Stadium row highlights the depressing state of Rio football

February 22, 2018

“The big news should have been the magnificent goal that Vinicius Junior scored for Flamengo in the Rio de Janeiro derby against Botafogo. Cutting in from the left onto his stronger right foot, he curled a superb shot into the far top corner, clinching a 3-1 win for his side. It was an indication of the quality of a 17-year-old who is already bound for Europe. Real Madrid caused a splash last year when they agreed to pay an astonishing 45 million Euros for such an unproven talent. Still with Flamengo, Vinicius is having to grow up in public. He is, understandably, very raw. …” World Soccer – Tim Vickery

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Tim Vickery’s Notes from South America: State championships at the heart of Brazil’s problems

January 22, 2018

“Fluminense against Botafogo is known as ‘the grand-dad classic’. The Rio clash has been played since 1905, making it the oldest of Brazil’s big derby games. The latest instalment was on Saturday – a dreary goalless draw played in the Maracana stadium in front of 7,126 paying customers – a figure boosted by curious tourists. But this, officially, is not pre-season. This game took place in the second round of the Rio State Championships, which drags out until mid May before being instantly forgotten, giving way to the national league.” World Soccer – Tim Vickery


Tim Vickery’s Notes from South America: Latorre highlights the dangers of romanticising fans

January 4, 2018

“Diego Latorre was one of the first Argentinians to be burdened with the “new Maradona” tag. He never came close to living up to those expectations. But he had a reasonable career, including international caps, and he has subsequently gone on to become one of Argentina’s most thoughtful and intelligent pundits. With the South American club season in its high summer pause, attention has turned to Europe, with the recent Real Madrid-Barcelona superclasico and the ongoing activities of Serie A and the Premier League. … World Soccer – Tim Vickery


Uruguay get the luck of the World Cup draw

December 6, 2017

“Both Brazil and Argentina were hoping that last Friday’s World Cup draw would put them in Group B. From a logistical point of view, it would have been the best bet; not a great deal of travelling during the group phase, and, for the group winner, an entire knock out campaign restricted to Moscow and Sochi – perfect for teams who aim to be based in Sochi (Brazil) and just outside Moscow (Argentina). …” World Soccer – Tim Vickery


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


Tim Vickery’s Notes from South America: the Cup still matters in Brazil

September 28, 2017


Cueva of Sao Paulo vies the ball with Maycon (L) and Gabriel of Corinthians during the match in the Brasileirao Series A 2017 at Morumbi Stadium.
“With everything nicely poised at 1-1, Cruzeiro and Flamengo meet this Wednesday in the second leg of the final of the Brazilian Cup. The Mineirao stadium clash is a contender to be the biggest domestic game of the year – because Brazil is one of the very few countries in the world where the cup can still eclipse the league. This may be seen as even more surprising since the domestic cup has relatively little tradition, coming to life as recently as 1989. …” World Soccer – Tim Vickery


Tim Vickery’s Notes from South America: Atletico Nacional look to strike a blow for the continent

December 12, 2016

“It was always unlikely that Atletico Nacional would be able to win two titles on the same day, on opposite sides of the planet. The first team squad are in Japan, representing South America in the Club World Cup, and hoping to make it to the final on Sunday – the same day that the Colombian league comes to a climax. Nacional were through to the semi final, and, giving a game to their reserves they drew 1-1 away to Santa Fe of Bogota in the first leg. But now, back in Medellin for the return match, they were down to the reserves of the reserves. With 25 players in the Far East, they were forced to field in effect an Under-21 side. They lost 4-0.” World Soccer