Uruguay Reach Copa America Final

July 20, 2011

“The 2011 Copa América has been a tournament full of shocks, everyone would agree. None of the three pre-tournament favourites won their groups, none of the group winners made it through to the semis, and both the hosts and the holders (who were among those favourites first mentioned) went out in the quarter-finals. When the curtain is raised on the final in River Plate’s Estadio Monumental on Sunday afternoon, though, there will be one sight that’s familiar from past tournaments, though.” In Bed With Maradona

Uruguay 2, Peru 0

July 20, 2011

“Luis Suarez scored in the 53rd and 58th minutes to lead Uruguay past Peru 2-0 on Tuesday and into the Copa America final. Uruguay, which reached the semifinals of last year’s World Cup, will be looking for a record-15th Copa America title in Sunday’s final against either Paraguay or Venezuela, which meet in the other semifinal Wednesday in Mendoza. The final will be played Sunday in Buenos Aires.” ESPN

Uruguay storm into final
“Uruguay are the first team through to the Copa America final after they recorded a convincing 2-0 victory over Peru in La Plata, Argentina. Luis Suarez netted a second-half brace in the semi-final.” ESPN

Uruguay’s international rise
“On July 7, 2010, Uruguayan fans were waking up having seen their side fall to Netherlands in the semi-finals of the World Cup in South Africa a day earlier. Now one of the favourites to pick up the Copa America, Oscar Tabarez’s Uruguay are bringing back memories of their glory days, which began in 1924 and ran until their World Cup win of 1930 on home soil.” ESPN

Brazil 0-0 Paraguay: Brazil fail to score in 120 minutes – then miss all their penalties too

July 20, 2011

“Paraguay are through to the semi-finals of the Copa America, having drawn all four games so far. Gerardo Martino took the surprising decision of dropping Nestor Ortigoza, bringing in Victor Cacares in the centre of midfield. Roque Santa Cruz dropped out, with Nelson Valdez making his first start of the tournament.” Zonal Marking

Venezuela 2-1 Chile: Borghi’s changes put Chile on top, but set-piece vulnerability proves fatal
“Venezuela are through to the semi-finals after two goals from dead ball situations. Cesar Farias’ defence and midfield were as expected – the only decision to make was upfront, where Miku played just off Giancarlo Maldonaldo, in a fairly basic 4-4-2. Claudio Borghi was without Jean Beausejour, so Arturo Vidal moved out to the left and Carlos Carmona came into the centre of the pitch. Chile were poor in the first half, then excellent in the second. Venezuela were never particularly inventive, but retained a threat from set-pieces – and that was enough for them to win the game.” Zonal Marking

Uruguay 1-1 Argentina (AET): Uruguay progress after disciplined defending and superb penalties
“The hosts are out of the Copa America after an engaging 1-1 draw. Oscar Tabarez kept faith with the same narrow 4-4-1-1 system as against Mexico, although there was one change – Martin Cacares came in for Cristian Rodriguez, with Alvaro Pereira moving forward to the left of midfield. Sergio Batista named an unchanged XI in broadly the same system as in Argentina’s final group game against Costa Rica. The game started frantically and then slowed down but remained enjoyable – the two red cards opened up the game, but didn’t produce any more goals.” Zonal Marking

Peru 2-0 Colombia (AET): Colombia waste chances and Peru exploit goalkeeping mistakes
“Carlos Lobaton and Juan Vargas scored thumping extra time goals to put Peru into the semis. Hernan Gomez named his expected side, in a 4-3-3 formation. Sergio Markarian also named 4-3-3, though his side featured many changes from the final group stage game against Chile, when various players were rested. Colombia had the better chances, but Peru were always in the game and largely defended well.” Zonal Marking

Manchester City’s Amazing Deal: Know Your Rights

July 20, 2011

“When Manchester City announced that their commercial agreement with existing shirt sponsor Etihad Airways was to be expanded into a 10-year deal worth up to £400 million, the reaction of most observers in the football world was one of disbelief. This hugely lucrative contract includes the renaming of the City of Manchester Stadium in a naming rights deal that is likely to be the highest ever signed in football.” Swiss Ramble

Arsenal give Barcelona 10 days to sign Cesc Fábregas

July 20, 2011

“Arsenal have given Barcelona until the end of next week to sign Cesc Fábregas.Arsène Wenger is not prepared to countenance any deal for his 24-year-old captain unless he has time to reinvest the fee in a replacement before the transfer window closes on 31 August.” Guardian

Switzerland’s New Dawn

July 20, 2011

“Switzerland’s 1-0 victory over Spain caused a seismic upset at last year’s World Cup. The result galvanised the Swiss who now find themselves with a blossoming talent pool at their disposal.” In Bed With Maradona