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 England’s Wayne Rooney takes a free kick during the friendly match against Honduras last week in Florida. Photo: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Just as most people believe they are above-average drivers, so most football fans are irrationally optimistic about their team’s chances at the start (...)

Fans are still celebrating after Brazil defeated Croatia 3-1 in the opening match of the 2014 World Cup last night. Photograph: Victor Moriyama/Getty Images

World Cup fever gathered steam across Brazil today as fans streamed to a second day of matches and violent protests subsided, although a last-minute s(...)

Midfield playmaker  Andrea Pirlo l arrives for a news conference at the Casa Azzurri in Mangaratiba ahead of Italy’s World Cup opening game against England on Saturday. Alessandro Garofalo/Reuters

England’s best hope of making a winning start to their World Cup campaign is to expose Italy’s vulnerability to counter-attacks, believes Luc Holtz, t(...)

Picture taken from a smartphone of one of the goal areas at the Amazonia Arena in  Manaus on Wednesday, three days before England meet Italy at the stadium. Photograph:  Colin Droniou/AFP/Getty Images

England will send a member of their backroom staff to inspect the pitch at the Arena Amazonia in Manaus on Thursday after pictures emerged showing the(...)

An aerial view of England’s training session in progress at the Urca military base near Copacabana beach yesterday.  Photograph: Wong Maye-E).

On one side it is all ocean, backed up by Guanabara Bay. On the other it is Sugarloaf Mountain. Think back to that scene in Moonraker when Jaws uses (...)

Flames of protest: demonstrators in São Paulo burn the Brazilian flag. Photograph: Victor Moriyama/Getty

A World Cup in Brazil must have sounded like the perfect fit. Hosting the planet’s greatest party in the land of carnival while bringing football back(...)

England’s Daniel Sturridge (right) scores a goal during their international friendly soccer match against Peru at Wembley Stadium in London. Photograph: Dylan Martinez/Reuters

England 3 Peru 0 As send-offs go, England’s final appearance at Wembley before the World Cup should at least encourage the belief Roy Hodgson’s team a(...)

 England manager Roy Hodgson  will take in the Republic of Ireland’s friendly against Italy in London. Photograph: Mike Egerton/PA Wire.

England manager Roy Hodgson has told his players that World Cup starting places are up for grabs in the coming weeks.Hodgson’s 23-man squad touched d(...)

The Maracana stadium in the backround, framed by one of Rio de Janeiro’s notorious favelas. Photograph:  Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Name a famous Brazilian. No, grow up. Not that kind of Brazilian: someone world-famous from that vast melting pot of humanity at the other side of the(...)

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