BBC BLOGS - Tim Vickery
« Previous | Main | Next »

Chivas make Libertadores final against the odds

Post categories:

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.

Chivas GuadalajaraChivas Guadalajara celebrate victory over Velez Sarsfield

There is another sense in which this has been a very long campaign. It began back in February 2009.

With some late drama, Chivas just managed to hold off Everton of Chile and make it out of the group phase. They were to face Brazil's Sao Paulo in the second round. But then swine flu struck, leaving the South American Federation (Conmebol) wallowing with a problem. Mexico was the epicentre of the disease.

Chivas were unable to stage their match at home. No alternative venue could be found, so Conmebol cancelled the match and decided that the tie would be played over one leg, to be held in Brazil.

Chivas and San Luis Potosi, another Mexican club in the same situation, pulled out in protest. There were angry words and talk of a complete rupture between Mexico and South American football.

A compromise was inevitable. The Mexicans have been invited to participate in the Libertadores since 1998. The relationship can be strained, but it is mutually beneficial.

Mexican clubs get to play in a high prestige and fiercely competitive tournament, while the Libertadores and its sponsors gain access to a market of over 100 million people.

So after the heat had died down, it was decided that Chivas and San Luis Potosi would feature in this year's tournament, entering the competition at the same stage that they had pulled out in 2009. The current campaign, then, is a continuation of last year's.

This may be seen as a privilege, but it also brought a handicap. Mexico assembled their World Cup squad earlier than most - a measure which inevitably weakened Chivas, forbidden by its statutes to field foreigners and a big supplier of players to the national team.

They had to get through the first two knockout rounds without five of their stars who were preparing for South Africa - keeper Luis Michel, defender Jonny Magallon and strikers Javier Hernandez, Alberto Medina and Adolfo Bautista.

Hernandez, of course, is now scoring his goals for Manchester United. The rest were back for the semi final against Universidad de Chile and will be available for this week's home leg and then the long trip down to Porto Alegre for the return match on 18 August.

But Chivas will not be making the longest trip of all. Even if thy beat Internacional they will not feature in the Arab Emirates this December in the World Club Cup. As outsiders, they cannot represent South America in the annual competition. Whatever happens over the two legs, that honour will belong to the Brazilians.

So far apart geographically, Chivas and Internacional are also poles apart philosophically. Chivas are representatives of Mexican nationalism. Inter, as the name suggests, are an open church.

Their region, the south of Brazil, is one of mass European immigration. Their big local rivals, Gremio, were originally restricted to Germans. Internacional were for everyone, regardless of origin.

But like Chivas, Inter's path to the final has hardly been conventional. They reached the semi-finals by eliminating reigning champions Estudiantes of Argentina - and promptly rewarded Uruguayan coach Jorge Fossati with the sack.

Under replacement Celso Roth the pattern has stayed the same. They have won all their home games in the campaign, but have yet to win away. Indeed, they were beaten on their travels in all three knockout rounds. But they scored once every time - and with aggregate scores level, that away goal was always the margin of victory.

But it won't be in the final. Different rules now apply. In the event of a tie after the two legs then extra-time will be played, regardless of away goals.

The advantage, though, is still with Internacional. That extra-time, if needed, will take place on their home ground. This is another part of the price paid by the Mexicans for their invitation to the Libertadores - they cannot stage the second leg of the final, which must take place on South American soil.

The biggest advantage, though, is that before a ball is kicked Internacional have scooped the prize. The World Club Cup is taken very seriously in these parts. As champions of the Libertadores or as runners up, Internacional can already dream of taking on Inter Milan in December.

RamiresChelsea could benefit from Ramires' bursts into the penalty area

Comments on the piece in the space provded. 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've just seen that Hernanes has finalised a deal to sign for Lazio. Just wondering how you feel about this deal?

I know you and many other journalists have praised him on numerous occasions, and have tipped him for big things. But do you think this move is a comedown to all your optimism?

I was expecting him to move to a club like Barca or Juve, so to see him join Lazio is a big surprise. Do you think he is using Lazio as a stepping stone to a bigger club in Europe?
Michael Booth

A) I think the move reflects the fact that he hasn't come on as much as hoped. I'm a big fan - he's a central midfielder who can do a bit of everything and strikes the ball well with both feet. But he doesn't seem to have made much progress in the last two years. He would have been in my World Cup squad, but he hardly made an unanswerable case for his inclusion.

Unlike the majority, I fear he might have stayed in Brazil too long. Sao Paulo have relied more on a strong aerial game than constructive midfield play, and perhaps this hasn't helped him - I want to see him boss a game from the centre, dictate all phases of possession, but for all his technique he seems lacking in ideas. There's still plenty of time - he's only 25 - so it will be interesting to see which way his career goes.

Q) Kaka paid glowing tribute to Chelsea new boy Ramires describing him as the best young central midfield player in the world. High praise indeed, do you agree and will he be a success in the Premier League?
Ben Carter

A) I wouldn't go quite that far, but I have high hopes of him. One of the things that surprised me when I first moved to Brazil was the absence of midfielders with the lung power and technique to work the middle, burst beyond the strikers and score goals - a type of player which has been emblematic in English football. But in Brazil anyone with those characteristics was playing at full back.

The interesting thing about Ramires is that he's taken the reverse route. He did play a bit at full back, but was successfully converted into a goalscoring midfielder. He's worked on his finishing - he's still not the greatest, but Chelsea should be able to profit from his capacity to keep bursting into the box.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    Why do FIFA allow clubs from a different continental confederation to play in the libertadores ?

    This would be like Al Ahly from Cairo playing in the european champions league.

    I know Mexico since the early 90s always play in the copa america too.

    I'm surprised FIFA haven't asked Mexico to switch confederations and play in CONMEBOL. After all Australia have now switched to the asian confederation in order to gain a higher level of competition than is on offer in oceania ( and risked trying to qualify for the WC in a much tough qualifying zone )
    Seems to me Mexico want all the benefits that comes with playing in the copa america, and having its club sides playing in the libertadores without any of the risks involved in trying to qualify for the WC in a much tougher zone than CONCACAF.

  • Comment number 2.

    I like the new profile picture Tim, maybe you got this site confused with a dating site, only joking.

    Interesting article as usual.

    What do you make of Rafael Da Silva getting into the Brazil squad, personally I think the kid has a lot of potential but is far off being an international or first choice for United, ever time he plays for us (United) I'm worried he'll give away a penalty.

  • Comment number 3.

    Tim ,

    Great blog as always , can you tell me a little bit more about Inter Milans new samba wonderkid Philippe Coutinho. I think he was signed from Vasco De Gama , and i wondered how much hype there was about him , i have seen him on two or three occasions and he looks very promising. Has he been given the same hype in Brazil that Ganso and Neymar have ? , cheers.

  • Comment number 4.

    Great article but Holy Chihuahua, them rules sound complicated. In all seriousness CONMEBOL has to stop placating to Mexico, TV ratings are nice and all but what's the use of letting Mexican clubs in the tournament when they turn around and start up their own version of the Champions League with the MLS and Central American teams?

    If Mexico wants to join the CONMEBOL they should do it. They can't have it both ways, FIFA allows for this chasm to continue. Even in 2001 when Mexico played Colombia in the Copa America, something along the same rules you described were set in place. I don't know why Mexico continues to feature in the Copa America? Everything you said though points towards this idea that by playing in South American tournaments, Mexico can somehow play at World Cup level when the World Cup rolls around but Mexico wants easy qualification to the World Cup and at the same time wants competitive action.

    I think CONMEBOL should expand, maybe allow Trinidad & Tobago in along with Panama, you would have 12 nations instead of 10... if Panama won't do, get Mexico in. With 12 teams you would be able to divide the countries back into groups and have yourself a nice proper qualification tournament, not the marathon absurdity in place that sees the usual suspects (Paraguay, Argentina & Brazil) get favored by the same playing schedule since 2002. I'm surprised Colombia & the rest of the minnows haven't complained, since '98 they haven't even scratched the surface... Peru finished 5th in 1998 and has since fallen off the face of the earth.

    As for the Copa Libertadores, its no longer relevant... Didn't Sao Caetano win it just 2 years after forming? the disproportionate ammount of Brazilian teams has made that tournament extremely uninteresting to watch.

    But before I continue my whining, there's always the God-Awful World Club Tournament.

  • Comment number 5.

    4# I think CONMEBOL and CONCACAF should merge completely !

    After all, the distances between say canada and argentina is no greater than those that exist in the Asian confederation between say Oman and Japan.

  • Comment number 6.

    There are two very good reasons why Mexican teams play in the Libertadores and why Mexico does not want to change confederations a la Australia.
    The first is that Mexico is an extremely lucrative market with huge income from football and one of the largest televison companies in the world (Televisa), who also own a couple of top flight teams in Mexico. The revenue generated allowing Mexican teams into the Libertadores is too good to miss for CONMEBOL. If Chivas win it will be the first time a Mexican team has won the competition, so until now it has been a case of take the money but knowing that no matter how good the Mexican team whether it be Chivas, America, Necaxa or whoever, it is unlikely they will win the whole competition owing to the strength and sheer number of Argentine or Brazilian teams they would face(though Cruz Azul did come close). It might be interesting to see if CONMEBOL look at their "invitation" to Mexico should Guadalajara win.
    As for Mexico joining CONMEBOL, why would you when you are almost guaranteed a place at the World Cup Finals every four years, unless there is major upset or FIFA ban you for overage players? The chances of Mexico qualifying for the World Cup would be diminished by joining CONMEBOL and nobody wants that in Mexico, not Televisa, FIFA or 106 million Mexicans.

  • Comment number 7.

    6# that was the point i was making in my first comment

  • Comment number 8.

    Tim..with Chivas breaking the South American stranglehold so to speak - surely it's only a matter of time before the Copa Libertadores allow the money men from the MLS join the party too?

    Interesting you say 'Chivas is forbidden by its statutes to field foreigners'..pretty remarkable concept - is that a common thing in many Central/South American Clubs?

  • Comment number 9.

    3# - I believe Philippe Coutinho is a promising young talent indeed. I believe he's a little bit too hyped, as the most of the players that have appeared here in the last few years.

    To be honest, you can almost say that only Ronaldinho and Kaka has coped with the expectations put over them, considering how high they where rated here (I almost sure that Robinho really believed for birth that he was going to be the new Pele, seriosly). Most of the ones that reached international sucess where not expected to go so far, like the Inter Milan trio Maicon, Lucio or Julio César for example (I'm not saying they weren't recognized as great players, but they had to work a lot to be seen as such).

    Philippe Coutinho is yet to be developed, maybe he can become a good support striker or an offensive midfielder, but I don't expect this much from him.

    --


    About the Libertadores, it's quiet weird this situation of the Mexicans. They're good competitors and really add some good moments to the competitions, but it would be sad to see the championship runner up playing the World Club Championship.

    However David Hall told in the 6#, this "invited" status is fair from the point of view that Mexico wouldn't find any advantage in joining Conmenbol to play regularly here: they would struggle to qualify for World Cup or, at least, find a level of difficulty they never faced in Concacaf.

  • Comment number 10.

    After all Australia have now switched to the asian confederation in order to gain a higher level of competition than is on offer in oceania ( and risked trying to qualify for the WC in a much tough qualifying zone )
    --------------

    Err, no.

    The biggest reason for Australia switching for a more certain qualification route to the world cup. Whether it is easier or tougher is difficult to say but in the end the Oceania qualification more often than not came down to one two-legged tie against the 5th placed South Americans, arguably often a better team than anything that they would face in Asia and certainly better than the 3rd/4th placed Asian teams that they would have to beat over a group stage to qualify from the Asian association.

    Ironically of course New Zealand qualified by also beating an Asian team as the system has now changed.



    Anyway, for me the MAericas would benefit greatly not from excluding Mexico from club competitions but instead by expanding the the Libertadores to encompass the whole of the Americas. Allow MLS, Jamacian and Trinidadian teams along with the Central Americans into a larger competition, Europe after all manages to encorporate over 50 nations.

    This also needn't be at the world cup qualification's expense. If COMNEBOL/CONCACAF wish to continue with regional groups then I see no reason to stop them.

  • Comment number 11.

    Tim,

    AS ever your analysis rather than rehashing of headlines is miles ahead of all others on this site.

    Anyway...why dont they just go the full hog and get an Americas cup? By my count, the Americas has something like 800m people, putting it behind only Africa and Asia in term of population, and would have exposure to the world biggest TV market in the US, as well as huge footballing countries like Brazil and Mexico. Perhaps then the champions league could have a rival and then we would really see what European clubs where made of shorn of the future messi's that they steal at absurdly young ages.

    Or is that just a pipe dream and does the possible tie of Anchorage FC vs colo colo and the 18'000 mile round trip put a lid on things

  • Comment number 12.

    Great blog, but the subbing is all over the shop.

    Do Chivas still have Omar Bravo? used to like him. There's something about Mexican football; it's a bit mystical, like they have a secret they will one day unleash. Good luck to them, i think it adds spice to the Libertadores.

    An America's cup? Maybe, as there's not many more top teams to add. I wonder what South Americans think????????????????????????

  • Comment number 13.

    Sorry that should say 'Americas' (just to retain subbing consistency hahaha)

  • Comment number 14.

    i did not see any surprise in chivas making the final. they've played decent football in the tournament, and actually appear set to give us a good final of copa libertadores.

    another year, another failure for sao paulo. how has gomes been any sort of success over ramalho then? at least the latter was bringing domestic success to tricolor? this trend of losing out to brasilian teams in continental play is becoming a curse, and hiring gomes to break that never seemed on the mark to begin with. and now with hernanes sao paulo's best players gone, that south american glory appears more out of reach than ever, sadly. congrats to inter and hope they bring copa back to brasil.

  • Comment number 15.

    14 i never said that chivas reachign the final was a surprise - in a preview piece i did on the libertadores for world soccer magazine i named them among the favourites.

    12 - omar bravo is still there - an excllent striker. he's bound for the mls after the libertadores. another one to watch - omar arellano.

    8 - home players only. El Nacional of Ecuador have this policy, which has also at times been implemented by Atletico Nacional of Colombia.

  • Comment number 16.

    11 - my personal opinion is that the distances involved are too great for an all america cup - and i view the idea of MLS clubs in the Libertadores with suspicion, despite the financial advantages.

    There is already a Concacaf Champions League, recently re-organised. If Mexico and the US look south rather to their own region, the smaller concacaf nations get cut out.

  • Comment number 17.

    2 - Rafael of Man U in the Brazil squad - if a World Cup was played today, he wouldn't be in, but they're building for the future. He's young enough to take part in the 2012 Olympics, which will be an important step on the way to 2014.

  • Comment number 18.

    Why is the World Cup championship taken so seriously in South America?
    They must realise that Europe takes hardly any interest in it.

  • Comment number 19.

    18 - There's a lot to do with the pride of being officially recognized as the world champion, whatever are the conditions. To understand this is not so simple.

    You know how strong are Eurepean clubs in comparision with South American clubs, and even a weakened Man U is still very strong to play against the likes of São Paulo, Inter or Estudiantes, for example. It's a sort of self-afirmation, hard to understand from outside.

    Tim already wrote about that here, I'm almost sure. If not, he can "translate" these imnpressions very well onde day.

  • Comment number 20.

    Tim, I have to agree with Dr Wang about Mexico "There's something about Mexican football; it's a bit mystical, like they have a secret they will one day unleash."(if he's referring to the national team). They always look like they're on the brink of success. A huge football mad poulation, and several talented players coming through, but for my mind, they always underacheive. I know SA is your speciality, but do you think Mexico will ever perform well at a World Cup not hosted in Mexico?

  • Comment number 21.

    #18 - "Why is the World Cup championship taken so seriously in South America? They must realise that Europe takes hardly any interest in it."

    Europe does, England doesn't.

  • Comment number 22.

    Hi tim, great article as always.

    I was wondering when, and for how long, the Maracana Stadium is closed for renovations for World Cup 2014? And do you think the improvements and renovations made for both 2014 and the olympics in 2016 will greatly improve the Brazilian game? Will it curtail the mass exodus of players to Europe by making them want to stay in a stronger Brazilian League?

    Thanks

  • Comment number 23.

    Mexican and MLS clubs should try to develop the CONCACAF Champions League. It would improve the overall standard of the region, instead of the big two abandoning the smaller nations.

    http://footballfutbolfitba.wordpress.com/

  • Comment number 24.

    Having thought about it actually, it might end up the South america clubs asking for US/Mexican clubs to compete with them. 400m people in these two countries and both are far richer then the richest south america nation, with the US obviously way ahead.

    I know that means nothing in terms of football finance, but you have to wonder that if/when the big beast to the north awakens to football, mexico will hitail it out of the libertadores sharpish to beef themselves for the challenge

  • Comment number 25.

    Yes that could well happen. Either way it's like Mexico is the epicentre of international football politics!

    The USA will want in at some point. So I'm left with two conclusions:

    1. On a personal level, It's hypocritical for me to be opposed to Australia qualifying through Asia (internationally), and Israeli teams playing in the Champion's League, and then look forward to Chivas vs Inter!

    2. In England, we should regard the World Club Championships as a rare opportunity to see different, but effective, styles of play come head to head, rather then a tin-pot inconvenience of a tournament.

  • Comment number 26.

    Hi Tim,
    I'm not sure I should be asking such an "off-topic" question but I think your answer would be very interesting......could South America have the answer(s) to England's woes? The fundamental problem has been the same for decades....inability to keep the ball. Could South American coaching be the answer?

  • Comment number 27.

    Cheers #20, but as for the Mexicans, it only took that win against France to rise above underachievement!

    On the other hand, none of this is new...

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/special_report/1999/12/99/world_club_championship/557018.stm

  • Comment number 28.

    Mr. Vickery, I just would like to point a mistake you made about Grêmio. Do not count only on Internacional version of the facts! Among the 32 Gremio founders are names as França, Ribeiro, Brochado, Dias da Silva, Orengo e Stelczyk. Not very German, do they?! Actually, Joaquim Ribeiro was the 1st Vice-President!

    The 100% German club in town at that time was the defunct green-white Fussball.

  • Comment number 29.

    @26 "......could South America have the answer(s) to England's woes? The fundamental problem has been the same for decades....inability to keep the ball. Could South American coaching be the answer?"

    You don't have to go that far. If you want to learn how to keep the ball, just look to Spain, or to be more specific, to Barcelona and Pep Guardiola who won the WC for Spain just recently.

  • Comment number 30.

    By the way, I'm 100% in favor of an all-America Libertadores. FIFA could reduce the Club World Cup to four teams (Europe, Africa, Americas and Pacific) with also an AFC/OFC Champions League.

    But since this is not the case, I don't like to see Mexican teams playing the competition; or even Mexican and Americans. Open it to everybody or to no one!

  • Comment number 31.

    Hi Tim,
    Apologise if this has been asked before but just wondered what was your take on Sandro who will be joining spurs this month. I know he has been a bit up and down but is he or do you think he will fulfill the potential he has showed on occasion and will he make it in the prem league. He doesnt seem to be your typical Brazilian to come of the conveyor belt of late. Difficult to gauge much about him from over here so your opinions having seen him close up would be interesting.

  • Comment number 32.

    There was a time when only the Champion and the Runner up from each country participated in the Copa Libertadores and it was exciting stuff. Granted, most of the good South American players actually played in South America back then so it made for a very good and strong competition.

    These days however, with a glut of teams joining in, especially from Brazil and Argentina and as it that wasn't enough, even from Mexico, the Copa has lost some of its shine.

    Unfortunately, the commercial aspects of the competition have taken over, but perhaps not as extreme as in the Champions League where you end up with some almost mid-table teams competing and even winning the tournament despite not having won a national championship in who knows how long.

    Anything to keep the respective federation accountants happy I guess.

  • Comment number 33.

    #31 From last week's postbag:

    Q) I was wondering what you thought about the potential transfer of Sandro from Internacional to Tottenham.I don't know much about him, and £14m+ sounds a lot of money, though I trust Harry. Do you think this could be a move too soon for the player though? Liam Ablewhite

    A) I think it could be a move too soon for his club! Inter have a fantastic production line, and make no bones about the fact that they will be selling their best players, but I'd imagine they'd want to hang on to him for a bit longer - say til the end of the Libertadores next August. There's also the World Youth Cup coming up in a few weeks - he captains the Brazil side - so that's a good shop window. Money talks, though, so we'll see. I think he has a really bright future - I picked him out in World Soccer magazine as one of the stars of the show in the South American Under-20s at the start of the year. He's a tall, holding midfielder, mobile, passes well, perhaps still to develop his defensive awareness. I've been expecting him to be fast tracked into the senior Brazil squad for a while, so wasn't too surprised when he got a call up last week after another midfielder pulled out

  • Comment number 34.

    Full history of the Copa Libertadores from 1960 to 2009 available here:

    http://www.myfootballfacts.com/CopaLibertadoresFinals1960to2009.html

    Copa Libertadores Order of Merit from 1960 to 2009 available here:

    http://www.myfootballfacts.com/CopaLibertadoresOrderofMerit1960to2009.html

  • Comment number 35.

    I don't get why people are so fussed about Mexico having club sides play in the Copa L while the national side qualifies from the easy CONCACAF region. It makes good economic and footballing sense. Mexican clubs simply do not get enough competition in the CONCACAF Champions League - a Mexican club has won that competition for the last five seasons in a row, with only one non-Mexican club even making the finals in that time.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CONCACAF_Champions_League

    Remember, CONCACAF has to give Mexico permission for its clubs to enter the Libertadores - and they've given permission since 1998. The more tired out Mexican teams get, the more chance non-Mexican teams have of doing better in the competition. And it would be bad for small CONCACAF countries (i.e. everyone except the USA) to force Mexico into CONMEBOL completely as they would lose out on Mexican TV money.

    MLS clubs in the USA would like to enter the Copa Libertadores as well, but not yet - they still do badly in the CONCACAF CL. The last time a USA club even reached the final was the LA Galaxy in 2000. Since then, the Galaxy have become a much stronger side... and were eliminated this year in the preliminary round of the competition by the mighty Puerto Rico Islanders, who thumped them 4-1 in Los Angeles two weeks ago. Perhaps US sides will be good enough to join the Libertadores ten years from now.

  • Comment number 36.

    @10 - They did it for competition on all levels, full stop. Australia had the only professional league at the time in Oceania and it would have done nothing to help the domestic game, which feeds directly into the national team. The A-league would have died a slow death had it not been allowed to compete with teams from China, Korea and Japan on a regular basis. Can you image the Premier League clubs qualifying into a Champions League but only having to play against amateur sides from say the likes of Andorra or San Marino? Its farcical. They were slowly outgrowing Oceania, especially once Soccer Australia went bust and they decided to get their act together.

    The key difference in all this is that Australia left the Oceania Confederation lock stock and barrel. Mexico still remain in CONCACAF yet compete at the highest club level competitions in the Americas. I think its about time Fifa cracked down on this and simply give the Mexicans a choice. Either ditch CONCACAF or ditch participation in Libetadores. You cannot have your cake and eat it.

  • Comment number 37.

    At 36. The Mexicans are not 'having their cake and eating it'. If it was a choice for the Mexicans, it's obvious what they would choose.

    The issue is that CONCACAF needs Mexico, for financial reasons.

    And FIFA cracking down on this? CONCACAF's President is Jack Warner...FIFA Vice President.

    Welcome to the world of football politics.

  • Comment number 38.

    @24 - "400m people in these two countries and both are far richer then the richest south america nation"?

    again factual statements from people that don't do their research first. Is Mexico far richer than Brazil? I don't think so...

    Brazil is 8th, Mexico is 14th, in the latest IMF and World Bank lists of biggest economies on the world.

  • Comment number 39.

    Re the 'Mexico joining CONMEBOL' issue, it would present an interesting situation for FIFA re the World Cup qualification. If this happened, and FIFA kept their qualification system the same, it would result in a far higher chance of some north american minnow team (similar to Trinidad in 2006) qualifying for the World Cup, while one of the bigger South American teams would end up missing out. However, if they changed the system to grant CONMEBOL more places, that's a kick in the teeth for the North American teasm, where it would look like FIFA are saying 'we want Mexico rather than you'.

  • Comment number 40.

    #38 - In addition: Mexico has a richer football league, compared to the South American ones, even the Brazilian. On the other hand, Brazil is way richer than Mexico. I mean, just different things.

  • Comment number 41.

    #40 Thiago, agree that the Mexican league might be richer than the Brazilian league (though I don't have the facts to affirm one way or the other) but the comment on #24 was refering to total country market (or at least that is what he leads us to believe when mentioning 400m people which would sum up all Mexican and American population, including the 90% of Americans that dont give a toss about the MLS).

  • Comment number 42.

    Not that i'm one to say "I told you so" (Yeah right), but back when you wrot your original piece Tim I pickd out Chivas as the Mexican club most likely to do well in the tournament. There were even Mexican's trying to talk me down, but I think that was more to do with regional rivalries than football knowledge

    I hope that South America has recognisd just what beautiful attacking football this Chivas side play. Superb. I described thm as "The Mexican Arsenal" for their style of play.

    I must admit I never would have predicted a final place, but i'm feeling quite smug all the same!

    P.S. Little tip for you Tim - acknowledge your original predictions - Don't question Spain's mentality & laud Brasil's strengths only to prform a hug switch around after the event ;-) Just kidding! haha

  • Comment number 43.

    Who needs who more? Does Mexico need the Libertadores, or does CONMEBOL need Mexican clubs in its premier club competition? And how come, if Mexican clubs are invited, MLS clubs don't get the same opportunity?

  • Comment number 44.

    43 - i'm no great follower, but it seems that the performances of the mls clubs in concacaf's champions league have been poor - the mexicans dominate that one.

    if mexico does not fit into south america, it does fit into the concept of latin america.

    42 - predictions - from my world soccer magazine preview to the competition - "guadalajara could be contenders as their all-Mexican squad has depth, the club has considerable Libertadores experience - and they are already in the last 16. With Omar Bravo back to join Omar Arellano they should be full of goals - although their away form could be a problem." I also said that a Brazilian winner was the most likely outcome.

    World Cup - indeed my prediction was for Brazil to beat Spain in the final. But anyone who follows this column should have guessed that I was delighted with the outcome - Spain winning and Brazil coming short is something that could prove enormously beneficial to Brazilian football.

  • Comment number 45.

    18. At 6:46pm on 09 Aug 2010, threeofclubs wrote:

    Why is the World Cup championship taken so seriously in South America?
    They must realise that Europe takes hardly any interest in it.

    ---

    seriously,man, we never cared about what europeans care. If we think its important, its because we have always respected european tradition, even when our clubs had the best players in the world and proved to be on pair or better than the best european sides (just check some clashes between then in the 80's and 90's, even when we had little or no information about Eu leagues, thats a time before popularization of cable tv)

    Now i ask myself, why they dont care about a championhsip? a legit game between the champions of the most tradition confederations? The difference in level and quality only applies in this last decade and the competition dates back from 60's. Could it be that a lot more money hovers in Eu football, and now with the monopolization of their legaues in the world, they also have the fame? now i ask, why put fame, glory and recognition as the best team in the world against poor, despised south americans, when they have proven to be able to beat them anytime even without money to keep their OWN talent?

    if you watched the defeated faces of barcelona players and liverpool players when they lost to brazilian in the final, you wouldnt say they dont care. If players care, thats all that matter in a competitive analisis. the perception of the public is to much dependable on what is profitable to their media and sponsors to be taken seriously.


  • Comment number 46.

    Following on from #45 in regards European attitudes to the Club World Cup, it is once again a topic which can be related to economics.
    Winning the Champions League Trophy nets a sizeable amount of prize money and that added to the TV money made by the clubs throughout the competition dwarfs any financial award to be gained from the Club World Cup. As a consequence the cup is seen as somewhat of an inconveniance to European teams and as it slides down the list of priorities of European clubs, this attitude is transmitted to the fans.

    Another potential reason for the negative European view towards the Club World Cup, is the time in which it takes place. Correct me if I'm wrong but I believe the competition is usually staged around early December, a traditionally hectic period in the European football calendar, just before the winter breaks take effect in some countries, as opposed to South America some league's already nearing a conclusion, allowing for the teams to rest their best talent in preparation for the competition.

  • Comment number 47.

    @29....I'm not so sure that the problem lies fully with the players. The fans also play their part in England's miserable failure. In the UK we are raised on football played end-to-end, almost basketball-fashion. Passing the ball sideways and backwards (which you have to do in order to keep possession) is seen as negative and the fans get on the players backs. Even at my beloved Liverpool, a club whose supporters used to be a bit more knowledgable about the game, Lucas Leiva is given abuse despite being expert at receiving the ball, controlling it properly and passing it to another red shirt. When players have thousands of supporters urging them forward, it isn't surprising that they play attacking (but unsuccessful) football.

  • Comment number 48.

    #46 financial excuses can't be used to value a competition. Even if it did, i could argue that it does not gives a financial award cause it is not well publicized by the media.

    and it being staged in "a traditionally hectic period in the European football calendar" is another point towards using europe as an standard for evrythng related to fooball, despising a traditional south amercia once more in your argument. The wc is staged in june-july, its winter here, the middle of our football season. and we stil play and care about both the wc and world club cup played after the season ended.

    it stuns me that a sport like MMA, where everything is owned by a corporation, that does not follow any competitive guideline to tell who should play agaisnt who, but decided by the organization that is very media sensitive gets more following and attention than a LEGIT competition organized by a series of networked federations, how every sport should be.

    the answer for me lies on what is more interesting for uefa confederation, its clubs and the media associated with it. the public attention unfortunatelly follows the hype and the buzz, wich does not necessarily has any value to judge the competition itself, as i have already esplained.

    at the end of the day, its a game of football, with a great squads, that deserves the attention of everyone claiming to be a football fan.

  • Comment number 49.

    Problem is FIFA confederations were established a century ago, when the world was different. Oceania should be integrated to Asia. Turkey and Israel play for Europe, as well half of ex-USSR republics. Conmebol is a closed club of ten teams that have had always privileges over other confederations. Why Conmebol does not include Guyana, Suriname, and French Guiana and does include Venezuela and Colombia, two Caribbean countries that should be part of the Confederation of North America, Central America and the CARIBBEAN Association? Mexico should be part of Conmebol, but Concacaf won't let go its main economical revenue, and Femexfut is afraid of not qualifying to the World Cup. I believe El Tri would qualify if placed in Conmebol. Without the Azteca Stadium home advantage, Mexico has been five out of seven times among the four top teams in Copa America.

  • Comment number 50.

    Back in the days of pele playing at Santos, all South American clubs always tried to prove try were better than European clubs, that obviously hasn't changed even if Europe now is the place where all world footballers want to play. It's kind of like the giant killing clubs, even if the bigger club fields a reserve team the result always show the 'smaller' club won and you can't take that away from them.

  • Comment number 51.

    @49 "...Venezuela and Colombia, two Caribbean countries that should be part of the Confederation of North America, Central America and the CARIBBEAN Association"

    you better update that Atlas jonasblue, I know this might come as a shock but you might find that those countries you mention are actually located in South America ;)

    @49 "Mexico should be part of Conmebol"

    why?, and why only Mexico? how about Panama?, El Salvador?, etc

    @49 "I believe El Tri would qualify if placed in Conmebol. Without the Azteca Stadium home advantage, Mexico has been five out of seven times among the four top teams in Copa America"

    I wouldn't be so sure. Results in the Copa America do not necessarily reflect true standards, considering that teams sometimes use it to test new/young players. World Cup qualifiers would be a totally different story as all teams are at full strength and Mexico would find it a lot tougher playing against the South Americans.

    Mexico simply aren't good enough to compete against a full-strength top South American team. Sure, they would certainly benefit from facing stronger teams and that would be the case for all non-Conmebol members if the Americas became a single confederation but I doubt the South Americans would be interested at all. Why would they be interested in playing a lot more matches against considerably weaker opposition? What would they gain from it? There may be some financial advantages but from a footballing perspective, I can't see any.




  • Comment number 52.

    @29....I'm not so sure that the problem lies fully with the players. The fans also play their part in England's miserable failure. In the UK we are raised on football played end-to-end, almost basketball-fashion. Passing the ball sideways and backwards (which you have to do in order to keep possession) is seen as negative and the fans get on the players backs. Even at my beloved Liverpool, a club whose supporters used to be a bit more knowledgable about the game, Lucas Leiva is given abuse despite being expert at receiving the ball, controlling it properly and passing it to another red shirt. When players have thousands of supporters urging them forward, it isn't surprising that they play attacking (but unsuccessful) football.
    ......................................................
    47# well said !

  • Comment number 53.

    8# Saprissa from Costa Rica apply the same rule of not fielding any foreign players since Jorge Vergara (Chivas' owner) bought the club. With that rule they won the old CONCACAF Champions' Cup and played Club World Cup against Liverpool in 2005.

    44# MLS teams poor form in Champions League are highly due to their league schedule (March to November). When knockout stages take place in February MLS teams are just doing preseason...

    I've always thought Copa América and Gold Cup should be merged into one 16 nations greter cup, neither competition seems to be good enough. Whether this applies to club competitions I'm bit skeptical, though.

  • Comment number 54.

    53# The CONCACAF champions league just started, and the teams with the biggest advantage were the MLS teams, yet their most distinguished team (L.A. Galaxy) was eliminated by a semi professional team, the other MLS teams barely made it.



    Now, this CONCACAF tournament has not been that bad for Mexican teams either, as all of them use it as an opportunity to test their reserve players.

  • Comment number 55.

    I liked what you said last week in reply to my comments on the standard and my desire to improve the quality of both continental competitions, but again I must raise the question. I am sitting in the biggest city in south America and can not watch the final of the most important tournament on the continent because both my tv chanels are showing Vit v Pal in the first round of the Sul Americana.
    Regardless of poor planning (another of my complaints in the past) this is the second time in consecutive hyears they have not aired the Libertadores final in favour of another scheduled football match (irrelevent match to the majority of football fans).
    Prestige and income only exist when people precieve importance!

  • Comment number 56.

    "It would be grossly unfair, on the basis of Tuesday's match against the United States in New Jersey, to jump to the following conclusion: Dunga's Brazil bad, Mano Menezes' Brazil good"

    hi, tim, i just read your words about brazils victory in SL.com and id like to say your analisis was by far the best i could lay my eyes on over the internet in a few languages.

  • Comment number 57.

    Tim, another good article!

    I also like the idea of an All-America Libertadores. The benefits for the competition would be enormous, having the country with the best Sports Marketing (USA) joining the competition.

    By this time you already know that Inter beat Chivas in the first leg of the final, don't you believe that this Internacional might have a stronger squad than Internazionale? Other Brazilian clubs like Corinthians, Cruzeiro, Santos and Fluminense have also really strong squads that in my point of view could play in any league around the world.

    These achievements just have been possible with a change in the mentality of the Brazilian football directors in the last years (even with a lots of things still to be changed), I would like to know what do you think Tim but in my point of view the future of the Brazilian football (like the country's economy) is really promising (the attendance rates of the league grows every year since 2003 when the league adept to the European format and is already bigger than in some European leagues like the Portuguese and French)

    The FIFA club world cup might not have a great recognition in England but the same doesn't happen in countries like Spain, Italy and Portugal where the rivalry with SA countries started on the 60's. Apart from that the close history of these countries with SA is another extra element in the rivalry.

    My personal opinion: the Club World Cup shouldn't be underrated, like what happened with the WC at the beginning I see this tournament improving and gaining prestige within the next years.

  • Comment number 58.

    Internacional won the first leg of the Copa Libertadores Final 2-1 (HT 0-1) away to Guadalajara Chivas in Mexico last night.

    Sandro, soon to be with Tottenham Hotspur, played the full 90 minutes and picked-up a yellow card two minutes from time.

    Internacional's goals came from Giuliano and Bolivar after Bautista had put the Mexicans in front.

    The second leg of the Final will be played in Brazil on 18th August.

    Internacional are Tottenham Hotspur's official partners in Brazil.

    http://www.myfootballfacts.com/CopaLibertadoresFinals1960to2009.html

  • Comment number 59.

    Im randomly curious about the former Inter Milan & Charlton defender Gonzalo Sorondo playing for Internacional - doesnt seem to be a regular, is he very injury prone?

    And has he not fulfilled his potential? (with the early transfer to Inter at young age) he hasnt played for the national team in years....

  • Comment number 60.

    it's really funny to see how things are down here in south america regarding club success and media. The main cities with the stronger media are Rio and Sao paulo, the base of the national broadcasts that always favour their teams.

    Internacional from Rio grande do sul (along with Minas Gerais, the other 2 traditional states in football) just won the first game of the most important south american competition final and i read few, very few lines about their achievements and moment in the national media.

    They spend too much time talking about the new signing from clubs from rio and SAo paulo that may work or not than analyse the winning reality of a club in a final. the sad part is when you have talk football with this ppl (the majority) that only have access to this media or conveniently accepts their truth.in europe, i see more respect by the ppl and media towards finalists. it seems that our headlines and news time are bought by sponsors and rich federations.

  • Comment number 61.

    I think they will win it. I have faith in them. I believe like every fairytale, it will be the first and last time they will get their hands on the trophy

  • Comment number 62.

    Nice read Tim. But I really need to know something, why do mexican teams play in both the copa libertadores and the CONCACAF Champions league?

  • Comment number 63.

    Watched the first leg and thought Inter had the better game, despite falling behind on the cusp of half-time. [four headers et up the goals!]

    Looking forward to the second-leg, but I don't see Inter losing it at home.

    Cheers,
    TDT
    http://thedirtytackle.blogspot.com/

  • Comment number 64.

    god damnit... Inter won it. Now they matched Grêmio in Libertadores titles.

    Now I must root for Inter... Inter Milan of course. Inter Porto Alegre CAN NOT surpass Grêmio in World Titles (if at least we had won over Ajax in 1995 :(

  • Comment number 65.

    Now, we'll have Inter vs Inter in the World Club Championship...

    or Brazilian Inter vs Argentinian/Brazilian Inter

    may the best Inter win

  • Comment number 66.

    well, considering Inter Porto Alegre also has some important argie players (Pato Abondanzieri, D´Alessandro and Guiñazu), both teams are argie/brazilian! :)

    Inter Milan has more international players of course. My fear is that when they play the World Club Cup, they wont be as good as when they were under Mourinho´s management.

  • Comment number 67.

    re not fully porno izle conversant with Penarol's rich erotik filim history in Uruguyan football but, a player I do remember seeing a fair bit of them mid nineties as a bleary program indir eyed teenager watching full indir South American football in porno seyret the early hours and Pablo Bengoechea was a fantastic midfielder if I recall, yeşilçam porno I would have loved to see him in Europe. I just son bölümü izle wondered what role if any he has in ligtv izle football right nty ny

  • Comment number 68.

    Mexico is great team of North America and after that win I rate them equivalent to south American Teams like Brazil & Argentina keep going you have to lift the flag of continent.Testking 642-566/Testking 642-515/Testking 642-072

  • Comment number 69.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 70.

    The FIFA club world cup might not have a great recognition in England but the same doesn't happen in countries like Spain, Italy and Portugal where the rivalry with SA countries started on the 60's. Apart from that the close history of these countries with SA is another extra element in the rivalry. work onlinemake money from homepayday loansbest payday loans..

  • Comment number 71.

    ot fully porno conversant with Penarol's rich erotik history in Uruguyan football but, a player I do remember seeing a fair bit of them mid nineties as a bleary indir eyed teenager watching full South American football in porno seyret the early hours and Pablo Bengoechea was a fantastic midfielder if I recall, yeşilçam erotik film I would have loved to see diyarbakır evden eve nakliyatwondered what role if any he has in ligtv izle football loved to see son bölümü izlewondere

  • Comment number 72.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 73.

    "It would be grossly unfair, on the basis of Tuesday's match against the United States in New Jersey, to jump to the following conclusion: Dunga's Brazil bad, Mano Menezes' Brazil good"

    hi, tim, i just read your words about brazils victory in SL.com and id like to say your analisis was by far the best i could lay my eyes on over the internet in a few languages.World Most Amazing Records
    softlogger.com

 

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.