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Football Whispers

Italy's star power, Real Madrid's new striker and the best young goalies: Why you should watch the U21 Euros

The Under-21 European Championship kicks off in Italy and San Marino this Sunday -- with live coverage in the U.S. on ESPN3, ESPNU -- and whetting the appetite every bit as much as the decision to stage a number of games in Emilia Romagna, arguably the best place to eat on the planet, is the array of talent on display.

While the backdrop will evoke the 1990 World Cup, some of the names -- Ianis Hagi (son of Gheorghe), Marcus Thuram (son of World Cup winner Lilian) and Federico Chiesa (son of...

Fabio Quagliarella outscored Cristiano Ronaldo and all of Serie A. Even at 36, his Italy recall is justified

Fabio Quagliarella's brace against Liechtenstein made him Italy's oldest-ever goal scorer, and he added an assist for good measure in a 6-0 rout.
Fabio Quagliarella scores for Italy for the first time since 2010 and becomes the Azzurri's oldest goal scorer ever at 36 years old.
Quagliarella is arguably in the form of his life at the tail-end of his career. You can bet he's enjoying every minute of it, too.

Typically Fabio Quagliarella spends June on one of the Balearic islands off the eastern coast of Spain, a place to kick back and relax after another long, hard season. Off on his travels again, there's a flight waiting to take him away, this time for an altogether different destination.

Quagliarella is headed to Athens. The veteran isn't mixing things up out of fatigue with his usual holiday spot, nor is he leaping on a connecting flight to the Greek islands to see how they compare with Formentera....

Italian FA president Gabriele Gravina on racism in Italy, lifting 'depression' after World Cup woe

Gabriele Gravina was elected president of the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) on October 22, 2018 after almost nine months of administration under control of the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) following former president Carlo Tavecchio's resignation and failed elections for a new president.

The FIGC governs 1.4 million members, approximately 13,000 clubs of which 84,000 teams play in 580,000 games per year.

ESPN FC sat down with Gravina in Rome to reflect on his first 100 days in office,...

Nico who? Meet Nico Barella, the Cagliari youngster at the top of Juventus and Chelsea's wishlists

Nico Barella has only scored one goal this season but his influence in midfield for Cagliari is undebatable.
Nico Barella has only scored one goal this season but his influence in midfield for Cagliari is undebatable.

If Nicolo Barella saw a bunch of coffee stained papers down the local bar or a bundle of well-thumbed and dog-eared sports dailies in the common room at Cagliari's Assemini training ground last week, the likelihood is he would have spotted his name and image front and centre. It was hard to miss.

Last Thursday, the blonde midfielder, who turns 22 at the start of February, was splashed all over the pink front page of La Gazzetta dello Sport. Then on Saturday, Sunday and Monday it was Il Corriere...

If the 2022 World Cup started today: Looking at the major nations

ESPN FC's Stewart Robson shares his thoughts on the team most likely to win the World Cup if it were to take place tomorrow.
Watch E:60's eye-opening segment on the migrant worker issues in Qatar.

The next World Cup is four years away, but if the tournament began today, how would the biggest countries line up? Further, what do they need to do between now and kickoff on Nov. 21, 2022?

We asked our writers to look into the future. Click on the flags below to see that nation.


Starting XI if the World Cup began today
Sergio Romero; Renzo Saravia, Juan Foyth, Nicolas Otamendi, Nicolas Tagliafico; Giovani Lo Celso, Leandro Paredes, Exequiel Palacios; Lionel Messi, Paulo Dybala,...

U.S. ends 2018 and Dave Sarachan era with predictable defeat to Italy

GENK, Belgium -- The U.S. men's national team finished off 2018 with a 1-0 defeat against four-time World Cup champion Italy. In a match that Italy dominated from start to finish, U.S. goalkeeper Ethan Horvath stood tall, but Matteo Politano's goal in the fourth minute of second-half stoppage time proved to be the difference.

Here are three thoughts from the match.

1. Sarachan era ends with a disheartening, predictable defeat

Tuesday's match was almost certainly going to be the last in charge...