Pictures of the Day

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Reuters flops of the World Cup tournament

- Flops of the tournament as selected by Reuters journalists (4-3-3):

Goalkeeper: Iker Casillas (Spain)

Defenders: Dani Alves (Brazil), Sergio Ramos (Spain), Pepe (Portugal), Benoit Assou-Ekotto (Cameroon)

...

Reuters flops of the World Cup tournament

Five of the best goals from the World Cup

- The 2014 World Cup has produced several goals of outstanding quality. The following are five of the best so far according to Reuters.

- - - -

James Rodriguez (Colombia 2 Uruguay 0)

Rodriguez...

Five of the best goals from the World Cup

"Jaded" Messi has disappointed at World Cup, says Lineker

- Argentina's Lionel Messi has looked "jaded" and "staccato" in a disappointing World Cup overall despite some magical moments, former England striker Gary Lineker said on Saturday.

The four-times World Player of the Year and...

"Jaded" Messi has disappointed at World Cup, says Lineker

Spain must not get frustrated by defensive teams: Alonso

David Villa (L) and Xabi Alonso participate in a news conference prior to Spain's national soccer team training session in Landover, Maryland June 6, 2014. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

(Reuters) - Spain must not get frustrated if they find themselves up against defensive opponents and patience will be the key to success, midfielder Xabi Alonso said as the holders prepare for their opening World Cup Group B game later on Friday.

The Netherlands are the world and European champions' first opponents in Brazil, a repeat of the 2010 final, and Dutch coach Louis van Gaal has said he will deploy a five-man defense to try to thwart Spain's fearsome attack.

Spanish matches almost always follow a familiar pattern, with Vicente del Bosque's men dominating possession and mounting wave after wave of forward forays, while the opposing team waits for a chance to counter-attack.

"Our playing style is very clearly defined and we mustn't get frustrated or annoyed about the way our opponents line up," Alonso said on the team's website (www.sefutbol.com).

"Each team is thinking about the way to get the best result," added the 32-year-old.

"They are matches which require a lot of patience and concentration.

"The key, and the thing that has been crucial to our success, is maintaining focus and awareness in defense. We have conceded very few goals in these major tournaments."

Spain's recent success has been partly due to a mean defense and they conceded a mere six goals in 19 matches on the way to winning Euro 2008, the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012.

Chile, who are also in Group B in Brazil along with Australia, scored one of those goals in the group phase in South Africa four years ago and meet the Spanish on Wednesday.

(Reporting by Iain Rogers, editing by Ed Osmond)

Pictures of the Day

Features

Reuters flops of the World Cup tournament

- Flops of the tournament as selected by Reuters journalists (4-3-3):

Goalkeeper: Iker Casillas (Spain)

Defenders: Dani Alves (Brazil), Sergio Ramos (Spain), Pepe (Portugal), Benoit Assou-Ekotto (Cameroon)

...

Reuters flops of the World Cup tournament

Five of the best goals from the World Cup

- The 2014 World Cup has produced several goals of outstanding quality. The following are five of the best so far according to Reuters.

- - - -

James Rodriguez (Colombia 2 Uruguay 0)

Rodriguez...

Five of the best goals from the World Cup

"Jaded" Messi has disappointed at World Cup, says Lineker

- Argentina's Lionel Messi has looked "jaded" and "staccato" in a disappointing World Cup overall despite some magical moments, former England striker Gary Lineker said on Saturday.

The four-times World Player of the Year and...

"Jaded" Messi has disappointed at World Cup, says Lineker