Africa Cup of Nations’ lop-sided draw promises intrigue if not high quality

December 4, 2014

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Democratic Republic of Congo fan – African Nations Cup
“Given the seeding pots, the potential for an atrociously difficult group at next month’s Africa Cup of Nations was always there. The draw delivered, spectacularly and brutally. Algeria, the top-ranked team in Africa, the only one of the Cup of Nations qualifiers to reach the last 16 of the World Cup, were the danger lurking in Pot 2 and Ghana the unlucky seeds. But worse than that, Ghana had already been grouped with Senegal – by some distance the best team in Pot 4 – and, from Pot 3, the side that eliminated the champions Nigeria in qualifying, South Africa, resurgent under Shakes Mashaba.” Guardian – Jonathan Wilson


The minimum need-to-knows about Liga MX’s semifinals

December 4, 2014

“Ah, semifinals – the bastard children of playoffs. Not quite a championship game, so therefore worthless to most neutral fans. And for most regular Liga MX fans, the warmth and glow of making the liguilla has worn off. Your team has either lost or finds itself in a dogfight. Thus, we’re left with four pretty evenly matched teams whose fate probably will be decided more by luck than skill. In fact, only four points separated the semifinalists in the regular season: América finished first with 31 points; Monterrey was sixth, with 27.” Soccer Gods


Accustomed to elite status, Borussia Dortmund mired in Bundesliga cellar

December 4, 2014

“There is a Borussia Dortmund shirt exhibition on at the moment, with 32 shirts displayed from 1966 to 2014. The venue is a Catholic church in Dortmund and above the entrance in the building are the words, in big black and yellow letters: ‘Church, football, trust in God.’ Dortmund has slumped to the bottom of the Bundesliga, and, with coach Jurgen Klopp struggling to find answers, some fans might want to start looking for divine inspiration.” SI