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Prepare for some twists and turns

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Tim Vickery | 15:42 UK time, Monday, 18 April 2011

The time has arrived in South America when fans all over the continent will need a calculator in one hand and the phone number of a cardiologist in the other.

This is the last week of the group phase of the Copa Libertadores, the continent's equivalent of the Champions League. Of the eight groups, four have been completed, while the rest have their last round coming up on either Tuesday or Wednesday.

The action has been tight and competitive. Of the 32 teams, only two are still unbeaten. Of the 16 places available in the knockout phase, nine have been taken. Thirteen teams are chasing the remaining places - with varying degrees of desperation.

Holders Internacional of Brazil are nearly home and dry. A draw at home to Emelec of Ecuador will suffice, although the visitors, who need a win, should not be written off. Emelec coach Omar Asad is an interesting figure but the Argentine's team lacks firepower, which is hardly surprising given strikers Jaime Ayovi and Joao Rojas have been sold to Mexican clubs.

Joao RojasEmelec must do without the talents of Joao Rojas. Photo: Getty Images

Inter have a fascinating coach of their own. Falcao, the elegant midfielder best remembered for his displays in the 1982 World Cup, has returned to lead the team after nearly two decades of media work. It would take a major upset to deny his team a place in the knockout stage.

Brazilian Cup winners Santos also look close, apparently saving themselves after a sticky start with last week's win away to Cerro Porteno of Paraguay. Now all Neymar and company need to do is pick up three points at home to the already eliminated Deportivo Tachira of Venezuela.

Reigning Brazilian champions Fluminense face a much more difficult task. They have only one win from five games, that sole victory coming when Deco came off the bench to inspire a late revival against America of Mexico. On Wednesday, Fluminese travel to Argentinos Juniors, who need a win to be sure of qualification.

This always looked like a difficult group - Nacional of Uruguay are the fourth team - but few expected that, with a game to go, Fluminense would be bottom. Backed by a generous sponsor, the traditional Rio team have assembled a squad that, on paper, looks at least as strong as the one that lost on penalties in the 2008 Libertadores final.

Most of Fluminense's problems this year have been self-inflicted. A change of president has caused instability, while coach Muricy Ramalho resigned, launching an attack on the club's training and medical facilities. He may have a point but Fluminense won last year's Brazilian title with the same structure.

It should surely not be beyond the current Fluminese team to produce at least one convincing display in this year's Libertadores. Even if that happens against Argentinos Juniors, there is a chance that it might come too late.

Fluminense's chances are dependent on what happens in the other game, played at the same time. If Nacional win at home to America, all of Fluminense's efforts will have been in vain. If the game ends in a draw, then the Brazilians need to win by a two-goal margin. With all four teams in the fight, there is the promise of drama to the end.

That is also true of Tuesday, when Colombia's Once Caldas, whose campaign seems to come with the guarantee of drama, visit San Martin of Peru.

The Colombians are coached by Juan Carlos Osorio, who spent five years on the coaching staff at Manchester City. There seems to be a strong English influence in the way that he constructs his team. There is little old style Colombian midfield elaboration about Caldas. They play a centre-forward and two strikers on the flanks, seeking to get the ball quickly into attacking wide spaces.

In domestic competition, the formula has worked wonderfully well - despite the club's grave financial crisis. Wages were paid late but Once Caldas still fought their way to the Colombian title last December. Key players were sold and Osorio got on with the business of rebuilding his team. They were top of the table once more until a couple of recent defeats and remain well in contention to defend their title - even though the cash crisis continues. Wages are still not being paid on time, prompting suggestions that the players would not travel to Peru for Wednesday's crunch game.

Like Fluminense, Once Caldas have to win their match and hope for the right result in the other. Whatever happens in Lima, they will be eliminated if San Luis of Mexico manage a win away to the already qualified Libertad of Paraguay.

There would be an element of poetic justice if Once Caldas are able to save themselves. If football was a game of 90 minutes - or even 92 - then the Colombians would not be bottom. They would already have guaranteed their place in the knockout stage.

Juan Carlos Osorio. Photo: Getty ImagesJuan Carlos Osorio was once on the coaching staff of Manchester City. Photo: Getty Images

Incredibly, Osorio's team have conceded 93rd- or 94th-minute equalisers in three of their last four matches. When it happened for the third time, the Once Caldas coach cut an almost comic figure in his moment of tragedy, jumping up and down on the touchline in a mixture of anger, disappointment and disbelief.

After all that, if one team deserves to keep alive their Copa Libertadores hopes in this week of the calculator and the cardiologist, then it is surely Once Caldas of Colombia.

Comments on the piece in the space provided. Questions on South American football to vickerycolumn@hotmail.com, and I'll pick out a couple for next week.
From last week's postbag:


Q) I'd be intrigued to hear your thoughts on the similarities and differences between Paulo Henrique Ganso and Javier Pastore. They seem to have similar attributes and play in virtually the same starting position. Their futures seem tied to one another, with some reports stating that Fiorentina are hoping to replace Pastore with Ganso when they sell the former, while others have both of them going to massive clubs. Who do you rate as the greater talent? Obviously, Pastore is further along in his development but I'd like to know your thoughts all the same.
Stefan Tavares

A) It is an interesting comparison. There are many similarities and one key difference - Ganso is left-footed - while, as you say, Pastore is further down the line at the moment. He's been a surprise with how quickly and easily he adapted to Italian football. Even Angel Cappa, his coach when he caught the eye at Huracan, doubted his capacity to do it.

I doubt that Ganso would be interested in going to a club like Palermo. The hype around him is huge. He wants to go to Europe in the near future - and it's likely to be straight to a massive club. This could be a gamble. Pastore has benefited from his time with Palermo and is now ready for the next stage. If Ganso goes to a massive club, he is in the deep end struggling with the problem all South American playmakers face when they make the move to Europe - less time and space to decide what to do with the ball. He was a disappointment in this respect in the 2009 World Youth Cup. It will be fascinating to see how he deals with this question when the time comes.

Q) What are your thoughts on current Parma and Brazil Under-20 player Zé Eduardo? How do you rate him as a prospect? In your view, is he the type of central midfielder who is capable of creativity and invention, providing quality passes? Or is he more of a player who specialises in marking rather than passing?
Ari

A) On the evidence of the last two South American Under-20 Championships, he is strictly the latter - a marking specialist who stands out for his size and his physical vigour. In fact, I was a bit surprised to see him feature in the recent Under-20s. He is the type of central midfielder that the current Brazil regime are trying to get away from. Sure enough, he was dropped after looking strong but very limited in the group phase.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    Good column her mate. Would love to see more South American football on our screens as the skill and fighting ability that is evident amongst South American players could be transferred to youngsters on our own great isle.

    What I would like to ask though, as a Football Manager afficionado, there are many players in this game that go on in the virtual simulation world to become greats but there are two players Sherman Cardenas(A Colombian who I believe was at Bucurumanga?) and a young Chilean called Nicolas Millian who is at Colo Colo, I wonder if these players are as up and coming as the game suggests? Do you know of these players at all or how they have performed/progressing?

  • Comment number 2.

    i have good feeling about Ganso's career in Europe, he looks an intelligent guy!

  • Comment number 3.

    Tim,

    Great column. I think you're putting a bit too much weight on Ganso's performance at the U20 WC. That was pretty much before he broke out onto the Santos team. If you'll recall, he truly only solidified his role at Santos in last year's Paulista, where he built a rapport with Andre and Neymar. I think he's come a long way since then. Obviously the question at this point is how he will bounce back from his knee injury. Only time will tell but I think he is the rare talent who will be able to step it up at a higher level. He's matured a lot as a football player, although I do question his inner-circle, who are really trying to force him out with this whole Corinthians rubbish. That's not the right way to go about it.

  • Comment number 4.

    I was looking forward to your views on the closing stages of Libertadores group play. These final set of games should be quite interesting and full of drama and there are some well known clubs facing possible early elimination.

    A club which has really impressed me in group play has been Cruzeiro. What strikes me about how they play is how well they pressure the ball and then how they move so quickly from defense to attack. In that respect they are almost like a Marcelo Bielsa coached team and the pace they play at is rare for South American clubs and especially for one from Brazil. They embarrassed a pretty good Estudiantes team in both group games and if they keep playing with the same intensity and speed in the elimination stages they will be a difficult team to defeat.

    I am looking forward to seeing how the elimination rounds will look, CONMEBOL does what I think is a good way to set up the teams, rather than doing a draw for the pairings, the group winners are seeded 1-8 based on total points accumulated in group play, if two clubs are even on points then goal difference and total goals are used to break a tie. Then the 2nd placed teams are seeded 9-16 using the same criteria. In the octave finals 1 plays 16, 2 plays 15, 3 plays 14, etc. so the pairings for the rest of the competition will be known by the end of this week. Unlike the European Champions League, teams from the same nation or even opponents from the same group are not barred from playing one another in the octave finals.

    Right now it looks like Cruzeiro will be the top seed based on the 16 points they accumulated in group play. Presumably that will mean they will draw the weakest 2nd place qualifier but we all know once the elimination rounds start anything is possible.

    Another team to keep an eye out for, Colo Colo, they may lack stars but since Americo Gallego took over as coach they have been very difficult to beat. As long as they do not lose at home to Cerro Porteno this week they will qualify out of their group.

    This is when the Libertadores really starts to get interesting.

    Soccer Futbol Forum:
    http://z8.invisionfree.com/Soccer_Futbol_Forum/index.php

  • Comment number 5.

    What I would like to ask though, as a Football Manager afficionado, there are many players in this game that go on in the virtual simulation world to become greats but there are two players Sherman Cardenas(A Colombian who I believe was at Bucurumanga?) and a young Chilean called Nicolas Millian who is at Colo Colo, I wonder if these players are as up and coming as the game suggests? Do you know of these players at all or how they have performed/progressing?

    --------------------

    I remember these players players from an old Football Manager, but I tend to find that if the player isn't just as good in the next Football manager then it was miles off. That was from about 4 seasons ago so Millan should be about 19 by now and cardenas 25/26ish

    ------------------------------
    Their futures seem tied to one another, with some reports stating that Fiorentina are hoping to replace Pastore with Ganso


    ------------------------

    Pastore plays for Fiorentina!


    Great Blog again Tim

  • Comment number 6.

    It has to be pointed out that Pastore plays for Palermo, not Fiorentina as the question says.

  • Comment number 7.

    1 -cardenas is now with junior, doesn't get a regular game but has done ok as an impact sub in this libertadores campaign.
    I'm still not aware of Millan as a senior player - oh, the dangers of premature hype!

  • Comment number 8.

    8 Do any Man City fans have memories of JC Osorio on their coaching staff?

  • Comment number 9.

    For both the interested parties - I'm doing Redacao Sportv tomorrow (Tues) at 10 am

  • Comment number 10.

    Hey Tim, great blog as usual. I wondered what your thoughts on Hernan Barcos of LDU Quito are? I think if Liga have are to win the Copa Libertadores this year he is will be integral. His performance against Godoy Cruz last Tuesday was incredibly strong in the second half, as he got the assist for the first goal and scored the sublime second for Liga. Also, how do you see Liga fairing in the latter stages?

  • Comment number 11.

    Tim

    Don't you think you are underestimating the Brazilian league a bit when you talk about Paulo Henrique?

    Surely if you compare the time and space to the PL, the playmakers in Brazil can have a difficult time, but do you really think Serie A, La Liga are more "pressing" and "less-time-on-the-ball" leagues?

    If you are talking about early 2000's I may agree with you, but since 2005-2006, the Brazilian league is improving in a fast and scary ratio. For example, Robinho had a much bigger impact at AC Milan compared to his impact on Santos (and he only played in the "easy" leagues which are state and copa do brasil). IMO, Ronaldo Lima had better matches at the same AC Milan than what he did at Corinthians.

    Maybe Ganso will have an even easier time at Serie A than at Brazileirão? Since T.Silva impacted that league in a huge way, Hernanes playing out of position singlehandedly is taking mediocre Lazio to UCL, you may have to re-check your evaluation on Brasileirao being an "easy" or "time-to-think" type of league, if anything it has even more speed and tacticallity than most leagues in Europe

    cheers

  • Comment number 12.

    PS: I am talking about Robinho's recent passage, which occured in 2010, after the "boom" in the Brazilian league I talked about

  • Comment number 13.

    I have a question for you Tim, do you ever get tired of someone asking you a question along the lines of "I saw this player on Football Manager and he looks really good, do you think he's gonna be a star..."

    Or do you think a game like that can actually be a useful tool for people (and perhaps even clubs?).

  • Comment number 14.

    13. At 23:23pm 18th Apr 2011, Carekoala wrote:
    I have a question for you Tim, do you ever get tired of someone asking you a question along the lines of "I saw this player on Football Manager and he looks really good, do you think he's gonna be a star..."

    Or do you think a game like that can actually be a useful tool for people (and perhaps even clubs?).

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------

    It is a well known fact that EPL clubs have used this tool for scouting and unearthing of players. David Moyes is on record I'm sure somewhere of saying he has used/uses it. If it is good enough for 'the best league in the world' who's to say it hasnt been of use in other leagues such as Ukraine, Bulgaria, Russia where to us what would seem an abundance of non-descript South Americans ply their trade. Then these players are sold on for exorbitant profits. Who is to say that clubs can't learn a thing or two where these games have contributors from all around the world, in their own countries actullay giving players' attributes both current and potential? These computer games, have more input going into them from people who watch games in these countries than any football club can offer. I don't think even the Barcelona's, Manchester United's or even Shakhtar Donetsk's of the world could have the same knowledge of any league that these games provide, whether its the Brazilliant or the Vietnamese leagues

  • Comment number 15.

    First time post, long time reader.

    Great blog as usual tim.

    I have a question about a youngster called adryan. I have heard contradicting reports today about this player. Have man utd signed him or not? (I know he's too young to come over straight away). I have heard he's a winger, but also compared to kaka?

    13 - I know that certain clubs do use the game as a scouting tool. Everton pay the football manager creators to have access to the data base before anyone else.

  • Comment number 16.

    #4- Cruzeiro has been easily the best team of the competition so far, in a group that looked very tough. But should be said Cuca's teams are known to fail at the big moments, influenced in part by the manager, who more often than not lacks emotional control.

    #9- Oh, Tim, can't you go Wednesday instead, since I won't be working then? :)
    I'll try to watch it at night, if it's possible.

    Oh, and FM can certainly be a good tool to introduce new players to the world (I've first heard of a certain Zlatan Ibrahimovic there, for example, and he was a great goal scorer), but it's not 100% reliable by any means. One better use their own scouts before hiring the players.

  • Comment number 17.

    I guess something liek FM can be a good starting point for scouts; send a scout to a country (such as brazil) use that tool to check out what it classes as high potential youngsters, then scout them thorough.

    It can't hurt?

  • Comment number 18.

    I have been visiting Brazil and managed to see a game at the olympic stadium between Fluminense and Nova Iguaçu. I was shocked to see less than 6000 supporters, this is less than some of the Mexican 2nd division teams i have seen. Is this normal Tim?

  • Comment number 19.

    Sangre Azul; that is actually normal for those type of games.

    Brazil has 2 "leagues" that run in a year, one is the national championship with all the teams in, the other is a state one, you went to see a state game, where most of the competition is on a much lower level than the national championships (and often most of the better players don't play some/most of the games) so they attract a less crowd.

  • Comment number 20.

    To clarify; by all the teams I mean all the "top teams of Brazil", while the state championship has teams from for example the Sao Paulo state and so on.

  • Comment number 21.

    @Tim

    I am sure there are more than only 2 of us interested in seeing your opinions at Redação SporTV.

  • Comment number 22.

    @Sangre Azul: not only the Olympic Stadium João Havelange (Engenhão) is a VERY unpopular stadium in Rio and most cariocas avoid it, as you watched a first division game of the Carioca (Rio de Janeiro) league, which is very poor imho, with a HUGE gap between the 4 big clubs (Fluminense, Botafogo, Flamengo and Vasco) and the others. A gap much wider than between than the existing between the big and small ones in Rio Grande do Sul, Paraná, Minas Gerais and São Paulo states.

    Not only that, but Nova Iguaçu is one of the weakest teams in Rio de Janeiro state. It finished last in 2009, being relegated to Rio de Janeiro second division. It returned to the first division for the 2011 Rio de Janeiro league.


    Nova Iguaçu DOES NOT plays the brazilian national league.

  • Comment number 23.

    in other words, you saw a game of Fluminense, a first division club in Brazil, against a club that is much lower than Mexican 2nd division... its not even in any of the 4 national divisions of Brazil.

    Its such a bad club that last year it was in the 2nd division... of Rio de Janeiro state league!

  • Comment number 24.

    I remember a useful paraguayan midfielder called Nelson Cuevas when I played Championship Manager 5 or 10 years ago, whilst managing River Plate. I believe he popped up once in the World Cup, 2002 or 2006, but nothing since. I guess he never amounted to much in real life.

    My girlfriend's family will be very happy that Junior made the second round, ahead of Gremio too.

    There are some weird team names in this year's competition from Bolivia. Petrol East and one rather egotistical sounding Jorge Wilstermann. Do you know anything about these teams, Tim?

  • Comment number 25.

    Long time no read, Tim! I've been rushed off my feet this time of the week for the last few months!

    I'm ashamed to say as a City fan that I don't know much about Sorio. Wikipedia says he was at City from 2001, when Kevin Keegan was boss, and then under Stuart Pearce for a short while. At the time, I was living here in Japan without a computer, let alone the internet (makes a WORLD of difference now I have it!), and limited tv access. For the centre forward, you could read Nicholas Anelka, and Shaun Wright-Phillips as the right winger getting the ball in quickly. For the left winger, I'm not sure! Might KK have been an influence? The late goalsitis sounds more like Sven and my hometown team than anyone, through trying to cling onto a lead rather than kill off the game. Though KK wasn't averse to conceding late goals (e.g. as Newcastle boss at Liverpool), I'm not sure it was down to trying to defend leads. SP didn't have any leads to defend. It was usually 90 minutes of backs to the wall.

    Keep up the good work.

  • Comment number 26.

    #25, as a footnote, I see he got a diploma in science and Football from Liverpool John Moores University, and a UEFA A coaching licence from the English FA. Sounds like we might have rubbed off on him!

  • Comment number 27.

    @ 14 and 15

    It is ridiculous that you have suggested this.

    Maybe it comes from the signings of Ibrahim Said and Ibrahima Bakayoko, which to some extent might need explaining in depth.

    However it is highly damaging to suggest Everton use a computer game to scout for players. There are however strong links between the creators of the original game and Everton, in that they were supporters of the club. I also believe that as a result, the creators utilised their links to the club to acquire a network of scouts, some of whom employed by Everton to research players for their game.

  • Comment number 28.

    In keeping with this Tim, it sometimes makes me wonder why Everton don't utilise the South American market in a way that Wigan have done over the last few years to pick up some real quality players. Maybe it dates back to the signing of Rodrigo in 2002. He got a terrible injury early into his loan deal but could you give any more info on this player, was he any good? Could he have made it in England? What happened since?

  • Comment number 29.

    In reality, some of Moyes' best signings have come from extensive scouting and careful planning. Moyes followed Fellaini for two years before signing him on a club record transfer. Arteta was signed initially on loan, as was Pienaar before thier permanent signings. We were linked in the past with Adebayor, Cech and Essien a few years before they hit the big time. Brede Hangeland was on trial with the club in 2004, and although those deals never materialised it shows how good a network Everton has at identifying the talent. I certainly don't remember Cech, Essien, Adebayor or Hangeland being any good on Football Manager before they gained a recognised reputation.

  • Comment number 30.

    @24 Nelson Cuevas has scored at two World Cups (twice v Slovenia in 2002 and v Trinidad/Tobago in 2006) and won league titles in both Argentina and Mexico (where he's spent the bulk of his career) - so perhaps somewhat unfair to suggest he "never amounted to much"...

  • Comment number 31.

    @30 I did vaguely remember him getting on the scoresheet in 2002,. That's why I put his name out there, see if anyone had a more up-to-date memory of him. I agree my wording was a little harsh, I certainly didn't mean to paint him as a criminal waste of talent. But someone who scored at two world cups might have gone on to make a name for himself in european club football.
    I see on Wikipedia he had a trial at FC Twente, without signing a contract, a fairly unsuccessful period at Santos and is currently back in Mexico. But clearly his best days were at River.

  • Comment number 32.

    tomefccam, it was well documented a few years ago that Everton have (or at least had) an agreement with the FM developers to have full access to their players database, along with scouting reports.

    You seem to look at it as a bad thing but why? I'm not saying a team should go straight out and buy all the supposed young talents that appear in FM but access to the database may highlight certain players that would be worth following up with the clubs own scouting department.

    FM is highly successful, party because of the amount of time and effort they put into scouting players to make the game as realistic as possible (apparently they have over 1000 scouts). Obviously they will not be right all the time but I doubt that any club has such an extensive network of scouts so why not take advantage of a tool such as the FM database to expand your knowledge, especially in countries where you may not have a big scouting presence. This would allow you to allocate your scouting resources more effectively and if you dig up a player or two that you may never have found otherwise it would be very worthwhile!

  • Comment number 33.

    Sorry, slightly off topic. Great article as usual Tim. I read it most weeks and think I am finally starting to unravel the complicated structure of football in South America.

    As a Man Utd fan I have high hopes for the Da Silva twins and think that they can hold the full back slots for years to come (although obviously Fabio needs to dislodge Evra as first choice left back before that happens).

    What do you think they chances are of them also being the first choice full back pairing for Brazil in the future? I am aware that Brazil are not exactly short of quality right backs but how long do you think it will be before Rafael gets a change to stake his claim? What about at left back? If Fabio can establish himself as a regular starter for Utd are there many players standing in his way at left back for Brazil?

  • Comment number 34.

    I remember Osorio when he was at city. I'm sure he was a fitness coach - the players all used to rave about the new ways he did things - his innovative techniques that were based on building match fitness rather than simply doing 50 laps of a football field.

    Saying all that, i'm not sure i recognised a significant improvement in fitness levels, although results weren't too bad. I wonder how many of his techniques live on at the club following his departure?

  • Comment number 35.

    @ 27

    'Damaging' to suggest Everton use the Football Manager database? The FM database is probably the most in-depth scouting tool in the world, and Everton do indeed have a deal in place with the creators to ensure they get the first look at it:

    http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/uk-world-news/2008/11/14/everton-sign-deal-to-scout-for-world-s-best-players-in-football-manager-video-game-86908-20893667/

    http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/everton-signs-football-manager-database

  • Comment number 36.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 37.

    @24 Oriente Petrolero was founded by workers of Bolivia's state oil company, they are from Santa Cruz in the east of the country. Club Jorge Wilstermann is named after Bolivia's first commerical pilot, it was founded by workers of the then national airline LAB (now deceased). The club is from Cochabamba where Wilstermann is a bit of a hero, the city's airport among other things is also named after him.

    Good to know Bolivia's teams will be remembered somewhere for something, a lot of their football has hardly been memorable..... ;-)

    Good blog as always Tim, as an expat in SA always nice to read a decent article about the game here in English as a change from local papers!

  • Comment number 38.

    A great post as always Tim! I definitely believe it is a big loss that Jaime Ayovi and Joao Rojas are no longer in the Argentine team.. I certainly need a cardiologist during these games! But by the competition getting bigger, it's more enjoyable to watch the games than ever.

    my blog http://tatliev.blogspot.com/

  • Comment number 39.

    #16-mengo2008- I absolutely agree with you that Cruzeiro have a recent history of not making the leap over the final hurdle, but doesn't that predate their current coach Cuca? Brandao the forward formerly with Marseille will become eligible once the octave finals start, it will be interesting to see how he fits into the team. But right now Cruzeiro have been a real delight to watch play and must be considered along with Internacional and perhaps Velez as favorites in the competition.

    I see that Deco is hurt again and will not make the trip to Buenos Aires to play Argentinos. Watch out for Franco Niell, Argentinos pocket sized forward who is very good at finding space to head in goals. The guy can not be more than 1.65m tall yet he has numerous headed goals for his club this year in both league and Libertadores play.

  • Comment number 40.

    I have great feeling about Ganso's career in Europe, he looks an intelligent a football player and I think he is the rare talent who will be able to step it up at a higher level. bali villas

  • Comment number 41.

    Regarding Nelson Cuevas,

    To me, Cuevas never quite fulfilled his potential. He was outstanding in the 2002 WC and for River he was the “super sub,” always making a difference when coming in as a sub. I think leaving River for China was a huge mistake and after that he never really reached the next level.

  • Comment number 42.

    Cuevas first caught my attention during the 1999 South American Under 20s championship, playing as a right back. In that tournament he played like a brazilian fullback. Amazing speed and dribbling skills, I thought he was the next Cafu!

  • Comment number 43.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 44.

    Good job in sharing.. I'll keep coming back to read more of your posts.
    flights to Accra

  • Comment number 45.

    42 - i well recall nelson cuevas from the 1999 Under-20 tournament. He played at right back and left wing - and interpreted both roles in exactly the same way, putting his head down and going on mazy dribbles. A wonderfully entertaining player!

  • Comment number 46.

    Hello Tim!

    I listen to the World Football Phone-In every week. I had a question about a player from Sao Paolo - his name is Lucas da Silva. He is a 18 year old attacking midfielder. How good is he? Are the rumors of him moving to Man United true? How does he compare to Paizon who is at Chelsea?

  • Comment number 47.

    @Scofield: he is much better than Piazon, specially because he is already tested in the U20 brazilian team and in the professionals of São Paulo and professional competitions in Brazil, while Piazon only played U17 competitions and is not a professional yet at São Paulo.


    Plus, Lucas da Silva played the match against Scotland with the main brazilian team, and did very well... and he also did very well in the South American U20 championship which Brazil won this year.

    some youtube links to Lucas Moura da Silva
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zBZv5lKG16g

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8DBKPHOy-Wc

  • Comment number 48.

    Great stuff as usual Tim!

    What do you think of Independiente's younger players right now? Do any of them have the potential to make it in Europe? I'm thinking of Leonel Galeano, Julian Velazquez, and Patricio Rodriguez in particular. All three were very instrumental in their Copa Sudamericana win in the winter. Velazquez is a bit short, perhaps, but Galeano is definitely big enough to be a commanding CB in Europe, I think. Patricio Rodriguez is a very exciting player for me but I don't think he's European material. He just uses his speed to get by defenders, which may work in Argentina, but wouldn't work in the faster European leagues. He also never uses his left foot. His preferred place on the field is the left wing where he can cut in, but he doesn't cross very well. What do you think?

  • Comment number 49.

    Once Caldas made it through comfortably against Universidad San Martin (is this the good team with only 300 strong crowds?) Inter are through too.

    Up to Fluminense and Santos to up their game tonight.

  • Comment number 50.

    About Libertadores, Cruzeiro and Santos are the best Brazilian teams, but Internacional is strong as well

    Thoughts about the participation of Brazilian in the Barca-Madrid that happened today:

    http://blogambidextrous.blogspot.com/2011/04/real-madrid-won-barcelona-quick.html

 

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