Rodriguez

WATCH: Top 10 goals from the 2014 World Cup

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Now for the fun part.

With Mario Götze’s 113th-minute winner against Argentina in the final, the 2014 World Cup tied the 1998 tournament in France for the most goals in any World Cup with 171.

That means fun for everyone!

But only 10 of those 171 can make this list, so we’re picking the best ones.

Hint: lots of James Rodriguez, because James Rodriguez is awesome.

10. Lionel Messi vs. Nigeria

The player who eventually won the Golden Ball picked up the first direct free-kick goal of the tournament when he blasted the set-piece past Vincent Enyema who hardly even tried, knowing he had no chance.

The goal would prompt Stephen Keshi to declare “he [Messi] is not from this planet. He’s from Jupiter.” Argentina would win the Group F game 3-2.

Messi had a late winner against Iran as well that was a very pretty goal, but free kicks are more fun.

9. Jermaine Jones vs. Portugal

John Brooks captured American hearts when he headed the United States past Ghana, but going on individual degree of difficulty, Jermaine Jones ripped a peach against Portugal that would put the US ahead and lead them to victor…a 2-2 draw (come on, Ronaldo).

Jones put some impressive curl on the ball and gave the Portuguese keeper no chance as the ball tucked into the far corner.

8. Arjen Robben vs. Spain

On a breakaway for the Netherlands in their opening match, Arjen Robben wasn’t able to get fully past the defense. No problems. He spun around with his back to the goal, cut into traffic, beat two defenders trailing the play, and left the goalkeeper on his rear end before putting the ball into the back of the net and giving the Netherlands a final touch of brilliance in their 5-1 win over Spain.

7. James Rodriguez vs. Japan

Yay! More James please! We’ve answered your pleas, and have grabbed one of the young Colombian’s six goals of the 2014 World Cup.  And there’s more after, don’t worry.

Against Japan in the group stage, Rodriguez put on some serious moves that sent Japanese defender Maya Yoshida tumbling embarrassingly to the ground. And then he scored. It was Rodriguez’s third goal of the tournament, but it wasn’t his best. We’re getting to that…

6. David Luiz vs. Colombia

We love great free kicks, and David Luiz had the best of the tournament. An absolute ripper against Colombia to break James Rodriguez’s heart, Luiz unleashed a knuckleball into the top right corner in the 69th minute.

The goal would end up being the winner, as Brazil went through 2-1.

5. Xherdan Shaqiri vs Honduras

The Swiss were looking to prove they were deserving of their much-criticized group seed, and they made it into the knockout stage. One of their best moments was against Honduras, when star youngster Xherdan Shaqiri delivered a hat-trick, the third of which was this insane strike from wayyyyyy far out.

4. Mario Götze vs. Argentina

How do you not place a World Cup final winner on the list? Then again, this wasn’t just any winner. It was filthy. First was the heck of a cross from Schurrle.  Götze snuck behind Martin Demichelis (the Manchester City version of Demichelis, clearly) and controlled the ball with his chest, firing home without the ball touching the ground.

A goal to win the World Cup in the 113th minute. That’s what legends are made of.

3. Tim Cahill vs. Netherlands

Oh. Wow. Australia means business. That’s what everyone thought to themselves when Tim Cahill ripped the back of the net with a ridiculous volley that put Australia level with the Netherlands.  The goal came moments after the Dutch took the lead, and announced to the world that the Aussies were here to play.

Cahill’s goal was stunning given he hit the shot one-time on a deep pass from behind the mid line, coming from around behind the defender to connect with the ball. Many would have this as the goal of the tournament, but for us, there are two others that edge it out. It’s still beautiful to watch over and over and over…

2. Robin van Persie vs. Spain

The flying header. One of the most iconic images from this World Cup is the Dutch striker midair, having just pounced on a stunning delivery from Daley Blind.  Van Persie began what would eventually become a Spanish onslaught, and he wow’d the crowd as well. He celebrated by sprinting to his manager Louis van Gaal and delivering a monumental high-five, maybe something we’ll see in England as Van Gaal has taken over at Manchester United.

1. James Rodriguez vs. Uruguay

It’s our man again! Undoubtedly the goal of the tournament, the Golden Boot winner unleashed a vicious volley that left the Uruguayans utterly befuddled. It announced Rodriguez on the world stage (although we had already fallen in love with him long before) and said Colombia would not be taken lightly.

This goal has everything as far as degree of difficulty. The ball pops up in the air, and Rodriguez chests it down facing away from goal. Before the ball touches the ground, he does a 90-degree turn and rips a howitzer with his left foot that clips the underside of the crossbar and caroms into the goal from a good 23-yards out or so. Enjoy.

Ranking toughness of UCL groups for Leicester, Arsenal, Tottenham, Man City

Kompany and City's defense struggled to contain Messi and Barca in the first half.
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Leicester City, Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City all entered the UEFA Champions League at the group stage and they found out their fate on Thursday following the draw in Monaco.

[ MORE: UCL group stage draw ]

Right now Leicester, Arsenal and Spurs will be feeling pretty good about their chances of advancing to the UCL’s Round of 16. As for Man City, boy, it will be a tough route through the group stage once again for them.

[ MORE: Ronaldo wins top award ]

Below is a look at the toughness of the group stage draw for all four PL teams.


GROUP G: Leicester City, FC Porto, Club Brugge, Copenhagen

Their first-ever season in the UCL, the draw could not have gone any better for reigning PL champs Leicester in terms of their dreams of advancing. Claudio Ranieri‘s side have FC Porto, who will be a very tough test, but in Club Brugge and Copenhagen they drew two of the easier teams they could have faced. Overall, this is not a tough group especially when you see the full draw. Looks like the fairytale for the Foxes will go deep in the Champions League this season. Toughness ranking: 3/10


GROUP A: Paris Saint-Germain, Arsenal, FC Basel, Ludogorets

Arsenal will fancy their chances against PSG and when it comes to FC Basel and Ludrogorets they will expect to take two wins from each of these teams. But this is Arsenal so they’ll probably need a 3-0 win in their last group game to make the knockout rounds… Seriously, though, Arsene Wenger will be a relieved man to avoid the likes of Bayern Munich and Barelona in the group stage but Arsenal’s games against PSG will be pivotal in their chances of getting a good draw in the last 16. Overall, could’ve been a lot tougher. Toughness ranking: 4/10


GROUP C: FC Barcelona, Manchester City, Borussia Monchendgladbach, Celtic

It just had to happen for Pep Guardiola, didn’t it? He will return to the Nou Camp in his debut season at City to face his beloved Barcelona and Man City’s fans will be sick of the sight of Lionel Messi and Co. after they knocked them out of the competition in two of the last three seasons. That said, there will be two magnificent games between the giants with Barca the favorites to win the UCL this season. As for Monchengladbach, they are quietly a very strong team and even Celtic (who famously beat Barca in the group stage in 2012) will provide a tough challenge for City at Celtic Park in the away game. All in all, couldn’t have been tougher for City but they will likely squeeze through with Barca to the Round of 16.

Toughness ranking: 8/10


GROUP E: CSKA Moscow, Bayer Leverkusen, Tottenham Hotspur, Monaco

Maurcio Pochettino’s side will be grinning like a Cheshire cat with this draw. Arguably it is even easier than Leicester’s with CSKA Moscow perennial strugglers in the UCL, plus German side Bayer Leverkusen very beatable and Spurs have done well against Monaco in the Europa League recently. Overall, if Spurs don’t win this group they will be very disappointed. A great draw for the north London club. Toughness ranking: 3/10


Best Player in Europe: Cristiano Ronaldo beats Bale, Griezmann to win award

PARIS, FRANCE - JULY 10:  Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal kisses the Henri Delaunay trophy to celebrate after their 1-0 win against France in the UEFA EURO 2016 Final match between Portugal and France at Stade de France on July 10, 2016 in Paris, France.  (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)
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Cristiano Ronaldo was named the Best Player in Europe by UEFA on Thursday in Monaco, following the group stage draw for the UEFA Champions League.

Ronaldo, 31, beat other finalists teammate and Welsh international Gareth Bale and France and Atletico Madrid striker Antoine Griezmann to the award for the 2015-16 season. Barcelona duo Lionel Messi came fourth and Luis Suarez finished in fifth.

[ MORE: UCL group stage draw ]

The Portuguese striker scored 51 goals in 48 games for Real Madrid last season and led Portugal to its first-ever major title as a nation, winning the EURO 2016 trophy.

Ronaldo said on stage that he was “living his dream” by playing football as he won the award for a second time in his career, the list title coming in 2014.

Previous winners of this prestigious award, which takes into account the form of the player both for this club team in Europe and also for his national team, include Messi (the only other player to win the award twice), Andres Iniesta and Franck Ribery.

UEFA Champions League group stage: Premier League teams learn their fate

MILAN, ITALY - MAY 28:  The  UEFA Champions League trophy is displayed prior to the UEFA Champions League Final match between Real Madrid and Club Atletico de Madrid at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on May 28, 2016 in Milan, Italy.  (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
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Premier League teams got off very lightly, overall, in the UEFA Champions League group stage draw.

The draw took place in Monaco on Thursday as reigning Leicester City were handed a very comfy group of opponents in Group G with FC Porto, Club Brugge and Copenhagen, as were Tottenham Hotspur who were placed in Group E with CSKA Moscow, Bayer Leverkusen and Monaco.

Arsenal also got a very decent draw with Paris Saint-Germain, FC Basel and Ludogorets in Group A, but Manchester City once again got a very tough draw at the group stage along with FC Barcelona, Borussia Monchengladbach and Celtic in Group C.

[ MORE: Full UCL schedule

Reigning champs Real Madrid have been drawn in Group F alongside Borussia Dortmund, Sporting Lisbon and Legia Warsaw, with Bayern Munich and Atletico Madrid drawn together in Group D.

Below is the group stage draw in full with the opening group games to take place on Sept. 13/14 and a further five group games taking place — each team plays one another home and away — between September and December. The knockout stages then begin in February 2017 ahead of the UCL final in Cardiff, Wales on June 3.

You can click on the link above for the full schedule for group games.


GROUP A
Paris Saint-Germain
Arsenal
FC Basel
Ludogorets

GROUP B
Benfica
Napoli
Dynamo Kiev
Besiktas

GROUP C
FC Barcelona
Manchester City
Borussia Monchendgladbach
Celtic

GROUP D
Bayern Munich
Atletico Madrid
PSV Eindhoven
Rostov

GROUP E
CSKA Moscow
Bayer Leverkusen
Tottenham Hotspur
Monaco

GROUP F
Real Madrid
Borussia Dortmund
Sporting Lisbon
Legia Warsaw

GROUP G
Leicester City
FC Porto
Club Brugge
Copenhagen

GROUP H
Juventus
Sevilla
Lyon
Dinamo Zagreb

LIVE – Europa League play-offs: West Ham within reach of group stage

STRATFORD, ENGLAND - AUGUST 04: Reece Oxford of West Ham United and Elvis Bratanovic of NK Domzale in action during the UEFA Europa League Qualification round match between West Ham United and NK Domzale at London Stadium on August 4, 2016 in Stratford, England. (Photo by Tom Dulat/Getty Images)
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The second leg of the UEFA Europa League play-off round takes place on Thursday with the final 22 places in the group stage

West Ham United are drawing 1-1 from their first leg in Romania against Astra Giurgiu, the team who knocked them out in the qualifying rounds last season.

[ LIVE: Europa League scores ] 

Slaven Bilic‘s men have a vital away goal and will fancy their chances of getting past Astra this time  as the second leg takes place at their new home at the London Stadium.

Plenty of the 22 ties hang in the balance with Shakhtar Donetsk, Sparta Prague and Olympiakos all with a little work to do to secure their spot in the next stage.

Premier League sides Southampton and Manchester United have already qualified for the Europa League group stage and the draw to decide their opponents will take place in Monaco on Friday.

Below is the full schedule for the second legs which take place on Thursday, while you can click on the link above to follow all the games live.


Europa League schedule 

FK Qarabag vs. IFK Goteborg (0-1)
Brondby vs. Panathinaikos (0-3)
Grashoppers vs. Fenerbache (0-3)
Rosenborg vs. Austria Wien (1-2)
Slovan Liberec vs. AEK Larnaca (1-0)
Partizan Tirana vs. FC Krasnodar (0-4)
PAOK vs. Dinamo Tblisi (3-0)
Genk vs. NK Lokomotiva (2-2)
Osmanlispor vs. Midtjylland (1-0)
Sparta Prague vs. Sonderjyske (0-0)
West Ham United vs. Astra Giurgiu (1-1)
Shakhtar Donetsk vs. Istanbul Basaksehir (1-2)
AZ Alkmaar vs. Vojvodina (0-3)
Anderlecht vs. Slavia Prague (3-0)
BATE Borisov vs. Astana (2-0)
FK Shkendija vs. Gent (1-2)
Hajduk Split vs. Maccabi Tel-Aviv (1-2)
NK Maribor vs. Gabala (1-3)
Red Star Belgrade vs. Sassuolo (0-3)
St Etienne vs. Beitar Jerusalem (2-1)
Olympiakos vs. Arouca (1-0)
Rapid Wien vs. Trencin (4-0)