Ricardo Bochini’s long wait to become Argentina’s legend of la pausa

January 23, 2014

Ricardo Bochini, El Bocha
“With five minutes of the 1986 World Cup semi-final remaining and Argentina leading Belgium 2-0, Ricardo Bochini came on for Jorge Burruchaga. He was 32, and had been omitted from the squads in both 1978 and 1982. This time, though, Diego Maradona had demanded that he be picked. Those five minutes plus stoppage time would be the only World Cup football Bochini ever played. As he trotted on, Maradona ran over and shook his hand. ‘Maestro,’ he said, ‘we’ve been waiting for you’.” Guardian – Jonathan Wilson


Can Cabaye replicate his Newcastle excellence elsewhere?

January 23, 2014

“For a midsized Premier League club — one of those clubs good enough to have top-class international footballers, but not so good that they’re cup-tied for European competition — it’s a bad month for your star performers to be hitting the headlines. The Premier League’s big clubs are circling and in the midst of the most unpredictable title race for years, one key signing could be crucial.” ESPN – Michael Cox


Quarterfinal: Roma-Juve 1-0

January 23, 2014

“No need to complicate things: both teams largely went for the same approach as in the league game which Juventus won 3-0. That Roma accepted that premise was surprising, in a sense, since it was a 3-goal loss. But apart from Roma’s struggles to create chances — which, as we would see, had been adjusted, or at least accounted for internally — it made sense, because on January 5th Juve “simply” capitalized1 on the few half-opportunities there were. Apart from that, they were, as last night, quiet and retreated. And it’s easy to see why Conte went for the same approach as at Juventus Stadium, because well, they’d won. That they weren’t set up to consistently threaten Roma was probably an acceptable price to pay for not giving away the counterattack situations Roma has made its bread and butter this season.” blogistuta


Are brilliant Bayern Munich making the Bundesliga boring?

January 23, 2014

“The German top-flight’s winter break should have been about rest and recuperation for Bundesliga players and coaches. But one question will have been driving them to distraction: how can we compete with Bayern Munich? After a five-week absence, the Bundesliga returns on Friday when the leaders – and defending champions – travel to Borussia Monchengladbach. Pep Guardiola’s men are seven points ahead of nearest rivals Bayer Leverkusen, with last season’s runners-up Borussia Dortmund 12 points adrift in fourth, as the second half of the campaign kicks off.” BBC


Verbal violence and the plight of the sane fan

January 23, 2014

“At some point, probably during the early 1960s, the nasty side of football was born and promptly garrotted its parents with the chain of its first birthday bike. And while we may not see much traditional hooliganism in the football of 2014, the hate lives proud and strong in the songs sung in stadiums across the country, making life tricky for anyone who thinks the term ‘meathead’ is not a compliment.” Backpage Football