Africa Cup Disrupted by Ebola Concerns

November 12, 2014

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“Fear of the spread of Ebola has now thrown Africa’s most important soccer tournament into disarray. Morocco was removed Tuesday as host of the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations and expelled from participating in the biennial championship after it sought to delay the 16-team event, concerned about a spread of the virus. No replacement host has yet been named for the tournament, which is scheduled from Jan. 17 to Feb. 8. The expulsion of Morocco was announced by the Confederation of African Football, or C.A.F., the regional soccer governing body, which accused Moroccan officials of being alarmist in wanting to delay the Cup of Nations by six months or a year. Ebola has not been detected in Morocco, the organization noted recently.”
NY Times


Argentina’s Feeder System Drains Talent From Nation’s Top Division

November 12, 2014

“Casual fans might think Argentine soccer is enjoying a golden age. The country’s national team finished second at the World Cup last summer, led by Lionel Messi, a player many consider one of the best to play the game, and Argentine players and coaches are key figures at many of the world’s top clubs. But those successes mask the poverty of domestic soccer, where financial scandals, crowd trouble and the lure of riches abroad have fueled a talent exodus that has left Argentine fans fewer and fewer chances to cheer their favorite players. Most depart for Europe as teenagers after only cameos in the Primera División for powerhouse teams like River Plate and Boca Juniors; others, like Messi, never play in the league at all.” NY Times


Origins & Development of Catenaccio

November 12, 2014

“… Catenaccio! A word which even today strikes fear into the hearts of footballing fans, players and managers alike, is often lamented as a parasite to the word, ‘football’. Symbolizing all that is bad in football, Catenaccio accommodates defensive play, aggressive fouling, cynicism, intimidating opponents, alongwith a penchant for what is called nowadays- boring football. Football is a beautiful game and teams which kill this scenarios, are often crucified.” Outside of the Boot


Vela, Tevez, crucial qualifiers headline 2014’s last international window

November 12, 2014

“The final international fixture window of 2014 features the long-awaited international return of some household names, crucial qualifiers on multiple continents and handfuls of intriguing friendlies. Here are 10 things to watch over the next week…” SI – Jonathan Wilson


Analysis: In-depth look at Roma’s flexibility, triangles & Totti under Rudi Garcia

November 12, 2014

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“There are two types of coaches in this world, those that are content to develop a career either at a single club or at least within a single nation and those that are willing to take themselves out of their comfort zone and push the boundaries of their abilities. Luckily for fans of AS Roma in Italy the French coach Rudi Garcia belongs in the second category. As a player Garcia failed to make much of an impression despite playing for both Lille and Caen during the course of his career, as a coach though he has gone from strength to strength. Whilst still coaching in France he led a relatively unfashionable side in Lille to a league and cup double and helped launch the careers of the likes of Gervinho, Yohan Cabaye, Matthieu Debuchy and Eden Hazard. Such relative success was always likely to bring with it interest and in June 2013 Rudi Garcia accepted an offer to take charge of Roma in Serie A.” Outside of the Boot


U.S. Soccer turning to overlooked youth to discover next wave of talent

November 12, 2014

“Most Americans aren’t familiar with Nacogdoches, Texas, and if they are it’s probably because of Clint Dempsey. Nacogdoches is a small town of less than 35,000 people in East Texas, roughly 150 miles from Houston and Dallas. Dempsey, the only American ever to score in three World Cups, grew up playing soccer on dirt fields against Hispanic immigrants in his town. He played in an unaffiliated local Mexican League in his teens, even after he had joined a more traditional Dallas-based soccer program.” SI


It’s Not Me, It’s You: Gerrard, Touré, and the Complicated Case of the Aging Midfielder

November 12, 2014

“Soccer, as much as any other sport, is a young man’s game. Players peak around 24, and by 30 they’re nervously looking over their shoulders for a younger, better, ready-made replacement. Come 35, the few superstars still hanging on get the Turkish, Middle Eastern, or MLS retirement package. Hit 40, and you’re either named Ryan Giggs or retired. With that in mind, it’s a bit odd that the two clubs that fought for last season’s English Premier League crown came into this season banking on the smooth operation of a pair of midfield fulcrums sitting on the wrong side of three decades. While Steven Gerrard and Yaya Touré managed just fine for Liverpool and Manchester City then, this year has been a struggle for their aging legs.” Grantland


The sad reality of the Netherlands and Mexico: There’s no revenge to be had in international friendlies

November 12, 2014

“Here’s the riff: After surprisingly making it out of their World Cup group, playing some highly entertaining, attacking soccer along the way, Mexico faced the Netherlands in the Round of 16 in Fortaleza, Brazil. For much of the game, Mexico more than held their own. In fact, shortly after the half, Mexico took a 1-0 lead off of a lovely finish from Giovani Dos Santos. But two late Dutch goals ended Mexico’s dreams of advancing. To make matters worse, the Netherlands’ equalizer came from a rather dubious penalty called on many people’s favorite villain, Rafa Márquez, against the obvious culprit, Arjen Robben. For many, the final result was compromised. But life goes on. Or does it?” Soccer Gods