Chelsea’s Diego Costa celebrates scoring his side’s first goal  during a pre-season friendly at Stamford Bridge The club are pinning their Premier League title hopes hopes on  the former Atletico Madrid man hitting  the back of the net regularl in the season ahead. Photograph: Andrew Matthews/PA

Given a ball has not been kicked and around 500 players are yet to appear in any of the 380 Premier League matches that will unfold across the next 10(...)

Brazil’s coach Luiz Felipe Scolari during the 3-0 defeat to   the Netherlands in the  2014 World Cup third-place play-off at the Brasilia National Stadium. Photograph: Ueslei Marcelino / Reuters

Brazil players apologised to fans on Saturday night after another hugely disappointing World Cup performance in the third-place play-off match, which (...)

Daley Blind of the Netherlands celebrates his goal against Brazil with teammates Ron Vlaar (left) and Georginio Wijnaldum  at the Brasilia National Stadium. Photograph: Ruben Sprich / Reuters

Brazil 0 Netherlands 3Brazil were booed off the pitch in Brasilia as their disappointing World Cup campaign ended in another humiliating defeat. Robin(...)

Ill-advised: Neymar appears in an ad for 7-UP. Oh dear.

Neymar, please, no more Unfortunate Sponsorship Deals of our Times: Neymar and 7UP, as 14 gazillion people in cyberspace pointed out when Germa(...)

 Germany’s Toni Kroos  celebrates with Miroslav Klose  and Sami Khedira at the Estadio Mineirao in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.

On a shuttle bus in Fortaleza a couple of weeks ago I saw a famous former player who works in international football. He was chatting idly to a jou(...)

A Brazilian fan during the 7-1 semi final defeat to Germany  in Belo Horizonte. Photograph: EPA

In the end, for Brazil, there was only humiliation. This 7-1 hammering at the hands of Germany on an incredible, surreal evening in Belo Horizo(...)

Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari gestures on the sideline during the  World Cup  semi-final defeat to Germany at  the Estadio Mineirao in Belo Horizonte. Photograph: Felipe Trueba/EPA

Brazil manager Luiz Felipe Scolari described the 7-1 destruction at the hands of Germany as “the worst night of my life,” but insisted that Brazilian(...)

Brazil’s Willian attends a training session in Teresopolis near Rio de Janeiro on Monday. Brazil will meet Germany in their 2014 World Cup semi-finals on Tuesday. Photograph:  Marcelo Regua/Reuters

Much like Ireland in 2002, Brazil has, over the last few days, become utterly focussed on a man who is no longer available to play. The locals are hav(...)

Injured Brazilian national soccer team player Neymar waits to be airlifted home from Brazil’s training camp inTeresopolis, near Rio de Janeiro. Marcelo Regua/Reuters

Brazilian coach Felipão did not bother mincing his words when he described Neymar’s enforced absence from the rest of the World Cup as a “catastrop(...)

 Brazil’s David Luiz scores his side’s second goal from a free-kick against Colombia during the World Cup quarter-final at the Arena Castelao in Fortaleza. Photograph:  Tolga Bozoglu/EPA

Brazil 2 Colombia 1 It was a supremely ugly win for Brazil, but one they will have been delighted with before the crushing news that Neymar, th(...)