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Sv: Sydamerikansk fodbold i Danmark - hvad mener I?

Lidt spanske reflektioner....

Confederaciones: Cinco lecturas clave del torneo

Jose David López

Brasil jamás podrá olvidar este 2013. Era el primer test, el primer examen, el primer compromiso con su pueblo y con el fútbol que había dejado desaparecer paulatinamente con el transcurrir pausado de los últimos años. Era el último sueño de Filipe Scolari, el primero de un Neymar coronado como estrella mundial y el de una renovada selección canarinha que había agigantado dudas en las últimas apariciones ante rivales de entidad. Pero también era el torneo de los nuevos estadios, de las pruebas por auto-convencerse capacitados para albergar todo lo que se les viene encima y, desde luego, para mostrarse al mundo como algo más que samba, buen tiempo y alegría en sus rostros. Tras finalizar su particular balance con diferentes éxitos y muchos fracasos, quien más y mejor puede sonreír es la FIFA, que ha logrado potenciar como deseaba una Copa Confederaciones que consiguió la repercusión mundial que añoraba. Analizamos las cinco lecturas más interesantes de la edición 2013.

1: El pueblo gritó contra el fútbol: No deja de ser el país del fútbol, pero mientras para unos representaba la única manera de reconciliarse y recuperar ese trono histórico que se tambaleaba puntualmente con la aparición de una generación de España capaz de afrontar cualquier reto, para muchos otros el fútbol era una maniobra de distracción eficaz para poder manifestar sus necesidades entre la enorme corrupción que tantos eventos mundiales (desde este torneo hasta Brasil 2014 pasando por los Juegos Olímpicos) ha multiplicado. No son dos alborotadores, sino miles, cientos de miles bien abanderados por personajes de diferentes escalones y estado social (incluso futbolistas internacionales campeones del mundo como Romario). Tal ha sido la capacidad de estos para hacerse escuchar, que las portadas del título abrían junto a fotos impactantes de los altercados que existen y existieron en torno a Maracaná. No se darán por vencidos. Es una etapa de fondo y apenas llegaron al primer puerto.

2: Neymar, el salto definitivo hacia el estrellato: Apenas 24 horas antes de que Brasil vapuleara a España en la finalísima, el jugador franquicia de esta selección canarinha de Scolari, generaba diferentes debates en medio mundo. En mi entorno, supuso un ritual concreto y muy repetitivo sobre las aptitudes reales de Neymar, al que muchísimos jamás pudieron ver en directo hasta este torno que le abrió las puertas del primer nivel absoluto. Se cuestionaba su capacidad para afrontar defensores teóricamente más tácticos que en el Brasileirao, se cuestionaba su exceso de fervor en situaciones de presión y hasta se esperaba poder seguir criticando alguna de sus escenas grotescas (como la que protagonizó ante Uruguay con Álvaro González). Y solo necesitó dos semanas de campeonato y un par de detalles para demostrar que puede aniquilar a cualquiera. Tendrá que seguir mejorando en algunos apsectos muy extradeportivos, pero su asesor de imagen ya le enseñó a demostrar respeto por el perdedor al ser el primer en acudir a abrazar y elogiar a España tras pasar por encima de ellos. Si quería un escenario ideal para llegar como estrella al universo Barcelona, no ha podido elegir mejor momento.

3: Paulinho ese desconocido convertido en indispensable: De desconocido a revelación. Llegaba con las mejores perspectivas, aliándose con aquellos que lo habíamos disfrutado en Corinthians como mejor jugador internacional aún en el Brasileirao y dispuesto a demostrar que su salto a Europa era inminente (tanto que durante el propio torneo se habló de varios clubes y parece que será jugador del Tottenham). Mediocentro revolucionario por concepto. Porque no solo ayuda a guardar posición a su ‘coche escoba’, sino que aporta sobre todo una grata alternativa desde segunda línea con disparos desde frontal, llegadas pisando área y otra opción a balón parado por su inteligencia en estas acciones, algo que incluso sirvió para acabar de matar a Uruguay en semifinales. Amplitud, recorrido y un importante fondo físico, le permiten aparecer en diferentes funciones durante los partidos pero siempre aportando concentración y un imponente estado de frenetismo bien entendido. Es su momento y lo ha sabido aprovechar con un Balón de Bronce.

4: España, de más a menos pero sin gustarse: Solo 35’, los que van desde el inicio del primer partido ante Uruguay hasta pocos antes de que en esa misma noche llegara el descanso. Ese fue el margen que la selección española decidió jugar a su mejor nivel en esta Confederaciones 2013. Mostró la mejor cara, la de la intensidad, la de la alegría, la del ritmo y la de la presión en campo contrario. Fuera por el exceso de confianza en un grupo accesible o por las potentes dificultades físicas que les ha exigido el torneo (calor excesivo y una humedad nada habitual para los españoles), los de Del Bosque acabaron desfondados, obligados a una prórroga mortal ante Italia en un partido con más corazón que ideas y auto-mutilándose para la finalísima ante un enemigo ‘resabiado’ en su planteamiento, con muchísima mayor ambición y con la cabeza más fría. La mejor noticia es que, de nuevo, la lectura debe ser la de aprovechar el golpe para aprender de él de cara al próximo año, sobre todo porque el conocimiento del resto de rivales hará más complicadas las tardes de gloria de España. Hay tiempo, pero debe haber cambios.

5: Será muy difícil evitar que Brasil gane su sexto Mundial en 2014: La pentacampeona sabe qué tiene y sabe cómo sacarle provecho. En apenas unos meses, Scolari ha logrado aportar identidad y sello referencial a su equipo, al que dota de muchísima intensidad, concentración y cinco pilares determinantes. Se apoya en dos centrales con gran salida de balón, en dos pivotes multi-recorrido, en los movimientos de un delantero inusual y en una estrella mundial que acaba de encontrar el mejor nivel de su aun corta trayectoria hacia los mayores éxitos. Con esos argumentos, la sola presencia de Brasil sería ya una gran baza para considerarla favorita al Mundial pero si, además, sobre telón de fondo aparece Maracaná y una interminable lista de sentimientos que impulsarán sin descanso desde tan románticos graderíos, parece más difícil todavía poder aplacar el sueño canarinho en un año. España tendrá que esperar su Maracanazo 2.0.

Brasil: Flamengo, Vasco, Fluminense, Botafogo (100% Carioca) Rio > Säo Paulo


Indigente Cheto - "Uruguay Rusia Egipto Arabia Saudita. Tenemos mas chances de un atentado que de quedar eliminados"
Deportivo FAS
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1. juli 2013 13:41
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Sv: Sydamerikansk fodbold i Danmark - hvad mener I?

Det er jo total 1820´erne, revisited , Padre Hidalgo, Jose de San Martin, Francisco Santander, Simon Bolivar, Bernardo O´Higgins, Antonio Sucre osv kan være stolte - endnu engang overgiver spanierne sig efter læstelige klø - eller med ordene fra oversigøjneren Jose David López som har forfattet nedenstÃ¥ende...kamp referat..." Brasil recupera su trono."

Confederaciones: Brasil recupera su adn barriendo a España (3-0)

“Gigante por la propia naturaleza. Eres bello, eres fuerte, impávido coloso. Tu futuro refleja esa grandeza”. Letras y acordes del himno de Brasil, el mismo que una vez más y como en cada partido disputado en suelo canarinho, entonaban con más intensidad que nunca en Maracaná. Era su partido, su noche, su cita más esperada y, desde luego, era su oportunidad para auto-demostrarse capaces de imponerse al teóricamente dominador mundial. Scolari ha logrado en apenas unos meses, hacer creer a todo un país que su gloria está por encima de diferencias futbolísticas, minimizando esa sensación y multiplicando la intensidad como base para eliminar dichas diferencias. Y todo, nació en esa fuerza mental que las palabras del ex artista Joaquim Osorio Duque Estrada, creó para gloria brasileña hace más de un siglo.

Y apoyado en esos instantes donde la música desaparece y todo el país empujaba como si fuera el fin de los días, la primera pelota que tocaba el área, reflejó lo que iba a ser la final. Una carambola, pelota dividida, dudas defensivas españolas y un rebote que agarraba el más inteligente, Fred, desde el suelo para remachar la acción. Ese tempranero premio para la idea brasileña, desencadenó un sinfín de problemas en la línea trasera, incapaz de frenar la actividad veloz que les amenazaba y retroceder. Si a ello se le añadía una larga lista de incapacidad en asociación y errores de pase en medular, la heroicidad de esa hiperactividad brasileña (personificada en la actitud brutal y al límite de Luiz Gustavo y Paulinho) se multiplicaba con los minutos.

Un par de acciones de Fred (cuyos movimientos enloquecían), las constantes faltas a Iniesta de un Oscar absolutamente entregado a la causa táctica de la pizarra de Scolari y un remate al contragolpe que Pedro estuvo a punto de llevar al empate de no ser por la rápida reacción sobre la línea de David Luiz. Esa jugada que pudo alterar definitivamente un partido grisáceo de España, fue la muestra definitiva del caos, pues apenas un minuto después, Neymar aprovechaba una jugada rápida (una vez más demostrando que la Roja sudaba tinta a la hora de recular) para desempolvar la red de Casillas con un potentísimo disparo inapelable. Segundo mazazo letal y justo antes del descanso.

Pero el peor partido de España en mucho tiempo (evidentemente provocado por la acertada hiperactividad de Brasil), amplió sus márgenes negativos repitiendo la sensación del inicio. Otra vez dos minutos de juego sirvieron para que Fred destrozara nuevamente a la contra tras una asistencia sin tocar la pelota de un Neymar espectacular. Y con ese rostro desencajado que se aturdió más cuando Piqué fue expulsado al derribar al crack rival que será su compañero en cuestión de días, España se despidió superadísimo de un torneo en el que fue de más a menos y en que recibió un correctivo absoluto. Cura de humildad para todo el país y para todo nuestro fútbol. Brasil recupera su trono. España tendrá que esperar un Maracaná 2.0.
Brasil: Flamengo, Vasco, Fluminense, Botafogo (100% Carioca) Rio > Säo Paulo


Indigente Cheto - "Uruguay Rusia Egipto Arabia Saudita. Tenemos mas chances de un atentado que de quedar eliminados"
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1. juli 2013 14:07
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Sv: Sydamerikansk fodbold i Danmark - hvad mener I?

Matías Suárez renovó en Anderlecht

BRUSELAS -- El delantero argentino y estrella del RSC Anderlecht, Matías Suárez, renovará su contrato con el club hasta junio de 2017, según informó hoy el equipo bruselense y vigente campeón de la liga belga.

Suárez, galardonado en 2012 como "Bota de Oro" (mejor jugador del año en Bélgica), aseguró estar "muy contento" de prolongar su contrato con Anderlecht, donde juega desde 2008.

"El RSC Anderlech ha hecho muchos esfuerzos por mí y esta es mi manera de agradecerlo", aseguró Suárez en un comunicado de prensa publicado en la web del equipo.

El delantero, lesionado durante gran parte de esta campaña, consideró el nuevo contrato "un gran paso" para su carrera y aseguró ver en la nueva temporada una buena oportunidad para encontrar su "mejor nivel" y competir por primera vez en la Liga de Campeones.

Suárez estuvo muy cerca de fichar por el CSKA de Moscú hace un año y más tarde en el mercado de invierno, pero su marcha se frustró al no superar el reconocimiento médico por los problemas de rodilla que arrastraba.

El anuncio se produce un mes después de que el centrocampista argentino Lucas Biglia, pieza clave del equipo, anunciara que dejará el Anderlecht al final de esta temporada para unirse al Lazio de Roma.
Brasil: Flamengo, Vasco, Fluminense, Botafogo (100% Carioca) Rio > Säo Paulo


Indigente Cheto - "Uruguay Rusia Egipto Arabia Saudita. Tenemos mas chances de un atentado que de quedar eliminados"
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1. juli 2013 14:18
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Det kunne være cool at få dem tilbage...

Re-formed New York Cosmos have ambitious plans

But don´t call them a "brand"

1 July ~ Sitting in the middle of the New York Cosmos offices in a fashionable part of Manhattan is a container stuffed with dollar notes. Any employee who describes the reborn club as a "brand" is financially penalised and has to contribute to the swear jar. Banning that particular buzzword is rare in modern sport. Of course, it´s also a form of branding in itself. But the Cosmos, who play their first competitive game in nearly 30 years on August 3, are a unique and sometimes contradictory proposition. And New York´s professional football landscape recently got cluttered.

The New York Red Bulls are the only team actually playing matches and they are gearing up to face new competitors. New York City FC, the latest addition to the scene, will join MLS in 2015. That brand-new club, backed by Manchester City and the New York Yankees, are currently in the early stages of development, including working out where to build a new stadium. The Cosmos will join the second half of the NASL season, the second tier of US football, at the start of next month.

Though the Cosmos name resonates with Pelé, Franz Beckenbauer and apocryphal tales from the 1970s, the club haven´t had an actual team since folding in 1984. The latest owners have built the playing side of the club from scratch. The Cosmos won´t be competing against their city rivals in MLS just yet, though chairman Seamus O´Brien has made vague hints about possibly joining MLS in the future. But they have plenty of ambitions – and money – of their own.

The club have secured national TV coverage of their games and announced high-profile deals with Fly Emirates and Nike. They´ve opened brand-new training facilities and a planning decision on an ambitious $400 million (£263m) stadium project on Long Island is expected very soon. A Cosmos academy is planned for next year. The fifth consecutive year of the Cosmos Copa, an amateur adult soccer tournament organised by the club, starts group stages on July 13.

On the pitch, the Cosmos won their first friendly 6-0, a charity fundraiser against Newtown Pride FC in benefit of the victims of the December school shootings. Their squad is filling quickly and veteran Marcos Senna, ex-Spain international and Euro 2008 winner, arrived in an undoubtedly expensive move from Villarreal. The Cosmos are owned by the wealthy Saudi Arabia-based Sela Sport group – and unlike MLS there are no salary caps or commercial restrictions in NASL.

Cosmos chief operating officer Erik Stover told me that he sees this league as the ideal platform to target the "huge potential" of soccer in the US and that the US Open Cup will be "essential" for the club. The winners of this competition, in its 100th year, qualify for the Concacaf Champions League.

While the new Cosmos have concentrated on engaging the local community so far, Stover is also aware of international possibilities for the club. But he´s not yet sure whether this would involve "media deals, international tournaments" or "selling shirts in Shanghai". Stover describes the old Cosmos as "the first version of the galacticos", but this latest conception is aiming both big and small. It´s going to be interesting to see how it all works out. Just don´t call it a "brand" – even a local one

Brasil: Flamengo, Vasco, Fluminense, Botafogo (100% Carioca) Rio > Säo Paulo


Indigente Cheto - "Uruguay Rusia Egipto Arabia Saudita. Tenemos mas chances de un atentado que de quedar eliminados"
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1. juli 2013 14:22
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Neymar and the overrated paradox

Football fans love a player that splits opinion. After all, if everybody always agreed then pub conversations and Twitter debates would be even more mundane than some would argue they already are. Barcelona’s latest signing, 21-year-old Neymar probably shouldn’t be a topic of such discussion but he personifies the mantra of not being able to please all of the people all of the time.

Neymar is Brazil’s golden boy and the undoubted face of World Cup 2014. During this summer’s Confederations Cup campaign, it’s not difficult to see the extent to which he is adored by his fellow countrymen and women. There are genuine boos when a decision doesn’t go his way or when Luiz Felipe Scolari has the sheer audacity to substitute him. One-man team accusations are tiresome and banal, particularly when Brazil boast players of the quality of Oscar, Thiago Silva, Dani Alves et al. Neymar doesn’t carry the team on his young shoulders, but I’ve no doubt there are people who have used their hard earned to pay and go and see him and him alone.

Not everyone falls into that bracket, of course, but it is somewhat understandable; Neymar, in my opinion at least, is just about the most entertaining footballer on the planet. Nobody since Ronaldinho has had such a plethora of tricks up his sleeve, or in Neymar’s case, probably those extremely long socks. But unlike Kerlon (remember him?), who was a massive internet hit with his unique ‘seal dribbling’ technique, Neymar isn’t just a showboater – the vast array of skills at his disposal aren’t just used to get the crowd on his side and fuel his ego; more often than not he uses them to great effect in beating his man when other, more orthodox methods, won’t work.

Every time he gets the ball, you can hear the decibels increase within the stadium. It’s as if you can hear people edging slowly off their seats in anticipation of what he’s going to do next. He is gloriously unpredictable, which must make him a nightmare to defend against. But there are fans who don’t seem to warm to him the way millions of other football fans across the world have; branding him a ‘show pony’ or ‘a YouTube player,’ the definition of which I assume is someone who looks great when compiling mini clips from various games, but isn’t effective over the course of a 90 minute match.

Well, Neymar is doing his best to dispel those myths. At the Olympic Games in the UK in 2012, we got to see some of his supreme ability first hand. Along with the dazzling dribbles and silky skills was the end product many say he’s lacking. He grabbed three goals throughout, the pick of which was a quite magnificent free-kick against Egypt. Brazil’s highly-promising U23 team surprisingly lost the final to Mexico and went home with only a silver medal but Neymar had certainly left his mark.

Fast forward 12 months and he looks to have improved even further. He has been the stand out player at this summer’s Confederations Cup; notching up three fantastic goals and two assists in his country’s trio of group games. The goal which opened the tournament, much like the strikes from Siphiwe Tshabalala in 2010 and Phillipp Lahm in 2006, was explosive. The ball dropped to the edge of the box and, with minimal space to operate in, Neymar adjusted his body and struck the ball perfectly into the top corner on the volley. The technique was glorious – the type of goal that only the most gifted of players can pull off.

He went on to prove it was no fluke with another stunning volley in the following game against Mexico, this time with his left foot. His borderline ambidexterity, probably borne from playing most of his football from the left-hand side, is indicative of a truly great talent. All you have to do is look at the elite players; Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Robin van Persie are all more than adept with their ‘weaker’ foot and Neymar has emphatically ticked that box. He also has the unique gift of being able to create something from absolutely nothing; he’s a genuine match winner that deserves his place in any team, as demonstrated when he superbly assisted Jo later in the same game. With two defenders for company and seemingly going nowhere other than to the corner flag, Neymar instantly stepped between both with breath-taking speed before laying the ball on a plate for his teammate.

It was his delivery that resulted in Dante’s opener in the final group game against Italy before Neymar again found the back of the net, thanks to what can only be described as a ripsnorting free-kick. He is already proving to be the stand-out individual of the Confederations Cup. He is beginning to win some of his doubters around but there are plenty who remain sceptical.

The suggestion that he needs to prove himself at an elite club before being considered truly ‘world class,’ a buzz term that is thrown around far too often if you ask me, is one I completely understand. But even then I think the argument is tenuous. It’s little more than insulting to assume that Brazilian club football is of a pub league quality; particularly when I’d wager the majority of Neymar’s ‘haters’ never once watched him for Santos – the team where he racked up a hugely impressive 136 goals in 225 games.

The arrogance of some fans is shocking. Maybe I’m not reading the situation correctly but it seems you have to score four goals against England to, even then begrudgingly, be accepted as a pretty handy player. Just ask Zlatan Ibrahimovic who, despite winning eight consecutive titles with various clubs, scoring a hatful of goals along the way, was just another overrated foreigner until his outrageous performance against the Three Lions last year. These players are so unfairly slated by the masses on a regular basis and it leads to a ridiculous paradox where ‘overrated’ players in fact become ‘underrated’ because of the frequency of such comments.

The ignorance of any football outside Europe, or even England is simply outrageous. I have no doubt it stems from mainstream media such as the BBC who employ irreverent cliché merchants like Alan Shearer, Robbie Savage and Mark Lawrenson. The latter is particularly bad at acknowledging the game outside of these isles. I’m confident in saying I probably watch far more football than he does, even though it’s not in my job description. Lazy, outdated comments are constantly regurgitated, from Shearer saying Mario Balotelli hadn’t achieved anything after losing the Euro 2012 Final (he’d won three league titles and a Champions League aged 21) to Lawrenson claiming Messi hadn’t done much for Argentina (at the time of the comment, he’d scored 12 goals in 9 games).

How do they know the Brazilian league is of Sunday League standard when they never bother to watch it? At this stage I must point out, I’m no South American football aficionado – I watch the occasional late night/early morning match because I’m currently running off a very unhealthy sleeping pattern (thanks, uni), but do not claim to do so religiously.

I appreciate not everyone has the luxury of time in watching gargantuan amounts of football, or they may want to spend it doing other, inevitably far less enjoyable activities, but it’s the attitude that really grates. When he failed to score against England back in February, Mirror journalist John Cross took a swipe, tweeting: “That Neymar is a bit rubbish #barndoor.” There may have been a hint of irony about the comment but he and so many others are quick to condemn praise of anything that isn’t brave and British. Perhaps some admire the patriotism but to, me at least, it comes across more as petty and bitter.

Despite his youth, Neymar made himself into a Santos icon and a new challenge was required; and where better to test himself than alongside Messi, Iniesta and co? All eyes will be on him next summer at the World Cup but he now has a chance to prove his worth – all €57million of it – to a wider audience. As alluded to earlier, he’s probably already the most entertaining player in the world. Barcelona can make him the best.

Brasil: Flamengo, Vasco, Fluminense, Botafogo (100% Carioca) Rio > Säo Paulo


Indigente Cheto - "Uruguay Rusia Egipto Arabia Saudita. Tenemos mas chances de un atentado que de quedar eliminados"
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1. juli 2013 14:35
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Sv: Sydamerikansk fodbold i Danmark - hvad mener I?


Argentina – End of season awards

As the Torneo Final draws to a close, Back Page Football reflects on what has been another turbulent, unpredictable, occasionally bizarre and thoroughly exciting season in Argentina.

Team of the Season

Head and shoulders above the rest, Newell’s Old Boys were not only the best team in Argentina but also the most enjoyable to watch. Twelve wins, scoring more goals than anyone else (40 in 19 games) and regularly bossing the possession stats, La Lepra won the league with verve and panache whilst simultaneously reaching the Libertadores semi-finals, beating compatriots Velez and Boca along the way. All in all, a thoroughly deserved title.

http://www.youtube.com/w…edded#at=11

Golazo of the season

A stunning strike from Wilfredo Olivera for Quilmes against Argentinos Juniors was the pick of the bunch. The centre back collected a half cleared corner just inside the opposition half and from the edge of the centre circle unleashed a dipping long-range half volley to beat the keeper. ¡Una bomba!

http://www.youtube.com/w…LGVK5mPfZAI

Red card of the season

This season has seen its fair share of early baths but the award goes to Arsenal de Sarandi’s Pablo Luguercio. The player lashed out after Union’s Emanuel Britez had poked him in the bum before bursting into tears upon receiving his marching orders. Afterwards Britez said: “It’s just a tactic: Touching his bottom made him cross. Sure when I saw him crying I felt a bit bad. But I’d do it again”. Cheeky.

http://www.youtube.com/w…415L6pSXZgI

MVP / ‘Won’t be here next season’ award

Newell’s striker Ignacio Scocco has been absolutely lethal this season. Joint-top scorer last season with 13, Nacho has continued his purple patch with 11 more goals in the Torneo Final as well as five in the Libertadores and two on his Argentina debut. Capable of scoring all types of goals, he is destined for a move to a top European club.

Best / worst conspiracy

The biggest ongoing saga has easily been Independiente’s relegation battle and, as with any big club in danger of the drop, has brought out a whole host of conspiracy stories. Despite what seemed an insurmountable points tally needed at the turn of the year, stories of backstairs intrigue between among others AFA president Julio Grondona and the head of refereeing syndicate SADRA Guillermo Marconi constantly filled the sports dailies through the season. Of course, as River proved two years ago, no-one is too big to go down and el Rojo were the latest grande to suffer an almighty fall from grace.

Best outburst(s)

Always reliable for a juicy soundbite, Argentinos Juniors manager Ricardo Caruso Lombardi lashed out at a perceived lack of effort from senior members of the squad, with Diego Placente singled out for particular abuse: “[Placente] is a terrible coward and an insolent brat”. Honourable mentions go to San Martin president Jorge Miadosqui for his accusatory post-match interview after a controversial loss to Rafaela and Pablo Mouche for his tweets after getting mugged in Buenos Aires, repeatedly calling Argentina a “shitty country”.

Partidazo of the season

For entertainment value alone, Newell’s 4-3 Racing was a wonderful spectacle. It had it all; seven goals, two red cards, a Luciano Vietto hat-trick and an injury time winner from Maxi Rodriguez.

http://www.youtube.com/w…er_embedded

Worst defence

Strictly speaking Boca’s defence should win this award for their shambolic capitulation 6-1 away defeat at relegation-threatened San Martin but former San Lorenzo goalkeeper Pablo Migliore gets the gong for his less than convincing plea of innocence after being accused of aiding and abetting suspected murderer and barra brava member Maxi Mazzaro. He served 40 days in jail before moving to Dinamo Zagreb.

Divine intervention award (sponsored by Pope Francis I)

When it emerged that the new Pope was a San Lorenzo fan, the Ciclon faithful could be forgiven for thinking they were in store for some timely luck. Right on cue, an eleven-match unbeaten run – including 5 wins on the bounce – in the second half of the season saw them leap up to 4th place and claim a Copa Sudamericana place.

In need of divine intervention award

Someone who could have done with some help from above was Independiente president Javier Cantero. Stricken by years of debt and corruption, Cantero has been a lone figure in the fight against the Barra Bravas but has yet to receive any real support. Coupled with Independiente’s relegation, it’s fair to say it’s not been his year.

Best Youngster

There were some impressive youngsters who made a name for themselves but one player who really confirmed his reputation as one of the hottest talents was Racing’s forward Luciano Vietto. After the disappointment of the Sudamericano, the 19-year-old was a bright spark in a mixed campaign for Racing, scoring eight goals. Destined for bigger things.

Casual Racism of the year

After highly-rated young Colombian defender Eder Alvarez Balanta scored the winner against Godoy Cruz with his groin, Olé ran the tasteless headline ‘El mas glande sigue siendo River Plate’ – a play on the words grande (big) and glande (virile member) from the popular chant ‘River Plate is still the biggest”. Nat cool Olé, nat cool.

Good Samaritans of the season

When floods in La Plata claimed the lives of 67 people in early April, Estudiantes legend Juan Sebastian Veron and national team boss Alejandro Sabella provided a heart-warming story in the tragic aftermath of the devastation. Sabella opened up his home to the neighbourhood of Tolosa as an assistance hub while he and his wife cooked food for many people in need. Veron also helped the rescue efforts, helping save six children from the floods.

Best signing

River’s left back problem seems to be finally solved after Leonel Vangioni impressed since joining from Newell’s who in turn pulled off a great bit of business by bringing in Peruvian midfielder Rinaldo Cruzado from Chievo. Luis Bolanos was also a big coup for San Martin as they mounted a late push to avoid relegation.

Worst Signing

Some big names returned to Argentina and failed to live up to expectations. Fernando Gago was disappointing for Velez as was Juan Manuel Martinez for Boca, whose signing of Chiqui Perez also failed to pay off. Perhaps the worst though was the much maligned Juan Caicedo to Independiente, only scoring twice, both of which came in the same game.

Best fan

In the Primera B game between local rivals Nueva Chicago and Almirante Brown, the Nueva Chicago fans infiltrated a transvestite dressed in the colours of Almirante to mock the opposition. Only in Argentina.

http://www.youtube.com/w…yeZxrQpHyUo

Best fan protest

As Mario Rossetto watched his beloved Argentinos Juniors go down 3-1 to Belgrano – their fifth consecutive defeat – he vented his frustration by lobbing a pair of false teeth at manager Caruso Lombardi. Dental assistant Rossetto, whose nickname is aptly ‘Tooth’, said the gesture was intended to show that the team needed more bite and more balls: “We have to ‘chew’ our way out of this situation”. Evidently he was sick to the teeth…

http://www.youtube.com/w…sKMxIhoHSus

Mullet of the season

Retaining his crown, Tigre boss Nestor Gorosito.

NSPCA Blacklist award

It’s safe to say that Bella Vista’s Enzo Jose Jimenez will not be receiving a Christmas card from Rolf Harris this year. Up in the Tucuman province during a game between Bella Vista and San Juan, Jimenez moronically attempted to remove a stray dog from the field by grabbing the mutt by the neck and unsuccessfully lobbing him over the fence. He was sent off and later had his contract with the club rescinded. Attenborough rejoiced.

Fond farewell award

Since his return to the club at the start of 2012, Gerardo Martino has turned Newell’s from relegation candidates into title winners, as well as simultaneously reaching the Copa Libertadores semi-finals. Not only has he been successful, he has got La Lepra playing some of the best football in Argentina. Unfortunately but not unexpectedly, Tata announced that he will depart at the end of the season and his presence will be a huge loss to the Primera division. Pipped at the post, Julio Buffarini’s trimmed blonde locks will also be missed dearly.
Brasil: Flamengo, Vasco, Fluminense, Botafogo (100% Carioca) Rio > Säo Paulo


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1. juli 2013 14:52
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Caution required after Brazil’s Confederations Cup victory

Five months on from a flaccid display in a 2-1 defeat to England at Wembley, things look a lot rosier for Luiz Felipe Scolari’s Brazil.

The bloated shadow that dominated the build-up to that that night, Ronaldinho, is nowhere to be seen.

Brazil, with an average first XI of 26, look hungry.

Exit Ronaldinho, Kaká, Robinho; enter Paulinho, Oscar and Neymar.

Indeed, for all the numerous advertising campaigns and showboating of Neymar, the 21-year-old is the only globetrotter Scolari has turned to.

With this trademark team-focused mentality of Scolari, the planets seem to be aligning for A Seleção to thrive under the incredible weight of expectation as the 2014 World Cup host nation.

After all, Scolari has aimed to strike a delicate balance between the attrition of Dunga (2006-2010) and the gung-ho approach of Carlos Alberto Parreira (2002-2006).

As a result, while Brazil have demonstrated incredible pressing without the ball, at the same time, Marcelo and Dani Alves have often been caught out in marauding forward.

Still, what constitutes success for Brazil in 12 months time remains to be seen – whether it is reaching the semi-final or, at the very least, progressing further than their bitter rivals, Argentina.

However, following an impressive June, the signs are encouraging.

Júlio César has re-discovered his form; Dante and Luiz Gustavo are Champions League winners; Paulinho is set for a career-benefiting move to Tottenham; Oscar has oozed class; and Neymar looks to have, finally, found his feet against major international opposition and is showcasing some underrated creativity and selflessness.

Still, to those outside Brazil, winning the Confederations Cup would, probably, only merit cautious optimism but this is a no ordinary nation.

Despite failing to address criticism about cuts to health and education, the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics are the showpiece events for the Brazilian government to showcase a seemingly thriving Brazilian Utopia and economy.

Even though football excellence and hysteria, in equal measure, are the crux of Brazilian DNA, the nation’s protests during the Confederations Cup prove that the Brazilian government cannot conceal serious public concerns.

From a rise in public transport fares and the dismal state of public services to increased taxes and widespread corruption, the aim of these sporting events was to placate and ease tensions.

Papering over the cracks is a familiar theme on the field, too.

After all, it is a similar fantasy: Scolari is a World Cup winner; Neymar, in the Brazilian public’s eyes, is the best player in the world; and Brazil are on home soil.

What could go wrong?

Contrast this with Scolari’s first reign, in 2002, when for the only time in World Cup history, A Selecao were not expected by their national media to better a quarter-final finish and Scolari’s omission of Romário saw the squad enter the tournament under a cloud.

Yet, that suited Scolari perfectly: the Brazilian established a siege mentality in cocooning his squad with Sun Tzu’s Art of War and, without scrutiny, was able to lay the durable foundations for Rivaldo, Ronaldo and Ronaldinho.

Yet, with Scolari winning Brazil’s first World Cup of the 21st century so unexpectedly, expectations were high that Brazil could match their achievement in 1962 and retain the World Cup in 2006.

As well as this being owed to Parreira – who led A Seleção to their 1994 truimph, – playing some beautiful football and utilising Kaká, Ronaldinho, Ronaldo and Adriano together, Brazil greatly impressed in the 2005 Confederations Cup.

Aesthetically, Brazil’s 2005 cohort were the most impressive team to ever take part in its 21-year history: scoring 12 goals in five games to win the trophy for the first time since 1997.

Expectations soared: the magic square was deemed a success and Parreira did not alter his tactics ahead of the 2006 World Cup.

Without competitive games, due to Brazil automatically qualifying, the Brazilian FA were driven by globetrotting – epitomised in the off the field advertising commitments of Ronaldinho et al.

The personnel may be different – with nine of Brazil”s squad, in trademark Scolari fashion, not being European based – but the parallels with today’s crop are stark in Brazil’s recent trans-Atlantic friendly excursions and ‘Neymarmania’.

So, even with Brazil’s absurd 22nd FIFA ranking and Scolari’s sound tactical discipline, home ‘advantage’ may yet suffocate this Brazil side despite Scolari playing to type and suggesting that the fans were the main reason behind a successful Confederations Cup campaign.

The reaction of Brazil’s players” faces, following the incredibly rousing second-half of the Haka-like Hino Nacional Brasileiro before the final against Spain in the Maracanã, seemed the perfect evidence for Scolari’s theory.

However, winning the Confederations Cup final and seemingly banishing the doubts raised in Scolari’s first few months – regarding whether the likes of Ronaldinho and Kaká should still be involved – will have only increased the pressure and raised expectations.

After all, after much, initial, deliberation, Scolari seems to, already, have his young squad in place. How many other nations could say this already?

Yet, while Scolari’s preparations for the 2002 World Cup saw the Brazilian intensely scrutinised and criticised, he will now have to deal with a much different kind of attention.

Brazil, following impressive performances against France, Japan, Mexico, Italy, Uruguay and Spain, will be among the serious favourites and Scolari’s ‘lucky’ legacy of 2002 rests on an impressive showing in 12 months time.

Brasil: Flamengo, Vasco, Fluminense, Botafogo (100% Carioca) Rio > Säo Paulo


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Diego Morel, the Albirrojita insurance under the arch

The task on Friday was not easy, especially when the team lost important defenseman Gustavo Gomez before the half for receiving two yellow cards leaving the team a man short.

Greece then began a siege on Paraguay´s goal in search of victory, but the team did not fold maintaining order and trusting in Genes Victor to withstand the pressure from the U-19 European runners-up.

The Guarani team managed to resist and ended with a creditable 1-1 draw.

The team was strengthened and celebrated their pass to the next stage. The first stage didn´t start how Paraguay wanted with a 1-1 draw against Mali, but they soon recovered with a win against Mexico (1-0).

"Thank you all for the support. Our group is stronger than ever!" the keeper wrote shortly after the game on his Twitter account.

He had just finished a great game where he only allowed on goal, from Dimitris Diamantakos in the 68th minute. He was the key to keeping his team in the game.

Diamantakos, Andreas Bouchalakis, Konstantinos Stafylidis ... All the Greeks were foiled by Morel´s mastery of his goal.

Morel has played all three games for Paraguay and has only allowed two goals. Like his teammates Morel has come to this tournament with high expectations.

"Our goal is to be world champions. Paraguay has never achieved that and hopefully we can win here," he said during his team´s training sessions in Turkey.

"We always train to correct what is missing, but the player knows what to do. We listen to what they tell us (the coaching staff) and we improve as a team," declared the keeper from Club Libertad.

Paraguay with Moral and this generation of footballers hope to conquer their first U-20 World Cup. Their best WC ever was in 2001 where they made it to the semifinals.
Brasil: Flamengo, Vasco, Fluminense, Botafogo (100% Carioca) Rio > Säo Paulo


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"Me sorprendió ver a Boca penúltimo"

BUENOS AIRES -- El entrenador de All Boys, Julio César Falcioni, admitió este domingo que lo "sorprendió ver a Boca penúltimo", aunque estimó que Carlos Bianchi "va a mejorar esto".

Falcioni, el lunes al ser presentado como director técnico del albo trató de evitar referirse a su ex club, pero este domingo reconoció en una entrevista con radio Mitre que lo "sorprendió" la actuación de Boca en el Torneo Final y aseguró que, "con el tiempo", se "reconoce" su trabajo. "Me sorprendió ver a Boca penúltimo, pero seguro que Bianchi va a mejorar esto y hará las cosas bien como lo hizo siempre", se atajó de todos modos Falcioni.

Sobre su pasado en Boca, Falcioni, analizó: "Si salimos campeones invictos fue porque algo bueno hicimos. Me sentí muy valorado en los dos años que estuve en Boca".

Y el ex conductor xeneize aprovechó para mandarle un mensaje a quienes lo criticaban durante su paso por la entidad del Riachuelo: "Con el tiempo se reconoce nuestro trabajo, a Boca lo agarramos cerca de la Promoción y llegó a la final de la Copa".

Por su parte, y sobre su presente en el equipo de Floresta, el entrenador contó que eligió "All Boys porque (el presidente) Roberto Bugallo fue el único" que lo "llamó" y le "ofreció un proyecto serio".

Por último, Falcioni se ilusionó con sumar a Walter Erviti y a Leandro Somoza, dos mediocampistas que conoce en profundidad y a quienes ya tuvo en Boca y en otros clubes. "Estamos buscando jugadores que estén para la gran lucha. A Erviti y a Somoza los pedimos, ojalá lleguen, serán muy bienvenidos", remarcó.
Brasil: Flamengo, Vasco, Fluminense, Botafogo (100% Carioca) Rio > Säo Paulo


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SL: Quieren a Elizari, Mas y Cavallaro

BUENOS AIRES -- San Lorenzo busca cerrar los pases de Elizari, Cavallaro y Mas.

La dirigencia "azulgrana" intentará esta semana cerrar las incorporaciones de los mediocampistas de Quilmes y Unión, respectivamente, y del lateral de San Martín de San Juan, de cara a la próxima temporada.

Elizari, jugador de Quilmes, arreglaría un contrato de tres años con San Lorenzo, según confirmó en la semana el manager del club Bernardo Romeo a Agencia Télam.

El volante, de 22 años, surgió de las divisiones inferiores de Quilmes y también tuvo un paso por Independiente en la temporada 2011/12.

En tanto, Unión de Santa Fe deberá responder por la propuesta que hizo San Lorenzo por el enganche Juan Ignacio Cavallaro, quien también fue pretendido por Estudiantes La Plata.

La institución de Boedo tiene la intención de comprar un porcentaje del pase del juvenil de 19 años.

Por su parte, San Lorenzo acercaría una propuesta a San Martín de San Juan para adquirir al lateral por la izquierda Emmanuel Mas, quien también estaría en los planes de Racing Club.

Sin embargo, a pesar de los rumores sobre los intereses de San Lorenzo, Racing y River Plate, el representante de Mas, Rodrigo Vilariño, confirmó a la Agencia Télam que aún no llegó ninguna oferta por el jugador.

A su vez, San Lorenzo continuará con las tratativas para incorporar al delantero de Quilmes Martín Cauteruccio, quien está analizando una oferta del fútbol mexicano, y para negociar la continuidad del volante Ignacio Piatti.

El defensor de Atlético de Rafaela Fabricio Fontanini también figura en la lista de refuerzos.

San Lorenzo habría hecho una oferta por el jugador, quien recibió una propuesta de Livorno de Italia, pero su intención sería ser transferido al club de Boedo.
Brasil: Flamengo, Vasco, Fluminense, Botafogo (100% Carioca) Rio > Säo Paulo


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