Tim Vickery’s Notes from South America: Uruguay fly under the radar en route to Russia

October 15, 2017


Uruguay’s Federico Valverde celebrates after scoring against Paraguay during their 2018 World Cup qualifier in Asuncion
“There is almost too much drama to take as South America’s World Cup qualification campaign moves into Tuesday’s final round. Amid the threat of elimination hanging over Argentina, and continental champions Chile, the remarkable resurgence of Paraguay and a crunch game between Peru and Colombia, Uruguay are flying under the radar. Little space has been devoted to the fact that, barring a mathematical miracle, the Uruguayans have already booked their place in Russia. This breaks a pattern. In all of the other campaigns this century Uruguay got underway with a comfortable win at home to Bolivia only to wobble along the way before just managing to clinch the play-off slot in the final round. …” World Soccer – Tim Vickery

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Global Series | Top 10 South American Players of 2015: Alexis, Neymar and Suarez feature

December 19, 2016

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“1. LIONEL MESSI No real prize for guessing the occupant of this position. Messi stakes his claim this season as not just the best of South America, but also the best of the world. There were noises last season about Messi disagreeing with Enrique and having a training ground bust up with the manager, but he turned it all around after a point, and an incredible send half of the season saw him lead Barcelona to glory in 3 competitions.” Outside of the Boot


Do South American World Cup qualifiers put the Champions League to shame?

September 6, 2016

“Now that Copa América and the Euros are behind us, the focus turns to World Cup qualification. For South American teams – who kicked off their campaigns last October – the road to the biggest football tournament in the world has always been tough and since 1996, when the current round-robin format was originally introduced, competition has improved tremendously. Historical powerhouses such as Brazil and Argentina are no longer shoe-ins to qualify as teams such as Chile, Uruguay, Colombia, Paraguay and Ecuador, with star players of their own, are more than just also-rans.” Guardian


The sad story of Omar Orestes Corbatta, scorer of Argentina’s second greatest goal

September 6, 2016

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“Before Diego Maradona’s second goal against England in 1986, the greatest goal in Argentinian history had been scored by Omar Orestes Corbatta in a 4-0 win over Chile in qualifying for the 1958 World Cup. Argentina already led 2-0 when Corbatta beat his marker, took the ball round the goalkeeper, waited for another Chilean to approach, dribbled past him and then, as the crowd urged him to finish the move off, with the goalkeeper and two other defenders charging back, dummied to shoot, leaving all three on the ground before finally stroking the ball over the line.” Guardian – Jonathan Wilson


Copa America 2016 Tactical Analysis: Argentina 0-0 Chile (2-4 pens) | Chile adapt quickest & win midfield battle

July 1, 2016

“The Copa America Centenario concluded on Sunday night with a tense, closely-fought contest between Argentina and Chile in a repeat of last year’s final. And, in a prescient case of déjà vu, it once again saw Chile emerge triumphant from a penalty shootout after a goalless draw, handing them their second trophy in quick succession. Much of the aftermath was dominated by Lionel Messi’s shock announcement that he would be retiring from international football following a fourth final defeat for Argentina. However, this shouldn’t overshadow the great achievement by Chile in what was a fascinating final between two well-matched sides.” Outside of the Boot


Toxic psyche clouds Argentina as team hits mental breaking point

June 27, 2016

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“Argentina has more psychologists per capita than any country in the world—one can’t go out in Buenos Aires without meeting bunches of them—and not a single one of them can fix the toxic psyche of its national team. The latest example came on Sunday, when Lionel Messi and an Argentina team that had lorded over the Copa América Centenario failed to seal the deal again and came away losers in another final. The third straight major final in as many years, to be exact, this time to Chile on penalty kicks after a 0–0 tie. And whether or not Messi follows through on his stunning words that he’s probably retiring from the national team at 29, his drastic response is only a manifestation of a larger psychosis surrounding this team.” SI
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Second straight Copa America win solidifies Chile as one of world’s elite
“Claudio Bravo dropped to his knees in the corner of MetLife Stadium, raising his arms toward the sky as his teammates swarmed the field behind him, then shifted quickly in his direction. The team arrived to greet the goalkeeper in that corner, jumping and hugging and yelling in a joyous mass, all while stadium workers began to erect the the stage upon which they would celebrate. In the mass of hardware and fencing, the workers inadvertently pinned Chile’s team in its own corner.” SI
Lionel Messi and Argentina Miss Again as Chile Wins Copa América
Lionel Messi had the collar of his shirt pulled up to his nose. With his eyes peeking out just over the fabric, he watched a nightmare unfold. Argentina and Chile had played 120 minutes of ruthless, scoreless soccer on Sunday night at MetLife Stadium. Penalty kicks would be needed to decide the winner of the 45th Copa América. Up stepped Messi, widely regarded as the best player in the world, to take the first shot for Argentina, and he missed, sending the ball sailing over the crossbar and into the crowd. Moments later, he watched as Francisco Silva of Chile buried a shot inside the left post to give his team a 4-2 shootout win. All of the Argentine players hung their heads near the center circle as the Chileans erupted in celebration. But Messi took a slow, solitary walk across the grass and took a seat on the far end of his team’s bench.” NY Times


Chile Soccer Team Strengthened by Forays Away From Home

June 23, 2016

“Regardless of what happens when Chile plays Colombia on Wednesday night, one thing is plain: The world now knows that Chile’s soccer team is for real. Fresh off a 7-0 thrashing of Mexico, arguably the best team in the North American region, Chile has used this month’s Copa América Centenario to erase any doubts over its emergence as a power player from South America. While few doubted the quality of Chile’s current roster, flecked as it is with talent from Barcelona, Arsenal and Bayern Munich, there still was a sense that Chile’s best moments had always occurred on home soil, or close to it. Chile advanced to the knockout stage of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, and it entered this summer’s Copa América as the defending champion, a title won when it hosted last year’s tournament. The country’s best moment at a World Cup came in 1962, also a tournament played at home.” NY Times