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Spain's DNA now more Madrid than Barcelona


Stern tests ahead for Mexico

ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

2018 World Cup draw results and full daily schedule

Stewart Robson feels England lucked out and got a fairly easy group that contains Belgium, Panama and Tunisia.
ESPN's Julien Laurens believes France will be very happy after drawing Australia, Peru and Denmark.

FIFA conducted the draw for the 2018 World Cup on Friday in Moscow.

The 32 qualified teams, allocated in four pots based on their October FIFA ranking, were drawn into eight groups of four teams each. Hosts Russia were automatically the top seed in Group A despite being the lowest-ranked team.

There could be no more than two teams from Europe in any one pot, and no more than one nation from any other continental confederation.

Group stage

After playing each team in their group, the top two...

 By PA Sport

Lionel Messi trains with Argentina teammates at Manchester City facility

Lionel Messi hopes that Argentina will reach another World Cup final, but admits he's focusing on the group stage first.

Barcelona star Lionel Messi has been training at Manchester City along with his Argentina teammates.

Argentina have based themselves at the Premier League leaders' City Football Academy ahead of their friendly against Italy at the Etihad Stadium on Friday.

Messi arrived to join up with the rest of the squad on Tuesday and was present at a training session open to media in the afternoon.

Also present but not participating was City striker Sergio Aguero, who has been sidelined with a knee injury recently.


Spain team undergoing DNA shift from Barcelona to Real Madrid under Julen Lopetegui

With 100 days to go until the FIFA World Cup, Ian Darke joins a group of ESPN writers and experts for a roundtable discussion about what to expect in Russia this summer.

A strong but subtle shift in influence within the Spain squad from Barcelona to Real Madrid is evident from the players picked by national coach Julen Lopetegui for pre-World Cup friendlies against Germany and Argentina.

It was not a coincidence that Spain's glory years between 2008 and 2012 coincided with Pep Guardiola's Barcelona side dominating both La Liga and the Champions League. The possession based style of football developed by Guardiola at the Camp Nou was hugely influential at the international...

 By Tom Marshall

Mexico face stern tests as World Cup preparation enters final stage

Osorio's spent a lot of time in Europe trying to get ready for this World Cup.

Mexico coach Juan Carlos Osorio was again interrogated about his future on the eve of El Tri's meet-up ahead of friendlies against Iceland (Mar. 23) in Santa Clara, Calif. and Croatia (Mar. 27) in Dallas, Tex.

"I've never said that I don't want to continue with Mexico," said Osorio in an interview with Grupo Imagen on Sunday night. "On the contrary, my first response has always been that hopefully we have a good World Cup and the coaching staff deserves to continue, because if it isn't a good...

Marcos Alonso: Family 'delighted' to have third generation play for Spain

Antonio Conte shares his overall thoughts on Chelsea's response at Leicester, Alvaro Morata's long-awaited goal and what he expects from Southampton in the FA Cup semifinal.
Shaka Hislop and Alexis Nunes assess the performances of Chelsea and Southampton, who'll square off in the FA Cup semifinals alongside Man United and Tottenham.

Chelsea left-back Marcos Alonso has said that his family is "delighted" that he has earned a Spain call-up after his grandfather and father both represented the national team.

Coach Julen Lopetegui included Alonso, 27, in the 24-man squad for the upcoming international friendlies against Germany and Argentina in preparation for this summer's World Cup.

Representing Spain has become a tradition in Alonso's family as his grandfather, Marquitos, represented Spain in the 1950s and his father, known...