• Suarez and Tyson: Biters of the world Unite

    The raw temperament that makes some sports stars fly off the handle can also be what makes them so talented – but can the tantrums of a genius ever be tamed?

    And if they could, would you even want to do so?

    The World Cup offers players two or three opportunities at best to perform on the global stage and each time they carry the pressure of the hopes of a nation on their shoulders.

    It is no wonder, then, that it often creates crazy moments like the Luis Suarez biting incident.

    Suarez now has a hat trick of bites but he's not the only one: England forward Jermain Defoe actually bit Javier

    Read More »from The sports biters who literally drew blood – and can they ever be stopped?
  • As the Argentina squad joyously ran towards Sergio Romero, and Leo Messi emotionally let it all out, there was one player conspicuously left at the centre circle following the squad's penalty shoot-out victory.

    Javier Mascherano had sunk to his knees, as if overcome by the moment rather than energised by it. It was the only time that could have been said on the night, in what was a masterclass by the defensive midfielder against the Netherlands.

    It was also quite an image, but not the only one like it. Alejandro Sabella described Mascherano himself as “a symbol, an emblem”.


    Read More »from Argentina showing the mettle that will win them the World Cup
  • Van Gaal bows out with his reputation enhanced

    You suspect Louis Van Gaal hates the notion that penalties are a lottery.

    To Van Gaal, everything is controllable. Risks can always be minimised. The possibility of defeat can always be lessened.

    He, you could say, had played his part. He had said he had a plan for Lionel Messi and Argentina, and it was one that had worked perfectly. The little maestro was anonymous, marked out of the game first by Nigel De Jong and then Jordy Clasie, a triumph for Van Gaal and his meticulous plans.

    The problem was that Holland were unable to offer anything going forward, scarcely presenting a threat in a

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  • Colombia's football federation will provide security measures for defender Camilo Zuniga over threats he has received for a foul that ended Brazilian forward Neymar's World Cup.

    Zuniga's raised-knee challenge during a rough quarter-final when Brazil beat Colombia 2-1 left Neymar with a broken vertebra and out of the hosts' semi-final against Germany.

    The 28-year-old right-back, who plays his club football with Napoli, sent his best wishes for a speedy recovery to Neymar and said there was no ill intent in the clash.

    But there was a vitriolic reaction in some quarters, especially from Brazil,

    Read More »from Protection offered to Colombia’s Zuniga after death threats over Neymar foul
  • Indispensable Mascherano wasted in Barcelona role

    They are almost there. Argentina are a step closer to ensuring Brazil’s worst nightmare becomes a reality.

    They managed to overcome a determined Netherlands side to secure a place in the World Cup final against Germany on Sunday at the Maracana. Beat Germany, which will be no mean feat, and Brazil will have to endure the ignominy of seeing their fiercest rivals collect football’s greatest prize in their own backyard.

    Sergio Romero will likely receive the plaudits for getting Argentina there. He did, to be fair, save two penalties in the shoot-out that Argentina won 4-2.

    However, the game’s

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  • Overreaction Theatre: What’s the point without any goals?

    It seems as though some football fans have been rather spoilt at this World Cup. When presented with the tournament's second semi-final - an admittedly dour goalless draw between Argentina and the Netherlands that was eventually settled by penalties - more than a few disgruntled onlookers voiced their discontent at not having another thriller to enjoy. How dare this World Cup produce such a boring spectacle? The cheek of it!

    Read More »from Overreaction Theatre: What’s the point without any goals?
  • Shameful and shocking: concussion warnings again not heeded

    After Alvaro Perreira was knocked out but carried on in Uruguay's win over England earlier in the tournament, FIFA were urged to change their rules by FIFPro, the players' union. By definition, players who have just suffered a concussion are not the best people to judge whether they should play on, a view supported by Perreira's comments after his incident. "It was that moment with your adrenaline flowing in your body,” he said. “Maybe without thinking what I really wanted to do was to help get the result.”

    Put simply, the players

    Read More »from Seven Truths: More shocking concussion controversy, Villa man bosses Messi
  • The World Cup was meant to be a shop window for Belgium’s young stars to showcase their abilities to the globe’s top clubs.

    Instead, a Belgium fan deflected the attention away from the pitch as she donned the red, yellow and black to support her nation against Russia during the group stage.

    Snaps of Axelle Despiegelaere flooded the internet as hoards of social media users coveted her beauty - prompting French cosmetics company L’Oreal to make an approach for the 17-year-old during the summer transfer window.

    On Tuesday, Axelle announced on her Facebook page that she had penned a deal with

    Read More »from Hugely popular Belgium fan goes viral, earns modelling contract
  • In their first game, they scored five. In their second, three. Then two, two, zero and zero. The diminishing goal returns of the Netherlands at this World Cup mirrored the way the tournament as a whole has gone, with the notable exception of that freakiest of freak results in Belo Horizonte on Tuesday.

    It is most certainly not a coincidence that the Dutch strike-rate has fallen alongside Robin van Persie's. The Manchester United forward found the net five times in the group stage – including that most remarkable diving lobbed header against Spain, and an emphatic belted finish against

    Read More »from How far could the Netherlands have gone if Van Persie had showed up?
  • France golden boy Pogba has world at his feet

    He and his young French team-mates may have missed a golden opportunity in Brazil, but at just 21 years old, Manchester United reject Paul Pogba now has the world at his feet.

    Pogba’s self-admitted “nonchalant, play easy” approach is often seen as petulant and arrogant. His affrontive attitude upset his first club, Le Harve, and then saw him fall out of favour with Sir Alex Ferguson, despite his clear natural talent.

    He left United for Juventus under a cloud in June 2012 but now, just two years later, he is France’s golden boy and has several suitors for a potential return to the Premier

    Read More »from France golden boy Pogba has world at his feet