Adriano – A virtual cult hero

July 25, 2015

“Of all the international tournaments at which a player can make their mark, take by storm and forever be associated with, perhaps there is none more underwhelming than the Confederations Cup. But perhaps there is no more fitting a match than the Confederations Cup and Adriano Leite Riberio, the player who will forever be associated with the 2005 edition of the official ‘year before the World Cup dry run’. At the time of the tournament, Adriano was one of the most fearsome strikers in world football, part of a Brazilian side that had sold its samba soul to Dunga.” backpagefootball


Copa America 2015: Team of the Tournament

July 11, 2015

“Chile ended their near century drought with a penalty shoot-out victory over Argentina in front of a sea of red in Santiago on Saturday to claim their first ever Copa America. It was a triumph of the collective over the individual and fittingly rewarded the country’s best ever generation with victory on home soil. Yes, there had been some kind refereeing decisions that had gone their way but that shouldn’t take anything away from a fantastic team performance by Sampaoli’s men. For Argentina, it was so close but yet so far as they fell at the final hurdle for the second year in a row. For them the wait continues. After a memorable tournament, now comes the time for reflection and a chance to recognise some of the best performers from Chile 2015. Playing in a 4-2-3-1, here are the players that stood out for me over the course of the last few weeks.” Outside of the Boot


Golazo! The Beautiful Game from the Aztecs to the World Cup: The Complete History of How Soccer Shaped Latin America.

July 9, 2015

“THERE has been perhaps no better fullback in the history of football than Domingos da Guia (pictured). The strong and elegant defender, known as the ‘Fortress’, guarded Brazil’s flank in the 1930s and 1940s. Yet as a boy he was afraid to play until his brother prodded him: ‘Aren’t you any good at dancing?’ Domingos was and he brought his samba skills to the pitch, swinging his hips and evading opponents, a precursor to the joga bonito (‘play beautifully’) style of recent Brazilian stars.” Economist

Golazo! by Andreas Campomar and Futebol Nation by David Goldblatt: the football myth behind Brazil’s World Cup
“On 12 June, the World Cup will kick off in São Paulo. Until recently, there’s been an assumption that, certainly by comparison with the two World Cups to follow, in Russia and Qatar, this would be a fun tournament, a month-long carnival in the home of Pelé and “the beautiful game”. What, after all, is Brazil other than football, and who has ever played the game better? Then came the Confederations Cup, the eight-team warm-up event for the tournament, last summer. Matches came to be preceded by a familiar ritual of street protest – sparked by a proposed increase in bus fares in São Paulo, but soon encompassing a range of issues, from corruption to fury that so much has been spent on the World Cup when so many public services are in disrepair. With a sense of shock, the world realised that Brazil is not universally supportive of the tournament and there is a very real prospect of chaos. As these two books demonstrate, though, Brazil’s relationship with football has never been the easy romance of stereotype.” <a href=”

amazon – Golazo! The Beautiful Game from the Aztecs to the World Cup


What’s plaguing Brazil? Delve into the Selecão’s woes by the numbers

July 2, 2015

“Brazil’s dispiriting quarterfinal defeat against Paraguay means that the world’s most successful men’s soccer nation will once again be on the outside looking in when Argentina takes on Chile in Saturday’s Copa America final. Compared with many national teams, Brazil remains a competitive and sturdy outfit, but by the country’s own exacting standards the sides it has fielded in recent years have represented a vertiginous drop in quality. Here’s a look by the numbers and statistics at some of the key reasons for Brazil’s current woes…” SI


Beauty leaves the Brazilian game as glitter gives way to grit

June 30, 2015

“It was not 7-1. It was not an epic humiliation. It was not a result that will reverberate through the generations. But in a sense, Brazil’s Copa América exit to Paraguay is all the more crushing for that. It was not some devastation to be written off as a freak; it was quotidian. Brazil went out of the Copa América by losing a mundane game 4-3 on penalties after a 1-1 draw because these days they are a mundane team; they no longer generate the emotional extremes they once did.” Guardian – Jonathan Wilson


Derlis Gonzalez, David Ospina and more – 4 Players who defined the Copa America 2015 quarters

June 30, 2015

“Brazil’s ousting in the quarter-final stage was the talking point, but Peru’s run along-with Chile’s impressive showing has kept enthusiasts intrigued. Though Argentina remain as favourites with online sports betting at Sportsbook.ag, it may not be as simple to call these games. Paraguay too who eliminated Brazil for the second successive Copa America, have shown they aren’t to be overlooked. Finley Crebolder picks his four players that defined the quarter-final stage, a stage that has left us with two enticing fixtures.” Outside of the Boot


A Guide to Copa America, in Queens

June 24, 2015

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El Gauchito, 94-60 Corona Ave in Queens.
“Copa América, the South American soccer championship, is in its third week in Chile, and has given the world everything it could handle from a tournament: dramatic comebacks, shocking suspensions, all-out scoring feasts, and acts of idiocy and manslaughter off the pitch. Now, after the end of the group stages, eight of the original 12 teams remain, and they will begin the direct elimination rounds today. There is still plenty of action to catch—with some potential classic matchups coming up—and as we wrote during the World Cup, there is no finer place to watch international soccer than New York City. So if you aren’t able to make your way over to Chile, your next best shot at living the fever of South American soccer is right here, in the almost impossibly diverse borough of Queens. From Astoria to Sunnyside, bars, bakeries and butcher shops are turning their establishments into prime viewing spots. Here are the upcoming matches and the best places to catch them with diehard fans from each country.” ROADS & KINGDOMS

Uruguay have the history to hit Copa América heights against Chile
“Chile have scored more than twice as many goals as anybody else in this Copa América. They will be playing at home in front of 40,000 red-shirted fans. They have played with a verve and a fluidity nobody else in this tournament has matched and, if anything, Arturo Vidal’s drink-driving charge, which could have been a destabilising influence, seems to have given them an enhanced sense of purpose. Uruguay scraped through their group in third place, having scored only two goals. Other sides in their position might have approached Wednesday night’s quarter-final like lambs to the slaughter but not Óscar Washington Tabárez’s team. This is the sort of situation Uruguay have traditionally relished.” Guardian – Jonathan Wilson

Copa America: Group C’s key tactical system, game-changing performance, and best young player
“Group C has easily been the Copa America’s most engaging, as shock wins by Venezuela and Colombia saw all four teams level on points entering the final match day. With a resurgent Thiago Silva leading Brazil to victory over Venezuela to top the group, the final placing may not seem like much of a surprise. However, with Brazil needing a last-minute winner to beat Peru, Neymar’s suspension, and a host of strong defensive performances, many from unsung, domestically based players, these six games provided us with multitudes of knife-edge tension. As the three survivors lick their wounds ahead of the quarterfinals, here is a brief look back at some of the keys to the way things played out.” Outside of the Boot

Copa America quarterfinals: Argentina and Brazil face tense challenges
Chile vs. Uruguay. All the momentum is with Chile, but all the history is with Uruguay. The hosts have looked to be far and away the best team in this tournament so far, scoring twice as many goals as everybody else, but Uruguay have by far the best record in spoiling such house parties. On the past three occasions that the latter have met the home team — Argentina 2011, Venezuela 2007 and Paraguay 1999 — they have eliminated them. That’s all the more relevant here because it reflects just how good the Uruguayans are at digging in and disrupting more exciting and excitable sides. Oscar Tabarez’s current side are experts at that, and abnormally difficult to beat. … ” ESPN


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