A guide to the 2011 Copa America

June 28, 2011

“Think football is over for the summer? Think again. From July 1st to the 24th, the ten nations comprising the CONMEBOL Confederation of South America, plus two guest countries, will play out the 43rd Copa America in Argentina. If you’re familiar with past tournaments, then you’ll know to expect some beautiful football, some drama, some hilariously shameless cheating, and some great spectacle, both on and off the pitch. It’s a fine showcase for South American football and for my money the most entertaining and passionate football on earth.” Three Match Ban – 2011 Copa America: Part One – The Minnows, Part Two – The Outsiders, Mexico & Costa Rica, Part Three – The Under-Achievers, Colombia & Peru, Part Four – The Over-Achievers, Paraguay and Ecuador, Part Five – The Contenders, Uruguay and Chile, Part Six – The Giants, Argentina and Brazil

Brazil 3-0 Chile: Dunga prevails over Bielsa in the tactical contest of the tournament

June 28, 2011

“A fascinating game of two vastly different styles – with one clear winner. Brazil were without both Felipe Melo and Elano through injury, and so Dunga chose Dani Alves on the right of midfield, with Ramires in a deeper, left-sided role. The rest of the team was as expected.” Zonal Marking

Granada’s Italian Job

June 28, 2011

“October 28th 1973; quite the memorable date in Spanish football history. A young, straggly but immensely gifted Dutchman by the name of Johan Cruyff made his league debut for FC Barcelona, and the effect he’d have on football from that point on, not just in Spain, is one that still shapes the game today. This story, however, is not about the number 14 – it’s about the number 35. Barça’s opponents that day were Granada CF, a team who have spent 35 years away from the Spanish top flight…until now.” In Bed With Maradona


June 28, 2011

“In October 2001, the national football teams of France and Algeria faced off in a long-awaited, and (at least in principle) “friendly” international game at the Stade de France in Paris. The event was trumpeted as an opportunity for reconciliation, a symbolic end to the conflict between the two countries, and an opportunity for a French nation increasingly shaped by it’s Algerian immigrant population to find peace within itself. But from the beginning, the match was something else: the stadium was packed with fans of the Algerian team, most of them French citizens of Algerian background. Many booed and whistled not just at the French national team (sparing only Zinedine Zidane), but also — loudly — at the French national anthem.” Soccer Politics

Using the TPI to Set Realistic Expectations at Aston Villa

June 28, 2011

“Plenty has been written about the unreasonable expectations of Aston Villa’s management team and some of their supporters since they began their search for a new manager. Chris Nee wrote a great piece at Two Footed Tackle, detailing Villa’s history in the Premier League. He makes the case that their “expectations may not have been unrealistic fifteen or even ten years ago, and maybe they haven’t changed. But football has.” Simon Clancy wrote in the NY Times Goal blog of the recent management carousel at the club which was kept alive by the appointment of Alex McLeish given that some fans don’t want him. I even spilled some digital ink on the topic, identifying several Aston Villa managers as large over-performers when it comes to the expectations set by the club’s transfer expenditures.” Pay As You Play

Dribbling Cruyff

June 28, 2011

“More fun than a box full of monkeys this, a Johan Cruyff dribbling compilation that does exactly what it says on the tin. The ‘turn’ makes several appearances. Enjoy!” In Bed With Maradona

Mexican Wave

June 26, 2011

“On Saturday night, the United States men’s national soccer team lost 4-2 to Mexico in the final of the CONCACAF Gold Cup, the regional championship of North America, Central America, and the Caribbean. Between Mexico’s early dominance, Team USA’s shocking surge ahead, and the Americans’ post-halftime futility, the match was a weird miniature of recent domestic soccer history. The United States was terrible (1950-1990 inclusive), then suddenly pretty good (2002 World Cup), then prone to squandering leads (2009 Confederations Cup final vs. Brazil) and stalling (USA-Ghana 2010) after exciting moments (USA-Algeria, also 2010).” Slate – Brian Phillips

Mexico exploits porous U.S. defense
“Breathless, frenetic, utterly absorbing: Mexico was a 4-2 winner in the Gold Cup final, a score line that didn’t seem quite to reflect its superiority, yet so open was the game that the U.S. had enough chances to have itself won the game by a two-goal margin. This was thrillingly end-to-end, a game in which midfields barely existed, settled by the porousness of the USA’s back four. In the end, it simply presented too many chances to Mexico.” SI – Jonathan Wilson

Mexico claim Gold Cup glory
“Pablo Barrera scored twice as Mexico came from 2-0 down against USA to win a dramatic CONCACAF Gold Cup final 4-2 at the Rose Bowl. USA appeared to have taken control of the game as Michael Bradley and Landon Donovan put them two goals to the good inside the first quarter of the game, but Barrera and Andres Guardado levelled before the break and the former struck again before Giovani Dos Santos clinched victory.” ESPN

U.S. player ratings against Mexico
“U.S. player ratings vs. Mexico (scale of 1-10).” SI

YouTube – USA 2 Mexico 4