In Mexico, a Soccer Stadium Where Visitors Gasp

August 11, 2009

“The massive bowl, Estadio Azteca, sits in the southern part of this sprawling metropolis like a concrete sombrero. The stadium’s mystique — especially its 105,000 spectators and its 7,200-foot altitude — will play an integral role Wednesday in a World Cup qualifying match between Mexico and the United States.” (NYT)

Mexico Tries to Reclaim Soccer Rivalry With U.S.
“When Mexico was a dominant regional soccer power, the 7,200-foot altitude of Estadio Azteca in Mexico City provided sufficient advantage to assure a home victory against the oxygen-starved United States.” (NYT)

U.S. Names Squad For Mexico Match
“With all the Premier League excitement going on lately, it’s easy to forget that there’s also an important World Cup qualifier on Wednesday. This game is, of course, Mexico vs. USA; it’s kind of a big deal for both teams. This time out, though, it’s a particularly interesting match. Mexico is sitting in fourth place in CONCACAF; they need a win just to keep their dreams of qualification alive and kicking.” (Avoiding the Drop)

Five factors favor the U.S. as it looks to break curse in Azteca
“The U.S. has been in Azteca before with the chance to make history and beat Mexico, but each and every time has fallen short. However, that could all change on Wednesday. A closer look at the two teams reveals a few factors that could tilt the result of the crucial World Cup qualifier in favor of the Americans. (SI)

Whoa Mexico
“Depending how you slice it, Wednesday’s U.S./Mexico game at the Azteca is either the biggest game in the history of mankind … or the sixth match of ten in CONCACAF World Cup 2010 qualifying. Is it the last relevant game for the U.S. ahead of South Africa? Probably.” (That’s on point)

A Modern Mitchell and Kenyon

August 11, 2009

“You’ll know that most of the Edwardian film footage of football that we still possess was the work of the northern firm Mitchell and Kenyon, and that they also produced travelling panoramas. … I came across a more modern equivalent during an idle surfing session yesterday. Three films, on Youtube, taken from the window of a car in 1985 as it drove through Bedford, the town in which I had the indubitable privilege of growing up.” (More Than Mind Games)

How will the Premier League unfold?

August 11, 2009

“Chelsea and Manchester United set the tone for the battle at the top of the Premier League in a Community Shield encounter liberally sprinkled with spice and confrontation. The traditional quartet will jostle at the sharp end of the table – but can anyone break up the cartel of the so-called ‘Big Four’?Can Liverpool end a 20-year wait to bring the title back to Anfield? Who will emerge from the pack? Who will consolidate? Who will be condemned to a season fighting for survival? It will all unfold once the top-flight campaign commences next Saturday.” (BBC – Phil McNulty)

Arsenal gunning for glory (BBC)

Far more to Premier League than Fergie vs Rafa (ESPN)

Football Age, Real Age, and the Meanings of Age in Africa

August 11, 2009

“A gnawing and suspicious paradox lies at the heart of African national team experiences in world competition: African teams tend to do much better at the youth level than they do at the senior level. Take the fact, for example, that African teams have won 5 of the 12 FIFA U17 World Cups (with the 2009 version scheduled to be hosted by Nigeria in October and November), but not a single African team has ever made it as far as the semi-finals of a full World Cup.” (Pitch Invasion)

Scotland: new season previewed by Dan Brennan

August 11, 2009

“Regaining the SPL title will be the minimum requirement for Tony Mowbray in his first season in charge of Celtic, but he will also need to improve on the team’s patchy Champions League record. Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink and Paul Hartley have been replaced by a pair of Nancy boys: £3.8million forward Marc-Antoine Fortune (who Mowbray had on loan at West Brom last season) and Cameroon international Landry N’Guemo, who will slot into a midfield that will be without Shunsuke Nakamura this season after he left for Spanish side Espanyol.” (World Soccer)

Scottish Premier League preview (ESPN)

Ecuadorian stars emerge from the shadows

August 11, 2009

“Twenty years ago the idea that a top flight English club’s record signing coming from Ecuador would have been utterly inconceivable. Two decades ago there was hardly a foreigner to be found. These days – thanks to the extraordinary globalisation of the game – supporters of even lesser Premier League clubs can receive a global geography lesson merely by plotting the birth places of the first team squad.” (BBC – Tim Vickery)