Featured: Copa90 in Profile

November 6, 2016

Copa 90 - Sarejevo Match Day
“With over 1 million subscribers, COPA90 has become the home of football culture. Travelling the planet to tell the story of football through the fans, they have, as they say themselves, been welcomed into people’s homes, bars, and stadiums, making films that celebrate the greatest game on Earth. They sat down with Póg Mo Goal.” Pog Mo Goal


Brazil’s Olympic football gold is a step forward but decadent culture must be reformed Reconstructing Brazi

September 1, 2016

“Given the history, it is understandable Brazil were so delighted to win gold in the men’s football at the Olympics. Uruguay had won it (twice), Argentina had won it (twice), while they had lost three times in the final. “Finally, the champions of everything,” roared the newspaper Estado de Minas the morning after the final. It is a box that had needed ticking for a long time. The hope for Brazil is that winning the Olympics will restore self-esteem, that it has reminded them how to win after two miserable Copa Américas and a hugely disappointing home World Cup.” Guardian – Jonathan Wilson


After lengthy USMNT layoff, expect Copa continuity as World Cup qualifying resumes

August 28, 2016

“If it feels like it’s been a while since we heard from the U.S. national team, that’s in part because it has been—Jurgen Klinsmann and Co. rarely go more than two months without a game or camp—and in part because so much has happened in the meantime. The American men aren’t often so far from the spotlight for this long. Since the whistle blew at the conclusion of the Copa América Centenario bronze medal game on June 25, Lionel Messi missed a penalty kick, retired, then unretired from international football. Cristiano Ronaldo coached Portugal to the European crown, and Neymar kept his composure while Hope Solo lost hers.” SI


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


Tactical Analysis: Argentina 4-1 Venezuela | Messi equals record, runs the show

June 23, 2016

“As the centenary edition of the Copa America reaches its knock-out phases, the competition has really begun to hot up. High-profile casualties Brazil and Uruguay have already fallen by the wayside, while Chile destroyed the fancied Mexico 7-0 in what has been a tournament of shocks so far. Venezuela were hoping to spring another surprise when they took on Argentina in the quarter final at the Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts but were ultimately unable to find a way of stopping Messi and co.” Outside of the Boot


Tactical Analysis: Mexico 0-7 Chile | Mexico’s lack of coherent shape exposed by brilliant Chile

June 23, 2016

“This Copa America was supposed to be Mexico’s coming out party, when they would announce to the world that they are a legitimate team and on equal ground with their big brothers in South America. The Mexicans have long lived with the stigma of playing in CONCACAF and being alleged flat track bullies. They’ve also long sought to vindicate the quality of their team, with guest appearances in Copa America and at the World Cup. But this Copa America Centenario, in America, in front of 95% Mexican crowds, coming off a great year, was supposed to be different than the previous ones. Finally Mexico would prove itself on the world stage. Chile also came in with a chip on their shoulder. The defending Copa champions, the Chileans felt they should have gotten more than just a year to hold the cup. On top of that, Argentina had fairly easily beaten them in their first game, and Chile wanted vindication, as people focused on other international teams.” Outside of the Boot


First Look: Argentina vs. Chile in Copa America final rematch

June 23, 2016

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“The Copa America final is set, and it’s a familiar one. Argentina and Chile will vie for the Copa America title for a second straight summer after each easily dispatched its semifinal opponent. Argentina overran the USA in a 4-0 result on Tuesday night, while Chile blitzed Colombia out of gate, picking up where it left off in the quarterfinal against Mexico and advancing after a weather-delayed 2-0 win.  In addition to meeting in last year’s final, which Chile won on penalty kicks, the two sides engaged in one of the more entertaining games of this Copa America, opening group play against one another. Argentina prevailed, 2-1, with Angel Di Maria and Ever Banega scoring and assisting for each other before Chile nicked one in the last minute.” SI


Tactical Analysis: USA 2-1 Ecuador | Americans Once Again Survive with 10 Men

June 23, 2016

“The Americans opened their first match against Colombia by attempting to control the run-of-play through emphasizing possession in a progressive 4-3-3 formation. The Colombians ceded control of the ball but exploited the fissures that formed between the American lines when the forward players pushed too high up the pitch. The result was a decisive 2-0 victory with the visitors perhaps unlucky to not collect a third goal.” Outside of the Boot


Lionel Messi superb as Argentina ease into Copa semis, thrashing Venezuela

June 19, 2016

“Argentina booked their spot in the Copa America semifinals with a 4-1 win over Venezuela on Saturday. Lionel Messi scored once and had two assists. Gerardo Martino’s side now prepare for a meeting with hosts the U.S. on Tuesday in Houston, Texas.” ESPN – Tim Vickery


Juan Carlos Osorio’s tinkering with Mexico fails as Chile find their feet

June 19, 2016

“In a warm-up friendly just before the Copa America Centenario — it seems a long time ago now — Mexico beat Chile by a single goal. But maybe the seeds of the extraordinary rout at Santa Clara were sown there? That 1-0 scoreline did not really reflect the balance of play. In the first half, especially, Chile could have scored plenty of their own. So there was plenty for Mexico coach Juan Carlos Osorio to think about as he contemplated meeting Chile for a second time — no longer a friendly, but now with a place in the Copa semifinals at stake.” ESPN – Tim Vickery


Eduardo Vargas’ four goals set Chile up for stunning 7-0 win vs Mexico

June 19, 2016

Chile’s Eduardo Vargas celebrates after scoring against Mexico during a Copa America Centenario quarterfinal soccer match at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., Saturday, June 18, 2016. Chile won 7-0. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
“Chile booked a place in the Copa America Centenario semifinals with a 7-0 thumping of Mexico. Eduardo Vargas scored four goals, while Edson Puch scored twice. Alexis Sanchez did his bit as well, by scoring one goal and adding two assists. Here are three thoughts on a stunning night.” ESPN


Cristian Cueva a symbol of Peru’s frailty after defeat to Colombia?

June 19, 2016

“Peru so nearly snatched a win in their Copa America quarterfinal right at the end. Colombia were rattled and frustrated when Christian Ramos met a corner from the right with a header that forced a fine save from Colombia keeper David Ospina. The absence of extra time in these games favours the weaker side, the one less inclined to take the initiative, and the clock had been ticking down, with Colombia looking less and less likely to break the deadlock. Then came Ramos’ chance — clawed away by the Arsenal stopper.” ESPN – Tim Vickery


Tactical Analysis: USA 4-0 Costa Rica | Americans Catch Fire in Chicago

June 15, 2016

“Having registered a rather uninspiring performance in their opening game against Colombia, the host nation needed to earn at least a point against Costa Rica or face the embarrassment of elimination only a week into the tournament. Meanwhile, the Costa Ricans successfully collected a point in their goalless draw against Paraguay, and victory against the Americans would all but secure advancement to the quarterfinals.” Outside of the Boot


After winning Copa group, USA has chance to prove knockout chops

June 12, 2016

“Now a new Copa América begins for the United States. The U.S. has persevered through the group stage, shaking off an opening loss to Colombia and winning twice against Costa Rica and Paraguay to reach the knockout rounds of another major tournament, even winning the group with a late helping hand from Los Ticos.” SI (Video)

U.S. Advances to Copa América Quarterfinals After Surviving an Ejection
“The United States knew the Copa América math days before it took the field against Paraguay on Saturday. A win or a tie would mean advancement to the quarterfinals. A loss would mean elimination. It was the solution to that problem that was surprising: 10 men and one goal equaled a second life. Riding a first-half goal by Clint Dempsey and overcoming the second-half ejection of defender DeAndre Yedlin, the United States held off Paraguay, 1-0, to seal its place in the quarterfinals later this week. Instead of the Americans’ facing the ignominy of a first-round exit, it was the Paraguayans heading home.” NY Times


Argentina, sans Messi, makes Copa America statement vs. Chile

June 12, 2016

“When Argentina and Chile last met in Copa America, it was last summer to decide a champion, and host Chile came out on top. It was Argentina’s time on Monday, with the two neighboring South American nations opening Group D play in Copa America Centenario. Angel Di Maria and Ever Banega each scored and set up the other in an eight-minute span, as Argentina made an opening statement with a 2-1 win in front of a capacity crowd at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California. Lionel Messi sat out the match, still recovering from a back injury suffered in Argentina’s pre-Copa friendly against Honduras. He was said to be available off the bench, but with Argentina seizing control in the second half, forcing him into the match became unnecessary.” SI (Video)


Uruguay desperately short of ideas in Venezuela upset

June 12, 2016

“This time there was no Luis Suarez to save the day. Two years ago, Uruguay lost their opening game in the 2014 World Cup to CONCACAF opposition, only for Luis Suarez to return from injury to inspire the team to consecutive victories which ensured the team’s qualification for the second round. Suarez wanted to try for a repeat. Having missed Sunday’s 3-1 defeat to Mexico he seemed anxious to come on in the dying moments of the 1-0 loss to Venezuela. But Uruguay clearly did not want to risk his muscle injury. After coach Oscar Washington Tabarez had made his third and last substitution Suarez remonstrated and punched the dugout wall in frustration — a feeling that all of his teammates will now share.” ESPN


Can Diego Godin and Uruguay fight back at the Copa America?

June 6, 2016

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“Uruguay may well have felt that it was not going to be their night when they lined up before the game and were forced to listen to the national anthem of Chile. And things soon got worse when they went behind to the first CONCACAF goal of the tournament — and even that was scored by a South American player — with Uruguay left-back Alvaro Pereira inadvertently deflecting an early cross past his own keeper.” ESPN – Tim Vickery (Video)

Rafa Marquez heroics lead Mexico over Uruguay at Copa America
“Longtime Mexico captain Rafa Marquez was the hero in Mexico’s Copa America opener, scoring the game-winning goal in a wild 3-1 triumph over Uruguay at a raucous University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. Uruguay had the trifecta of misfortune between the pregame festivities and halftime. Tournament organizers unfathomably played the Chilean national anthem for Uruguay, citing “human error” in a forced statement. Within four minutes, Alvaro Pereira had headed home Andres Guardado’s cross into his own net, and right before halftime Matias Vecino picked up his second yellow card for a reckless challenge on Jesus ‘Tecatito’ Corona.” SI (Video)


Show Your Copa Colors

June 6, 2016

“The 100th edition of the Copa America hits U.S. shores from June 3 to June 26, and all 16 nations from CONCACAF and CONMEBOL will be sporting some slick new kits. Check out their home/away looks and download your favorites.” ESPN


U.S. must rebound after falling to Colombia in Copa opener

June 6, 2016

“It was a pick play in the box. Nothing too complicated. Geoff Cameron said afterward that he sees them “fairly often” in the Premier League. On a Colombia corner kick in the eighth minute of the U.S.’s Copa América Centenario opener, Daniel Torres set a screen in the area. Cristián Zapata looped around it like a basketball player running a curl play, and the small amount of space it created between Zapata and Cameron allowed the Colombian to fire home a volley that put the U.S. on its heels right from the start. … After the U.S.’s 2-0 loss, in which Colombia scored on a corner kick and a penalty kick, Cameron couldn’t hide his frustration that a solid performance by the U.S. back line was marred by a couple decisive moments, including the pick in the box.” SI (Video)


Brazil need more than luck if they are to challenge for Copa America glory

June 6, 2016

“Whether it was down to luck or sheer refereeing incompetence, no matter how you look at it, Brazil walked out of the Rose Bowl after the opening match of their Copa America campaign with a result they didn’t really deserve. The 0-0 draw against Ecuador was a result that will do nothing but deepen the confidence crisis that has been running through the side since last year’s disastrous Copa America in Chile and their stumbling World Cup qualifying campaign (where they are currently sixth in the table after six games) in CONMEBOL.” ESPN


Argentina have the class and confidence to end 23-year Copa América drought

June 4, 2016

“Not everybody, it’s fair to say, will be taking the Copa América Centenario entirely seriously. There’s the Olympics to prepare for and, after a World Cup and an orthodox Copa America in the last two summers, it’s perhaps understandable if fatigue dulls the edge. But Argentina care. For them, every tournament is a chance to break a trophy drought that stretches back 23 years.” Guardian – Jonathan Wilson


Copa América 2016: Who’s In, Who’s Hurt and Who Could Win It

June 4, 2016

“The Copa América Centenario, born in scandal and saved only by the promise of better behavior (and the presence of some pretty good soccer teams), kicks off Friday night when the United States faces Colombia in Santa Clara, Calif. The 16-team event is being played outside South America for the first time as a celebration of its 100th anniversary, and while a handful of top players have been left out or ruled out by injury, there is plenty left in the cupboard, including four of the eight quarterfinalists from the last World Cup. Here’s what you need to know before the tournament begins.” NY Times


Copa America 2016: 10 Young Player to Watch

June 4, 2016

“As the centenary version of the Copa America gets set to kick off this Friday, we here at Outside of the Boot are excited to present this list, featuring ten youngsters (22 and under at the start of the tournament) who could play an important role over the coming month. Admittedly, this isn’t the best tournament for young players, as several intriguing players (Paulo Dybala, most notably) weren’t selected while a handful of others (Jesus Manuel Corona, John Brooks) narrowly miss the age cut-off. Nevertheless, much as the likes of Derlis Gonzalez and Romel Quinonez impressed last summer, seemingly from out of nowhere, there are sure to be a few breakout stars this summer.” Outside of the Boot


SI’s Copa America Centenario picks

May 31, 2016

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“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


El Nene – The hope of a nation

May 17, 2016

“South America has produced many fantastic footballers over the generations, players such as Garrincha, Jairzinho, Pele, Diego Maradona, Lionel Messi, Carlos Valderrama and Enzo Francescoli to name just a few. However, there is one South American country which is not renowned for its production line of producing world class football talent – Peru. But on the 8th March 1949, one did trundle off the assembly line; his name was Teofilo Juan Cubillas Arizaga, better known as Teofilo Cubillas.” Football Pink


Copa America 2015: Team of the Tournament

July 11, 2015

“Chile ended their near century drought with a penalty shoot-out victory over Argentina in front of a sea of red in Santiago on Saturday to claim their first ever Copa America. It was a triumph of the collective over the individual and fittingly rewarded the country’s best ever generation with victory on home soil. Yes, there had been some kind refereeing decisions that had gone their way but that shouldn’t take anything away from a fantastic team performance by Sampaoli’s men. For Argentina, it was so close but yet so far as they fell at the final hurdle for the second year in a row. For them the wait continues. After a memorable tournament, now comes the time for reflection and a chance to recognise some of the best performers from Chile 2015. Playing in a 4-2-3-1, here are the players that stood out for me over the course of the last few weeks.” Outside of the Boot


Hosts Chile stun Argentina to claim first Copa América title on penalties

July 5, 2015

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“After 99 years, it came down to Alexis Sánchez against Sergio Romero from 12 yards. The Arsenal forward attempted a Panenka, scuffed it badly, and scored anyway as the goalkeeper dived to his left. Misses from Gonzalo Higuaín and Éver Banega in the shootout proved decisive and, finally, Chile, one of the four participants at the inaugural Copa América, had a first international trophy. For Argentina the drought goes on: 22 years since their last trophy and an increasing sense that this gifted generation of players will remain unfulfilled.” Guardian – Jonathan Wilson (Video)

Argentina’s painful title drought continues with loss in Copa final
“As the last penalty of this Copa America final was taken, Lionel Messi stood slightly apart from the rest of the Argentina team, hands clasped tightly behind his back. When Alexis Sanchez’s shot hit the back of the net and the sea of red-clad fans inside the Estadio Nacional here erupted, Messi remained motionless for a few long, poignant seconds, staring straight ahead, before walking away. There was just time enough for a slow gaze over his shoulder at the wildly cavorting Chilean players near the corner flag before he was embraced by a supportive teammate.” SI

Chile beats Argentina on penalties in Copa America to win first major title
“A nation could barely watch, but Alexis Sanchez, given his third chance to win the Copa America, accepted it, scuffing an attempted Panenka but deceiving goalkeeper Sergio Romero anyway to give Chile a 4–1 win on penalty kicks after a scoreless draw. For Chile, the 99-year wait for a first-ever international trophy was over; for Argentina, the 22-year drought goes on. It had been a game that, after a bright start, had degenerated into a bruising, physical encounter in which fluent play was at a premium. Chances were rare—there were a couple of snap-shots from Sanchez and Ezequiel Lavezzi squandered a break with an overhit cross, but essentially this was an ugly midfield scrap.” SI – Guardian – Jonathan Wilson

Copa América final: Messi stands in way of Chile’s inspired realists
“The training field echoes with laughter. Someone makes a joke about Lionel Messi, Ezequiel Garay and their shared love of Newell’s Old Boys. The players are, demonstrably, having fun: talk of splits and the destabilising presence of Carlos Tevez seems a long way in the past. Inside, Animal Planet still plays silently on the television in the corner and the technical staff still analyse their data, but they are no longer mumbling darkly about Louis van Gaal giving them a ‘ruined’ Ángel Di María, short on game-time and confidence. Argentina’s mood is noticeably relaxed.” Guardian – Jonathan Wilson

Copa America 2015 Final | Key Battles: How to stop Messi, midfield battle and more
“60 years after these two sides met in the South American Football Championship final, they face up against each other in the modern version of the tournament. While Argentina may be favourites for the 2015 Copa America final, hosts Chile will prove to be a difficult opponent. Tom Robinson has a look at the key battles for the clash at the Estadio Nacional.”


Tactical Analysis: Chile 2-1 Peru | Vargas brace sinks spirited Incas

July 5, 2015

“Relations between neighbouring countries Chile and Peru have been fraught with difficulties and tension since as far back as 1880, so a semi-final Clasico del Pacifico was always likely to be hotly disputed contest.  And so it proved, with a contentious early red card and a couple of debatable decisions which eventually saw hosts Chile emerge victorious to book a place in Saturday’s final.  Argentina await them in Santiago as La Roja look to finally end their 99-year Copa America drought.” Outside of the Boot


Tactical Analysis: Argentina 6-1 Paraguay | Albiceleste exploit space between lines to cruise to victory

July 5, 2015

“A place in the final was up for grabs as the favourites, Argentina were up against Paraguay, who against all odds overcame what was a mediocre Brazil side in the quarter finals. The two sides had met previously in the competition with Argentina squandering a two goal lead in the second half. That, along with Albiceleste manager, Gerardo Martino’s history as coach of the Paraguayan national team made for an intriguing clash and one that some thought may go down to the wire. However, those expecting a close game saw the complete opposite as Argentina ruthlessly swept Paraguay aside by 6 goals to 1 with Lionel Messi once again at his brilliant best, laying on the assists for 3 of his team’s 6 goals. The ridiculous amount of space between the lines and Argentina’s exploitation of the right-hand side proved Paraguay’s undoing. No mercy was shown to the Paraguayans with Martino’s men looking to cement their place in the final; they showed no signs of letting their 2 goal lead slip this time around despite Lucas Barrios halving the deficit on the stroke of half-time.” Outside of the Boot


Messi takes over, Argentina trounces Paraguay in Copa America semi

July 2, 2015

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“There was no goal for Lionel Messi, but there was everything else in Argentina’s 6-1 win over Paraguay in the Copa America semifinal on Tuesday. Messi orchestrated an Argentina performance that at last reached the attacking heights if which it should be capable, setting up five of the six goals and generally playing with a playful menace. Marcos Rojo put Argentina ahead after 15 minutes and when Javier Pastore added a second 12 minutes later, the game already seemed over.” SI – Jonathan Wilson (Video)

Even hostile Chile fans forced to acknowledge Lionel Messi’s greatness
“The problem with a genius like Lionel Messi is that you’re always waiting for him to perform. You can’t watch a game he plays in as you watch any other game because you’re always hoping that this will be of those days when he turns it on, and if he doesn’t you end up feeling a little cheated. Nobody felt cheated on Tuesday night, just grateful to have been there, unless you had the misfortune to be a Paraguayan defender. The Chile fans who made up most of the crowd and who had begun the game by jeering the Argentinian national anthem and chanting ‘Argentinos – hijos da puta’ ended it in awed applause.” Guardian – Jonathan Wilson

Tactical Analysis: Argentina 0-0 Colombia (5-4 pens) | Messi and co. through to semis despite ultra-defensive Colombia
“In another battle between two giants of South American football, Argentina squared up against Colombia with the tantalising prospect of a possible semi-final clash with Brazil. Gerardo Martino’s men were tipped by many to go all the way in the competition and have looked on course to do so, though they are still yet to hit their stride. Colombia, on the other hand, have underwhelmed throughout the competition, scraping through to the quarter finals and scoring just one goal in their first three games.” Outside of the Boot


Attacking stars set to light up Copa America final

July 2, 2015

“So will Chile finally have something to put in its trophy cabinet? Or will Argentina win its first senior title since 1993? There is plenty at stake, then, in the final of the 2015 Copa America. Many treat this tournament as a warm up for the coming World Cup qualifiers, but not these two teams. Chile, as host, is obliged to put on a show, especially given the fact that it has never won the competition. A sense of ‘if not now, when?’ has hung over Chile in this Copa. It has probably its best ever generation, with a group of players in their prime with the experience of two World Cups to help them through. The tournament has been set up for them to reach the final – they were in the easiest group, have played all their games in Santiago’s Nacional Stadium and have avoided the heavyweights – until now.” World Game – Tim Vickery


Hope and faith – the anatomy of Peru’s transformation

July 2, 2015

“When Copa America 2015 was about to get underway, you would find very few people that would have backed Peru to win the tournament at a whopping 100/1. Only two nations were given less of a chance of winning the tournament – Bolivia (200/1) and Jamaica (500/1). If you fancied a punt on the competition’s top scorer, you could’ve gotten 125/1 on Peru’s hat-trick hero Paolo Guerrero topping the charts; before Peru’s match against Chile the best odds you’d have found was 3/1. In a group with Brazil, Colombia and Venezuela, Peru weren’t given a chance. No-hopers. Whipping boys.” backpagefootball


What’s plaguing Brazil? Delve into the Selecão’s woes by the numbers

July 2, 2015

“Brazil’s dispiriting quarterfinal defeat against Paraguay means that the world’s most successful men’s soccer nation will once again be on the outside looking in when Argentina takes on Chile in Saturday’s Copa America final. Compared with many national teams, Brazil remains a competitive and sturdy outfit, but by the country’s own exacting standards the sides it has fielded in recent years have represented a vertiginous drop in quality. Here’s a look by the numbers and statistics at some of the key reasons for Brazil’s current woes…” SI


Beauty leaves the Brazilian game as glitter gives way to grit

June 30, 2015

“It was not 7-1. It was not an epic humiliation. It was not a result that will reverberate through the generations. But in a sense, Brazil’s Copa América exit to Paraguay is all the more crushing for that. It was not some devastation to be written off as a freak; it was quotidian. Brazil went out of the Copa América by losing a mundane game 4-3 on penalties after a 1-1 draw because these days they are a mundane team; they no longer generate the emotional extremes they once did.” Guardian – Jonathan Wilson


Derlis Gonzalez, David Ospina and more – 4 Players who defined the Copa America 2015 quarters

June 30, 2015

“Brazil’s ousting in the quarter-final stage was the talking point, but Peru’s run along-with Chile’s impressive showing has kept enthusiasts intrigued. Though Argentina remain as favourites with online sports betting at Sportsbook.ag, it may not be as simple to call these games. Paraguay too who eliminated Brazil for the second successive Copa America, have shown they aren’t to be overlooked. Finley Crebolder picks his four players that defined the quarter-final stage, a stage that has left us with two enticing fixtures.” Outside of the Boot


Argentina outlasts Colombia in PKs in heart-stopping Copa quarterfinal

June 27, 2015

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“The bare facts are that Argentina reached the semifinals of the Copa America, defeating Colombia in penalty kicks (5–4) after a goalless draw, but that hardly tells the full story of the match. It had been an astonishing game, which Argentina had dominated almost from start to finish without being able to score. David Ospina, the Colombia goalkeeper, made a number of fine saves, chances were missed, the woodwork was struck twice and, even when Carlos Tevez got by all those obstacles with two minutes to go, Jeison Murillo was on hand to hook the ball clear.” SI – Jonathan Wilson


James Rodríguez irked at Copa América, a year on from World Cup wonder goal

June 27, 2015

“On Sunday, it will be a year since James Rodríguez scored the goal against Uruguay that, emblematically at least, confirmed his talent. His performances for Porto and Monaco had marked him out as a player of great potential and the rumours linking him with a move to Real Madrid were well-established, but it was his sumptuous chest and volley against Uruguay in the last 16 of the World Cup that provided the image of his brilliance, a shorthand for what he is capable of.” Guardian


Chile end Copa America quarterfinal curse by defeating feisty Uruguay

June 27, 2015

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“And so Chile did not fall foul of the Copa America curse of the quarterfinals. In four of the past five tournaments the hosts have been eliminated at this stage — three times by Uruguay. This time, though, there were no slip ups, and Uruguay were beaten 1-0. Ninety-nine years ago they kicked off the first Copa America — against Uruguay — and they are still looking for their first tournament win. Their golden generation is at its peak. They are at home, with all of their games taking place in Santiago’s National Stadium. But for a long time on Wednesday night, it was looking like a case of ‘if not now, when?’ for the Chilean team.” ESPN – Tim Vickery


A Guide to Copa America, in Queens

June 24, 2015

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El Gauchito, 94-60 Corona Ave in Queens.
“Copa América, the South American soccer championship, is in its third week in Chile, and has given the world everything it could handle from a tournament: dramatic comebacks, shocking suspensions, all-out scoring feasts, and acts of idiocy and manslaughter off the pitch. Now, after the end of the group stages, eight of the original 12 teams remain, and they will begin the direct elimination rounds today. There is still plenty of action to catch—with some potential classic matchups coming up—and as we wrote during the World Cup, there is no finer place to watch international soccer than New York City. So if you aren’t able to make your way over to Chile, your next best shot at living the fever of South American soccer is right here, in the almost impossibly diverse borough of Queens. From Astoria to Sunnyside, bars, bakeries and butcher shops are turning their establishments into prime viewing spots. Here are the upcoming matches and the best places to catch them with diehard fans from each country.” ROADS & KINGDOMS

Uruguay have the history to hit Copa América heights against Chile
“Chile have scored more than twice as many goals as anybody else in this Copa América. They will be playing at home in front of 40,000 red-shirted fans. They have played with a verve and a fluidity nobody else in this tournament has matched and, if anything, Arturo Vidal’s drink-driving charge, which could have been a destabilising influence, seems to have given them an enhanced sense of purpose. Uruguay scraped through their group in third place, having scored only two goals. Other sides in their position might have approached Wednesday night’s quarter-final like lambs to the slaughter but not Óscar Washington Tabárez’s team. This is the sort of situation Uruguay have traditionally relished.” Guardian – Jonathan Wilson

Copa America: Group C’s key tactical system, game-changing performance, and best young player
“Group C has easily been the Copa America’s most engaging, as shock wins by Venezuela and Colombia saw all four teams level on points entering the final match day. With a resurgent Thiago Silva leading Brazil to victory over Venezuela to top the group, the final placing may not seem like much of a surprise. However, with Brazil needing a last-minute winner to beat Peru, Neymar’s suspension, and a host of strong defensive performances, many from unsung, domestically based players, these six games provided us with multitudes of knife-edge tension. As the three survivors lick their wounds ahead of the quarterfinals, here is a brief look back at some of the keys to the way things played out.” Outside of the Boot

Copa America quarterfinals: Argentina and Brazil face tense challenges
Chile vs. Uruguay. All the momentum is with Chile, but all the history is with Uruguay. The hosts have looked to be far and away the best team in this tournament so far, scoring twice as many goals as everybody else, but Uruguay have by far the best record in spoiling such house parties. On the past three occasions that the latter have met the home team — Argentina 2011, Venezuela 2007 and Paraguay 1999 — they have eliminated them. That’s all the more relevant here because it reflects just how good the Uruguayans are at digging in and disrupting more exciting and excitable sides. Oscar Tabarez’s current side are experts at that, and abnormally difficult to beat. … ” ESPN


The Copa America heats up now for Chile

June 22, 2015


“These days, the Copa America tournament serves as a warm-up for the qualifiers. Of course, once the Copa kicks off, everyone wants to win. There is always pressure on Brazil and Argentina to go home with the trophy, and that is especially true this year, with La Albiceleste waiting for a senior title since 1993 and Brazil anxious to cover up that huge stain on the carpet left by its performance in the World Cup. The focus of most coaches, though, is firmly on preparing a team for the World Cup qualifiers. More than anything else, the Copa America is about the host, which really wants to put on a show in front of its own public. And that, too, is especially true this year, with Chile gunning for a maiden continental title. As expected, there has never been a dull moment during Chile’s group phase. Indeed, there was more incident than anyone had bargained for.” The World Game – Tim Vickery


Tactical Analysis: Brazil 0-1 Colombia | Colombia’s counter-press proves effective as Dunga’s men finally lose

June 22, 2015

“Brazil entered this heavyweight clash in Santiago brimming with confidence and seeking their 13th straight win since manager Dunga was reinstated. After narrowly edging past minnows Peru thanks to Neymar’s brilliance, Brazil topped the group going into this game. However, a much better performance was required if they were to overcome the threat of Colombia, desperately needing victory to avoid elimination from the tournament. With world-class attacking talents such as Neymar, James Rodriguez and Falcao on display and Colombia’s survival in the competition on the line, this had all the makings of a memorable game and was one that would have been worthy to grace the final. Alas, excluding the post-match brawl, this was anything but a memorable game mainly due to Brazil’s awful decision making in the attacking phase and an over-reliance on Neymar as well as a frighteningly high tempo throughout the 90 minutes which denied both sides the opportunity to find any real rhythm in the game. In the 3rd meeting between these teams since their World Cup quarter-final clash in Brazil, Colombia’s superb counter-pressing system and Jeison Murillo’s scrappy finish from Juan Cuadrado’s free kick in the 36th minute ensured a nervy 1-0 victory for los Cafateros.” Outside of the Boot


Fatigue is proving Chile’s biggest obstacle to ending its 99-year drought

June 22, 2015

“Jorge Sampaoli looked on, ensuring his players kept their heads while all around them men were losing theirs. He’d seen the opposition weep before games had even begun. Now they wept before a penalty was even kicked. Its captain, world renown defender Thiago Silva, sat atop a ball on the sideline away from his colleagues; rocking back and forth, whispering frantically into closed fists; refusing to even get involved, let alone lead. Silva’s goalkeeper, Júlio César, peered into the Belo Horizonte sun though eyes bloodshot red, terrified at the prospect of being the next Barbosa.” Fusion


In Chile’s National Stadium, Dark Past Shadows Copa América Matches

June 21, 2015

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“SANTIAGO, Chile — A haunting yellowish glow radiates from the tiny section of empty wooden benches and crumbling concrete behind the north goal at Estadio Nacional. All around this space there is noise: 47,000 soccer fans screaming and jumping in delight as Chile’s national team plays Ecuador in the opening game of the Copa América. But no one sits on those benches. They are reserved in perpetuity, a somber memorial to the thousands of people who were beaten and tortured here 42 years ago in the home of Chilean soccer. Estadio Nacional, the site of six games in this year’s Copa América, including the final on July 4, is perhaps the most infamous sports arena in the world. For nearly two months after the Sept. 11, 1973, military coup that overthrew Chile’s democratically elected Marxist president, the stadium served as a makeshift prison camp where as many as 20,000 men and women suffered at the hands of a military junta, led by the right-wing army chief, Gen. Augusto Pinochet, that had seized control of Chile. …”
NY Times


Arturo Vidal and Neymar subplots in a Copa América rich with stories

June 21, 2015

“There is nothing quite so effective at removing stains of ignominy as victory. Chile’s game against Bolivia on Friday began with Arturo Vidal’s name being cheered by the 45,000 fans at the Estádio Nacional, a clear message of support after he was charged with drink-driving. It ended with Chile having won 5-0 after a display of exhilarating football and, to the local media at least, questions about whether Vidal should have been allowed to play on were fading before the thought that this Chile squad is probably better equipped than any other in the country’s history to win the Copa América. A wait that began in the very first continental tournament in 1916 may be about to come to an end.” Guardian – Jonathan Wilson


Tactical Analysis: Argentina 1-0 Uruguay | Argentina exploit width to win a tight game

June 21, 2015

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Argentina 1-0 Uruguay
“The classic clash of South America, had the favorites (Argentina) as the winners of the match. With Messi in charge, Argentina are the favorites to win it all. A very clear game, with one team playing attack minded football and the other team focusing on blocking the spaces. Uruguay were focusing on the counter-attacks and did create some chances and were really close to scoring a late equalizer. Argentina were the better side this evening, even if they were struggling to play through this low positioned Uruguay team, and they did find the goal with a cross from Zabaleta to Aguero, scoring the only goal of the game.” Outside of the Boot


Radamel Falcao is the reason Colombia isn’t playing as well as it did at the World Cup

June 21, 2015

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“When news broke in January 2014 that Colombian star Radamel Falcao had picked up a serious knee injury playing for club team, AS Monaco, an entire nation held its breath… with one notable exception. While Colombia and the wider soccer world was left to lament a World Cup without arguably the game’s best out-and-out center-forward, coach José Pékerman could have been forgiven for feeling a certain sense of relief. On the surface, it was a huge blow. Los Cafeteros had just secured its first trip to a World Cup in 16 years during a qualification campaign that saw it hammer defending South American champion Uruguay 4-0, pick off Chile 3-1 in Santiago, and become just one of two sides to prevail at the dizzy heights of La Paz. Expectations were at their highest since Carlos Valderrama led his 1994 side to the United States with realistic aspirations of becoming world champions.” Fusion


Neymar’s petulance leaves Brazil in trouble after Copa America suspension

June 21, 2015

“There were some warning signs flashing in Brazil’s Copa America opener against Peru, Neymar’s first competitive match as Brazil captain. He produced a wonderful individual performance in that 2-1 win, crowned with a pass of breathtaking vision that set up Brazil’s stoppage-time winner. … Three days later, the collision could not be averted — with consequences that will, unless Brazil’s appeal is successful, rule Neymar out of the rest of the Copa America. He was suspended for four games after being sent off in the 1-0 loss to Colombia.” ESPN – Tim Vickery


Arturo Vidal, Chile cruise past Bolivia to finish atop Group A in Copa America

June 21, 2015

“Led by a brace from Charles Aranguiz, host Chile cruised to a 5–0 win over Bolivia on Friday in its final group stage game in the Copa America. The victory meant Chile finished atop Group A, while second-place Bolivia will also advance to the quarterfinals. Here are three thoughts on Chile’s win.” SI – Jonathan Wilson


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


Lionel Messi and Argentina losing sleep as Uruguay loom at Copa América 2015

June 16, 2015

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“After Argentina’s 2-2 draw with Paraguay Lionel Messi could not sleep. He roamed the corridors of the squad’s base in La Serena, turning over and over in his mind what had happened, how Argentina had managed to turn a position of dominance and a 2-0 lead into a point that places enormous pressure on them in the Copa América game against Uruguay on Tuesday, local time.” Guardian – Jonathan Wilson


Claudio Bravo and Chile held by Mexico in six goal thriller (3-3)

June 16, 2015

“Chile missed out on to the opportunity to become the first team to make it through to the last eight of the Copa América following an exhilarating 3-3 draw against Mexico in Group A. Arturo Vidal scored twice and Vargas claimed the other but it was not enough for victory for the side captained by blaugrana Claudio Bravo. Mexico took the lead twice in the first half through Vuoso and Raúl Jiménez and then Vuoso scored again in the second to level things up at 3-3. Mexico proved they are not simply in South America to make up the numbers and still have a chance of making it to the knock out stage with their final group game still to come against Ecuador. Chile face Bolivia in their last fixture in the opening phase.” FC Barcelona


Team Focus: Neymar Reliant Brazil Still Showing Problems of Old

June 16, 2015

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“Brazil’s Copa America group match against Peru may ultimately have produced the result that had been widely anticipated, but it’s fair to say nobody was expecting the game to play out quite like it did. Dunga’s Brazil was supposed to be dogged and cautious, to have shorn the wildness that ultimately undid Luiz Felipe Scolari’s side at the World Cup, but the game in Temuco, in the first half in particular, was raggedly end-to-end. Brazil had won 10 friendlies in a row since Dunga took over at the end of the World Cup – one more than they had under Scolari in the build-up to that tournament. That seemed room for cautious optimism, but after two minutes, very familiar old failings had surfaced.” Who Scored? – Jonathan Wilson


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)


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


Eight things we learned from the Internet about Copa América 2015

June 11, 2015

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“For the next three weeks, the pulse of South American futbol beats from Chile, where the continent’s 10 national teams plus invitees Mexico and Jamaica will battle it out for a piece of international silverware that’s been contested for 99 years. This is the Copa América, a tournament renowned for its storied rivalries, vibrant fan support, politically-charged history, and incredible star power on the pitch; a competition which, for the past near-century, has ignited a continent. With just days left until the tournament kicks off, we turned to the world’s greatest source for information on the tournament — Wikipedia — and came back up with a few gems. The Copa América, it turns out, is a weird, weird tournament.” Fusion

Copa America preview roundtable: Games, players, stories to watch
“For a second straight summer, a massive international prize is on the line in South America, and even though it may not carry the weight of the World Cup, the 2015 Copa America features plenty of star power and a winner’s medal that includes a ticket to the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup. Days after winning the Champions League together, two-thirds of Barcelona’s record-setting front line–Lionel Messi and Neymar–will be on display as adversaries (the third member, Uruguay’s Luis Suárez, is still banned internationally for his World Cup bite of Giorgio Chiellini); Brazil puts its undefeated mark under Dunga (this time around, anyway) on the line in its first meaningful games since last summer’s disappointment on home soil; host Chile and Colombia aim to build on the success they enjoyed last summer; and a series of upstarts look to spring surprises in what promises to be an intense 12-team competition. Jonathan Wilson and James Young are on the ground in Chile, and here are some of their games, story lines and other items to watch over the next three-plus weeks…” SI – Jonathan Wilson


Club América’s mini-crisis is over thanks to Rubens Sambueza

April 6, 2015

“Club América entered the weekend in crisis and exited with calm, though it didn’t take much to pull-off the turnaround. All it needed was well-timed 1-0 rivalry win over an inner-city rival, with Cruz Azul falling at Estadio Azteca in Saturday’s Clásico Joven. The derby’s name, meaning ‘young’ or ‘juvenile,’ is a bit of a misnomer, though it nods to the fact that Mexico’s two biggest teams, América and Chivas, have been battling each other longer, with Guadalajara rivals Chivas and Atlas at odds for even longer than that. Back in Mexico City, the Aguilas and La Maquina have played more than 150 times since first meeting in the summer of 1964, with América taking its 55th victory compared with 51 losses.” Soccer Gods


Never forget your roots – Palmeiras’ illustrious history

February 25, 2015

“One of the most successful clubs in Brazil, Sociedade Esportiva Palmeiras have won eight league titles, as well as two Copa do Brasil trophies. The champions of South America in 1999, having beaten Colombian side Deportivo Cali to claim the Copa Libertadores, with their success culminating in the awarding of ‘Best Team of the 20th Century of Brazil’ by the Sao Paulo State Football Federation, they are a club of immense power and wealth. Palmeiras’ team is predominantly Brazilian, with ex Bayern Munich and Inter Milan defender Lúcio among their ranks. Apart from a smattering of Chilean, Argentinian and Uruguayan players, their squad is entirely made up of footballers from the ‘Futebol Nation’.” backpagefootball