Menezes ignores Ronaldinho and Robinho in latest Brazil call-up

“I took a wander from my apartment here on Monday and one of the first people I saw was Ronaldinho, sitting enjoying a leisurely beer in a temporary break from the revelries of Carnaval. Seated to his right was another Ronaldinho, doing the same thing. On his left, yet another … In truth, they were all just people wearing Ronaldinho masks, one of the big hits of this year’s festivities. But the real thing has been just as omnipresent, making up in 2011 for all those carnivals he missed while he was freezing on the other side of the Atlantic.” SI


La semaine en France: Week 26

“Exactly a month ago, Football Further speculated that, were Lille to fail to win Ligue 1, Dariusz Dudka’s late equaliser in their 1-1 draw at Auxerre would be pinpointed as a key turning point. Should they go on and triumph, however, Pierre-Alain Frau’s 91st-minute winner at Marseille last Sunday could be seen as the goal that changed the course of the title race.” Football Further

Schalke 3-1 Valencia: Schalke surprisingly go through after open second leg

“Valencia had plenty of chances, but Schalke were more clinical. Felix Magath made two changes from the first leg, both enforced. Sergio Escudero replaced the suspended Lukas Schmitz at left-back, whilst Mario Gavranovic came in for Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, who was out with a knee injury. Having played a fluid system in the first leg that had no set shape, Unai Emery selected a standard 4-2-3-1 system here. The major news was that Artiz Aduriz started upfront, with Roberto Soldado on the bench.” Zonal Maiking

Ground 156: UTS Stadium, Dunston

“The year is 1975. By the banks of the Tyne in Dunston, newly absorbed into the Metropolitan Borough of Gateshead, an 8-year-old boy by the name of Paul Gascoigne dreams of emulating fellow local lad and future Gol TV commentator Ray Hudson, then a 20-year-old midfielder for Newcastle United. Brian Johnson, born in Dunston in 1947 and better known nowadays as the lead singer of AC/DC, is touring with the band Geordie and the Masters of Rock album they released the previous year. The Dunston staithes, first constructed in 1893 and the largest wooden structure to be found anywhere in Europe, are still being used to load coal from nearby coalfields into ships on the River Tyne, and workers at the Her Majesty’s Stationery Office have just entered their own team, called Whickham Sports FC, in the Newcastle City Amateur League.” The Accidental Groundhopper

Tottenham 0-0 Milan: Spurs hang on

“Milan had the majority of possession in both matches, but failed to score in 180 minutes of football. Harry Redknapp made one change from the first game, with Luka Modric returning in place of Wilson Palacios. Gareth Bale was only fit enough for the bench. Max Allegri named a surprisingly attacking side, even when considering this was a game Milan needed to win. Clarence Seedorf and Kevin-Prince Boateng were in a midfield three alongside Mathieu Flamini, with Robinho in the hole.” Zonal Marking

Tottenham 0-0 (1-0) Milan – Overall Match Analysis
“Some matches pose very interesting tactical conundrums for managers, pundits and fans to consider, with several potential approaches to a game all carrying pros and cons and needing to be weighed up against each other to ascertain which is the set of instructions most likely to result in victory. Perhaps the ultimate of these is currently “how do you beat Barcelona?”, which can offer numerous different strategies based on your team’s strengths and qualities versus their obvious strengths and perceived weaknesses.” Footballistically

Ajax 0 – 1 Spartak: Pressing and chances, but a loss nonetheless

“Outplaying your opponent for ninety percent of the match, yet still ending up on the wrond end of the score. It’s not the first time such a turn of events happened to Ajax. They managed to impress with their possession-based high pressing game and creating a fair share of chances along the way, but despite the 20 – 3 advantage in terms of goal scoring chances, Ajax failed to find a way past Spartak goalkeeper Dikan.” 11 tegen 11