BBC BLOGS - Tim Vickery

Archives for August 2010

Bills rise as clock ticks down for Brazil

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Tim Vickery | 07:27 UK time, Monday, 30 August 2010

Along with the other candidates to host the World Cup in 2018, England had to select its host cities and stadiums well in advance. And so earlier this month, the Fifa inspection committee could ride the tube, visit the venues, talk to officials and end up with a firm idea of what they will be getting if England gets the nod.

It is unfortunate that the 2014 hosts did not have to go through a similar process.

Brazil were awarded the next World Cup via a short-lived rotation policy which was, in practice, simply a means devised to help Sepp Blatter deliver on a promise to take the tournament to South Africa.

In March 2003, Blatter decreed that South America's turn would come in 2014 and a few days later the South American Confederation announced that Brazil was its only candidate and although Colombia briefly broke ranks, they had no serious expectations of success.

Brazil, then, has known for over seven years that the circus would be coming to town and Fifa's official announcement in October 2007 only confirmed the obvious.

But the host cities had not even been chosen - that only happened last May, with the decisions taken by Fifa rather than, as usual, by the local organisers - and it was only last Friday that Sao Paulo, the country's biggest city, finally decided which stadium it would use.

Taking so long to sort out such basic issues comes across as gross incompetence.

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Neymar hailed for Premier League snub

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Tim Vickery | 17:09 UK time, Sunday, 22 August 2010

Neymar saying no to Chelsea's millions and staying with Santos is being seen as a huge victory for Brazilian football.

This might be going just a little too far but more than anything else, it is a victory for common sense.

The 18-year-old is a magnificent prospect. He is sleek and skilful, able to beat the defender on either side, capable of combining well, and full of tricks he can put to productive use in and around the penalty area.

He is a goalscorer and goal maker but he is still raw.

The competitions in which he has shone - the Sao Paulo State Championship and the Brazilian Cup - are not top quality and he still has to fill out physically.

Most Brazilians who have done well in Europe have had a spell with a smaller club before moving on to a giant.

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Robinho in urgent need of fresh start

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Tim Vickery | 09:51 UK time, Monday, 16 August 2010

Robinho is in footballing limbo. He sat out Manchester City's opening game of the Premier League campaign and although he might be in action in midweek in the Europa League, or possibly playing his football somewhere else before the end of the month, he needs to sort things out fast because this is a huge season for him.

I well recall his debut in the Brazilian Championship for an astonishingly young Santos side that went on to lift the title. That was eight years ago. Eight years from now, Robinho will be 34 going on 35, so his time at the top has probably already passed the halfway mark and yet a huge question mark still hangs over him.

There is no escaping the fact that so far he has been a big disappointment in European club football and it would be unfair to pin all the blame for this on the clubs he has played for - because even after playing some 80 times for Brazil, the same doubts surround him at international level..

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Chivas make Libertadores final against the odds

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Tim Vickery | 10:54 UK time, Monday, 9 August 2010

Mexico's Chivas Guadalajara have endured a journey over time and space to reach the final of the Copa Libertadores.

First, because they are outsiders in South America's equivalent of the Champions League.

Mexico is in North America. The distance between Mexico City and Buenos Aires, for example, is further than that between London and Mumbai. Guadalajara and Porto Alegre, home city of final opponents Internacional of Brazil, are even further apart.

Chivas are in a different hemisphere from their opponents in this campaign - Velez Sarsfield of Argentina, Libertad of Paraguay, Universidad de Chile, and now Internacional.

The Mexicans, then have clocked up plenty of air miles in the quest to become the first team from their country to win the Libertadores.

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A tale of two city teams

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Tim Vickery | 17:50 UK time, Monday, 2 August 2010

When the fixtures for the forthcoming season were made public, many fans would have immediately checked to see when their team were due to meet their big local rival.

Derbies are part of the essence of football, perhaps even more so in South America than in Europe. The logic is clear. Distances are vast in South America, forcing the game to develop locally. Brazil has only had a genuinely national championship since 1971, while the Peruvian league was restricted to Lima until 1967.

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