Berlin-Bound: Which Team Has the Best Chance of Winning the Champions League?

April 16, 2015

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“As we told you a few weeks ago, the drama’s all but gone from the major domestic leagues across Europe. Thankfully, the Champions League is here to save us. The quarterfinals of soccer’s greatest annual competition kick off today with Atlético Madrid hosting Real Madrid in a rematch of last year’s final and Monaco traveling to Juventus. Tomorrow, FC Porto welcomes Bayern Munich and Barcelona visits Paris Saint-Germain.” Grantland


Luis Suárez: another dimension for Barcelona

April 16, 2015

“‘Luis Suárez did what he does best,’ sighed Edinson Cavani, fresh from watching his Uruguay team-mate score a pair of magnificent goals at the Parc des Princes. The forwards had just experienced wildly contrasting evenings, but even the crestfallen Cavani had to admire the way his international colleague had put FC Barcelona on the brink of the UEFA Champions League semi-finals with a 3-1 win at Paris Saint-Germain.” UEFA (Video)


Despite Win, Juventus Need to be Wary of Monaco’s Speed in Transition

April 16, 2015

“As the full-time whistle sounded, the fans at Juventus Stadium were happy. Their beloved Bianconeri had just claimed a 1-0 win over Monaco, in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final, and as they gazed down from the steep stands to watch their idols shake hands with the opposition, there was a sense that the tie was theirs to lose. And that feeling was justified, too. Juventus probably shaded the contest on home soil, kept a clean sheet and head into the away leg knowing that, despite Monaco’s lofty third-place standing in Ligue 1, the club’s home form is only the ninth-best in France. It’s not a fantastic record, and Monaco’s six wins in 16 appearances at the Stade Louis II will hardly make Max Allegri’s men feel as though they’re visiting a fortress.” Licence to Roam


Bielsa Burnout: Marseille’s Meltdown Against PSG Mirrors Their Manager’s Career

April 6, 2015

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“Marcelo Bielsa’s teams are just different. If you’re watching a game with the Argentine manning the sidelines, it’s obvious within minutes. His sides run more and they run differently than any other team in the world. With his unique approach, Bielsa has influenced managers from Bayern Munich’s Pep Guardiola to Tottenham’s Mauricio Pochettino. Chile’s current national team coach, Jorge Sampaoli, proudly counts himself as one of the most devout Bielsistas around, and his side was the most fun and most different team at last summer’s World Cup.” Grantland (Video)


The Fun in France: Are We Set for a Boring End to the European Soccer Season?

April 3, 2015

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“Can you believe it’s April already? While there have been times over the past eight months when the season’s felt like an interminable drag — those weeks of domestic cup games, the handful of international breaks, consecutive weekends in which the best game involves Newcastle — we’re finally here. With just about two months left in most leagues across Europe, it’s the stretch run, where the rubber meets the road, the standings approach finality, and things become truly exciting. Except, maybe not this year.” Grantland


Tactical Analysis: France 1-3 Brazil | Brazil reverts to a familiar formation, France’s midfield dip and more

March 28, 2015

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“While it is foolish to read too much into friendly results, especially with both sides missing key players, Brazil’s visit to the Stade de France last night provided for some compelling viewing and should give both managers much to think about. With the hosts missing Paul Pogba, Yohan Cabaye and Hugo Lloris, as well as Mathieu Debuchy, and Brazil without the Paris Saint-Germain trio of David Luiz, Marquinhos and Lucas Moura, injuries limited both teams’ overall effectiveness, even as both Dunga and Didier Deschamps sought to achieve continuity by using their preferred formations. France, as hosts of Euro 2016, won’t play a competitive match until next year, and while Brazil do have the Copa America in a few months, the bottom line from this encounter seemed to be to encourage familiarity, trying out different players in a fixed system, as no changes were made until deep into the second half, Brazil already 3-1 up.” Outside of the Boot


France 1 Brazil 3

March 27, 2015

“Brazil recorded their seventh successive victory since their 2014 World Cup humiliation as they came from behind to beat France in Paris. Raphael Varane powerfully headed in Mathieu Valbuena’s left-wing corner to put the French ahead. But Oscar equalised when he linked up with Roberto Firmino and poked the ball past France goalkeeper Steve Mandanda. Neymar made it 2-1 as he collected Willian’s pass and shot past Mandanda before Luiz Gustavo headed in a third.” BBC


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