‘It Is America. But I Want to Play in Mexico.’

November 11, 2016

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“EL PASO, Tex. — Night fell and the thick, heavy air was cut by a sharp, chilling breeze, the sort of West Texas wind that made it feel as if the whole city had a fever. Was it hot out, or cold? The children on the field at Pico Norte Park, which is little more than a bumpy, narrow strip of grass lined for soccer, wore uniforms and quickly broke a sweat; the parents ringing the sideline wore jeans and sleeves as they watched and cheered and occasionally shivered.” NY Times


USA-Mexico World Cup qualifier given added tension in wake of Trump victory

November 11, 2016

“Tensions ahead of an always charged USA-Mexico soccer game this Friday have suddenly been magnified by the election of Donald Trump as America’s 45th president. Trump ran a scorched-earth campaign that openly denigrated immigrants and called for the mass deportation of Mexicans from the United States. His incendiary rhetoric – Trump called Mexican immigrants, among other things, rapists – could make for an ugly backdrop to a rivalry that has already had its fair share of nasty incidents. There is a real fear that the rhetoric Trump used could make its way into the stands and streets around the stadium, targeting Mexican fans.” Guardian


Brazil look to banish Belo Horizonte demons against struggling Argentina

November 11, 2016

“It has been 28 months, but finally Brazil will return to the site of their greatest trauma. Their World Cup qualifier against Argentina on Thursday will be their first game in Belo Horizonte since the 7-1 defeat to Germany in the World Cup semi-final. Nothing will ever erase that horror but a victory over Argentina would make the ghosts loom less menacingly over the Mineirão in future – particularly if it adds to the growing fear in Argentina that the country may not qualify for the next World Cup.” Guardian – Jonathan Wilson


Tactical Analysis: Juventus 1-1 Lyon | Allegri’s correct tactics aided by stellar strike duo

November 11, 2016

“Lyon came to the Juventus Stadium on Wednesday evening with their backs against the wall. They had played a decent match against the Italian side at home on Matchday Three, only to be stunned by Juan Cuadrado’s rasping winner. Gianluigi Buffon was the real hero of the match, though, and while Juventus did ride their luck at times a fortnight ago, this time around, manager Massimiliano Allegri seemed to have absorbed a lesson or two from the previous encounter. Having to settle for a draw was no doubt disappointing for the hosts, but facing a must-win match against Sevilla, the Bianconeri should take pride in the success of their adjustments.” Outside of the Boot


Inside the Eredivisie

November 11, 2016

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“Aloha from your favourite ‘little brother’ league, from the land of the Nethers. It’s been quite an interesting season in the Eredivisie, 12 games in. For one, Feyenoord are top and were unbeaten until last weekend, and seem to have a team that is one of their most balanced in recent memory. Following sacking reports 3 weeks into his tenure, Peter Bosz has steered Ajax well back on track and they have not lost a single match since Hakim Ziyech’s arrival. Last year’s last-day champions PSV have struggled a bit more. Luuk de Jong has failed to replicate the scoring form he maintained for the last two years and their chance creation trend has been slightly erratic, but more on that to follow. PS: Admittedly, small sample size alert.” Stats Bomb


Tactical Analysis: Chelsea 5-0 Everton | Chelsea’s build-up play and passive pressing from Everton

November 11, 2016

“Chelsea put in probably the best performance of the season so far in the Premier League by any team, against Everton, running out 5-0 winners against Ronald Koeman’s side. Chelsea were absolutely rampant and clinical up front with a brilliant all round performance. Antonio Conte now has enjoyed four consecutive wins after switching to the 3-4-3 formation in the Premier League. Chelsea have scored 14 goals in those games and conceded none in the process.” Outside of the Boot


Tactical Analysis: Dortmund 0-0 Schalke | Schalke control space excellently to render Dortmund ineffective

November 11, 2016

“The first Ruhr derby of the season kicked off at the Signal Iduna Park with both Dortmund and Schalke looking to kick-start their stuttering campaigns. Last season’s runners-up had not come close to reaching the form they hit last season coming into this game and faced further difficulty doing so with the absence of Marco Reus in the side. In his place was 19 year old Ousmane Dembele as Dortmund switched to a 4-1-4-1 with midfield metronome Julian Wiegl in the 6 role and Götze and Kagawa operating as the 8s. It turned out to be a frustrating afternoon for the men in yellow as their rivals from the Ruhr kept them at bay throughout the entirety of the game with a fantastic defensive display in their compact 5-3-2 shape.” Outside of the Boot