Copa América

Las últimas fotos sobre la Copa América.

Peru's Guerrero and Paraguay's Da Silva chase after the ball during their Copa America 2015 third-place soccer match at Estadio Municipal Alcaldesa Ester Roa Rebolledo in Concepcion

Peru's Paolo Guerrero and Paraguay's Paulo Da Silva (L) chase after the ball during their Copa America 2015 third-place soccer match at Estadio Municipal Alcaldesa Ester Roa Rebolledo in Concepcion, Chile, July 3, 2015. REUTERS/Mariana Bazo

Depoimento de ex-integrante do Jonas Brothers marca dia do julgamento no 'Caso Fifa'

Kevin Jonas confirmou existência de show do ex-Beatle. Empresário da Full Play teria oferecido US$ 10 mil em ingressos para Napout, com quantia que seria de propina de direitos da Copa América e a Libertadores de 2009 a 2015 (Reprodução/Instagram

Messi comemora com Higuaín em jogo da Copa América de 2016

Messi comemora com Higuaín em jogo da Copa América de 2016 18/6/2016 Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Soccer: 2016 Copa America Centenario-Argentina at Venezuela

Jun 18, 2016; Foxborough, MA, USA; Argentina midfielder Lionel Messi (10) congratulates forward Gonzalo Higuain (9) after he scored his second goal of the game against the Venezuela during the first half of quarter-final play in the 2016 Copa America Centenario soccer tournament at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports / Reuters.

Soccer: 2016 Copa America Centenario-Argentina at USA

Jun 21, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Argentina forward Gonzalo Higuain (left) celebrates with midfielder Lionel Messi (10) after scoring a goal during the second half against the United States in the semifinals of the 2016 Copa America Centenario soccer tournament at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Mais qui en veut à la statue de Lionel Messi ?

La symbolique est marquante. Là, sur le Paseo de la Gloria, à Buenos Aires, le buste de la statue de la superstar nationale Lionel Messi gît sur le sol, à quelques mètres d'un socle où seul un ballon collé à ses pieds parvient à rester de marbre. Vandalisée pour la deuxième fois en moins d'un an, la statue de la Pulga cristallise les tensions. Mais qui en veut au buste de Leo Messi ? Voici quelques pistes.La Fédération chilienne de football Vainqueur des deux dernières Copa América en 2015 et 2016, finaliste de la dernière Coupe des ...

Chiqui Arce quedó oficialmente desvinculado de la Albirroja guaraní

La Selección de Paraguay deberá encontrar un nuevo DT para encarar la Copa América 2019 y las Eliminatorias de Qatar 2022.

Chiqui Arce quedó oficialmente desvinculado de la Albirroja guaraní

La Selección de Paraguay deberá encontrar un nuevo DT para encarar la Copa América 2019 y las Eliminatorias de Qatar 2022.

Soccer: 2016 Copa America Centenario-Ecuador at Brazil

Jun 4, 2016; Pasadena, CA, USA; Brazil manager Dunga looks on before a game against Ecuador during the group play stage of the 2016 Copa America Centenario at Rose Bowl Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Colombia's national soccer team coach Hernan Dario "El, Bolillo" Gomez attends a training session in Jujuy

Colombia's national soccer team coach Hernan Dario "El, Bolillo" Gomez attends a training session in Jujuy July 3, 2011. Colombia will play Argentina in their Copa America Group A soccer match on Wednesday. REUTERS/Jorge Silva

Brazil Legend Roberto Carlos Reveals Lucky Element That Aided His Iconic Free-Kick Against France

​Former Real Madrid star Roberto Carlos has broken many people's hearts by admitting that his world-renowned free-kick against France in 1997 was wind-assisted and branded the goal a 'miracle'.  The Brazilian enjoyed a fantastic career at both club and international level. During his time at Real Madrid he won four La Liga titles and three Champions League trophies. He was also extremely successful with Brazil as they won two Copa America titles and the World Cup in 2002. But what will perhaps...

Brazil Legend Roberto Carlos Reveals Lucky Element That Aided His Iconic Free-Kick Against France

​Former Real Madrid star Roberto Carlos has broken many people's hearts by admitting that his world-renowned free-kick against France in 1997 was wind-assisted and branded the goal a 'miracle'.  The Brazilian enjoyed a fantastic career at both club and international level. During his time at Real Madrid he won four La Liga titles and three Champions League trophies. He was also extremely successful with Brazil as they won two Copa America titles and the World Cup in 2002. But what will perhaps...

Brazil Legend Roberto Carlos Reveals Lucky Element That Aided His Iconic Free-Kick Against France

​Former Real Madrid star Roberto Carlos has broken many people's hearts by admitting that his world-renowned free-kick against France in 1997 was wind-assisted and branded the goal a 'miracle'.  The Brazilian enjoyed a fantastic career at both club and international level. During his time at Real Madrid he won four La Liga titles and three Champions League trophies. He was also extremely successful with Brazil as they won two Copa America titles and the World Cup in 2002. But what will perhaps...

Brazil Legend Roberto Carlos Reveals Lucky Element That Aided His Iconic Free-Kick Against France

​Former Real Madrid star Roberto Carlos has broken many people's hearts by admitting that his world-renowned free-kick against France in 1997 was wind-assisted and branded the goal a 'miracle'.  The Brazilian enjoyed a fantastic career at both club and international level. During his time at Real Madrid he won four La Liga titles and three Champions League trophies. He was also extremely successful with Brazil as they won two Copa America titles and the World Cup in 2002. But what will perhaps...

FIFA Trial Witness Says Officials Used Car Names to Disguise Secret Payments

NEW YORK (AP) – Payments to the head of Peruvian soccer were masked under the name ''Fiat.'' Money for Paraguay's boss was listed as ''Honda.''

Excel spreadsheets detailed the cloak-and-dagger recording system of money given to ''Benz,'' ''VW,'' ''Toyota,'' ''Kia,'' and ''Peugeot,'' among others, including a pair of payments labeled ''Q2022'' that appeared to be related to the FIFA executive committee's 2010 vote giving Qatar rights to host the 2022 World Cup.

''We basically decided to make up fantasy names for each of the people involved,'' sports marketing executive Santiago Pena testified Monday as the trial of three high-ranking soccer executives entered its second week at federal court in Brooklyn.

Pena worked for Full Play Group, a company based in Argentina that won marketing rights to South American World Cup qualifiers and the Copa America and Copa Libertatores tournaments.

Hugo and Mariano Jinkis, a father and son who are Full Play's controlling principals, were indicted along with many top soccer executives in 2015 by U.S. prosecutors. The father and son have not been extradited thus far.

Pena testified that he took the ledger from Full Play's office on a thumb drive along with a stack of documents shortly after the first indictments were unsealed in May 2015 and kept the evidence at his home for two years before turning it over the American prosecutors.

Juan Angel Napout, the ex-president of Paraguay's soccer federation; Jose Maria Marin, the former president of Brazil's soccer federation; and Manuel Burga, the ex-head of Peru's soccer federation; are on trial for racketeering conspiracy, wire fraud conspiracy and money laundering conspiracy.

Rafael Esquivel, the former president of Venezuelan soccer, was nicknamed ''Benz'' and his ledger listed a $750,000 payment owed for ''Q2022.'' He pleaded guilty in November 2016 to racketeering conspiracy, three counts of wire fraud conspiracy and three counts of money laundering conspiracy.

Luis Chiriboga, the former president of Ecuadorean soccer, was nicknamed ''Toyota'' and his ledger listed a $500,000 payment owed for ''Q2022.'' He was convicted in his own country in November 2016 of money laundering.

Neither Esquivel nor Chiriboga was on the FIFA executive committee that made Qatar the 2022 World Cup host. M. Kristen Mace, the assistant U.S. attorney questioning Pena, did not ask whether the payments were to be redirected to others.

Other nicknames included ''VW'' for Carlos Chavez of Bolivia, ''Honda'' for Napout, ''Fiat'' for Burga, ''Flemic,'' for Luis Bedoya of Colombia, ''Kia'' for Sergio Jadue of Chile and ''Peugeot'' for Jose Meiszner, the former general secretary of the South American governing body CONMEBOL.

Pena said that as part of the contracts for the Copa America covering 2015, 2019 and 2023, plus the 2016 Centennial Copa America, payments were made to soccer federation presidents and the CONMEBOL general secretary, listing amount for various events plus for signing contracts. He said the money was not recorded on Full Play's regular accounts.

''They were secret payments,'' he said.

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Among the payments were some for the Copa Libertadores, even though Full Play did not hold rights. Pena said his bosses described them as loyalty payments.

Pena also testified about corporate sponsorship deals for the 2015 Copa: $9 million each for MasterCard and Banco Santander; $8 million for Kia Motors; $3.2 million for Coca-Cola and DHL; $3 million for Kellogg; and $1.5 million for LATAM Airlines.

He said that payments were made from Full Play directly to Venezuela's players and coaches at the request of the nation's federation to get around currency restrictions in that nation.

Pena also detailed $2 million in payments Full Play made to Soccer United Marketing, a marketing company of the U.S. Soccer Federation and Major League Soccer, for a pair of exhibition games involving Mexico in March 2015, against Ecuador and Paraguay. He said Full Play sold U.S. rights to World Cup qualifiers to BeIN Sports through a London-based company.

Before testimony, U.S. District Judge Pamela K. Chen said she denied the government's request to remand Burga into custody but tightened restrictions on his cellphone use. Prosecutors said he made a slashing motion with a finger across his throat in a threatening gesture during the testimony of Alejandro Burzaco, another marketing executive. Burga's lawyer said he was scratching because of a skin condition.

Seleção Brasileira de futsal goleia Costa Rica em amistoso

Seleção Brasileira de futsal conquistou a Copa América nesta temporada (Foto: Divulgação/CBFS)

Seleção feminina de futsal enfrenta o Rio de Janeiro antes da Copa América

A Arena 2 do Parque Olímpico será palco do amistoso entre a Seleção Brasileira de Futsal e a Seleção do Rio de Janeiro (Foto: Gabriel Heusi/Brasil2016.gov.br)

The Best Players Who Missed the World Cup: A Full 23-Man Squad

Much has been made about the nations who didn't qualify for the 2018 World Cup, and for good reason. The list is loaded with international powers and World Cup regulars, and four reigning regional champions–Chile, USA, New Zealand and Cameroon–won't be making the trip to Russia.

The field in Russia boasts plenty of intrigue and star power, and those competing on the grand stage will command the spotlight for the next eight months on the journey to the top prize in the international game. Before that, though, there's still reason to look back at the series of stars who won't be competing at the World Cup due to their nations' inability to get there. There are so many, in fact, that carving out a legitimate, World Cup-like, 23-man roster isn't all that difficult of a task.

Sticking with players who won't be at the World Cup because of a failure to qualify and not because of a current standing with their national team that did qualify and a traditional roster construction, here's a team of star players that you won't be seeing next summer under the bright lights in Russia.

GOALKEEPERS

Gianluigi Buffon (Italy), Jan Oblak (Slovenia), Jasper Cillessen (Netherlands)

It's an absolute shame that Buffon won't be able to exit on his own terms in the World Cup. The 2006 winner is universally adored and revered and was one of the last active holdovers from that Italian title team. It feels like the soccer universe has been cheated some with the last international image of Buffon being him crying tears of sorrow, but storybook endings don't happen for everyone. Presuming this is Buffon's last season as a player, he'll still hope to go out with more silverware at Juventus.

A pair of La Liga netminders round out the group, with Atletico Madrid's Oblak, who supplanted Inter's talented Samir Handanovic as Slovenia's No. 1, and Barcelona backup Cillessen, who, at 28, will be fighting for his place in qualifying for Qatar 2022.

DEFENDERS

David Alaba (Austria); Andrea Barzagli, Leonardo Bonucci, Giorgio Chiellini (Italy); Faouzi Ghoulam (Algeria); Antonio Valencia (Ecuador); Virgil Van Dijk (Netherlands)

Just like Buffon, the entire B-B-C back line of Italy that has been so resolute for so long won't be making the journey to Russia, and a true changing of the guard is in store for the Azzurri defense. It's a true end of an era.

With this group, you've got a blend of that experience and players hitting their prime in Alaba and Ghoulam, plus clout in the center and fullbacks who can bomb forward.

MIDFIELDERS

Marek Hamsik (Slovakia), Naby Keita (Guinea), Henrikh Mkhitaryan (Armenia), Miralem Pjanic (Bosnia & Herzegovina), Christian Pulisic (USA), Thomas Partey (Ghana), Arturo Vidal (Chile), Wilfried Zaha (Ivory Coast)

Pulisic won't get to experience a breakout on the biggest stage possible thanks to the USA's failure, but the 19-year-old is hardly to blame given he carried the Americans at times and provided hope in the fateful finale vs. Trinidad & Tobago. Pulisic will have to wait until 2022 for his first potential taste of a senior World Cup.

This group is a balanced one, blessed with wing play in Pulisic and Zaha, central creators like Hamsik and Mkhitaryan and central muscle in Vidal and Partey. For Keita, at least he did not need the World Cup as a springboard to bigger things, as he's already headed to Liverpool next summer from RB Leipzig.

FORWARDS

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Gabon), Gareth Bale (Wales), Arjen Robben (Netherlands), Edin Dzeko (Bosnia & Herzegovina), Alexis Sanchez (Chile)

Robben went out with a golazo in his final appearance with the Dutch, and his unstoppable cut-in-from-the-right, shoot-with-the-left move will be missed on the grand stage.

After Wales' run to the Euro 2016 semifinals, a World Cup bid was surely expected to follow, but the Dragons had to cope without Bale in their final qualifiers, and they couldn't quite make it to the playoff stage, falling to Ireland at the last hurdle. That's a killer for the 28-year-old Bale, who could well go his entire international career without playing in a World Cup depending on how the next five years play out.

Elsewhere, Aubameyang and Gabon attributed their failure to some dodgy orange juice, while Bosnia & Herzegovina underachieved considering its wealth of talent, which includes the prolific Dzeko. As for Alexis Sanchez, who has given his all for his country and helped guide it to the last two Copa America titles, not even reaching the World Cup stage is a shocking blow.

On the provisional 40-man roster but not quite making the cut: Gianluigi Donnarumma (Italy), Stefan de Vrij (Netherlands), Daley Blind (Netherlands), Eric Bailly (Ivory Coast), Sokratis Papastathopoulos (Greece), Serge Aurier (Ivory Coast), Marco Verratti (Italy), Gary Medel (Chile), Charles Aranguiz (Chile), Hakan Calhanoglu (Turkey), Aaron Ramsey (Wales), Riyad Mahrez (Algeria), Cenk Tosun (Turkey), Vincent Aboubakar (Cameroon), Andriy Yarmolenko (Ukraine), Stevan Jovetic (Montenegro), Andrea Belotti (Italy).

Sliding doors del calcio: Lapadula e quel no al Perù che gli costa il Mondiale

Nel maggio 2016 Lapadula avrebbe potuto accettare la convocazione del Perù per la Copa America, lui rifiutò: una scelta che gli costa oggi il Mondiale

World Cup Power Rankings: How the 2018 Field of 32 Nations Stacks Up

With the field of the 32 nations who will compete at the World Cup in Russia next summer completed by Peru's success in Lima Wednesday night, there's little time to waste in ranking the sides headed to the showcase event by making an initial assessment of their form.

Sure, there is plenty left to be decided. Which nations have managerial issues to resolve? Who knows what their starting lineup is likely to be? Who is praying for their key center forward to stay fit? Everything, of course, could change with the answers to those questions and the fallout from the group draw on Dec. 1, but, with all else being equal, who are the likely winners and who's just glad to going to Russia? Here's how we see the World Cup field stacking up:

1. BRAZIL

Six games into qualifying, Brazil had won only twice and looked in serious danger of failing to qualify. Going out of the Copa America Centenario in the group stage confirmed the moribund state of the Brazilian game. But then Tite replaced Dunga as manager, and the whole set-up changed. This Brazil plays modern, aggressive football, is far less reliant on Neymar and won 10 and drew two of its final 12 games to qualify, a full 10 points clear at the top of the CONMEBOL table.

Best Finish: Champions (1958, 1962, 1970, 1994, 2002)

2. SPAIN

Eliminated in the group stage in the last World Cup and then beaten by Italy in the last 16 of Euro 2016, the curtain seemed to have come down on the golden age of Spanish football. But after replacing Vicente Del Bosque, Julen Lopetegui has rejuvenated the side. Its 3-0 win over Italy in qualifying offered a clear warning that Spain is back.

Best Finish: Champions (2010)

3. GERMANY

Germany disappointed at Euro 2016, never really hitting top form and being well-beaten by France in the semifinal. Since then, though, it has qualified for the World Cup with a perfect 10-0-0 record and won the Confederations Cup with what was, in effect, a reserve side. Manager Jogi Low has used 36 players over the past two years, which for another manager might be a sign of chaos; for him it’s an indicator of strength.

Best Finish: Champions (1954, 1974, 1990, 2014)

4. FRANCE

This is a ridiculously gifted generation of French players who really should have won the Euros on home soil last summer. The sense, though, is that Didier Deschamps is not necessarily the man to get the best out if them, and the 4-4-2 he has adopted of late seems a weirdly blockish solution that leads to predictability.

Best Finish: Champions (1998)

5. BELGIUM

Now that it has been relieved of the handicap of Marc Wilmots, can Belgium’s golden generation make good on its promise? Under Roberto Martinez, Belgium qualified with ease, dropping only two points. Kevin De Bruyne has thrived in a slightly deeper role, but the question, as ever with Martinez, is whether the side will be able to cope defensively against better opposition. De Bruyne has already questioned Martinez's tactics.

Best Finish: Fourth Place (1986)

6. ARGENTINA

Qualification was traumatic, but with the dust settled, Argentina remains in a strong position. For all the doubts about players coming through, this remains a strong squad, overloaded with gifted forwards and, by appointing Jorge Sampaoli, it did, at the third attempt, get the right manager. Lionel Messi’s (probable) final chance at a World Cup may be the one he takes.

Best Finish: Champions (1978, 1986)

7. PORTUGAL

Portugal is the European champion and breezed through qualification by winning nine games in a row after losing the opener in Switzerland. Cristiano Ronaldo gives the goal-scoring edge, but its real strength is in the solidity of the midfield.

Best Finish: Third Place (1966)

8. URUGUAY

The stereotype of Uruguay is of defensive resolve, stifling tactics and a pragmatism that can tip into cynicism. This side, though, had the second-best scoring record in South American World Cup qualifying and looks to take full advantage of the abilities of Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani.

Best Finish: Champions (1930, 1950)

9. ENGLAND

A mood of persistent frustration hangs over England, so much so that the general reaction to its unbeaten qualification was a collective yawn about the way the Three Lions had trudged through a less-than-testing group. Harry Kane and a highly gifted emerging generation, though, offer some hope.

Best Finish: Champions (1966)

10. CROATIA

If football were just about players, Croatia would never have needed a playoff to qualify. It may lack a defensive midfielder but has a great wealth of creators. But with hardcore fans at war with the federation, which belatedly replaced their manager Ante Cacic, Croatia was underachieving desperately until Zlatko Dalic took over. He secured the win Croatia needed against Ukraine in the final qualifier, and the side then cruised through its playoff against Greece, winning 4-1.

Best Finish: Third Place (1998)

11. COLOMBIA

James Rodriguez was the breakout star of the last World Cup, and there is a sense that he has perhaps stagnated thanks to the glut of talent at Real Madrid. If he can rediscover his form at Bayern Munich, though, and with Radamel Falcao enjoying a late-career renaissance, Jose Pekerman’s side could be a threat.

Best Finish: Quarterfinals (2014)

12. SWITZERLAND

The Swiss qualified thanks to a very dodgy penalty in the playoff against Northern Ireland, and struggled to impose themselves in that series, but Vladimir Petkovic’s well-balanced side won all of its first nine qualifiers and has, in Ricardo Rodriguez and Stephan Lichtsteiner, a pair of excellent attacking fullbacks.

Best Finish: Quarterfinals (1934, 1938, 1954)

13. POLAND

Poland is ranked sixth in the world, which is evidence of just how much impact the trick of not playing friendlies can be. This, after all, is a side that in September lost 4-0 to Denmark. But it is generally solid and has, in Robert Lewandowski, one of the best strikers in the world.

Best Finish: Third Place (1974, 1982)

14. RUSSIA

Only one host nation has ever failed to make it through the group stage of a World Cup, but Russia could be the second. The gifted generation that reached the semifinal of Euro 2008 grew old together and Stanislav Cherchesov? has struggled to rejuvenate a squad that is heavily reliant on Alan Dzagoev for creativity.

Best Finish: Fourth Place (1966)

15. MEXICO

Juan Carlos Osorio is a controversial figure, with many feeling he rotates too often and question his hard-pressing. His players, though, seem generally enthused, and Mexico finished top of CONCACAF qualifying as well as getting out of their group at the Confederations Cup. After eliminations at the round of 16 in the last six World Cups, Osorio's first target must be set on reaching the quarterfinals.

Best Finish: Quarterfinals (1970, 1986)

16. ICELAND

After eliminating England to reach the quarterfinal of the Euros last summer, Iceland kicked on to become, by some distance, the smallest nation ever to qualify for a World Cup, finishing top of an awkward group that also included Croatia, Ukraine and Turkey. Gylfi Sigurdsson is the highest-profile player, but no side will have such a ferocious team spirit.

Best Finish: N/A

17. DENMARK

Denmark may have required a playoff to qualify, but that was because of results early in qualifying. More recently, the Danes put four past Poland and Montenegro and five past Ireland. Their Norwegian coach, Age Hareide, favors a direct approach and has made them defensively solid, but they also have the technical quality to unpick sides.

Best Finish: Quarterfinals (1998)

18. IRAN

Carlos Queiroz has been in charge of Iran for six years now. His side qualified unbeaten, letting in just two goals in 10 games in the final group, and can be relied upon to play in the characteristic Quieroz way, full of neat, technical, risk-averse football.

Best Finish: Group Stage (1978, 1998, 2006, 2014)

19. NIGERIA

Inconsistency and underachievement have characterized Nigerian football over the past decade. The Super Eagles have failed to qualify for three of the last four Africa Cup of Nations tournaments but won the one they did get to. Under Gernot Rohr, though, there is a sense of renewal, and they ended up topping a brutally tough qualifying group with relative comfort. A 4-2 friendly victory over a (Messi-less) Argentina this week was hugely impressive.

Best Finish: Round of 16 (1994, 1998, 2014)

20. SWEDEN

The Swedes dug deep and held firm to beat Italy over two legs and seem to have improved as a team since the retirement of Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Memories of their dismal Euro 2016 lurk in the background, and there is a lack of obvious creativity, but this is a side that also beat France in qualifying.

Best Finish: Runner-up (1958)

21. MOROCCO

Herve Renard’s record as an international coach is remarkable. He’s the only man to win the Cup of Nations with two different sides (Zambia, Ivory Coast) and he’s now taken Morocco to its first World Cup since 1998, coming out on top of a group that included Ivory Coast–without conceding a goal.

Best Finish: Round of 16 (1986)

22. JAPAN

There is an awkward sense about Japanese football that it has plateaued. The Samurai Blue finished top of their qualifying group and have an experienced coach in Vahid Halilhodzic, but, having been knocked out of the 2015 Asian Cup in the quarterfinals, there’s no reason to believe they’ll improve on their habit of alternating between group stage and last 16 exits.

Best Finish: Round of 16 (2002, 2010)

23. SERBIA

No side that finished top of its group in European qualifying collected fewer points than Serbia. This is a talented group, particularly in midfield, but the specter of past disintegrations at tournaments haunts them, and the chances of another potential collapse were only increased when Slavoljub Muslin was removed as coach after qualifying essentially because his football had been insufficiently exciting.

Best Finish: Group Stage (2010)

24. EGYPT

This is Egypt’s first World Cup since 1990, but it won a hat trick of Cups of Nations between 2006 and 2010. Having failed to make the following three Cups of Nations, the Pharaohs returned to the tournament this year and showed all the familiar defensive qualities, augmented by the pace of Mohamed Salah on the break, to reach the final.

Best Finish: Group Stage (1934, 1990)

25. SENEGAL

Senegal qualified unbeaten at the top of an awkward group that included Burkina Faso, Cape Verde and South Africa. The Lions of Teranga have pace and attacking flair on the flanks with Sadio Mane and Keita Balde and solidity in midfield with Idrissa Gueye. They disappointed at the Cup of Nations, though, eliminated in the quarterfinal by Cameroon.

Best Finish: Quarterfinals (2002)

26. SOUTH KOREA

South Korea struggled to second in its qualifying group, behind Iran, losing three of its 10 games. The squad should be better than that, though, as it features the likes of Son Heung-min (Tottenham), Lee Chung-yong (Crystal Palace) and Ji Dong-won (Augsburg).

Best Finish: Fourth Place (2002)

27. PERU

Peru is ranked 10th in the world, which is another lesson about the benefit of not playing friendlies. Ricardo Gareca’s side is well-organized and has impressed in recent tournaments, reaching the semifinal of the Copa America in 2015 and losing on penalties in the quarterfinal of the Copa America Centenario a year later. If Paolo Guerrero’s doping ban is confirmed and extended through the summer, though, it will be desperately short of firepower.

Best Finish: Quarterfinals (1970)

28. COSTA RICA

Reaching the last eight four years ago looks like being the summit for a generation. Costa Rica has regressed since then, as a number of key players have aged. The Ticos finished second behind Mexico but managed just two wins away from home in the hexagonal.

Best Finish: Quarterfinals (2014)

29. TUNISIA

A 2-1 win over DR Congo in September effectively sealed Tunisia’s place in Russia, but it will go there with limited ambition after a hugely disappointing Cup of Nations in which it was eliminated by Burkina Faso in the quarterfinal. That led–eventually–to the departure of manager Henryk Kasperczak and his replacement, Nabil Maaloul.

Best Finish: Group Stage (1978, 1998, 2002, 2006)

30. AUSTRALIA

Ange Postecoglu’s side eventually qualified via a playoff, beating Honduras 3-1 over two legs, but the big concern must be that the Socceroos haven’t won any of their last nine games outside of Australia.

Best Finish: Round of 16 (2006)

31. SAUDI ARABIA

Saudi Arabia scraped to an automatic World Cup berth on goal difference ahead of Australia, but lost three of their five away games, beating only Thailand and Iraq on the road. The manager who guided the side through qualifying, Bert van Marwijk, failed to agree to a new contract and was replaced by former Argentina manager Edgardo Bauza.

Best Finish: Round of 16 (1994)

32. PANAMA

Hernan Dario Gomez’s side qualified in third place in CONCACAF, but averaged less than a goal a game and won only one game away from home in the hexagonal. It's a just reward for a veteran core, but there'll be a hill to climb in Russia.

Best Finish: N/A

Bail tightened for official in FIFA soccer bribery case

FILE - In this May 14, 2015, file photo, CONMEBOL delegate Roger Bello, of Bolivia, left, talks with Boca Juniors goalkeeper Agustin Orion, center, and Alejandro Burzaco, president of Torneos y Competencias, during a Copa Libertadores soccer match between Boca Juniors and River Plate, in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Burzaco, the former CEO of a marketing firm based in Argentina, testified Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017, at the U.S. trial of three former South American soccer officials accused of taking bribes in a sprawling corruption investigation of FIFA, that Fox was among several media companies paying bribes through sham contracts for the Copa America and other events. (AP Photo/Victor R. Caivano, File)

Bail tightened for official in FIFA soccer bribery case

FILE - This Nov. 11, 2010, file photo shows Julio Grondona, President of the Argentine Football Association, standing behind the Copa America trophy during the draw of the groups ceremony in La Plata, Argentina. Violence threatens almost every match in Argentina, whether the perpetrators are individual fans, police or hooligan gangs. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko, File)

Perú podría lograr un invicto inédito después de 78 años

En caso de ganar o empatar en Lima, la Rojiblanca de Gareca sellará un año inolvidable, algo que no ocurre desde 1939, año de su primera Copa América.

Perú podría lograr un invicto inédito después de 78 años

En caso de ganar o empatar en Lima, la Rojiblanca de Gareca sellará un año inolvidable, algo que no ocurre desde 1939, año de su primera Copa América.

Sepp Blatter's Fifa vice-president took $1m bribe to vote for Qatar to win 2022 World Cup, court hears

Sepp Blatter’s most senior vice-president at Fifa took at least $1 million in bribes to vote for Qatar to host the 2022 World Cup, a court has heard. Julio Grondona, who was effectively Blatter’s number two until his death in 2014, allegedly told an Argentinian sports marketing executive he had been “owed” the money in exchange for helping the tiny Gulf state secure the tournament. Alejandro Burzaco, the former chief executive of Torneos y Competencias SA, told the first major trial in the Fifa scandal he did not know the source of a bribe that has long been suspected but said Grondona angrily confronted Qatari officials following reports he had been bought off, demanding $80m or a statement from them denying paying him. Organisers of the Qatar World Cup have repeatedly denied paying bribes, distancing themselves from Mohamed bin Hammam, the country’s disgraced Fifa former executive committee member previously accused of orchestrating such a scheme. Burzaco, who pleaded guilty this summer to bribing senior South American football officials in exchange for broadcast rights, told a court in Brooklyn, New York, that while he was arranging a $1m bung to Grondona and another to fellow Fifa executive Ricardo Teixeira over the rights to the Copa America, the former confessed to taking one for his World Cup vote. Alejandro Burzaco (right) pleaded guilty this summer to bribing senior South American football officials in exchange for broadcast rights Credit: AP Burzaco said Grondona told him a month after the December 2010 ballot to pay him Teixeria’s $1m Copa America bribe, which the Brazilian “owed him” as “Grondona voted for Qatar to host the 2022 World Cup”. The witness also told the court he had accompanied the duo and another ExCo member, Conmebol president Nicolás Leoz, to Zurich for the vote and knew they planned to back Qatar. Burzaco testified that Grondona told him Leoz then voted for Japan and then South Korea but switched his allegiance to Qatar when the long-standing head of the Argentine Football Association said to him: “What the hell are you doing? Are you the one not voting for Qatar?” Describing an altercation between Grondona and Qatari officials at a Fifa event 11 months later amid reports he had sold his vote, Burzaco said: “Basically, Grondona told them, ‘You will pay me $80m or write a letter saying you never paid me’.” The trial of three former Fifa officials, José Maria Marin, Juan Ángel Napout and Manuel Burga continues. The trio all deny taking bribes in exchange for football broadcast rights in what prosecutors have branded the “World Cup of fraud”.

Sepp Blatter's Fifa vice-president took $1m bribe to vote for Qatar to win 2022 World Cup, court hears

Sepp Blatter’s most senior vice-president at Fifa took at least $1 million in bribes to vote for Qatar to host the 2022 World Cup, a court has heard. Julio Grondona, who was effectively Blatter’s number two until his death in 2014, allegedly told an Argentinian sports marketing executive he had been “owed” the money in exchange for helping the tiny Gulf state secure the tournament. Alejandro Burzaco, the former chief executive of Torneos y Competencias SA, told the first major trial in the Fifa scandal he did not know the source of a bribe that has long been suspected but said Grondona angrily confronted Qatari officials following reports he had been bought off, demanding $80m or a statement from them denying paying him. Organisers of the Qatar World Cup have repeatedly denied paying bribes, distancing themselves from Mohamed bin Hammam, the country’s disgraced Fifa former executive committee member previously accused of orchestrating such a scheme. Burzaco, who pleaded guilty this summer to bribing senior South American football officials in exchange for broadcast rights, told a court in Brooklyn, New York, that while he was arranging a $1m bung to Grondona and another to fellow Fifa executive Ricardo Teixeira over the rights to the Copa America, the former confessed to taking one for his World Cup vote. Alejandro Burzaco (right) pleaded guilty this summer to bribing senior South American football officials in exchange for broadcast rights Credit: AP Burzaco said Grondona told him a month after the December 2010 ballot to pay him Teixeria’s $1m Copa America bribe, which the Brazilian “owed him” as “Grondona voted for Qatar to host the 2022 World Cup”. The witness also told the court he had accompanied the duo and another ExCo member, Conmebol president Nicolás Leoz, to Zurich for the vote and knew they planned to back Qatar. Burzaco testified that Grondona told him Leoz then voted for Japan and then South Korea but switched his allegiance to Qatar when the long-standing head of the Argentine Football Association said to him: “What the hell are you doing? Are you the one not voting for Qatar?” Describing an altercation between Grondona and Qatari officials at a Fifa event 11 months later amid reports he had sold his vote, Burzaco said: “Basically, Grondona told them, ‘You will pay me $80m or write a letter saying you never paid me’.” The trial of three former Fifa officials, José Maria Marin, Juan Ángel Napout and Manuel Burga continues. The trio all deny taking bribes in exchange for football broadcast rights in what prosecutors have branded the “World Cup of fraud”.

Tite - revivalist, revolutionary or reactionary? How Brazil recovered from national humiliation 

Brazil in 1970, wrote the great Uruguayan essayist and epigrammist Eduardo Galeano, “played a soccer worthy of her people’s yearning for celebration and craving for beauty”. It has become commonplace to argue ever since their grisly campaign to defend the World Cup in 1974 that the subsequent five decades have been spent in a kind of aesthetic wilderness, betraying the credo and paradigm of ‘the beautiful game’ in grim pursuit of defensive robustness to counterbalance the seemingly ad-lib attacking ingenuity. A fear of being overrun by unyielding, ruthless opponents should Brazil return to first principles as they did under Tele Santana in 1982, the hypothesis goes, has reduced them to sacrificing the poetic for the prosaic.   System, structure, discipline and world-class strikers earned a fourth and fifth World Cup. We would all feel blessed to be thus compromised. But by 2014, this muddle took them on a foul-strewn run to the semi-final where, without the injured Neymar, they suffered their utmost humiliation in the 7-1 thrashing by Germany. The way the nation treated Neymar’s absence in the build-up, gnashing their teeth as if he had been martyred instead of injured, emphasised the extent of the problem. Those laments were a siren and the autopsy dwelt on the philosophical and psychological inadequacies that disgraced the team’s heritage. Guillem Balague once asked Roberto Carlos, a World Cup runner-up in 1998 and a winner in 2002, about the burden of expectation on Brazil’s players and he exhaled through a thin smile. “Football made me old before my time,” he said. “My country is one of suffering where the people look to victory in football to take them away from the poverty. Football is the only thing that can make the people happy.  “And that brings enormous pressure - we have to bear and play under its weight. It’s down to us to make the whole country happy. [Only we] can make the people forget about the assassinations and kidnappings, the economic crisis. We are God’s chosen ones to step up to the plate.” After the 2014 World Cup, fears that the bond between the public and its team (that had sustained football’s most important and optimistic culture) had been sundered provoked an understandable but unfortunate reaction from the incontinently scandal-plagued confederation. Ignoring that it had been the pragmatic taskmaster Luiz Felipe Scolari who had presided over the great indignity, Dunga, coach from 2006 to 2010, was reappointed once again to instil discipline, tactical rigidity and penitence. Dejected Brazil fans after the 7-1 semi-final humiliation Credit: AP Photo/Andre Penner The CBF has lived high on the hog since 1958 when Joao Havelange’s ascendancy began as president of the Brazilian sports confederation, but it never sees the harm in prescribing a spell of sackcloth and ashes for the players to deflect from broader deficiencies.  The board had two options in July 2014: Tite, who had won four regional titles at four clubs and, with Corinthians, the championship of Brazil, the Copa Libertadores and the Fifa Club World Cup or Dunga, a World Cup-winning captain who had won the Copa America in his first year as national team coach but packed his team with so many workhorses and cloggers by 2010 that it resembled a rat’s nest and left South Africa unmourned at the quarter-final stage. The CBF went for the familiar and disappointed Tite, who had taken a season’s sabbatical in anticipation of succeeding Scolari, his former PE teacher and team-mate, and tried to prepare himself by visiting Arsenal and Real Madrid to observe and consult with Arsène Wenger and Carlo Ancelotti. While the national team was flagellating itself in a show of atonement under Dunga, mired in his usual incoherence, Tite returned to Corinthians and won a second national title. When Brazil were eliminated from the Copa America Centenario at the group stage following a draw with Ecuador and defeat by Peru, the confederation at last redressed its error, sacked Dunga and summoned Tite.  Brazil treated Neymar as if he'd been martyred rather than injured Credit: ODD ANDERSEN/AFP He was appointed in June 2016 and rejuvenated the qualification campaign for Russia so thoroughly that they won nine successive group matches and were the first team to join the hosts in the pot last March. Yet the hopes that Brazil’s resurgence is because the coach is the heir to Jorge Saldanha, the man who fashioned the 1970 side but was manoeuvred out of his job before the tournament because of his opposition to the military dictatorship, and also Santana are not supported by the evidence.  Tite is as much a pragmatist as his predecessors but he has introduced one crucial change he refined at Corinthians that has re-established midfield as the power train of the team. Scolari deployed flying full-backs as the creative motor of his side, stationing two holding midfielders in front of the centre-backs, a forceful, hard-running centre-forward ahead of wide men and a 10. Hulk and Oscar were no one’s idea of wingers but they started on the flanks and cut in to leave space for the bombing Dani Alves and Marcelo. Dunga tried variations of 4-1-4-1 and 4-2-3-1 but could never get the balance right.  Sam Wallace's Power Rankings 42:04 By contrast Tite has stuck with largely the same personnel yet has turned them into a coherent whole. Renato Augusto, a 2016 Olympic gold medallist, was already in Dunga’s side but has been transformed into a deep-lying playmaker in the Andrea Pirlo mode by Tite who used him there for Corinthians. During four seasons at Bayer Leverkusen, he played in the hole but in this withdrawn role he dictates the tempo and runs the game. Behind him sits Casemiro or Fernandinho and to his right the recalled Paulinho. These three positions are the heart of the new Brazil - a holder, a playmaker and a box-to-box raider - just as Ralf, Jadson and Elias drove Corinthians on from the same berths. With Neymar to the left, Philippe Coutinho or Willian on the right and Gabriel Jesus or Roberto Firmino through the middle, they have the flexibility to spring from 4-1-4-1 to 4-3-3 and, with Paulinho’s lung-bursting runs, something approaching the 4-2-4 that makes the heart sing.  We’re not looking at midfielders of Gerson’s quality or Socrates’ or Falcao’s, more a functioning system in which the players understand their assignments and have the confidence to trust the coach’s judgment. Last March Paulinho scored a hat-trick in a 1-4 victory over Uruguay in Montevideo arriving each time with the judicious timing of a player who reads the game fluently. As we saw at the typically bombastic Barcelona unveiling in August, Paulinho may not be able to execute pointless tricks with precision but stick him in a match and he plays with poise and intelligence.   Paulinho was restored to the side by his former Corinthians manager and scored a hat-trick in Montevideo last March Credit: Natacha Pisarenko/AP In addition Tite has addressed the reliance on Neymar by sometimes, paraphrasing Barry Davies’ immortal line, “using him by not using him”. “The collective empowers the individual,” the coach says. “If the ball arrives to Neymar, they mark [him], but the other side is more exposed. Coutinho creates chances. Enter Fagner, enter Paulinho. We take Neymar to one side, let him be isolated and make room for another.” You can tell by the tears when Tite praised him last week and pledged his support, that Neymar, caricatured as a prima donna, is anything but in a canary shirt.  Note that the collective ‘empowers the individual’ but only to serve the collective and Neymar buys into this. The coach's habit of rotating the captaincy apparently indiscriminately would make the armband fetishists among the England correspondents apoplectic but he does it simply to stress the team counts more than any of its components, much like Billy Bremner’s old mantra: “Side before self, every time.”   Brazil will walk out at Wembley on Tuesday night second behind Germany in the betting for next year’s World Cup. Under Tite they have lost only one game, a friendly last June at the Melbourne Cricket Ground against Argentina, and won 10 of 12 competitive matches. Perennial favourites for tournaments often for sentimental reasons, this time their claims are genuine. Because now they are not being led by a revivalist, a revolutionary or a reactionary but an astute, dauntless and enlightened coach who has found a fourth way.  

Tite - revivalist, revolutionary or reactionary? How Brazil recovered from national humiliation 

Brazil in 1970, wrote the great Uruguayan essayist and epigrammist Eduardo Galeano, “played a soccer worthy of her people’s yearning for celebration and craving for beauty”. It has become commonplace to argue ever since their grisly campaign to defend the World Cup in 1974 that the subsequent five decades have been spent in a kind of aesthetic wilderness, betraying the credo and paradigm of ‘the beautiful game’ in grim pursuit of defensive robustness to counterbalance the seemingly ad-lib attacking ingenuity. A fear of being overrun by unyielding, ruthless opponents should Brazil return to first principles as they did under Tele Santana in 1982, the hypothesis goes, has reduced them to sacrificing the poetic for the prosaic.   System, structure, discipline and world-class strikers earned a fourth and fifth World Cup. We would all feel blessed to be thus compromised. But by 2014, this muddle took them on a foul-strewn run to the semi-final where, without the injured Neymar, they suffered their utmost humiliation in the 7-1 thrashing by Germany. The way the nation treated Neymar’s absence in the build-up, gnashing their teeth as if he had been martyred instead of injured, emphasised the extent of the problem. Those laments were a siren and the autopsy dwelt on the philosophical and psychological inadequacies that disgraced the team’s heritage. Guillem Balague once asked Roberto Carlos, a World Cup runner-up in 1998 and a winner in 2002, about the burden of expectation on Brazil’s players and he exhaled through a thin smile. “Football made me old before my time,” he said. “My country is one of suffering where the people look to victory in football to take them away from the poverty. Football is the only thing that can make the people happy.  “And that brings enormous pressure - we have to bear and play under its weight. It’s down to us to make the whole country happy. [Only we] can make the people forget about the assassinations and kidnappings, the economic crisis. We are God’s chosen ones to step up to the plate.” After the 2014 World Cup, fears that the bond between the public and its team (that had sustained football’s most important and optimistic culture) had been sundered provoked an understandable but unfortunate reaction from the incontinently scandal-plagued confederation. Ignoring that it had been the pragmatic taskmaster Luiz Felipe Scolari who had presided over the great indignity, Dunga, coach from 2006 to 2010, was reappointed once again to instil discipline, tactical rigidity and penitence. Dejected Brazil fans after the 7-1 semi-final humiliation Credit: AP Photo/Andre Penner The CBF has lived high on the hog since 1958 when Joao Havelange’s ascendancy began as president of the Brazilian sports confederation, but it never sees the harm in prescribing a spell of sackcloth and ashes for the players to deflect from broader deficiencies.  The board had two options in July 2014: Tite, who had won four regional titles at four clubs and, with Corinthians, the championship of Brazil, the Copa Libertadores and the Fifa Club World Cup or Dunga, a World Cup-winning captain who had won the Copa America in his first year as national team coach but packed his team with so many workhorses and cloggers by 2010 that it resembled a rat’s nest and left South Africa unmourned at the quarter-final stage. The CBF went for the familiar and disappointed Tite, who had taken a season’s sabbatical in anticipation of succeeding Scolari, his former PE teacher and team-mate, and tried to prepare himself by visiting Arsenal and Real Madrid to observe and consult with Arsène Wenger and Carlo Ancelotti. While the national team was flagellating itself in a show of atonement under Dunga, mired in his usual incoherence, Tite returned to Corinthians and won a second national title. When Brazil were eliminated from the Copa America Centenario at the group stage following a draw with Ecuador and defeat by Peru, the confederation at last redressed its error, sacked Dunga and summoned Tite.  Brazil treated Neymar as if he'd been martyred rather than injured Credit: ODD ANDERSEN/AFP He was appointed in June 2016 and rejuvenated the qualification campaign for Russia so thoroughly that they won nine successive group matches and were the first team to join the hosts in the pot last March. Yet the hopes that Brazil’s resurgence is because the coach is the heir to Jorge Saldanha, the man who fashioned the 1970 side but was manoeuvred out of his job before the tournament because of his opposition to the military dictatorship, and also Santana are not supported by the evidence.  Tite is as much a pragmatist as his predecessors but he has introduced one crucial change he refined at Corinthians that has re-established midfield as the power train of the team. Scolari deployed flying full-backs as the creative motor of his side, stationing two holding midfielders in front of the centre-backs, a forceful, hard-running centre-forward ahead of wide men and a 10. Hulk and Oscar were no one’s idea of wingers but they started on the flanks and cut in to leave space for the bombing Dani Alves and Marcelo. Dunga tried variations of 4-1-4-1 and 4-2-3-1 but could never get the balance right.  Sam Wallace's Power Rankings 42:04 By contrast Tite has stuck with largely the same personnel yet has turned them into a coherent whole. Renato Augusto, a 2016 Olympic gold medallist, was already in Dunga’s side but has been transformed into a deep-lying playmaker in the Andrea Pirlo mode by Tite who used him there for Corinthians. During four seasons at Bayer Leverkusen, he played in the hole but in this withdrawn role he dictates the tempo and runs the game. Behind him sits Casemiro or Fernandinho and to his right the recalled Paulinho. These three positions are the heart of the new Brazil - a holder, a playmaker and a box-to-box raider - just as Ralf, Jadson and Elias drove Corinthians on from the same berths. With Neymar to the left, Philippe Coutinho or Willian on the right and Gabriel Jesus or Roberto Firmino through the middle, they have the flexibility to spring from 4-1-4-1 to 4-3-3 and, with Paulinho’s lung-bursting runs, something approaching the 4-2-4 that makes the heart sing.  We’re not looking at midfielders of Gerson’s quality or Socrates’ or Falcao’s, more a functioning system in which the players understand their assignments and have the confidence to trust the coach’s judgment. Last March Paulinho scored a hat-trick in a 1-4 victory over Uruguay in Montevideo arriving each time with the judicious timing of a player who reads the game fluently. As we saw at the typically bombastic Barcelona unveiling in August, Paulinho may not be able to execute pointless tricks with precision but stick him in a match and he plays with poise and intelligence.   Paulinho was restored to the side by his former Corinthians manager and scored a hat-trick in Montevideo last March Credit: Natacha Pisarenko/AP In addition Tite has addressed the reliance on Neymar by sometimes, paraphrasing Barry Davies’ immortal line, “using him by not using him”. “The collective empowers the individual,” the coach says. “If the ball arrives to Neymar, they mark [him], but the other side is more exposed. Coutinho creates chances. Enter Fagner, enter Paulinho. We take Neymar to one side, let him be isolated and make room for another.” You can tell by the tears when Tite praised him last week and pledged his support, that Neymar, caricatured as a prima donna, is anything but in a canary shirt.  Note that the collective ‘empowers the individual’ but only to serve the collective and Neymar buys into this. The coach's habit of rotating the captaincy apparently indiscriminately would make the armband fetishists among the England correspondents apoplectic but he does it simply to stress the team counts more than any of its components, much like Billy Bremner’s old mantra: “Side before self, every time.”   Brazil will walk out at Wembley on Tuesday night second behind Germany in the betting for next year’s World Cup. Under Tite they have lost only one game, a friendly last June at the Melbourne Cricket Ground against Argentina, and won 10 of 12 competitive matches. Perennial favourites for tournaments often for sentimental reasons, this time their claims are genuine. Because now they are not being led by a revivalist, a revolutionary or a reactionary but an astute, dauntless and enlightened coach who has found a fourth way.  

Tite - revivalist, revolutionary or reactionary? How Brazil recovered from national humiliation 

Brazil in 1970, wrote the great Uruguayan essayist and epigrammist Eduardo Galeano, “played a soccer worthy of her people’s yearning for celebration and craving for beauty”. It has become commonplace to argue ever since their grisly campaign to defend the World Cup in 1974 that the subsequent five decades have been spent in a kind of aesthetic wilderness, betraying the credo and paradigm of ‘the beautiful game’ in grim pursuit of defensive robustness to counterbalance the seemingly ad-lib attacking ingenuity. A fear of being overrun by unyielding, ruthless opponents should Brazil return to first principles as they did under Tele Santana in 1982, the hypothesis goes, has reduced them to sacrificing the poetic for the prosaic.   System, structure, discipline and world-class strikers earned a fourth and fifth World Cup. We would all feel blessed to be thus compromised. But by 2014, this muddle took them on a foul-strewn run to the semi-final where, without the injured Neymar, they suffered their utmost humiliation in the 7-1 thrashing by Germany. The way the nation treated Neymar’s absence in the build-up, gnashing their teeth as if he had been martyred instead of injured, emphasised the extent of the problem. Those laments were a siren and the autopsy dwelt on the philosophical and psychological inadequacies that disgraced the team’s heritage. Guillem Balague once asked Roberto Carlos, a World Cup runner-up in 1998 and a winner in 2002, about the burden of expectation on Brazil’s players and he exhaled through a thin smile. “Football made me old before my time,” he said. “My country is one of suffering where the people look to victory in football to take them away from the poverty. Football is the only thing that can make the people happy.  “And that brings enormous pressure - we have to bear and play under its weight. It’s down to us to make the whole country happy. [Only we] can make the people forget about the assassinations and kidnappings, the economic crisis. We are God’s chosen ones to step up to the plate.” After the 2014 World Cup, fears that the bond between the public and its team (that had sustained football’s most important and optimistic culture) had been sundered provoked an understandable but unfortunate reaction from the incontinently scandal-plagued confederation. Ignoring that it had been the pragmatic taskmaster Luiz Felipe Scolari who had presided over the great indignity, Dunga, coach from 2006 to 2010, was reappointed once again to instil discipline, tactical rigidity and penitence. Dejected Brazil fans after the 7-1 semi-final humiliation Credit: AP Photo/Andre Penner The CBF has lived high on the hog since 1958 when Joao Havelange’s ascendancy began as president of the Brazilian sports confederation, but it never sees the harm in prescribing a spell of sackcloth and ashes for the players to deflect from broader deficiencies.  The board had two options in July 2014: Tite, who had won four regional titles at four clubs and, with Corinthians, the championship of Brazil, the Copa Libertadores and the Fifa Club World Cup or Dunga, a World Cup-winning captain who had won the Copa America in his first year as national team coach but packed his team with so many workhorses and cloggers by 2010 that it resembled a rat’s nest and left South Africa unmourned at the quarter-final stage. The CBF went for the familiar and disappointed Tite, who had taken a season’s sabbatical in anticipation of succeeding Scolari, his former PE teacher and team-mate, and tried to prepare himself by visiting Arsenal and Real Madrid to observe and consult with Arsène Wenger and Carlo Ancelotti. While the national team was flagellating itself in a show of atonement under Dunga, mired in his usual incoherence, Tite returned to Corinthians and won a second national title. When Brazil were eliminated from the Copa America Centenario at the group stage following a draw with Ecuador and defeat by Peru, the confederation at last redressed its error, sacked Dunga and summoned Tite.  Brazil treated Neymar as if he'd been martyred rather than injured Credit: ODD ANDERSEN/AFP He was appointed in June 2016 and rejuvenated the qualification campaign for Russia so thoroughly that they won nine successive group matches and were the first team to join the hosts in the pot last March. Yet the hopes that Brazil’s resurgence is because the coach is the heir to Jorge Saldanha, the man who fashioned the 1970 side but was manoeuvred out of his job before the tournament because of his opposition to the military dictatorship, and also Santana are not supported by the evidence.  Tite is as much a pragmatist as his predecessors but he has introduced one crucial change he refined at Corinthians that has re-established midfield as the power train of the team. Scolari deployed flying full-backs as the creative motor of his side, stationing two holding midfielders in front of the centre-backs, a forceful, hard-running centre-forward ahead of wide men and a 10. Hulk and Oscar were no one’s idea of wingers but they started on the flanks and cut in to leave space for the bombing Dani Alves and Marcelo. Dunga tried variations of 4-1-4-1 and 4-2-3-1 but could never get the balance right.  Sam Wallace's Power Rankings 42:04 By contrast Tite has stuck with largely the same personnel yet has turned them into a coherent whole. Renato Augusto, a 2016 Olympic gold medallist, was already in Dunga’s side but has been transformed into a deep-lying playmaker in the Andrea Pirlo mode by Tite who used him there for Corinthians. During four seasons at Bayer Leverkusen, he played in the hole but in this withdrawn role he dictates the tempo and runs the game. Behind him sits Casemiro or Fernandinho and to his right the recalled Paulinho. These three positions are the heart of the new Brazil - a holder, a playmaker and a box-to-box raider - just as Ralf, Jadson and Elias drove Corinthians on from the same berths. With Neymar to the left, Philippe Coutinho or Willian on the right and Gabriel Jesus or Roberto Firmino through the middle, they have the flexibility to spring from 4-1-4-1 to 4-3-3 and, with Paulinho’s lung-bursting runs, something approaching the 4-2-4 that makes the heart sing.  We’re not looking at midfielders of Gerson’s quality or Socrates’ or Falcao’s, more a functioning system in which the players understand their assignments and have the confidence to trust the coach’s judgment. Last March Paulinho scored a hat-trick in a 1-4 victory over Uruguay in Montevideo arriving each time with the judicious timing of a player who reads the game fluently. As we saw at the typically bombastic Barcelona unveiling in August, Paulinho may not be able to execute pointless tricks with precision but stick him in a match and he plays with poise and intelligence.   Paulinho was restored to the side by his former Corinthians manager and scored a hat-trick in Montevideo last March Credit: Natacha Pisarenko/AP In addition Tite has addressed the reliance on Neymar by sometimes, paraphrasing Barry Davies’ immortal line, “using him by not using him”. “The collective empowers the individual,” the coach says. “If the ball arrives to Neymar, they mark [him], but the other side is more exposed. Coutinho creates chances. Enter Fagner, enter Paulinho. We take Neymar to one side, let him be isolated and make room for another.” You can tell by the tears when Tite praised him last week and pledged his support, that Neymar, caricatured as a prima donna, is anything but in a canary shirt.  Note that the collective ‘empowers the individual’ but only to serve the collective and Neymar buys into this. The coach's habit of rotating the captaincy apparently indiscriminately would make the armband fetishists among the England correspondents apoplectic but he does it simply to stress the team counts more than any of its components, much like Billy Bremner’s old mantra: “Side before self, every time.”   Brazil will walk out at Wembley on Tuesday night second behind Germany in the betting for next year’s World Cup. Under Tite they have lost only one game, a friendly last June at the Melbourne Cricket Ground against Argentina, and won 10 of 12 competitive matches. Perennial favourites for tournaments often for sentimental reasons, this time their claims are genuine. Because now they are not being led by a revivalist, a revolutionary or a reactionary but an astute, dauntless and enlightened coach who has found a fourth way.  

Tite - revivalist, revolutionary or reactionary? How Brazil recovered from national humiliation 

Brazil in 1970, wrote the great Uruguayan essayist and epigrammist Eduardo Galeano, “played a soccer worthy of her people’s yearning for celebration and craving for beauty”. It has become commonplace to argue ever since their grisly campaign to defend the World Cup in 1974 that the subsequent five decades have been spent in a kind of aesthetic wilderness, betraying the credo and paradigm of ‘the beautiful game’ in grim pursuit of defensive robustness to counterbalance the seemingly ad-lib attacking ingenuity. A fear of being overrun by unyielding, ruthless opponents should Brazil return to first principles as they did under Tele Santana in 1982, the hypothesis goes, has reduced them to sacrificing the poetic for the prosaic.   System, structure, discipline and world-class strikers earned a fourth and fifth World Cup. We would all feel blessed to be thus compromised. But by 2014, this muddle took them on a foul-strewn run to the semi-final where, without the injured Neymar, they suffered their utmost humiliation in the 7-1 thrashing by Germany. The way the nation treated Neymar’s absence in the build-up, gnashing their teeth as if he had been martyred instead of injured, emphasised the extent of the problem. Those laments were a siren and the autopsy dwelt on the philosophical and psychological inadequacies that disgraced the team’s heritage. Guillem Balague once asked Roberto Carlos, a World Cup runner-up in 1998 and a winner in 2002, about the burden of expectation on Brazil’s players and he exhaled through a thin smile. “Football made me old before my time,” he said. “My country is one of suffering where the people look to victory in football to take them away from the poverty. Football is the only thing that can make the people happy.  “And that brings enormous pressure - we have to bear and play under its weight. It’s down to us to make the whole country happy. [Only we] can make the people forget about the assassinations and kidnappings, the economic crisis. We are God’s chosen ones to step up to the plate.” After the 2014 World Cup, fears that the bond between the public and its team (that had sustained football’s most important and optimistic culture) had been sundered provoked an understandable but unfortunate reaction from the incontinently scandal-plagued confederation. Ignoring that it had been the pragmatic taskmaster Luiz Felipe Scolari who had presided over the great indignity, Dunga, coach from 2006 to 2010, was reappointed once again to instil discipline, tactical rigidity and penitence. Dejected Brazil fans after the 7-1 semi-final humiliation Credit: AP Photo/Andre Penner The CBF has lived high on the hog since 1958 when Joao Havelange’s ascendancy began as president of the Brazilian sports confederation, but it never sees the harm in prescribing a spell of sackcloth and ashes for the players to deflect from broader deficiencies.  The board had two options in July 2014: Tite, who had won four regional titles at four clubs and, with Corinthians, the championship of Brazil, the Copa Libertadores and the Fifa Club World Cup or Dunga, a World Cup-winning captain who had won the Copa America in his first year as national team coach but packed his team with so many workhorses and cloggers by 2010 that it resembled a rat’s nest and left South Africa unmourned at the quarter-final stage. The CBF went for the familiar and disappointed Tite, who had taken a season’s sabbatical in anticipation of succeeding Scolari, his former PE teacher and team-mate, and tried to prepare himself by visiting Arsenal and Real Madrid to observe and consult with Arsène Wenger and Carlo Ancelotti. While the national team was flagellating itself in a show of atonement under Dunga, mired in his usual incoherence, Tite returned to Corinthians and won a second national title. When Brazil were eliminated from the Copa America Centenario at the group stage following a draw with Ecuador and defeat by Peru, the confederation at last redressed its error, sacked Dunga and summoned Tite.  Brazil treated Neymar as if he'd been martyred rather than injured Credit: ODD ANDERSEN/AFP He was appointed in June 2016 and rejuvenated the qualification campaign for Russia so thoroughly that they won nine successive group matches and were the first team to join the hosts in the pot last March. Yet the hopes that Brazil’s resurgence is because the coach is the heir to Jorge Saldanha, the man who fashioned the 1970 side but was manoeuvred out of his job before the tournament because of his opposition to the military dictatorship, and also Santana are not supported by the evidence.  Tite is as much a pragmatist as his predecessors but he has introduced one crucial change he refined at Corinthians that has re-established midfield as the power train of the team. Scolari deployed flying full-backs as the creative motor of his side, stationing two holding midfielders in front of the centre-backs, a forceful, hard-running centre-forward ahead of wide men and a 10. Hulk and Oscar were no one’s idea of wingers but they started on the flanks and cut in to leave space for the bombing Dani Alves and Marcelo. Dunga tried variations of 4-1-4-1 and 4-2-3-1 but could never get the balance right.  Sam Wallace's Power Rankings 42:04 By contrast Tite has stuck with largely the same personnel yet has turned them into a coherent whole. Renato Augusto, a 2016 Olympic gold medallist, was already in Dunga’s side but has been transformed into a deep-lying playmaker in the Andrea Pirlo mode by Tite who used him there for Corinthians. During four seasons at Bayer Leverkusen, he played in the hole but in this withdrawn role he dictates the tempo and runs the game. Behind him sits Casemiro or Fernandinho and to his right the recalled Paulinho. These three positions are the heart of the new Brazil - a holder, a playmaker and a box-to-box raider - just as Ralf, Jadson and Elias drove Corinthians on from the same berths. With Neymar to the left, Philippe Coutinho or Willian on the right and Gabriel Jesus or Roberto Firmino through the middle, they have the flexibility to spring from 4-1-4-1 to 4-3-3 and, with Paulinho’s lung-bursting runs, something approaching the 4-2-4 that makes the heart sing.  We’re not looking at midfielders of Gerson’s quality or Socrates’ or Falcao’s, more a functioning system in which the players understand their assignments and have the confidence to trust the coach’s judgment. Last March Paulinho scored a hat-trick in a 1-4 victory over Uruguay in Montevideo arriving each time with the judicious timing of a player who reads the game fluently. As we saw at the typically bombastic Barcelona unveiling in August, Paulinho may not be able to execute pointless tricks with precision but stick him in a match and he plays with poise and intelligence.   Paulinho was restored to the side by his former Corinthians manager and scored a hat-trick in Montevideo last March Credit: Natacha Pisarenko/AP In addition Tite has addressed the reliance on Neymar by sometimes, paraphrasing Barry Davies’ immortal line, “using him by not using him”. “The collective empowers the individual,” the coach says. “If the ball arrives to Neymar, they mark [him], but the other side is more exposed. Coutinho creates chances. Enter Fagner, enter Paulinho. We take Neymar to one side, let him be isolated and make room for another.” You can tell by the tears when Tite praised him last week and pledged his support, that Neymar, caricatured as a prima donna, is anything but in a canary shirt.  Note that the collective ‘empowers the individual’ but only to serve the collective and Neymar buys into this. The coach's habit of rotating the captaincy apparently indiscriminately would make the armband fetishists among the England correspondents apoplectic but he does it simply to stress the team counts more than any of its components, much like Billy Bremner’s old mantra: “Side before self, every time.”   Brazil will walk out at Wembley on Tuesday night second behind Germany in the betting for next year’s World Cup. Under Tite they have lost only one game, a friendly last June at the Melbourne Cricket Ground against Argentina, and won 10 of 12 competitive matches. Perennial favourites for tournaments often for sentimental reasons, this time their claims are genuine. Because now they are not being led by a revivalist, a revolutionary or a reactionary but an astute, dauntless and enlightened coach who has found a fourth way.  

International: Messi zu Argentinien-Comeback nach Rücktritt: "Es war mir peinlich"

Im Juni 2016 musste sich Lionel Messi mit der argentinischen Nationalmannschaf t zum wiederholten Male in einem großen Finale geschlagen geben. Gegen Chile scheiterte die Albiceleste im Endspiel der Copa America im Elfmeterschießen. Anschließend gab La Pulga seinen Rücktritt aus seiner Landesauswahl bekannt, wurde zwei Monate später allerdings zum Umdenken bewegt. Jetzt spricht der fünffache Weltfußballer über seinen damaligen Entschluss.

PHOTOS: World Cup jerseys have throwback vibes

EURO 2016 and Copa America Centenario saw a lot of teams wearing very similar kits.

PHOTOS: World Cup jerseys have throwback vibes

EURO 2016 and Copa America Centenario saw a lot of teams wearing very similar kits.

PHOTOS: World Cup jerseys have throwback vibes

EURO 2016 and Copa America Centenario saw a lot of teams wearing very similar kits.

Foto de archivo del delantero de Perú Yordy Reyna en el partido por el tercer puesto de la Copa América 2015

Foto de archivo del delantero de Perú Yordy Reyna en el partido por el tercer puesto de la Copa América 2015. Jul 3, 2015. REUTERS/Andres Stapff

U.S. Soccer Holds Surplus of Between $130-$140 Million

Much has been made of the current financial surplus of U.S. Soccer, which has been reported to be around $100 million following the success of the 2016 Copa America Centenario. But a source with direct knowledge of the situation says the actual number on the surplus is significantly higher: Between $130 million and $140 million.

While a significant portion of that surplus needs to be kept in reserve, U.S. Soccer has yet to decide on what to spend the rest of that money. Board discussions have centered on capital investments in infrastructure, youth development and new uses of technology to identify talent. But everyone has their own idea on what they think the surplus should go toward.

In May, SI.com reported that part of the surplus was being earmarked for a project called the "Innovate to Grow Fund," which would stimulate growth among membership at all levels, from the grassroots and up. U.S. Soccer was also engaged in talks over building a national training center with the surplus funds.

Argentina's Lionel Messi and Gonzalo Higuain celebrate after scoring against Venezuela during their 2016 Copa America Centenario quarter-final match, in Foxborough, Massachusetts

Argentina's Lionel Messi and Gonzalo Higuain celebrate after scoring against Venezuela during their 2016 Copa America Centenario quarter-final match, in Foxborough, Massachusetts

Argentina's Lionel Messi and Gonzalo Higuain celebrate after scoring against Venezuela during their 2016 Copa America Centenario quarter-final match, in Foxborough, Massachusetts (AFP Photo/ALFREDO ESTRELLA)

Claudio Bravo quiere una tercera Copa América

El capitán de Chile aseguró que piensa en levantar otro trofeo y planteó que "las palabras pasan".

Claudio Bravo quiere una tercera Copa América

El capitán de Chile aseguró que piensa en levantar otro trofeo y planteó que "las palabras pasan".