1. Germany's Moment of World Cup Magic Means Lionel Messi Must Wait 4 More Years

    RIO DE JANEIRO —In what has been a brilliant World Cup, this always felt like a final that would be settled by a moment of brilliance...

    Guillem Balague Written by Guillem Balague about 11 days ago 4,439 reads 17 comments

  2. The Time Is Right for Lionel Messi and Argentina to End World Cup Wait

    "The Argentinean player, if he has a virtue is this one: he gets bigger in the biggest challenges,” renowned coach Angel Cappa said on Radio Onda Cera this week...

    Guillem Balague Written by Guillem Balague about 14 days ago 8,231 reads 66 comments

  3. Experienced Names in World Cup Semi-Finals, but Smaller Nations Learning Fast

    All things being equal, with everyone getting a fair shake of the dice and the vagaries of good fortune being evenly distributed, just what does it take to win a World Cup? I’ve ...

    Guillem Balague Written by Guillem Balague about 16 days ago 9,794 reads 12 comments

  4. Argentina Are Not Pretty, but They're Certainly Effective

    BRASILIA, Brazil — During the last few weeks, most of the big motivational talk from Alejandro Sabella has been about the solidity of the squad ...

    Guillem Balague Written by Guillem Balague about 19 days ago 30,962 reads 99 comments

  5. France Fail to Fire on the Big Stage as Germany Reach 'Home' Once Again

    RIO DE JANEIRO—This always looked like it would be a battle between the power of France's midfield, with Paul Pogba, Yohan Cabaye and Blaise Matuidi, and German resolve and ...

    Guillem Balague Written by Guillem Balague about 20 days ago 7,544 reads 24 comments

  6. Argentina Revert to Form vs. Switzerland, but Lionel Messi Still the Trump Card

    ARENA CORINTHIANS, SAO PAULO — After what looked like a marked improvement against Nigeria in their final group game, Argentina seemed to go back to their predictable, old ways against Switzerland on Tuesday in the round of 16...

    Guillem Balague Written by Guillem Balague about 23 days ago 16,370 reads 43 comments

  7. Lionel Messi Has World Cup in Sight, but Argentina Will Have to Win It His Way

    This always looked like it could be Lionel Messi ’s World Cup and early indications would suggest that the little magician from Rosario means business...

    Guillem Balague Written by Guillem Balague about 27 days ago 14,813 reads 64 comments

  8. Ander Herrera Is Well Worth the Year-Long Transfer Wait for Manchester United

    After their last attempt to sign Athletic Bilbao’s Ander Herrera descended into farce a year ago, Manchester United look to have finally got their man, which is not good news for the immensely proud Basque footballing institution...

    Guillem Balague Written by Guillem Balague about 29 days ago 27,759 reads 16 comments

  9. Guillem Balague: What Does Luis Suarez's Bite Mean for Barcelona Transfer?

    We all know what happened on Tuesday. Luis Suarez stands accused of biting Giorgio Chiellini and FIFA are investigating the incident...

    Guillem Balague Written by Guillem Balague about 29 days ago 25,182 reads 101 comments

  10. Barcelona and Real Madrid Will Push Hard to Get Luis Suarez out of Liverpool

    There should be no doubt that Real Madrid and Barcelona want Luis Suarez . Who wouldn ’t, by the way? But what is crucial here is what the player wants...

    Guillem Balague Written by Guillem Balague about 1 month ago 42,501 reads 159 comments

  11. Individual Focus on Rooney, Hodgson Hides Real Reasons for England World Cup Woe

    I’m not sure Lewis Carroll knew a lot about football, but when he wrote in Through the Looking-Glass : "The rule is jam tomorrow and jam yesterday —but never jam today," ...

    Guillem Balague Written by Guillem Balague about 1 month ago 18,466 reads 46 comments

  12. Spain's World Cup Party Is Over, but It's Time to Start Planning Another

    MARACANA , RIO — What a party that was, the best one of my life. It lasted six years—spanning the European Championships in 2008 and 2012 and the World Cup in ...

    Guillem Balague Written by Guillem Balague about 1 month ago 93,120 reads 322 comments

  13. Balague's World Cup Video Diary: How Spain Can Keep World Cup Alive vs. Chile

    Guillem Balague is in Rio, readying himself for Spain vs. Chile at the Maracana and with the defending champions facing a potential early exit after a heavy defeat to Netherlands...

    Guillem Balague Written by Guillem Balague about 1 month ago 2,587 reads 5 comments

  14. Tactical Masterclass from Louis Van Gaal the Undoing of Tired Spain

    SALVADOR, BRAZIL — While people all around the world are scratching their heads in disbelief following Netherlands’ 5-1 demolition of Spain, the reality perhaps is that this was far less surprising a result than some might think...

    Guillem Balague Written by Guillem Balague about 1 month ago 15,294 reads 23 comments

  15. Humiliation Against Holland Showed That Spain's Players Have Lost Their Fire

    SALVADOR, BRAZIL—A star on the shirt. Six years in paradise. A very bad defeat. Balance. That is the message from the Spain changing room and I totally subscribe to it. Even though there is no chance in hell they will do well in this World Cup...

    Guillem Balague Written by Guillem Balague about 1 month ago 36,210 reads 171 comments

  16. Guillem Balague's World Cup Video Diary: On Spain's World Cup Weaknesses

    Bleacher Report columnist Guillem Balague is on location in Rio and will be filing a weekly video diary during the World Cup—along with his usual output of columns. Guillem 's first entry comes from the apartment he is renting...

    Guillem Balague Written by Guillem Balague about 1 month ago 7,189 reads 1 comments

  17. Midfield Overload and Other Reasons Why Spain Could Struggle to Retain World Cup

    I said in my last report from Rio that there were many reasons why Spain might win the World Cup again. Unfortunately, there are also many reasons why they might not...

    Guillem Balague Written by Guillem Balague about 1 month ago 11,141 reads 31 comments

  18. Talk of Spain's Demise Is Extremely Premature

    Mark Twain once wrote "the report of my death was an exaggeration." Spanish football can claim the same. The realities are there for all to see...

    Guillem Balague Written by Guillem Balague about 1 month ago 8,666 reads 46 comments

  19. Atletico Madrid Out to Exorcise Ghosts of 1974 with 1st Champions League Triumph

    Atletico will go into their first-ever Champions League final with a first La Liga title in 18 years under their belt, safe in the knowledge that defeat would be unfortunate but hardly the end of the world...

    Guillem Balague Written by Guillem Balague about 2 months ago 6,092 reads 57 comments

  20. Real Madrid Aiming to End Long Quest for La Decima in Champions League Final

    Take your pick, Real or Atletico? Which part of Spain's capital city is going to enjoy the bragging rights following the first ever European final to feature two clubs from the same ...

    Guillem Balague Written by Guillem Balague about 2 months ago 28,298 reads 147 comments

  21. Premier League Clubs Set to Scrap for Barcelona's Cesc Fabregas

    On 15 August 2011, in an emotionally charged day at the Camp Nou at FC Barcelona , Cesc Fabregas told the cheering crowd as he kissed the badge of his No. 4 shirt, "I have come home...

    Guillem Balague Written by Guillem Balague about 2 months ago 90,910 reads 182 comments

  22. Diego Simeone Delivered Title Glory by Getting Maximum from Atletico's Players

    With Diego Simeone ’s Atletico Madrid winning the La Liga title—after it looked on some occasions like no one wanted to win it—the Argentine coach and former player has now won four trophies in just two and a half years...

    Guillem Balague Written by Guillem Balague about 2 months ago 8,358 reads 13 comments

  23. England Should Follow Spain's Lead on B Teams for Top Clubs

    I am amazed about the response to the debate over B teams in English football. The Football Association thought long and hard about it, before chairman Greg Dyke announced the plan on May 8...

    Guillem Balague Written by Guillem Balague about 2 months ago 11,869 reads 72 comments

  24. Europa League Triumph Would Be Fitting Tribute to Sevilla Hero Antonio Puerta

    With next season's Champions League places decided, all roads now lead to Turin for Sevilla , where the Andalusian club will be looking to become only the fourth club to win the UEFA Cup/Europa League for the third time...

    Guillem Balague Written by Guillem Balague about 2 months ago 6,814 reads 6 comments

  25. La Decima Obsession Costs Real Madrid as Barcelona, Atletico Spurn Title Chances

    Real Madrid may or may not finally achieve their ambition of winning La Decima — their 10th European Cup — this season. Arguably, however, this obsession has cost them the La Liga crown...

    Guillem Balague Written by Guillem Balague about 2 months ago 23,441 reads 138 comments