Sneijder fails to silence Dutch critics

Holland 1 Japan 0: The 'Oranje' purists want more despite Holland becoming the first side to qualify for the last 16 by beating a stubborn Japan

Virtuoso Elia helps stuttering Dutch find their sense of rhythm

It is an understanding that sometimes important victories do not automatically accumulate once it has been established which team has superior gifts

Holland win opener against Denmark

Holland 2 Denmark 0

The Last Word: Why I'll be backing Netherlands to paint the World Cup orange

Just who do we think we are – with our 44 years of hurt, our gimcrack "golden generations", our self-pity and entitlement? There is only one merit in entering the World Cup with such a mindset. And that is in choosing a sentimental alternative to England, so as to retain an interest after the quarter-finals. Some of us, admittedly, are fortunate enough to owe a genetic allegiance to the Germans. (Sorry. But there it is. Thanks, Mum.) All those whose neutrality is inflected only by considerations of equity and poetry, however, will surely be unanimous in getting behind the Dutch.

World Cup Countdown: Gallas starts tonight to prove fitness

France defender William Gallas is set to start against Costa Rica in tonight's friendly in Paris. The 32-year-old looks to have overcome a calf injury, which has sidelined the Arsenal player since March. Coach Raymond Domenech, however, has stressed he is still not a certainty to make his final World Cup squad: "He proved he could cope in critical situations and that's reassuring but his calf is a question mark," he said.

Mourinho had faith in man nobody wanted

It was hailed as the day that Jose Mourinho would be confirmed King of the Bernabeu but ultimately it was the man they call The Prince who made Internazionale champions of Europe. Diego Milito was not one of the five players released by Real Madrid on the pitch – more everybody's reject than a Madrid one.

Milito ends wait in double quick time

Internazionale 2 Bayern Munich 0: Special One reaches top of European club game for second time as Argentinian puts paid to Inter's 45 years of hurt

'Having enemies is not a problem. I only ask them to be sporting'

Jose Mourinho has dominated Spain's sports pages this week. Pete Jenson digs out the gems on and by the Inter coach

Ronaldo to 'fight on' as title goes to wire

Euro Zone

Ribéry to appeal over Uefa's head

Franck Ribery yesterday lost his appeal to have his three-match ban reduced by Uefa. The Bayern Munich midfielder, 27, had hoped to face Internazionale in the Champions League final on 22 May, but will now have to serve the remaining two games of his suspension.

Sport on TV: Put your shirt on Mourinho and he'll strip you of your dignity

The atmosphere inside the Nou Camp was febrile. The 91,000 Barcelona fans could not have made more noise if Montserrat Caballe and Freddie Mercury had been in the stands. As the Champions' League semi-final second leg (ITV1, Wednesday) kicked off in more ways than one, with the Catalans needing to score twice against Jose Mourinho's parsimonious Internazionale, Clive Tyldesley informed us that "after their league game here they wore T-shirts promising they would quite literally play out of their skins". We've heard of shirts versus skins, but shirts versus flesh, tendons and nerve endings – shredded ones in this case? The next thing you know, they would be literally on fire.

Inter's 10 men squeeze life out of holders

Jose Mourinho loves a challenge, and last night he was presented with two: playing the Champions League holders with 11 men, then doing so with 10. With a full complement he replicated the tactics which had been so successful in Milan, a 4-2-3-1 with a pair of holding midfielders and the wide men tracking Barcelona's full-backs.

Mourinho's Inter reach Champions League final

Barcelona 1 Inter Milan 0 (Inter Milan win 3-2 on aggregate)
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