The South American version of the UEFA Champions League is the Copa Libertadores. Unlike the European tournament, which has a Super Bowlish final at a pre-selected glitzy venue, the South Americans prefer a two leg final, where each team gets to host one leg. Why? Because two finals are better than one, that’s why.
Another fun wrinkle is that they drop the away goals rule for the final, so if the score is tied after the second leg, we get to enjoy extra time and penalties. That eliminates some of the “antifútbol” tactics that unscrupulous managers use to win big games like this.
The first leg is on tonight (8:50 p.m., Fox Deportes) in Buenos Aires, when 2011 Argentine champions Boca Juniors host 2011 Brazilian champions Corinthians. This is Boca’s tenth appearance in the Libertadores final. They’ve won six (good for 2nd all time). As for Corinthians, I think this is their first time ever in the final, though they did manage to win a FIFA Club World Cup in 2000 (I think that was an early edition when FIFA was handing out invites instead of limiting it to confederation champions). Continue reading →
AM 452 is back once again, and this time we guarantee to have your favorite episode yet because of how short it is. Keith and Orr join me to talk about the quarterfinals of Euro 2012, as well as looking into the upcoming semifinal and final matches. I also promise some harassment of Spurs, and I bitch about the lack of Leighton Baines and Phil Jagielka against Italy. As always you can listen to the episode below, or subscribe to us via Itunes. just search AM 452. As always leaves your thoughts below.
Shockingly enough, this isn’t anything new for England
US soccer fans who go way back to the heady days of hosting the World Cup in ’94 have fond, golden memories of one Romario de Souza Faria. The Brazilian legend, along with striking partner Bebeto, lit up the cup en route to a dramatic PK shootout win over Italy at the Rose Bowl. Those were simpler times, when we all wore faux denim soccer jerseys, and it was good.
Years later, Romario is obviously retired from soccer and now serves as a congressman/politician/soundbite machine, but his 18 year old son has taken up the family trade in professional soccer, and the nickname “Romarinho”. That probably means “little Romario” (don’t make me look it up). He plays in Vasco da Gama’s youth system, though his dad says he’s set to sign for Barcelona.
We’ll keep an eye on the Euros for you, Mr. Wayne. But just this once. And then we’re through.
With the 2012 Euros beginning their Semi Finals tomorrow, we understand that the world’s eyes will be focused on Poland and Ukraine for the first time since WWII. Given this, it is particularly fitting that all four of Europe’s most prominent fascist nations are the ones left in the tournament.
So to help you get ready, we here at Four Five Two, the Internet’s foremost authority on formerly fascist football, are here to highlight the top players to look out for during the next two semis.
One of the greater things about watching football in America is that most matches, especially those of the EPL, are early in the morning American time, giving people an excuse to daydrink. This is part of our series discussing exactly what to drink when you’re at the pub, presented by our resident homebrewer, Keith. During the Euros, we’re doing things a little differently; we’re trying to find beers from the countries participating in the tourney. We’ve covered England and Sweden, this week, it’s another eliminated nation, France!
What You Need to Know: Euro Pale Lager is the European equivalent of American Light Lager. Think Stella, think Heineken, think Tennent’s, think Harp. But, as with the ALL, there’s room to do an excellent version. Samuel Smith, for example, has an organic lager that’s quite good. The style is highly carbonated, light in color and flavor, and has a bit more hop snap than its American cousin. It’s actually a lot closer to the Munich Helles Lager, with just a bit less sweetness, and I’d say that Kronenbourg more closely straddles the gaps between EPL (Suck it, Barclays! . . oops, force of habit) and Helles Lager. Continue reading →
You can’t be champion of Argentina unless you celebrate in your underpants.
…of Argentina, natch. Lowly Arsenal de Sarandí clinched their first national title ever yesterday with a win over Belgrano and a little help from neighbors Independiente, who held Tigre to a draw. Tigre didn’t mind losing out on the silverware, however, because the point was enough to help them avoid a relegation playoff. Boca Juniors faded at the finish, getting spanked 3-1 by All Boys because they sent a bunch of reserves out to play. The starters are being rested for Wednesday’s Copa Libertadores final versus Corinthians.
Olimpo and Banfield (who won a title as recently as ’09) were relegated directly, while San Lorenzo and San Martin will go into the relegation playoffs against Instituto and Rosario Central, respectively. Meanwhile, River Plate and Quilmes were promoted. That’s right folks, River is back!
A hearty congratulations to El Arse on their first title! This concludes my coverage of Tango Ball. I’m planning to still bring you, my faithful reader, some kind of news from South America in the fall, but likely in a different format.
Captain Woy preparing to guide England to the Semis
And so the quarterfinals have come to their final match. England v. Italy, for the right to take on Die Mannschaft. Cesare Prandelli has been the tactical wizard of the tournament, chopping and changing Italy’s defensive structure to meet his opponents. We’re likely to see the same 4-1-3-2 with which Italy so easily brushed Ireland aside to end the group stages, rather than the more fluid 3-5-2 that held Spain and Croatia to draws. The bigger question, though, is whether corner flag model, fireworks enthusiast and FourFiveTwo Spirit Animal Mario Balotelli will start over one of Antonio Cassano or Tony Christmas.
For the English, you know what you’re getting. Two banks of four, set to defend and break quickly to Wayne Rooney, playing just in behind either Welbeck or Carroll. James Milner will run a groove in the right flank for 70 minutes, before giving way to Theo Walcott. Thus Woy wrote it, thus it will ever be, forever and ever amen.
Lineups and the rest of the match after the jump. Avanti!
Confucious will NOT be refereeing this time. . . but will Sokritis head home the winner?
Today’s going to be a fun day, that’s for sure. Eurozone jokes will abound. Germany, the prohibitive favorites in the tournament, and Greece, surprisingly one of the most entertaining teams at the tourney this year, will challenge for the right to face the winner of Sunday’s England-Italy tilt.
The Germans have played well, if not spectacularly, throughout their group matches, gliding to nine points with pretty minimal fuss in the Group of Death. The Greeks have usurped their traditionally defensive attitude, going out to attack in every one of their matches in the erroneously dubbed “Group of Meh.” They suffered an ignominious defeat at the hands of the now-ousted Czech Republic, but that was with defensive linchpin Sokritis Popastathopolis serving a suspension for two very dubious fouls in the opening draw with Poland, before shocking the world and dumping Russia out.
Pre-match smack talk has indeed referenced the Germans’ inexorable hold over the Greek economy, with Bild’s front page reading “Bye, Greeks. We can’t save you today!”