BBC BLOGS - Tim Vickery

Archives for December 2011

La U accomplishments unforgettable despite defeat

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Tim Vickery | 11:40 UK time, Monday, 26 December 2011

It is finally over. After 36 games, the unbeaten run of Universidad de Chile came to an end last Thursday when they went down 2-1 to Santiago rivals Universidad Catolica (an interesting side themselves - look out for right-back Stefano Magnasco and left-footed striker Kevin Harbottle).

The long awaited defeat of 'La U' (the previous one was in July) came in bizarre circumstances. At 1-1 and with the game in stoppage time, they looked in total control - until the usually excellent midfielder Marcelo Diaz misplaced a pass out of defence and Catolica's Jose Luis Villanueva fired in a cross shot to win the game.

Apart from ending the run, the goal was irrelevant. It came in the second leg of the semi-final of the Chilean championship, and was not enough to prevent La U marching into the final against Cobreloa, with first leg on Boxing Day and the return match on Thursday.

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What Brazil can learn from Barcelona

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Tim Vickery | 15:24 UK time, Sunday, 18 December 2011

In 1924, Uruguay arrived as unknowns at the Olympic football tournament in Paris, took everyone apart on the way to winning the gold medal and changed football forever.

The enthusiasm they set off led to the birth of the World Cup six years later. And like so many significant events in football, it was not just because they won - it was because of the way they did it.

Contemporary accounts raved about them. Influential journalist Gabriel Hanot praised their "marvellous virtuosity in receiving the ball, controlling it and using it," and drew attention to their "beautiful football, elegant but at the same time varied, rapid, powerful, effective."

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Big week for South America's big guns

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Tim Vickery | 12:00 UK time, Monday, 12 December 2011

Crunch time is approaching for this year’s two outstanding South American clubs.
Over the next few days both Santos of Brazil and Universidad de Chile are seeking to scale new heights.

The Chileans, ‘la U’ for short, extended their unbeaten run to 34 games on Sunday, brushing aside Union Espanola to book their place in the semi-finals of the local championship.

This, though, is hardly the priority. They already have 14 Chilean titles to their name, including the first of the two played this year.

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Socrates so much more than a footballer

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Tim Vickery | 19:18 UK time, Sunday, 4 December 2011

Just over five years ago, when Brazil’s 1982 World Cup coach Tele Santana died, team captain Socrates recalled the scene in the dressing room after their elimination by Paolo Rossi’s Italy at the second group stage.

As the media were searching for explanations, there were tears and tantrums, dejection and disappointment. Amid the chaos, Santana stood peacefully, proud of his team and the glorious football they had played – still remembered with extraordinary affection all over the world. They had given it their best shot.

True, the campaign could have gone on for longer but what memories they left behind. That same philosophy could serve as the epitaph of the captain.

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