Eight things we learned from the Internet about Copa América 2015

June 11, 2015

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“For the next three weeks, the pulse of South American futbol beats from Chile, where the continent’s 10 national teams plus invitees Mexico and Jamaica will battle it out for a piece of international silverware that’s been contested for 99 years. This is the Copa América, a tournament renowned for its storied rivalries, vibrant fan support, politically-charged history, and incredible star power on the pitch; a competition which, for the past near-century, has ignited a continent. With just days left until the tournament kicks off, we turned to the world’s greatest source for information on the tournament — Wikipedia — and came back up with a few gems. The Copa América, it turns out, is a weird, weird tournament.” Fusion

Copa America preview roundtable: Games, players, stories to watch
“For a second straight summer, a massive international prize is on the line in South America, and even though it may not carry the weight of the World Cup, the 2015 Copa America features plenty of star power and a winner’s medal that includes a ticket to the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup. Days after winning the Champions League together, two-thirds of Barcelona’s record-setting front line–Lionel Messi and Neymar–will be on display as adversaries (the third member, Uruguay’s Luis Suárez, is still banned internationally for his World Cup bite of Giorgio Chiellini); Brazil puts its undefeated mark under Dunga (this time around, anyway) on the line in its first meaningful games since last summer’s disappointment on home soil; host Chile and Colombia aim to build on the success they enjoyed last summer; and a series of upstarts look to spring surprises in what promises to be an intense 12-team competition. Jonathan Wilson and James Young are on the ground in Chile, and here are some of their games, story lines and other items to watch over the next three-plus weeks…” SI – Jonathan Wilson


Tactical Analysis: France 3-4 Belgium | Belgium’s fluidity in midfield and France’s shift to a 4-2-3-1

June 11, 2015

“Drawing ‘big picture’ conclusions from friendlies, especially after a long and gruelling European campaign, can often be an exercise in futility. This is doubly true with top teams such as Belgium and France, most of whose players were involved in additional 10-20 matches in lengthy European and cup campaigns. With key players such as Paul Pogba, Patrice Evra, Thomas Vermaelen, Vincent Kompany and Kevin de Bruyne missing from both sides, one might have hoped that rather than playing for the result, both teams might be given to a bit of experimentation on the day, with a chance to see some new faces or perhaps a bit of tactical innovation. After all, despite France being qualified as hosts of Euro 2016 and Belgium topping their group, neither have been as scintillating as one might expect.” Outside of the Boot


Watford – Upwards And Onwards

June 11, 2015

“Amidst all the excitement about Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth securing promotion to the Premier League, Watford’s similar feat has been a little overlooked, which is a shame, as the story is just as interesting. The turnaround since the Pozzo family purchased the Hertfordshire club, both on and off the pitch, has been remarkable. Watford narrowly missed out on a Premier League place in the Italians’ first season in 2012/13, when Gianfranco Zola’s team was defeated 1-0 by Crystal Palace in the Championship play-off final with an extra-time penalty. Zola had replaced the popular Sean Dyche and enjoyed immediate success, but struggled the following season, when the club appointed Beppe Sannino. After Watford finished a disappointing 13th, the writing was on the wall for Sannino, who resigned early in the 2014/15 season.” The Swiss Ramble


Borussia Dortmund: What went wrong?

June 11, 2015

“It was not the happy ending everyone at the club wanted. Borussia Dortmund lost to VfL Wolfsburg in the DFB Pokal final in what was Jürgen Klopp’s last match as BVB coach. After being at rock bottom in February, the Schwarzgelben were able to gain momentum and eventually reached seventh place in Bundesliga. That means they will play the Europa League qualifiers, when Thomas Tuchel takes over as new manager at Signal Iduna Park. But after a disappointing season, the reasons behind what went wrong must be investigated. Here are ten points, raising no claim to completeness.” Outside of the Boot


Resilient USA makes Klinsmann’s scheduling pay off in Germany upset

June 11, 2015

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“The U.S. national team did it again on Wednesday, coming from behind to defeat a world power on home soil. Unheralded forward Bobby Wood, who plays in Germany for third-tier bound Erzgebirge Aue and whose continued call-ups baffled some observers Stateside, scored another late game-winner as the Americans shocked World Cup champion Germany, 2-1, in Cologne. It marked the first U.S. win over Die Mannschaft in Germany and only the second time it beat a reigning world champion. The other came back in 1998 with a CONCACAF Gold Cup upset of Brazil.” SI


Barcelona 3-1 Juventus: Barca pounce to end spells of Juve pressure

June 11, 2015

“Barcelona won the European Cup – and completed a treble for the second time in seven years – with a 3-1 victory over Italian champions Juventus. There were no surprises on Luis Enrique’s teamsheet. Andres Iniesta had been the only slight injury doubt, but he was fit to start and wore the captain’s armband. Luis Enrique continued with his policy of using his reserve goalkeeper in cup competitions, which meant Marc-Andre ter Stegen started on home soil, with Claudio Bravo on the bench.” Zonal Marking


Liverpool’s Striking Choices And Problem Shooters In The Premier League 2014-15

June 11, 2015

“If you are a club aiming to infiltrate the Premier League’s top four on a regular basis, how does this sound as a description of one of your strikers for next season: 4 time League Champion in Top 5 leagues; 2 time Domestic Cup winner; Champions League Winner; Established international for major European nation; 24 years old. This player is coming into his peak years and his club have already secured his services on a long contract. This is a winning situation, right?” StatsBomb