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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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


Tim Vickery’s Notes from South America: Chapecoense may find that renewal comes in the form of playing again

December 5, 2016

“The Atanasio Giradot stadium deserved some joy. Last Wednesday the ground in Medellin was packed, with thousands left outside, as the Colombian public gathered to pay tribute to those who lost their lives in the Chapecoense air disaster. It was a deeply moving ceremony, and a show of solidarity that left Brazilians in awestruck gratitude. The only connection between Medellin and Chapeco was the game of football which was to have been taking place at that time on Wednesday evening. And with Medellin efficiency and a warm Colombian heart, Nacional – as well as requesting that the title of the Copa Sudamericana be awarded to Chapecoense – had put together a sincere and touching tribute.” World Soccer


Idealist Tite the perfect man to lead Brazil

October 16, 2016

“A couple of weeks ago, new Brazil coach Tite was asked to make a choice – did he prefer the FIFA World Cup winning team of 1994, or their predecessors from twelve years earlier, the 1982 side that lost to Italy and failed to reach the semi finals? He went with the latter – part of the proof that, at last, the task of coaching Brazil has fallen to the right man.” The World Game – Tim Vickery


Neymar the hero of a nation as Brazil fans look for villains

August 23, 2016

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“There were real grounds for concern when the final of the men’s Olympic football tournament went to penalties. How often do the Germans lose a shootout? Winning the gold medal was much more important for Brazil – they were in front of their own fans in the Maracana stadium, this was the only title they had never won and their game badly needed a boost.” The World Game – Tim Vickery


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