1. 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 3 days ago 9,611 reads 12 comments

  2. 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 5 days ago 30,881 reads 99 comments

  3. 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 6 days ago 7,496 reads 24 comments

  4. 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 9 days ago 16,293 reads 43 comments

  5. 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 14 days ago 14,743 reads 64 comments

  6. 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 15 days ago 27,467 reads 16 comments

  7. 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 16 days ago 25,109 reads 101 comments

  8. 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 18 days ago 42,360 reads 159 comments

  9. 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 20 days ago 18,422 reads 46 comments

  10. 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 22 days ago 92,975 reads 322 comments

  11. 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 23 days ago 2,579 reads 5 comments

  12. 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 26 days ago 15,254 reads 23 comments

  13. 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 27 days ago 36,162 reads 173 comments

  14. 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 30 days ago 7,181 reads 1 comments

  15. 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 30 days ago 11,125 reads 31 comments

  16. 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 8,653 reads 46 comments

  17. 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 1 month ago 6,075 reads 57 comments

  18. 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 1 month ago 28,253 reads 147 comments

  19. 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 1 month ago 90,854 reads 182 comments

  20. 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 1 month ago 8,337 reads 13 comments

  21. 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 1 month ago 11,853 reads 72 comments

  22. 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 1 month ago 6,796 reads 6 comments

  23. 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 1 month ago 23,401 reads 138 comments

  24. Southampton Manager Mauricio Pochettino at Career Crossroads

    After a season that has seen Mauricio Pochettino take his Southampton side to an eighth-place Premier League finish, the former Argentinian international now finds himself at a crossroads in his career...

    Guillem Balague Written by Guillem Balague about 2 months ago 14,351 reads 6 comments

  25. Barcelona's Next Manager Will Have an Immense Task Ahead of Him

    Atletico Madrid’s shock defeat at Levante and Real Madrid dropping two points at home to Valencia means we still don’t know who’s going to end up lifting the La Liga Trophy this season...

    Guillem Balague Written by Guillem Balague about 2 months ago 27,287 reads 61 comments