SI’s Copa America Centenario picks

May 31, 2016

“Copa America Centenario is a unique competition, one that pits South America’s 10 sides against each other and some of the best CONCACAF has to offer. Despite some of the stars who won’t be participating this summer–namely Neymar–and some of the nations who missed out, this is as close as it gets to a World Cup-style competition reserved for the Western Hemisphere. With that said, there can only be one winner. Argentina is out to end a trophy drought that is in its third decade. Mexico is out to make a statement against its South American foes. The U.S. is out to achieve material success under Jurgen Klinsmann for the first time since the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup.” SI

Copa America Centenario group previews

Chicharito has been loved, hated and loved again
“HE’S THE FIRST player out of the clubhouse. The Mexican reporters are unprepared, chatting with each other behind the metal barricade. They turn their heads when the door scrapes open, lunging for their microphones. A camera stand nearly topples. Javier Hernandez is small and slight. At 28, his body seems barely removed from boyhood. Yet even in an unadorned black tracksuit, charisma flies off him like sweat off a boxer. As he strides through the mixed zone underneath Vancouver’s BC Place, someone calls his nickname: ‘Chicharito! Hey, Chicharito!'” ESPN

Copa America Centenario – News

A Victory in the End, but Not a Just One

May 31, 2016

“Time, and the record books, still divide the city of Madrid when it comes to soccer. It is written that Real is the imperious one, the club that since 1955 has won the European Cup or the Champions League an unprecedented 11 times, while its neighbor, Atlético, has never worn that crown. Sports, like life, isn’t always fair. Atlético fans call themselves and their team ‘El Pupas,’ the Cursed Ones, and that remains their fate after Saturday’s Champions League final in Milan. Real Madrid did not win that final; it won the penalty shootout that even Cristiano Ronaldo, the man who struck the last decisive kick, has said is always a lottery.” NY Times

Liverpool’s lack of leaders cause for concern

May 31, 2016

“Take, for example, Sevilla’s 3-1 win over Liverpool in the recent final of the Europa League. While they were in the first half ascendancy, Liverpool could have been awarded one, or even two penalties. To this extent, luck was against them. There is no doubt, though, that they were over-run in the second half. Here it is arguable that tactical and technical issues were important. Liverpool lined up with Daniel Sturridge, Phillippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino. The attacking trio combined to give the English club a first half lead.” The World Game – Tim Vickery (Video)

Good, bad, ugly – Moscow football club style

May 31, 2016

“Lokomotiv Moscow’s last home game of the season was against crisis club Mordovia Saransk, who needed a win for a relegation play-off, and the choice of which Moscow football club to watch was narrowed to two. CSKA were away to poor Rubin Kazan and beat them as they strolled to another title. Spartak were also on the road, at Ufa, and the only other option was to go to Khimki and watch Dynamo look for a favour from Zenit. Apart from being Tim’s favourite team, it was a no-brainer to go to Cherkizovo.” backpagefootball

Dynamo Moscow – An historic failure, a long time coming
“A 3-1 defeat in Naples meant that Dynamo Moscow’s chances of making it to the quarter finals of the 2015 Europa League looked slim; but after some solid performances in the competition already, turning the tie around was not out of the question. In the end a fairytale comeback wasn’t meant to be – Rafael Benitez’s side held on despite Dynamo’s best efforts with the second leg ending 0-0, though this was a performance and a team that the fans could be proud of after years of mismanagement and under-achievement.” backpagefootball

Tactical Analysis: Marseille 2-4 PSG | Brave Passi’s tactics undone by choice of personnel

May 31, 2016

“While credit must go to Franck Passi for trying to make a fist of a cup final, especially with it being his final match in charge of Marseille, there is also something to be said for logic. The interim manager (it now appears he will remain in charge pending a change in ownership) tried a number of different formations in an attempt to thwart the all-conquering Paris Saint-Germain. His various tactics certainly displayed an innovative touch, but could things have gone a bit better as regards personnel, or with a more holistic approach?” Outside of the Boot