Chile time at the Copa America

June 13, 2015

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“In the 99-year history of the world’s oldest continental competition, 37 of the 43 titles have been snapped up by Uruguay, Argentina and Brazil. Other than the traditional big three, Bolivia has won it, Colombia has won it while Paraguay and Peru have both won it twice. Chile does not appear on the list of Copa America champions – even though it took part as far back as the inaugural tournament in 1916. The current side, by popular consensus, is the best in Chile’s history. As 2015 host, then, the pressure is on it to bring the long, dry run to an end. And coach Jorge Sampaoli is worried about the pressure. He has first hand experience of what it can do.” The World Game – Tim Vickery

Brazil hope their new Fred does better than the old one in Copa America
“Two weeks ago, Fred, the diminutive Shakhtar Donetsk forward, made his home debut for Brazil in a friendly against Mexico in São Paulo. When his name was read out before kickoff, he was roundly booed: the crowd did not realise he was the 22-year-old Frederico Rodrigues Santos, and assumed he was the other Fred, the 31-year-old Frederico Chaves Guedes, the Fluminense striker who was one of the chief scapegoats for the disaster of the World Cup.” Guardian – Jonathan Wilson

Copa América Tickets, Finally, Are Hard to Come By
“Eduardo Santa Cruz has been attending Copa América games in Chile since 1955, when he was 5 years old and his parents took him to games in Santiago. A professor of journalism and the author of two books on soccer and mass culture, Santa Cruz has a better recollection of the 1991 tournament, for which he said tickets in Santiago were readily available. This year, though, as the popularity of the Copa continues to grow, he expects tickets will be hard to find. Santa Cruz and his family will be watching from home.” NY Times

Copa America: Group-by-group guide

Copa America: Five potential breakthrough stars (Video)


The dilemma of a Middle Eastern footballer

June 13, 2015

“Football in the Middle East has grown but perhaps not fast enough. It has emerged as another place for Europe’s elite to finish their careers at but what about transfers the other way? Strict work permit regulations have thwarted the efforts of numerous Middle Eastern footballers looking to ply their trade in Europe. Hamoudi Fayad has a look at the state of affairs.” Outside of the Boot


Brazil have grown stronger thanks to World Cup humiliation

June 13, 2015

“In July 2014, Belo Horizonte, Portuguese for Beautiful Horizon, witnessed one of the darkest days in Brazilian football history. Following on from the Seleção’s incredibly humbling defeat to soon-to-be world champions Germany, the nation seemed lost. Shirts were burnt, buses were set alight and tears were shed that night, but it could prove to be one of the most important moments in the Brazilian national team’s illustrious 101 year existence.” backpagefootball


Celtic cousins – How are Ireland and Scotland the same yet different?

June 13, 2015

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“At the end of a long, often arduous, domestic season for most of Europe, only in UEFA would it make sense to schedule a run of Euro 2016 qualifiers for this coming weekend, 12-14 June. Yet so it comes to pass that Ireland and Scotland clash in Dublin this evening with a huge amount at stake in Qualification Group D.” backpagefootball

Scotland fight on and dream on after messy Dublin display
“You counted them from the first minute of the Euro 2016 qualifier against the Republic of Ireland – the Scotland blunders, the moments of uncertainty, the epidemic of misplaced passes that took hold of Gordon Strachan’s team for 45 minutes. You watched some of it in disbelief and some of it in anger and confusion. Where did this weakness come from? Who stole Scotland’s serenity?” BBC


England face tall task to beat Slovenia’s goalkeeper Samir Handanovic

June 13, 2015

“Jan Oblak performed heroics when Benfica drew 0-0 away to Juventus in the second leg of the Europa League semi-final last season. He projects a confidence that makes him appear taller than his 6ft 1in. He secured a move to Atlético Madrid at the age of 21 as the long-term replacement to Thibaut Courtois and, although he has largely played second fiddle to Miguel Ángel Moyà this season, Oblak is widely regarded as one of the best young goalkeepers in the world. He even shares a surname with probably the greatest Slovenian footballer ever, Branko Oblak, but he is some way from becoming the first choice for his country and is unlikely to face England in their Euro 2016 qualifier in Ljubljana on Sunday. It’s a joke as old as international football itself: if we’re being kind to Josip Ilicic, Slovenia probably have three top-class players; two of them are goalkeepers.” Guardian – Jonathan Wilson


Football League season review: Charlton Athletic – Striking while the iron is hot

June 13, 2015

“Charlton’s season ended with half the club’s support applauding one of their favourite strikers, celebrating his successful end to the season. In the final game of 2014/15, celebrations at The Valley echoed the League One victory of 2012. Then, the Addicks cantered to the title with a grand title of 101 points – driven on by the management of Chris Powell and the forward presence of Frenchman Yann Kermorgant, alongside Bradley Wright-Phillips. The future looked bright for Charlton then. Sadly, issues of funding and ownership got in the way with no real investment in the successful squad. Come the winter of 2014, a new owner came along in the form of a Belgian businessman named Roland Duchatelet. Armed with his own ideology of how things should be done, a host of foreign imports replaced established stars on the sidelines and on the pitch. Kermorgant, perhaps considered too old for a long-term contract, was sold to Bournemouth and Chris Powell was sacked as the team struggled at the foot of the table.” The Football Pink