June, the low-season of football is upon us…wrong. We’ve got the Toulon Tournament, International Friendlies, Continental Semi-Finals and a Copa América-related Top Ten for you this week. As ever there is goal of the week and stat of the week. But before all that if you haven’t heard the Hand of Pod Paraguay Copa América special featuring yours truly then make sure you do.
Last Week’s stories
ITURBEWATCH: Tragically out of the semi-final with an ankle injury only to pass a late fitness test then find himself thrown on after 10 minutes when Ivan Torres was injured. He set up a goal and had glimpses of brilliance in what is likely to be his last ever game in Paraguay. More on that below. In other news from last week the match-fixing crisis in Korea deepened with more than 10 players now being investigated, Differdange 03 successfully defended the Luxembourg cup and Ronaldinho scored again.
This Week’s stories
Toulon Tournament kicks off
The U20s tournament kicked off in France on Wednesday with 8 teams from around the globe competing for the crown. From Africa the defending champions Ivory Coast took on Italy, one of four European sides, in Group A. The Ivorians crashed to a 2-0 defeat with goals from Gabbiadini of Cittadella and Paloschi who was at Genoa this season.
Gold Rush in United States
The CONCACAF Gold Cup gets going at the Cowboys Stadium in Texas on Sunday as Costa Rica take on Cuba. The Costa Ricans and defending champions Mexico are also competing in the Copa America next month, however they will only send experimental teams to Argentina. Their senior players will be in action in the United States and the host nation will be hoping to pick up their 5th trophy to equal Mexico’s record trophy haul.
Copa Libertadores pits Uruguay against Brazil
Cerro Porteño and Santos played out a thrilling 3-3 draw (for a 1st hand view check out my article on the game) which meant Neymar’s side progressed to the final for the first time since 2003. It also means a Brazilian side has featured in the final for the last 7 seasons. They will face Peñarol in the final who won through on away goals after losing 2-1 last night in Argentina. It means the final is a repeat of the 1962 Final when Pelé’s Santos team took their first title. Peñarol have a negative record against Brazilian sides in the final having won once (1961) and lost twice (1962 and 1983). If they were to lose again they would set a new record for the most final defeats (five).
Copa América of adverts
With the Copa América approaching some great adverts have come out, it isn’t essential you understand Spanish but it helps. First a great one by phone company Tigo in Paraguay followed by this one from the beer Cristal in Chile. The classic though is this by Coca Cola in Argentina and the European Coca-Cola carrying champion.
Size doesn’t matter in India
The country’s tiny state of Goa, the smallest in India, is home to the last five I-League champions after Salgaocar picked up this year’s championship. In the previous four years two other Goan teams Churchill Brothers and Dempo had come out on top. Churchill in 2006/07 and 2008/09 with Dempo prevailing in 2007/08 and 2009/10.
Thanks again to 101greatgoals.com for bringing these to my attention. Some great showboating during training by Brazil, firstly Thiago Neves’ backheel goal and then Robinho and Lucas (not Lucas of Liverpool) with this!
Zenit get out of the dumps
Russia’s reigning champions Zenit St.Petersburg had been on four game winless streak that had left them trailing CSKA Moscow in the Premier League. But at the weekend the Muscovite’s were held to a draw while Zenti finally picked up a win. It leaves both teams on 19 points along with Dinamo Moscow and Anzi Makhachkala in a four-way tie for 1st place.
Coppa Italia gives Cambiasso double title
Sunday’s Coppa Italia victory for Inter handed their midfielder Esteban Cambiasso yet another title. It is now 20 major club honours for the 30-year-old defensive midfielder with 15 of those coming with his current club. The only player currently at the club with more titles is fellow Argentine Javier Zanetti who moves onto 16 titles. But when you add international honours into the mix it gives Cambiasso 23 which is significant because it takes him past Alfredo Di Stefano’s 22 titles making Esteban Cambiasso the most decorated Argentinian in history.
Stat of the Week
0 – Number of fouls committed by Xavi in this season’s Champions League, stark comparison to the 22 he suffered putting him 11th overall, number one was Messi.
Goal of the Week
It has to be Jonathan Fabbro’s screamer for Cerro Porteño against Santos – a shame it meant nothing.
Top Ten of the Week
With just a month until the 2011 Copa América in Argentina I thought it would be interesting to take a look at the ten CONEMBOL team’s records in Copa América games in Argentina (Mexico and Costa Rica have never played in Argentina in the tournament before). You would assume Argentina have the best win percentage…you would have assumed wrong. Check it out.
10. Bolivia – 0% win ratio (PLD 14/W 0)
=8. Ecuador – 0% (PLD 3/W 0)
= 8. Venezuela – 0% (PLD 3/W 0)
7. Peru – 12.5% (PLD 16/W 2)
6. Chile – 33.3% (PLD 24/W 8)
5. Paraguay – 34.5% (PLD 29/W 10)
4. Uruguay – 44.4% (PLD 27/W12)
3. Brazil – 50% (PLD 32/W16)
2. Argentina – 72.5% (PLD 40/W 29)
1. Colombia – 75% (PLD 4/W3)
So rejoice Colombia fans, one of just 3 teams to have beaten Argentina on home soil in the Copa (Uruguay and Brazil the others). That win came in the 1987 tournament the last to be held in Argentina, and guess what…fate has drawn the two together in Group A at this year’s tournament.
By Ralph Hannah