Could the Copa Libertadores go global?

WHEN CONMEBOL agreed to move the second leg of the Copa Libertadores final, South America’s equivalent of the UEFA Champions League, to Madrid, they not only solved an immediate logistical problem, they also have opened a door that could prove difficult to close. By taking the final, a high-octane fixture between Buenos Aires’ rivals, River Plate and Boca Juniors, to one of the capitals of … Continue reading Could the Copa Libertadores go global?

Left wing, right wing, no wingers

POLITICS AND FOOTBALL are no strangers. Organising bodies such as FIFA, UEFA and the Olympic committees marinate themselves in political intrigue and there has often been a whiff of corruption about FIFA, dating back decades. The most recent debates about Qatar and the World Cup rekindled deep-rooted concerns about the legitimacy of bidding and selection processes – discussions that will go on beyond the 2022 … Continue reading Left wing, right wing, no wingers

Copa Libertadores: Last eight dominated by big two nations

WE ALREADY know there will be one Brazilian team in the final of this year’s Copa Libertadores, thanks to two all-Brazil quarter-finals providing an all-Brazil semi-final. There is no danger of a repeat of last season’s domestic squabble but there are a number of big guns left in the competition, including the 2018 finalists, River Plate and Boca Juniors. The last eight includes four heavyweights … Continue reading Copa Libertadores: Last eight dominated by big two nations

Fool or hero? Maradona movie shows why he was like no other

ANYONE who watched the World Cup 1986 “hand of God” incident will have preconceived views about Diego Armando Maradona. In the space of six minutes in Mexico City, the game against England displayed everything that was good and bad about him. If VAR was in use in 1986, Maradona would have been sent off and Argentina would surely not have beaten England. History would have … Continue reading Fool or hero? Maradona movie shows why he was like no other

Kempes and Luque, the brilliant bandoleros

WE remember the litter-strewn pitches of Argentina 1978 as well as the military presence, the controversy and, from a footballing perspective, the left foot and cavalier approach of Mario Kempes, the player of the tournament and leading scorer. Kempes was the only player in Cesar Luis Menotti’s squad for the World Cup that did not play in Argentina. He moved from Rosario Central, where he … Continue reading Kempes and Luque, the brilliant bandoleros

WWC has cast the Copa América into the shadows

IF YOU want evidence that the Women’s football has come of age, then look no further than the way it has overshadowed a string of other major sporting events that are currently in progress: the Copa América, the African Cup of Nations and the Cricket World Cup. The media are besotted with the FIFA Women’s World Cup, suddenly all sorts of “celebrities” are claiming lifelong … Continue reading WWC has cast the Copa América into the shadows

Fool or hero? Maradona movie shows why he was like no other

ANYONE who watched the World Cup 1986 “hand of God” incident will have preconceived views about Diego Armando Maradona. In the space of six minutes in Mexico City, the game against England displayed everything that was good and bad about him. If VAR was in use in 1986, Maradona would have been sent off and Argentina would surely not have beaten England. History would have … Continue reading Fool or hero? Maradona movie shows why he was like no other

Left wing, right wing… no wingers: politics and football

POLITICS AND FOOTBALL are no strangers. Organising bodies such as FIFA, UEFA and the Olympic committees marinate themselves in political intrigue. There has often been a whiff of corruption about FIFA, dating back decades. The most recent debates about Russia, Qatar and the World Cup rekindled deep-rooted concerns about the legitimacy of bidding and selection processes. Beer and sandwiches for the number 10 Football has … Continue reading Left wing, right wing… no wingers: politics and football

La Liga’s big challenge

SPAIN’s La Liga may have lost Cristiano Ronaldo to Serie A, but it is well placed to deal with the inevitable transition that will take place once the other member of the celebrated duopoly, Lionel Messi, also moves on. KPMG Football Benchmark’s latest paper looks at how the league has been internationalising itself to broaden the appeal of Spanish football. Ronaldo and Messi have dominated … Continue reading La Liga’s big challenge

The damage being done to Argentina’s football

THE Libertadores Cup final second leg may (or may not) be played in Madrid, giving the game an unprecedented level of profile, and not just because of the adverse headlines that the twice-aborted clash between Boca Juniors and River Plate has attracted. Madrid is not a terrible choice, it is certainly better than any Middle-Eastern or US location – games played in the desert do … Continue reading The damage being done to Argentina’s football

Brazilian clubs to the fore again

TWO Brazilian and two Argentinian clubs will contest the semi-finals of the Copa Libertadores at the end of October 2018. Grêmio, the holders, and Palmeiras will face-off against the Buenos Aires duo, River Plate and Boca Juniors. Two enticing ties are in prospect, but the last four line-up is arguably one of the strongest of recent years. Brazilian clubs have won five of the last … Continue reading Brazilian clubs to the fore again

Russia 2018 underlines where global power is shifting

WITH Brazil and Uruguay falling at the quarter-final stage, the 2018 World Cup became an all-European affair, not a total surprise, but the old excuse of geographical disadvantage, used for decades to explain early disappearance in the competition by Europeans or Latin Americans, is becoming somewhat outdated Only Brazil and Germany have won the World Cup in another continent, Brazil in 1958 (Sweden), 1994 (USA) … Continue reading Russia 2018 underlines where global power is shifting

The gulf between South America and Europe, created by football’s global warming

WE ALL look to Brazil as being one of the ancestral homes of football. When World Cups come around, the TV broadcasters cannot wait to get that mythical “Brazilian samba” onto their screens, however overused that view is. Furthermore, the happy, smiling faces of Brazilian fans represent one of the iconic images of the competition. Stereotyping Brazil and its football continues to be something that … Continue reading The gulf between South America and Europe, created by football’s global warming