Is Silva Spain’s Messi in disguise?

November 12, 2011

“Just less than a month ago Spain lined up to play for them a dead rubber European Championship qualifier against Scotland. Even amongst the Scottish media and fanbase – despite the game being very much a live match in Scotland’s quest to seal a play-off place – the pre-match talk was of how many the World Champions would win by and which of his array of talented stars Vicente Del Bosque would field.” Spanish Football


Argentina rallies to draw Bolivia 1-1 in qualifier

November 12, 2011

“Argentina’s poor start in South American World Cup qualifying continued on Friday with substitute Ezequiel Lavezzi scoring in the 60th minute to salvage a disappointing 1-1 draw against Bolivia. Marcelo Martins put Bolivia ahead in the 56th, capitalizing on an error by Argentina defender Martin Demichelis. Lavezzi equalized four minutes later with his first touch after coming on for Ricardo Alvarez.” SI

Suarez scores four as Uruguay crush Chile 4-0
“Uruguay striker Luis Suarez scored all four goals as the Copa America holders crushed Chile 4-0 on Friday to stay top of the South American 2014 World Cup qualifying group. Suarez scored twice in each half, his goals spanning a 30-minute period in which Uruguay devastated Chile, who went into the match following coach Claudio Borghi’s dismissal of five of his players for indiscipline in midweek.” SI

Bosnia 0-0 Portugal: both sides play defensively on a very poor pitch

November 12, 2011

“A largely uneventful game, and all square going into the second leg the Estadio da Luz on Tuesday. Safet Susic had various selection problems at the back, meaning that captain Emir Spahic was the only first-choice member of the back four playing. Further forward, the side was as expected. No major surprises from Paulo Bento either – 4-3-3, with Miguel Veloso in the holding role behind old Sporting teammate Joao Moutinho, and Raul Meireles. Susic’s concern about the back four may have contributed to his decision to play cautious football in the first two-thirds of this match, although for long periods they simply poor on the ball.” Zonal Marking

Turkey 0-3 Croatia: Bilic shows how to play a 4-4-2 against a 4-3-3

November 12, 2011

“A superb display from Croatia put them in a commanding position going into Tuesday’s second leg. Guus Hiddink played a 4-3-3 system, with Giray Kacar brought in at the back. Kazim Kazim was injured, so Burak Yilmaz continued upfront, with support from Arda Turan and Hamit Altintop. Slaven Bilic used 4-4-2, with Mario Mandzukic and Ivica Olic upfront. Luka Modric was in the middle with Ivan Rakitic tucked in on the left, whilst Vedran Corluka was on the left and Domagoj Vida right.” Zonal Marking (Video)

‘Slim’ Jim Baxter and a Game Of Three Card Brag

November 12, 2011

“Vienna, 1964. It is a bitingly cold December evening. Snow has cascaded down upon the Austrian capital over the past week or so. Just to the west of the very heart of the city, groundsmen at the Praterstadion have been working feverishly, fighting against the chill, to clear the pitch of its newly acquired white blanket. Their efforts are successful but, in its wake, the snow leaves behind a meddlesome, sticky field. The upcoming second leg of the European Cup second round between Austrian champions Rapid Vienna and Scottish champions Rangers looks set to be an ugly affair.” In Bed With Maradoma

Holland 0 – 0 Switzerland: Clever Swiss game plan unsettles Dutch offense

November 12, 2011

“Friendly international matches are usually good for two things: testing out different tactics and/or assessing the usefulness of alternative players. In that regard, Van Marwijk must have had a useful experience to see his side play to a disappointing draw against Switzerland, who came out with a cunning strategy that proved very successful in negating the Dutch offensive strengths, while highlighting the lack of offensive alternatives.” 11 tegen 11