“At the time of writing, Scotland prepare to face Belgium as part of a World Cup qualifying campaign already in tatters after dire draws with Serbia and Macedonia and snatching defeat from the jaws of victory in Wales. Craig Levein’s coat hangs on the shakiest peg at Hampden Park, and only a remarkable result in Belgium could possibly save him – even that may not be enough. Scotland’s plight is deep-rooted: not so long ago they became the first ever nation to qualify for five consecutive World Cups but with the exception of the odd respectable if ultimately futile campaign, they’ve since slid ever backwards.” Sabotage Times
Daily Archives: October 16, 2012
Argentina 3-0 Uruguay: Messi the main man
“Argentina dominated the entire match, but took an hour to get the breakthrough. Alejandro Sabella kept a similar side to the XI that drew in Peru last month, with a couple of Manchester City players replacing a couple of recent Napoli players – Pablo Zabaleta replaced Hugo Campagnaro and Sergio Aguero returned in place of Ezequiel Lavezzi. Oscar Tabarez was without Diego Perez, Alvaro Pereira and Gaston Ramirez, so in came Walter Gargano, Martin Caceres and Alvaro Gonzales. Argentina were superior in every department – although particularly in the final third, thanks to the fluidity, movement and clever combinations of the attackers.” Zonal Marking
Uruguay still struggling to get best out of Edinson Cavani
“In the past couple of years, Uruguay have been South America’s best side. At the 2010 World Cup, they advanced further than any other CONMEBOL nation, then triumphed at last year’s Copa America. The man behind their success is Oscar Tabarez. A veteran coach who won the Copa Libertadores as long ago as 1987 and started his first spell as Uruguay coach a year later, Tabarez is a wise tactician, both methodical and ruthless with his starting selections and strategy.” ESPN – Michael Cox
Scout Report: Tim Howard – Best of the rest?
“When you’ve had the pleasure of watching one of the greatest players of all time in his position play for your club, it’s difficult to judge his successors fairly. Only Nigel Martyn has been universally accepted by the Goodison faithful as a great keeper since Neville Southall left Everton in 1998. Tim Howard easily comes next as best of the rest but he’s never totally convinced all fans that he’s as good as we can get. Is this fair? What can the stats from last year tell us about Everton’s No 1?” The Executioners Bong
Brazil’s ‘Stray Dog’ Complex
“In the early twentieth century Latin American football was growing rapidly. Uruguay had won the triple crown of the Olympic Games in 1924, ’28 and the inaugural World Cup held in Uruguay 1930. Since then football had sprung up across the continent reaching all sections of society and social class, from Copacabana beach overlooked by Sugarloaf Mountain to the country clubs. This new samba style football was developed; individual skill and flair outshined the rigidity of European tactics. The flamboyant philosophy is an extension of the carnival. Brazilians like to show off. There is a word in Brazil ufanismo, boastful, arrogant nationalism. When Brazil was chosen to host the 1950 FIFA World Cup, they were going to put on a show to encapsulate their style of play, but come the climax of the competition, the Uruguayans did not read the script, and Brazil paid the price.” In Bed With Maradona
Can Kaka still make his mark on a World Cup?
“During the 2006 World Cup in Germany, the only time Kaka was not seen filming everything around him was when he was on the pitch playing for Brazil. He had expected to record some treasured memories — forming the much-hyped “magic quartet” with Ronaldo, Ronaldinho and Adriano. After the tournament, however, those images could not have made for easy viewing. Kaka produced a man-of-the-match performance in the opening game, scoring the only goal against Croatia. Thereafter, it was downhill all the way. In truth, the team was top heavy.” ESPN – Tim Vickery