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DAVID MOSSE
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By DAVID MOSSE Brazilian soccer was recently pronounced dead by British magazine FourFourTwo, and, frankly, the senior team did very little to dispel that notion at the Copa America, but Ney Franco's Under-20 side salvaged the summer by capturing Brazil's fifth World Youth Championship. It proved to be a dramatic, if not sparkling final on Saturday, with one player emerging as the undisputed star. Portugal hadn't conceded a goal in the entire tournament, but the Lusitanians met their match in Oscar, as the Internacional playmaker fired an improbable hat-trick to secure the 3-2 victory in extra time. He opened the... Continue reading
Posted Aug 22, 2011 at Soccer By Ives
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By DAVID MOSSE The last unbeaten in the Brazilian Championship fell on Thursday night, as Flamengo was thrashed at home by Atletico Goianiense. Next up is a high-profile clash with Internacional on Sunday (3 p.m.), one that Wanderley Luxemburgo hopes will represent a return to normalcy for the Rio de Janeiro giants, who suffered only their second defeat of the year and are three points behind Corinthians. Ronaldinho and Renato both return from suspension, and the former World Player of the Year will be buoyed by his recall to the Brazilian national team this past week. Ronaldinho is the joint... Continue reading
Posted Aug 19, 2011 at Soccer By Ives
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By DAVID MOSSE If Brazil intends to avoid the drama of another penalty shootout on Saturday when it takes on Portugal in the final of the FIFA Under-20 World Cup, Ney Franco's side must become the first team to find the back of the net against Portugal, whose remarkable shutout streak in this tournament reached 570 minutes following Wednesday's 2-0 semifinal victory over France. An early header by Danilo and a 40th-minute penalty from Nelson Oliveira was all the scoring Ilidio Vale's men needed thanks to an impressive back-line led by captain Nuno Reis. Goalkeeper Mika came up big when... Continue reading
Posted Aug 19, 2011 at Soccer By Ives
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By DAVID MOSSE No country has been more irritated by the emergence of Spain in recent years than Brazil, which always took for granted being the main attraction at every tournament and the great purveyor of The Beautiful Game. A quarterfinal clash at the FIFA Under-20 World Cup might not seem like much, but Brazilians hope Sunday's triumph over Spain in penalty kicks was a small step towards putting their universe back in order. Spain controlled the first half hour right up until Henrique smacked a shot off the crossbar and Willian -- in an offsides position -- gave the... Continue reading
Posted Aug 17, 2011 at Soccer By Ives
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By DAVID MOSSE Boca Juniors had a disappointing debut in this Apertura Championship, being held to a scoreless draw by Olimpo last weekend. Julio Falcioni is already under pressure, especially with a possible presidential election looming, and would love a victory over Union on Monday (8:15 p.m.) at La Bombonera. The focus is once again on Juan Roman Riquelme, who suffered through a frustrating afternoon in Bahia Blanca thanks in large part to the lousy pitch conditions. With Martin Palermo calling it quits after the last Clausura Championship, Riquelme lost his favorite target, so the task is now to help... Continue reading
Posted Aug 12, 2011 at Soccer By Ives
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By DAVID MOSSE Spain's remarkable run of success recently might carry over into another tournament with Julen Lopetegui's side looking like a serious contender to capture the FIFA U-20 World Cup after blitzing through the group stage in dominating fashion. Sergio Canales has been impressive form, while strikers Rodrigo and Alvaro Vasquez can't stop scoring. The only team with more impressive numbers so far has been Nigeria, which topped Group D thanks to a 2-0 victory over previously unbeaten Saudi Arabia in the final match. The Super Eagles are just one of several teams to be rewarded for an attack-minded... Continue reading
Posted Aug 9, 2011 at Soccer By Ives
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By DAVID MOSSE The highly anticipated clash between Chivas de Guadalajara and Pumas UNAM on Saturday failed to live up to the billing, ending in a disappointing scoreless draw. It was the marquee matchup in the fourth round of Mexico's Apertura Championship, with the two teams sporting perfect records entering the match. Marco Fabian made headlines throughout the globe last week following his sensational performance against Barcelona, but the Pumas defense held him mostly in check. The same was true of striker Omar Arellano, while goalkeeper Alejandro Palacios was solid when called upon. His counterpart Luis Michel had a fairly... Continue reading
Posted Aug 8, 2011 at Soccer By Ives
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By DAVID MOSSE The recent World Cup draw didn't receive nearly as much attention in Brazil as one might expect thanks in large part to a spectacular game that same week between Flamengo and Santos, which dominated the headlines. Flamengo came from three goals down to claim a 5-4 victory, and the two star attractions didn't disappoint, as Ronaldinho and Neymar carried their respective teams. Neymar scored twice, including a sensational individual effort replayed throughout the globe, but Ronaldinho found the back of the net three times for his first hat trick since returning to Brazil. The 31-year-old former World... Continue reading
Posted Aug 5, 2011 at Soccer By Ives
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By DAVID MOSSE A busy summer of international soccer winds down with 24 countries vying to win the FIFA Under-20 World Cup in Colombia, which takes place from July 29 to Aug. 20. Argentina and Mexico are both back in the fold after failing to qualify two years ago, and the two teams clash Friday in one of the very first matches of the tournament, as the South Americans begin their quest for a record seventh title. Erik Lamela suffered through a miserable few months with River Plate, but the talented playmaker will be counted on to lead his team... Continue reading
Posted Jul 29, 2011 at Soccer By Ives
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By DAVID MOSSE Paraguay goalkeeper Justo Villar has emerged as an unlikely hero in this 2011 Copa America after helping his team earn another shootout victory on Wednesday against Venezuela. Gerardo Martino's side has yet to claim a single victory in five games but will take on Uruguay next with an opportunity to capture its first Copa America title since 1979, and Villar figures to be busy again. The 34-year-old keeper stopped Franklin Lucena's shot for the only miss of the shootout following a scoreless draw in which Venezuela created the better chances, including hitting the woodwork twice. Nicolas Fedor... Continue reading
Posted Jul 22, 2011 at Soccer By Ives
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By DAVID MOSSE Uruguay is now in the somewhat unenviable position of being regarded as the favorite to win the 2011 Copa America following a remarkable quarterfinal round that saw both Argentina and Brazil crash out on penalties. The Celeste must guard against any kind of letdown after knocking out the hosts on Saturday in a pulsating encounter that will probably go down as the match of the tournament. The quarterfinal exit represents an incredible failure for Argentina, which remains without a senior trophy since 1993, while Uruguay continues its resurgence as a major power that began with the fourth-place... Continue reading
Posted Jul 18, 2011 at Soccer By Ives
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By DAVID MOSSE It remains to be seen whether the current Mexico Under-17 side will supply the senior team with as much talent as the 2005 edition, which captured the U-17 World Cup in Peru behind the likes of Giovani dos Santos and Carlos Vela. Either way, the hosts are into the semifinals of the 2011 tournament following an impressive 2-1 victory over France on Monday, and striker Carlos Fierro certainly looks to have a bright future. Fierro was on target early in the second half with his fourth goal of the tournament, breaking the deadlock after Kevin Escamilla and... Continue reading
Posted Jul 6, 2011 at Soccer By Ives
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By DAVID MOSSE When Brazil won the last Copa America back in 2007, Lucas Moura was busy competing in the Under-15 Paulista State Championship. Four years later, the Sao Paulo winger is one of three supremely gifted youngsters being counted on to help Brazil capture another title, while restoring some luster to a soccer nation perceived by many around the globe to be in decline. The five-time World Champions have undergone quite a makeover under new manager Mano Menezes, with Santos starlets Paulo Henrique Ganso and Neymar certain to feature alongside Alexandre Pato, who at 21 almost feels like the... Continue reading
Posted Jun 30, 2011 at Soccer By Ives
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By DAVID MOSSE The news just keeps getting worse for River Plate, which lost 2-0 to Belgrano on Wednesday night in the first leg of their relegation playoff and might be forced to play the second leg in an empty stadium after its fans stormed the pitch in Cordoba. Los Millonarios are winless in eight games and need a massive comeback on Sunday to avoid a humiliating fate. Cesar Mansanelli opened the scoring from the penalty spot midway through the first half, and Cesar Pereyra doubled the lead soon after the intermission. Not surprisingly, River manager Juan Jose Lopez fielded... Continue reading
Posted Jun 24, 2011 at Soccer By Ives
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By DAVID MOSSE The last time Atletico Nacional and La Equidad met in the Colombian Clausura final back in 2007, Nacional notched a comprehensive 3-0 victory in the first leg and was able to claim the trophy with a scoreless draw at home. But El Verde faces a much different predicament on Saturday (7:30 p.m., GOLTV) after falling, 2-1, in Bogota last week. Nacional made a dream start when leading scorer Carlos Renteria found the back of the net after seven minutes, but Juan Gilberto Nunez equalized before halftime and Edwin Rivas produced the winner midway through the second half.... Continue reading
Posted Jun 17, 2011 at Soccer By Ives
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By DAVID MOSSE Even Boca Juniors players expressed amazement this week at the predicament in which archrvials River Plate find themselves, fighting for top-flight survival with just two rounds remaining this season. Los Millonarios are now winless in five league games and no longer control their own destiny heading into Sunday's matchup with Estudiantes (3 p.m.). River manager Juan Jose Lopez continues to shuffle the deck in search of the right lineup, as Diego Buonanotte has been left out of the squad altogether. Leandro Caruso, who notched the equalizer in last week's 1-1 draw with Atletico Colon eight minutes from... Continue reading
Posted Jun 10, 2011 at Soccer By Ives
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By DAVID MOSSE Flamengo fans bid farewell to the retiring Dejan Petkovic on Sunday, and they hoped that current star Ronaldinho could make the difference in a highly-anticipated clash with Corinthians. The former World Player of the Year showed flashes of brilliance, including smacking a shot off the post in the second half, but Flamengo was held to a frustrating 1-1 draw in a spirited contest. Willian actually gave the visitors the lead after just 18 minutes, but Flamengo equalized through a lovely free kick from Renato Abreu in the 39th minute after Ronaldinho was hauled down. The 38-year-old Petkovic,... Continue reading
Posted Jun 6, 2011 at Soccer By Ives
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By DAVID MOSSE Ronaldinho will be forced to watch another international tournament from his living room this summer, as the former World Player of the Year failed to earn a spot in Brazil’s preliminary squad for the Copa America. But Mano Menezes has left the door open for a future recall, and Ronaldinho has a great platform to show off his skills. Flamengo and Corinthians, the two most popular clubs in Brazil, meet on Sunday (3 p.m., GOLTV) in a match that should garner an enormous amount of attention. The contest will serve as a farewell for Serbian midfielder Dejan... Continue reading
Posted Jun 3, 2011 at Soccer By Ives
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By DAVID MOSSE It didn't hurt that Penarol's run in the Copa Libertadores forced Diego Aguirre's side to de-emphasize its domestic campaign, but Nacional deserves plenty of credit for being one point away from clinching the Uruguayan Clausura title. Los Tricolores enter the 14th round five points ahead of Penarol and six points above Defensor Sporting, which faces the leaders Saturday (3 p.m., GOLTV). Defensor Sporting squandered a great opportunity to move into second place by failing to defeat a Penarol side resting several starters last week. The visitors actually took the lead through Rodrigo Pastorini before Sebastian Suarez equalized... Continue reading
Posted May 27, 2011 at Soccer By Ives
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By DAVID MOSSE Not long ago Arsenal seemed poised to finally snap its trophy-less streak, but the Gunners fell short in four competitions and now all that is left is securing direct entry into next season’s UEFA Champions League. Arsene Wenger’s side trails Manchester City by one point entering the final round, so Arsenal needs a victory against Fulham on Sunday (11 a.m., Fox Deportes) to ensure that it doesn't need to go through the UCL qualifying round. The Gunners have won just two of their last 10 league games, Cesc Fabregas remains sidelined with a thigh injury and may... Continue reading
Posted May 20, 2011 at Soccer By Ives
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By DAVID MOSSE Pumas UNAM is in solid position to capture its seventh league title after earning a hard-fought 1-1 draw in the first leg of the Mexican Clausura final against Morelia Thursday night. Francisco Palencia gave Pumas the lead with 69th-minute strike with a blast from outside the area to quite the home crowd. Joao Rojas scored an equalizer five minutes later, though, after he was on the receiving end of a pass from Luis Gabriel Rey. Morelia had chances for victory in the end, but came up empty. The final leg (Sunday, 1 p.m., Telemundo) will be played... Continue reading
Posted May 20, 2011 at Soccer By Ives
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By DAVID MOSSE It took only three minutes midway through the first half for Boca Juniors to take control of the latest Superclasico, as the home side came away with a 2-0 victory Sunday in La Bombonera. River Plate goalkeeper Juan Pablo Carrizo was expected to be a key figure in this showdown between the two eternal nemeses, and Carrizo played his part in a negative way in the final result. The 27-year-old palmed a corner kick into his own goal to give Boca the advantage on 28 minutes, before Martin Palermo confirmed his legendary status by scoring in his... Continue reading
Posted May 16, 2011 at Soccer By Ives
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By DAVID MOSSE One of the top matches in all the world this weekend won't be played in England, Spain, Germany or anywhere else in Europe. It'll be happening in Argentina. Boca Juniors and River Plate renew their Superclasico rivalry Sunday afternoon (3 p.m.), and while Boca Juniors hitman Martin Palermo (above, right) has enjoyed a fascinating career with many memorable moments, scoring a goal in his final Superclasico would certainly be very special. La Bombonera promises to be packed as the two fierce rivals collide in a crucial contest, particularly for the home side, which trails Velez Sarsfield by... Continue reading
Posted May 13, 2011 at Soccer By Ives
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By DAVID MOSSE It's been a very good week for Liverpool boss Kenny Dalglish, who earned a three-year contract as a reward for salvaging this season, and Dalglish hopes to cap it off with a victory over Tottenham at Anfield on Sunday (11 a.m., FSC). With Birmingham and Stoke City gobbling up UEFA Europa League spots, the loser of this weekend's matchup will likely be left without European soccer next year. For Spurs, a loss would be a massive blow after spending much of the campaign in the top four, and could hasten the departure of manager Harry Redknapp along... Continue reading
Posted May 13, 2011 at Soccer By Ives
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May 8, 2011