Copa Libertadores 2015: River Plate complete their redemption cycle

August 7, 2015

“On a wet and windy August night in Buenos Aires, River Plate ran out as 3-0 victors against Tigres to secure a third Libertadores crown and finally complete their redemptive cycle.  4 years ago – 1,501 days to be precise – Los Millonarios suffered relegation; now they stand atop the continent, the only side to have won back-to-back Sudamericana and Libertadores titles.” Outside of the Boot

Tim Vickery’s Notes from Brazil: Ronaldinho’s last decade summed up in 90 minutes

August 3, 2015

“The last 9 years of Ronaldinho Gaucho’s professional life were nearly summed up in his first 90 minutes for his latest club. The former FIFA player of the year had been presented to fans of Fluminense of Rio at a previous game a fortnight earlier. A big crowd had come out for the occasion, and, inspired, Ronaldinho declared himself raring to go, desperate to get out there on the field. He neglected to add that it would be some 8 days before he actually turned up for training – part of the deal he agreed with the club was that he would straight away be granted two weeks holiday. Since he had not been in action since the end of May (with Queretaro in Mexico) this in itself was an eye opener, yet more evidence that getting the most out of his extraordinary talent is not at the top of his list of priorities – which would seem to have been the case for some time.” World Soccer – Tim Vickery (Video)

The sound of silence – Alcides Ghiggia and the Maracanazo

August 1, 2015

“‘There was complete silence,’ said Alcides Ghiggia of the moment he caused nearly 200,000 spectators at Rio’s Maracana to fall into a deathly hush. ‘The crowd was frozen still. It was like they weren’t even breathing.’ Ghiggia, who died recently at the age of 88, had just scored for Uruguay in the final match of the 1950 World Cup. The expectant, and previously celebratory, crowd had just witnessed their worst nightmare come true.” backpagefootball

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


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