BBC BLOGS - Tim Vickery

Archives for November 2008

Sao Paulo leading the way

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Tim Vickery | 12:28 UK time, Monday, 24 November 2008

Three years ago, after they were beaten by Sao Paulo in the final of the World Club Championship, Liverpool's fan sites were visited by plenty of gloating Brazilians.

To the puzzlement of the normal users, one phrase kept popping up again and again - 'You don't have to be a giant to play football.'

It was a translation of what legendary match commentator Galvao Bueno had said on Brazil's TV Globo. The starting point for his phrase was little midfielder Mineiro - a recent Chelsea signing - who slipped behind the Liverpool defence to score the only goal of the game. But it also went further.

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In defence of Brazilian goalkeepers

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Tim Vickery | 11:36 UK time, Monday, 17 November 2008

This is perhaps not the perfect moment to speak well of Brazilian goalkeepers to an English audience - and it is for exactly that reason that I will attempt to mount a case for their defence. After all, when things are going well results speak for themselves and there is no need to cite mitigating circumstances.

It was hard not to feel sorry for Liverpool's Diego Cavalieri at Tottenham last week. On his biggest opportunity to date he let one goal go in through his legs and, perhaps over-anxious to make amends, charged rashly out of his goal and gave another one away.

He was surely suffering from lack of playing time. Keepers need to be in rhythm in order to have a clear mind and sharp reflexes. Cavalieri, though, was signed to act as a back up. The same is not true of Heurelho Gomes, a big-money recruit at Tottenham who seems to be throwing away a silly goal per game.

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The slide of Peruvian football

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Tim Vickery | 15:01 UK time, Monday, 10 November 2008

When Peru burst on to the scene with beautiful and vibrant football in the 1970 World Cup, some compared them to the great Hungarian side of the 50s, most compared them to Brazil and all agreed that a new power had emerged.

Five years later they were South American champions - but it soon proved to be a tale of one generation, which had some good moments in the 1978 World Cup and fizzled out four years later. Peru were not too far off making it to Mexico 86, and only goal difference kept them out of France 98. But they have not been back to the World Cup since 1982, and barring a sporting miracle, they are not going to be in South Africa in 2010. With 10 of the 18 qualifying rounds completed, Peru are bottom of the table.

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Coming to Maradona's defence

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Tim Vickery | 15:43 UK time, Monday, 3 November 2008

Dante - or it may have been Silvio Dante from the Sopranos - is supposed to have said that the hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in times of great moral crisis maintain their neutrality.

With that in mind, I felt the need to comment on the feedback from last week's blog, which was about Diego Maradona taking over as coach of Argentina.

Many posts from English readers attacked Maradona as a cheat, which I think is an injustice. I don't recall a player being cheated against as much as Maradona.

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