If you can only watch one soccer game this weekend, by all means, watch Man Utd v. Chelsea. But if you can catch two games on Sunday, don’t miss Boca Juniors visiting River Plate (GolTV, 2:30 p.m.). You’ve undoubtedly heard of this epic derby which Wikipedia records as the Superclásico (ahead of that star-bloated affair in Spain) and one of the fiercest rivalries in all of soccer. It was famously featured at #1 in The Observer’s list of the 50 sporting things you must do before you die. Then there’s the fact that Sunday’s edition is extra special because it’s the first official meeting of these two clubs in over a year (more on that below the jump). Continue reading
Gesundheit! We’re headed to Brazil today for Sunday’s classico between two giants from Rio de Janeiro: Flamengo and Fluminense. The Fla-Flu derby dates back to 1912, and the matches have been played at the gigantic Maracaná stadium going back decades. Back in the day, fans would pack out the stadium in massive numbers. The record attendance was over 194,000 in 1963, though only 177,000 tickets were sold (good ol’ South America). Flamengo and Fluminense frequently dispute the final of the Campeonato Carioca, which is the regional cup for the Rio region (Brazil has a lot of regional tournaments). Continue reading
Call me old-fashioned. Call me a hopeless nostalgic idealist. Call me Frank or Bob. I just can’t help longing for the good ol’ days when clubs were run by folks who legitimately loved football, and more importantly, legitimately loved their club and wanted to see it succeed. You can’t deny that in the last decade or so, we’ve seen a gaggle of well-heeled billionaires buying up clubs all over Europe like old ladies trawling yard sales on a Saturday morning. Some of these folks seem to be really ambitious and committed to the goal of helping their team succeed. As much as I hate to admit it, Roman Abramovich seems to really love Chelsea and wants them to be a big, title-winning club. He may screw up personnel decisions and overpay for players now and then, but it’s all in the interest of seeing his club win. Sheikh Mansour may not visit Wastelands for a match more than once a year and who knows how much of a genuine football fan he is, but you can’t argue that he hasn’t broken his gigantic piggy bank* to turn Man City into a behemoth. Continue reading
This isn’t a historic derby. It’s not a neighborhood derby. It’s barely a crosstown derby. So why am I bothering you with it? Because over the last decade or two, the rivalry between Argentina’s Vélez Sársfield (“the Small Fort”) and San Lorenzo (“the Crows”) has escalated to the point of turning it into a modern clásico. There’s no love lost between these two clubs. Check this out if you’re curious. So how did this rivalry become so heated when there’s no typical connections between the two?
For starters, both clubs have lost their neighborhood rivals to relegation. San Lorenzo’s derby rival, Huracán, only occasionally shows up in the top flight for a season or two, then promptly goes back down when the money dries up. Vélez has a historic rivalry with a club called Ferro Carril Oeste (“Western Railroad”), which hasn’t had a season in Primera in more than a decade. Meanwhile, both Vélez and San Lorenzo have been trying to position themselves as “big” clubs in Argentina, behind traditional giants like Boca, River, Independiente, and Racing. But to be a “big” club, you have to have a “big” derby. Continue reading
O Derby is one name for the Derby Paulista, the second most important classico in Brazil. This the biggest rivalry for the megacity of Sao Paulo, and pits reigning South American champions Corinthians against Palmeiras. I already mentioned Corinthians in a previous Know Thy Classics post, so I won’t talk about them much, but Palmeiras is a club you ought to know about. Continue reading
Hey, there’s not much club football being played this weekend, but there’s plenty of international fixtures to feast on. Some of them are even meaningful, like USA’s away qualifier against Jamaica tonight. Won’t you please come down from your ivory tower into the comments and bless us with your pearls of wisdom? Oh, and if you’ve got beIN Sport USA at your house, post your address so we can all come over. We’ll bring the beer. Promise.
Semi-not-at-all-complete fixture list after the jump. Continue reading
That’s right. Lionel Messi’s neck/Adam’s apple/throat appears to resemble a human skull. Clever photoshop? That would be the reasonable reaction in this age of internet tomfoolery. So how about this clip from the toobz?
That’s downright frightening, isn’t it? Yet again, you may be tempted to claim some sort of clever video editing trick. After all, if Christopher Nolan can make Christian Bale look like a crippled, disheveled and starving hobo in one scene and a musclebound caped crusader in the next, surely any old teenager with a pirated copy of Final Cut Studio can make it look like Messi has a skull in his throat.
We think the truth lies somewhere else. Continue reading
AKA Gunners commiseration and weeping thread, amirite? Well, at least they’ve got a ball in the pot, unlike their spudsy neighbors. Oookaaay, now that I’ve pissed off most of north London, this is a quick and dirty post to provide a place for folks to comment on the group stage draw for this year’s UEFA Champions League tournament. Follow the draw here, or someplace on TV, or get possibly erroneous information from Twitter. But do come back here to mock the misfortunes of those clubs doomed to an early exit. The show starts at 11:45 Eastern America time. List of clubs in each pot after the jump. Continue reading