgate's philosophy.
England's Dele Alli insists there is no 'A or B team' in the squad and that the side aren't wary of James Rodriguez but the whole Colombia team.

(Editors' note: We asked Nick Hornby -- novelist and screenwriter who wrote about his obsessive fandom of Arsenal in "Fever Pitch" -- to reflect on what it's like to follow England during a World Cup. This is the second of three pieces he'll be writing for ESPN while England chases glory in Russia. His first, on the unbearable hope that comes from supporting England, can be read here.)

I'd like to begin by quoting from an email I wrote to a friend the night before the World Cup began about our predictor...

ESPN FC  By ESPN

Luka Modric beats Cristiano Ronaldo, tops World Cup Player Power Rankings

From best moment to the best coach, Kasey Keller and Ross Dyer pick what stood out most for them from a never-to-be-forgotten group stage.
The World Cup has reached the Round of 16 and we have seen some sensational fan reaction around the globe.
The ESPN FC guys examine the matchups to watch for in the round of 16 and the teams most likely to spring a surprise.
With the last 16 now set, ESPN FC's Craig Burley gets a second chance at predicting which team will be the last one standing in Russia.
With the last 16 now set, Stevie Nicol gets another chance at predicting which team will go all the way and win the World Cup.
With the last 16 now set, ESPN FC's Shaka Hislop gets a second chance at predicting which team will be the last one standing in Russia.

Who were the star performers in the group stage? We asked our global editorial desks to pick their Top 10 and collated the results to produce our final list. 

Also receiving votes: Andreas Granqvist, Aleksandr Golovin, Hirving Lozano, Kasper Schmeichel, Thiago Silva, Luis Suarez, Denis Cheryshev, Javier Hernandez, Carlos Vela.

Let us know what you think of the countdown by commenting below or on Twitter using #ESPNFCrankings.

Follow @ESPNFC on Twitter to keep up with the latest football updates.