MOSCOW -- The coach as chef-assembling-ingredients metaphor is about as old as the game itself, but it remains hugely apt, particularly at World Cups. Bigger nations, naturally, have more depth and high-quality options to choose from: Germany's Jogi Low and Brazil's Tite shop at Whole Foods (or whatever local, high-end market with the individually wrapped clementines applies to you), whereas Panama coach Hernan Gomez makes do at the corner bodega, where selection is more limited.
SOCHI, Russia -- That chin-stroking celebration? It's a reference to a goat. Or, rather a GOAT: greatest of all time. And while some will rightly debate his status in the farmyard, nights like these remind you that his place in the conversation ought not be doubted.
Sergio Ramos had said it a little over 24 hours earlier, when asked how he would stop Cristiano Ronaldo. "I don't know ... I just hope he doesn't have one of his best games against us."
SOCHI, RUSSIA -- Three points from Portugal and Spain's remarkable 3-3 draw at Fisht Stadium in which Cristiano Ronaldo scored a sublime hat-trick.
1. Ronaldo's three goals earn Portugal a point
For a guy whose deeds are so often defined by numbers, whether it's the fact that he has more goals than games for Real Madrid or the fact that nobody has more Ballon d'Or awards stashed away in his trophy cabinet, there was one that seemed out of sync before this World Cup began: three, as in the number...
SOCHI, RUSSIA -- Spain captain Sergio Ramos and his freshly installed coach, Fernando Hierro, looked like they'd rather have been in the dentist's chair than facing questions ahead of Friday's Group B opener against Portugal.
"I think I'd like this to be over now..." joked Ramos at the end. "Come on, it feels like a funeral. It's a World Cup. We're supposed to be happy."
Yet there was no escaping the heavy, suffocating mood and not just because they faced the press in an overstuffed room in...
It is easy to be cynical in the modern game. So much so that, when someone makes a stand on principle -- even if you disagree with it -- you stand up and take notice.
Perhaps you had not heard of Luis Rubiales before Wednesday. He is the head of the Spanish Football Association, and on Tuesday evening he received a call from his national team coach, Julen Lopetegui.
Rubiales listened as Lopetegui told him that, in a few minutes, Real Madrid would announce that he was to be their next manager, replacing...