Brazil’s inadequacies echoed by Neymar’s lack of patience against Colombia

June 18, 2015

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“Disappointment would have been bad enough for Brazil, but after the final whistle it became disgrace. Defeat to Colombia, followed by Neymar’s red card, may not resonate like the 7-1 defeat to Germany in the World Cup semi-final last year did, but the shame is just as real. After all the talk of trying to find some sort of redemption in the Copa América, all the same old flaws were there, just without quite the same hysteria. This was a petulant, complacent, unimaginative Brazil and they now, almost unbelievably, must beat Venezuela in their final group game on Sunday to be sure of making it to the quarter-finals – and they will have to do it without the player on whom they have become so reliant.” Guardian – Jonathan Wilson

Breaking down last night’s Colombia-Brazil nonsense with the power of GIF
“Last night, Brazil and Colombia met in a Copa América group stage game, almost one year after Brazil eliminated the Colombians in Forteleza in the 2014 World Cup quarterfinals. But this time was different. Colombia, having already succumbed to Venezuela in its opening game, managed to pull itself together and frustrate Brazil for 90 minutes, eeking out a 1-0 victory. Typically, that would be the story. Colombia exacts revenge on the Samba Boys. Or something basic like that. But that would be a disservice to the real story: These two teams wanted to murder each other, and they came damn close after the final whistle.” Fusion

Neymar’s brilliance and immaturity have been on display at Copa America
“There was a time not long ago when Brazil boasted countless world-class attackers. It was a time when, for example, Marcio Amoroso could finish as top goal scorer in Brazil, Italy and Germany, but count himself fortunate simply to be named in the Brazil squad. Mario Jardel scored 130 goals in 125 league games for Porto and collected only 10 caps, usually as a substitute. Giovane Elber, meanwhile, spent a decade banging in the Bundesliga goals and managed just 15 caps.” ESPN – Michael Cox


Gerardo Martino’s shrewd tactical tinkering helps Argentina pip Uruguay

June 18, 2015

“The old rivals rose to the occasion. The match between Argentina and Uruguay may not have offered up all of the goals of the previous night’s action in the Copa America, but there was quality and drama to the end as Argentina held off a late Uruguayan rally to win by the lone goal. Argentina coach Gerardo Martino had prepared a trap for his opponents. Lionel Messi dropped deep, into a position where, like some general of old, he could survey the battlefield in search of the enemy’s weak point. He also drew attention of the Uruguayan markers, creating space for Javier Pastore to advance and set up the play some 30 metres from goal. With Angel Di Maria elusively wandering in from the left flank, Argentina opened up with a fluidity which threatened an early breakthrough.” ESPN – Tim Vickery

Sergio Aguero rescues labourious Argentina in 1-0 win over Uruguay
“Three quick thoughts on Argentina’s frantic 1-0 win over Uruguay in the Copa America on Tuesday night. 1. Argentina learn from Paraguay mistakes. Sergio Aguero scored a goal to light up a game, even if this was not a game to light up a tournament. Argentina have at least renewed their spark, however, after claiming their first win of the Copa America with this hard-fought 1-0 win over Uruguay. Their manager, Gerardo Martino, was sent off for first-half touchline remonstrations, but his team are finally off and running. The frustration after the 2-2 draw with Paraguay has now evaporated, and the relief could be witnessed at the final whistle.” ESPN


Raheem Sterling to Man City? Liverpool could be the real winners

June 18, 2015

“There’s always at least one transfer saga that promises to drag on longer than it needs to every summer, with its outcome seeming inevitable from the word go. David De Gea’s proposed switch from Manchester United to Real Madrid could fall under that category this time around, while Raheem Sterling’s expected departure from Liverpool is another. Manchester City seem to be at the front of the queue for the wantaway winger, reportedly having had two notable bids rejected for the 20-year-old already. WhoScored take a look at whether a deal would be worthwhile for both parties and who could potentially get the better end of the deal.” ESPN


Celtic – Everything’s Gone Green

June 18, 2015

Scott Brown
“So Celtic duly won their fourth consecutive Scottish League title in May in their first season under young Norwegian manager Ronny Deila, who had replaced the very successful Neil Lennon the previous summer. Despite this fine achievement, there was also disappointment, as the famous Glasgow club failed to qualify for the group stages of the Champions League, even though they had two bites at the cherry, having been reprieved after Legia Warsaw fielded an ineligible player, only to crash out against Slovenian champions Maribor. This was in stark contrast to previous great nights in Europe. As recently as November 2012, Celtic beat Barcelona 2-1 in front of a packed Celtic Park, as they made their way to the last 16 of the Champions League. Many believed that this would be the platform for greater things, but the club has not progressed since then, as they did not make the best use of the European cash windfall. Instead, they sold three key players at the end of that season (Victor Wanyama, Gary Hooper and Kelvin Wilson) and failed to adequately replace them.” The Swiss Ramble


The Financial Underbelly: Coventry City

June 18, 2015

“Okay, okay – when it comes to Coventry City, the financial situation is less an ‘underbelly’ than a gaping open wound that has festered for several seasons now. Here, Ian Palmer sums up his personal fatigue with the whole business. Ian can be followed on twitter at @iancpalmer. … Coventry City have been losing fans. In fact, I’d bet no club has lost as many fans over the last three years as the Sky Blues. Picture the scene: a breezy August afternoon, kicking off the first ‘home’ game of the season, 35 miles away from home. We’re bottom of the league table on -10 points, yet no team has played a single game.” thetwounfortunates


France must make a decision on Didier Deschamps before it’s too late

June 18, 2015

“There was no retribution from France on Saturday evening. A trip to Albania, six days removed from their 4-3 humbling at the hands of Belgium, was on the cards; a side that France have yet to taste defeat against in their lifespan as a footballing nation. Apt given the national side’s current predicament, France departed Albania late Saturday evening on the wrong end of a 1-0 scoreline. ‘I am particularly annoyed and disappointed because I’m responsible,’ remarked France coach, Didier Deschamps, post-match.” backpagefootball