Major League Soccer: LAFC favourites to win open season

US MAJOR League Soccer (MLS) gets underway with four clubs being widely tipped as possible champions: Los Angeles FC (LAFC), Columbus Crew, Toronto and Seattle Sounders. LAFC had a mediocre campaign in 2020, but they went close to winning the CONCACAF Champions League, losing to Mexico’s Tigres UANL in the final. LAFC had an impressive […]

Copa Libertadores: When a crowd might have made a difference

IN THE end, we were spared 30 minutes of what might have been tedious extra time, thanks to a wonderful goal totally out of character with the rest of the Copa Libertadores final in Rio de Janeiro. Palmeiras scored it, clinching their second Libertadores title after 104 minutes of cagey, fractious and largely uninspiring football. […]

Copa Libertadores Final: Brazilian derby in an empty Maracanã

TWO old rivals from São Paulo face each other in the 2020 Copa Libertadores final in Rio de Janeiro, yet another big football match played in a supporter-free stadium. Brazil has had 8.8 million cases of covid-19 and over 200,000 deaths. Palmeiras and Santos meet in the Clássico da Saudade (the derby of nostalgia) with a difference, […]

Copa Libertadores heading for an all-Brazil final

THE COPA Libertadores has gradually become more global over the past two years, largely thanks to the 2018 debacle when Boca Juniors and River Plate met in the final in Madrid after a string of highly publicised disruptions in Argentina. The Buenos Aires duo are back in the semi-finals again, but after disappointing results in […]

South American Way: Estudiantes de La Plata, the one-time bogey men

IN THE the mid-to-late 1960s, Argentine football had acquired a dark image. In 1966, the national team left the field at Wembley, after an ill-tempered World Cup quarter-final, to chants of “animals, animals”, a sentiment that was echoed by prickly England manager Sir Alf Ramsey. A year later, violence erupted in the World Club Championship […]

Soccer City: Brasília – an idea that hasn’t captured football

NATION capitals are very often not the seat of power in football – London, for example, has enjoyed periods of domination, but over the course of the past 50 years, Manchester and Liverpool have been England’s dominant cities as far as the beautiful game is concerned. Across Europe, a similar tale is told – Germany, […]