A Copa Libertadores stoush that’s worth watching

May 24, 2015

“They get to see the best players from the four corners of the globe, in the arena where it really matters – where they want to prove their class to themselves and their peers. All of this takes place in magnificent stadiums in an atmosphere that respects and gives value to the spectacle. The Copa Libertadores can hardly compete. Recent versions of the FIFA Club World Cup have served to confirm the view that the distance between top level club football in Europe and South America has never been wider. True, my adopted continent remains a magnificent producer of raw talent – indeed, it can be argued that the national team game in South America has never been stronger. That, of course, is when all the star names come back from Europe briefly to represent their countries. It is wonderful – a magnificent pleasure and an enormous privilege – to catch some of these players on the way up.” World Soccer – Tim Vickery


Robinho is still a shining light for Dunga’s Brazil

May 20, 2015

“Back home, though, this was not seen as controversial at all. Robinho was a leading light in the Santos team that just won the Sao Paulo State Championship, the most prestigious of Brazil’s regional competitions. He has been consistently named in Brazil squads since the 2014 FIFA World Cup, even if all of his appearances have been as a substitute. The only time he was left out was for last November’s visit to Turkey and Austria, when no domestically-based players were called up. It would have been incoherent to leave him out at this stage.” The World – Tim Vickery


Brazil must learn past lessons to take control of its future

May 1, 2015

epaselect BRAZIL SOCCER FIFA WORLD CUP 2014
“Maybe – and I speak from a position of curious ignorance – the Australian game is going through one such moment with the successful launch of the A-League, qualification for FIFA World Cups, the move to Asia and hosting of this year’s AFC Asian Cup. Perhaps historians will look back on this time as the vital moment in the development and mass popularisation of an Australian football culture, the time when all the pioneering work of the likes of Les Murray and Johnny Warren really started to bear fruit. In the development of the Brazilian game, it is clear that the 1930s have a magic place. At the start of the decade, Brazil lagged miles behind Uruguay and Argentina as South America’s third force. By the end it was a different story. Third place in the 1938 World Cup in France had opened the planet’s eyes to the rise of the men in (for just over another decade) white shirts.” World Game – Tim Vickery


The beautiful game gets ugly when fans turn against their own

April 20, 2015

“A footballer, says the great Argentine coach Cesar Luis Menotti, is ‘a privileged interpreter of the dreams of many people.’ It is a wise and beautiful line. Not so beautiful, though, are those situations when many of the crowd would rather not have their dreams interpreted by a particular player. One of the most ugly things in football is when fans turn against a member of their own team. In Brazil this is a depressingly common occurrence, and one that can follow bizarre criteria. Many, I’m sure, will remember the Belo Horizonte crowd turning against Fred – indeed forcing his substitution – during that crushing World Cup semi final defeat to Germany last year. One might have thought that, with the team losing 7-1, the defenders might be a more obvious target than the centre forward. I, for one, was delighted when Fred responded by finishing last year’s Brazilian Championship as top scorer.” The World Game  – Tim Vickery (Video)


The good thing about the Qatar 2022 date change

March 31, 2015

Brazil Soccer WCup Netherlands Argentina
“When cities put forward a bid to stage the Olympics, the date of the Games is an explicit part of the proposal. IOC members know what they are voting for. This, of course, was not the case in the race to stage the 2022 World Cup. An inspection group carried out a detailed study into the bids, and put the information at the disposal of FIFA’s Executive Committee – which proceeded to take little notice. They chose Qatar with barely a thought for the logistical problems and world football has been in a bind ever since. It would seem that some sort of compromise is being worked out. A conventional June/July World Cup presented the obvious problem of extreme heat, and so the tournament is set to be staged in November and December.” The World Game – Tim Vickery


Eight wins out of eight – are Brazil a team reborn post-World Cup?

March 31, 2015

“When they sadly packed away their yellow shirts last July, most Brazil fans must have thought that it would be some time before they would be reaching back into the wardrobe for that particular item. The astonishing 7-1 World Cup semi-final defeat to Germany was then followed by the reappointment of the snarling Dunga as national team coach. Morale was low. Fast forward eight months, though, and the mood is more upbeat. Sunday’s 1-0 victory over Chile at the Emirates Stadium in London means that Brazil have now won eight consecutive matches.” BBC – Tim Vickery


A reminder that Brazil needs to get with the times

March 4, 2015

“An architecturally innovative park – conceived in Brazil’s modernity boom of the late 50s – in iconic Rio de Janeiro, will host some of the city’s 450th birthday celebrations, providing a visual reminder of a time when Brazil’s football was at the cutting edge of the global game.” The World Game – Tim Vickery


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