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(...)

Brazil’s Neymar practising his free-kick technique at the Arena de Sao Paulo ahead of the hosts’ World Cup opener against Croatia. Photo: Christopher Lee/Getty Images

It may be hard to imagine Brazil kicking off this World Cup against Croatia without a certain amount of swagger.But don’t be entirely surprised if thi(...)

 Vicente del Bosque  celebrates as he lifts the World Cup with his team during the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Final match between Netherlands and Spain at Soccer City Stadium on July 11th, 2010. Photograph: Michael Steele/Getty Images

Vicente del Bosque is inscrutable. It’s difficult to know what goes on behind that flowerbox moustache he sports. He never betrays emotion during a ga(...)

Wayne Rooney reflects on England’s defeat at the hands of Germany in South Africa during the 2010 World Cup. Photograph: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

The first international tournament I covered was the 2002 World Cup in Japan and Korea. I followed the Irish team and I didn’t see any England games. (...)

Andrea Pirlo remains the key man for  Italy. Photograph: Claudio Villa/Getty Images

Manager: Cesare Prandelli Best finish: Winners (1934, 1938, 1982, 2006) World Cup record: Played 83, Won 45, Drawn 21, Lost 17 History (...)

West German goalkeeper Toni Schumacher (right) jumps past the ball as he gets ready to collide with French defender Patrick Battiston during the 1982 World Cup semi-final in Stockholm. Battiston was carried off the field on a stretcher while Schumacher, unpunished,  resumed play with a goal-kick. Photograph: AFP

The semi-final stage of the World Cup has, on balance, not been particularly kind to France. In 1958, the free-scoring team of Just Fontaine and Raymo(...)

Real’s Sergio Ramos, second left, scores his side’s second  goal past Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer during the Champions League semi-final second leg  at the Allianz Arena ,  Munich. Photograph: AP.

DAVID HYTNER At long last, Real Madrid can almost touch La Decima. This was an (...)

Republic of Ireland soccer supporters, such as Mr O’Fliorpál, could well be on their way to Brazil in June.

The Republic of Ireland looks set for a dramatic late call-up to the Fifa World Cup finals in Brazil after France’s participation in the tourna(...)

Enzo Fernandez, the son of Real Madrid’s assistant coach Zinedine Zidane, has opted to play for France like his father. Photograph: Juan Medina/Reuters

French football was celebrating on Monday after the news that Zinedine Zidane’s 18-year-old son Enzo appears to have chosen to represent Les B(...)

Migrant labourers work on a construction site  in Doha in Qatar.

Last June and a chirpy press release brought “news” of a fresh Fifa initiative: Fifa had agreed with the champagne producers, Taittinger, that its bra(...)