Real Madrid’s Gareth Bale scores the second in  their Uefa Champions League Group B game against  FC Basel at Santiago Bernabeu. Photograph: Georgios Kefalas / EPA

Real Madrid 5 FC Basel 1Real Madrid escaped to Europe for a little therapy. It is 114 days and only six games since they won the trophy that defines t(...)

Atletico Madrid’s Arda Turan (centre) celebrates scoring the winning goal in the La Liga game against Real Madrid at the  Bernabeu  with team-mates Tiago (left) and Raul Garcia. Photograph: Juan Medina/Reuters

Spanish football round-up: Real Madrid’s early-season woes deepened when they lost 2-1 at home to La Liga champions Atletico Madrid on Saturday, while(...)

Midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger, a key figure in Germany’s triumph,  with  the World Cup trophy after last Sunday’s victory in Rio. Photograph: Patrik Stollarz/AFP/Getty Images

As the World Cup begins, Joachim Löw is the longest-serving manager in the tournament, but he’s still pondering a question that probably should hav(...)

 Goalkeeper Manuel Neuer of Germany saves a shot from France’s Karim Benzema of France during their World Cup quarter-final  at Estadio do Maracana in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Photograph:   Marcus Brandt/EPA

In second-half injury time during the France-Germany quarter-final last Friday, Karim Benzema broke free on the left of the German penalty area. My(...)

France’s  head coach Didier Deschamps kicks a ball during a training session at the Botafogo soccer club’s Santa Cruz stadium. Photograph: Charles Platiau/Reuters

For a man once belittled by Eric Cantona as “a water carrier,” Didier Deschamps has certainly made a habit of carrying lots of trophies. French repor(...)

Mathieu Valbuena (left) celebrates with Olivier Giroud during the last-16 match against Nigeria at Estadio Nacional in Brasilia. Photograph: Jeff Gross/Getty Images

It says something about the state they were in that a major footballing power like France can be regarded by so many as a surprise package at this Wor(...)

Paul Pogba of France celebrates his goal against Nigeria at the Estadio Nacional in Brasilia. Photograph: EPA

France 2 Nigeria 0The French continue to move forward at this World Cup and yet they have yet to completely shake the suspicion that they are simply f(...)

France coach Didier Deschamps: “My only concern is the match against Nigeria,” he said, talking down speculation about his team’s prospects of going all the way. Photograph: Shawn Thew/EPA.

If there was an upside for Didier Deschamps to the various disasters that had befallen the French side in the years before he took charge, it was that(...)

To infinity and beyond Robin Van Persie may have looked like Buzz Lightyear as he took flight to head in one of the goals of the tournament in the Net(...)

France’s  Blaise Matuidi in action against Switzerland during the Group E clash  at Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador, Brazil. Photo:  Christopher Lee/Getty

There are several ways to win a World Cup but finding momentum at just the right moment is one of the surest paths to success. Just ask the unfancied(...)