Featured Matches
Previous
Aston Villa
Newcastle United
11:45 AM GMT
Game Details
Chelsea
Leicester City
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Everton
Arsenal
4:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Sevilla FC
Valencia
7:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Borussia Dortmund
Bayer Leverkusen
4:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Guingamp
Marseille
3:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Ipswich Town
Norwich City
11:15 AM GMT
Game Details
Aston Villa
Newcastle United
11:45 AM GMT
Game Details
Chelsea
Leicester City
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Crystal Palace
West Ham United
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Southampton
West Bromwich Albion
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Swansea City
Burnley
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Everton
Arsenal
4:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Malaga
Athletic Bilbao
5:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Granada
Deportivo La Coruña
7:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Sevilla FC
Valencia
7:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Almeria
Espanyol
9:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Eintracht Frankfurt
SC Freiburg
1:30 PM GMT
Game Details
FC Cologne
Hamburg SV
1:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Hannover 96
Schalke 04
1:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Hertha Berlin
Werder Bremen
1:30 PM GMT
Game Details
TSG Hoffenheim
FC Augsburg
1:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Borussia Dortmund
Bayer Leverkusen
4:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Guingamp
Marseille
3:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Bastia
Toulouse
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Lille
Lorient
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Montpellier
Metz
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Nice
Bordeaux
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Stade de Reims
Caen
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Ipswich Town
Norwich City
11:15 AM GMT
Game Details
Blackburn Rovers
AFC Bournemouth
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Brentford
Birmingham City
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Brighton & Hove Albion
Bolton Wanderers
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Derby County
Fulham
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Huddersfield Town
Charlton Athletic
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Middlesbrough
Sheffield Wednesday
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Millwall
Rotherham United
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Nottingham Forest
Reading
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Watford
Leeds United
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Wigan Athletic
Blackpool
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Wolverhampton Wanderers
Cardiff City
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Barnsley
Gillingham
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Bradford City
Peterborough United
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Colchester United
Doncaster Rovers
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Fleetwood Town
Chesterfield
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Leyton Orient
Walsall
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Milton Keynes Dons
Coventry City
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Port Vale
Notts County
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Preston North End
Oldham Athletic
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Rochdale
Bristol City
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Sheffield United
Crawley Town
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Swindon Town
Crewe Alexandra
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Yeovil Town
Scunthorpe United
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Accrington Stanley
Luton Town
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
AFC Wimbledon
Hartlepool United
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Bury
Plymouth Argyle
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Cambridge United
Morecambe
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Carlisle United
Southend United
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Dagenham & Redbridge
Mansfield Town
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Exeter City
York City
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Newport County
Burton Albion
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Northampton Town
Shrewsbury Town
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Oxford United
Portsmouth
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Stevenage
Wycombe Wanderers
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Tranmere Rovers
Cheltenham Town
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Alfreton Town
Wrexham
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Bristol Rovers
AFC Telford United
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Chester City
Halifax
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Dartford
Torquay United
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Dover
Eastleigh
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Gateshead
Grimsby Town
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Lincoln City
Braintree Town
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Macclesfield Town
Kidderminster Harriers
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Nuneaton Town
Barnet
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Southport
Altrincham
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Welling
Woking
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Inverness Caledonian Thistle
Celtic
11:30 AM GMT
Game Details
Dundee United
Ross County
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Kilmarnock
Motherwell
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Partick Thistle
Hamilton Academical
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
St Johnstone
Aberdeen
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
St Mirren
Dundee
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Edinburgh Univ
Hurlford Utd
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Hawick Royal Albert
Newton Stewart
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Cowdenbeath
Alloa Athletic
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Hibernian
Falkirk
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Queen of the South
Livingston
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Raith Rovers
Heart of Midlothian
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Rangers
Dumbarton
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Ayr United
Forfar Athletic
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Dunfermline Athletic
Airdrie United
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Peterhead
Greenock Morton
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Stenhousemuir
Stirling Albion
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Stranraer
Brechin City
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Albion Rovers
East Fife
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Berwick Rangers
East Stirlingshire
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Elgin City
Clyde
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Montrose
Annan Athletic
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Queen's Park
Arbroath
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Osasuna
Barcelona B
5:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Real Valladolid
Mallorca
5:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Recreativo Huelva
Real Zaragoza
5:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Las Palmas
Llagostera
7:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Numancia
Sporting Gijon
7:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Atalanta
Pisa
4:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Varese
Virtus Entella
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Palermo
Modena
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Perugia
Spezia
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Bari
US Avellino
7:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Cagliari
Catania
7:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Fortuna Düsseldorf
Karlsruhe
11:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Nurnberg
FSV Frankfurt
11:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Dijon FCO
AJ Auxerre
12:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Willem II Tilburg
AZ Alkmaar
4:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Heerenveen
Excelsior
5:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Go Ahead Eagles
Dordrecht '90
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Maritimo
Academica de Coimbra
4:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Paços de Ferreira
FC Porto
5:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Sporting Lisbon
Arouca
7:30 PM GMT
Game Details
FC Ufa
Spartak Moscow
10:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Zenit St Petersburg
FK Amkar Perm
1:00 PM GMT
Game Details
FK Rubin Kazan
CSKA Moscow
4:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Kerkyra
Panthrakikos
4:15 PM GMT
Game Details
OFI Crete
Panetolikos
4:15 PM GMT
Game Details
Olympiakos
Niki Volos
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Standard Liege
KVC Westerlo
4:00 PM GMT
Game Details
KV Kortrijk
KV Oostende
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Lierse SK
Royal Charleroi SC
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Zulte-Waregem
Mouscron-Peruwelz
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
SK Sturm Graz
Wolfsberger AC
2:30 PM GMT
Game Details
FC Magna Wr. Neustadt
FC Trenkwalder Admira
5:00 PM GMT
Game Details
SV Josko Ried
SV Grodig
5:00 PM GMT
Game Details
SV Salzburg
SC Rheindorf Altach
5:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Malmo FF
IFK Norrkoping
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Stromsgodset
Stabaek
1:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Valerenga
SK Brann
4:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Ballinamallard Utd
Glentoran
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Cliftonville
Glenavon
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Dungannon Swifts
Ballymena
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Institute
Linfield
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Portadown
Crusaders
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Warrenpoint Town
Coleraine
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
New York Red Bulls
Montreal Impact
11:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Toronto FC
Chicago Fire
11:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Columbus Crew
Houston Dynamo
11:30 PM GMT
Game Details
New England Revolution
Chivas USA
11:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Sporting Kansas City
DC United
12:30 AM GMT
Game Details
Los Angeles Galaxy
Vancouver Whitecaps
2:30 AM GMT
Game Details
Cruz Azul
Queretaro
10:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Veracruz
Guadalajara
10:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Monterrey
Puebla
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Pachuca
Atlas
1:06 AM GMT
Game Details
Chiapas
America
2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Airbus UK
Port Talbot
1:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Carmarthen
Rhyl
1:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Newtown
Bala Town
1:30 PM GMT
Game Details
New York Cosmos
Minnesota United FC
11:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Indy Eleven
Ottawa Fury FC
11:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Tampa Bay Rowdies
Carolina RailHawks
11:30 PM GMT
Game Details
San Antonio Scorpions
Atlanta Silverbacks
12:30 AM GMT
Game Details
Gimnasia La Plata
Rosario Central
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Newell's Old Boys
Belgrano de Córdoba
8:15 PM GMT
Game Details
Independiente
Vélez Sarsfield
11:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Sarmiento de Junín
Huracán
6:15 PM GMT
Game Details
Santamarina
Unión de Santa Fe
7:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Argentinos Juniors
Gimnasia y Esgrima de Jujuy
9:15 PM GMT
Game Details
San Martín de San Juan
Instituto de Córdoba
10:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Necaxa
Lobos BUAP
9:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Zacatepec
Altamira
11:00 PM GMT
Game Details
At. San Luis
Mérida
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Celaya
Irapuato
1:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Atlético MG
Internacional
9:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Botafogo
Chapecoense AF
9:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Palmeiras
Coritiba FBC
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Avaí
Santa Cruz FC
7:10 PM GMT
Game Details
Goianiense
Sampaio Correa-MA
7:10 PM GMT
Game Details
Náutico
América RN
7:10 PM GMT
Game Details
Paraná Clube
Bragantino
7:10 PM GMT
Game Details
Portuguesa de Desportos
Ceará
7:10 PM GMT
Game Details
ABC
Vila Nova-GO
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Luverdense
Joinville
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Universidad de Chile
Huachipato
4:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Ñublense
O'Higgins
7:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Unión Española
Universidad de Concepción
10:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Antofagasta
Municipal Iquique
12:30 AM GMT
Game Details
Sud América
Nacional
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Tacuarembo
Fénix
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Fortaleza CE
Uniautonoma
8:15 PM GMT
Game Details
Aguilas Doradas
Patriotas F.C.
10:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Atlético Nacional
Envigado
10:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Independiente Santa Fe
Alianza Petrolera
12:45 AM GMT
Game Details
Los Caimanes
Cienciano del Cusco
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Nacional
3 de Febrero
8:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Cerro Porteño
Guaraní
10:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Emelec
El Nacional
10:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Independiente del Valle
LDU Quito
Postp
Game Details
Aragua
Mineros
10:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Deportivo La Guaira
Estudiantes de Mérida
10:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Deportivo Anzoategui
Deportivo Petare
11:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Club Petrolero de Yacuiba
Bolívar
7:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Sport Boys Warnes
Universitario de Pando
7:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Blooming
Universitario de Sucre
11:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Shimizu S-Pulse
Kashima Antlers
9:00 AM GMT
Game Details
FC Tokyo
Urawa Red Diamonds
9:30 AM GMT
Game Details
Vantforet Kofu
Gamba Osaka
9:30 AM GMT
Game Details
Albirex Niigata
Tokushima Vortis
10:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Nagoya Grampus Eight
Kashiwa Reysol
10:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Omiya Ardija
Sagan Tosu
10:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Sanfrecce Hiroshima
Cerezo Osaka
10:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Vissel Kobe
Vegalta Sendai
10:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Yokohama F. Marinos
Kawasaki Frontale
10:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Santos
Carmelita
9:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Universidad de El Salvador
Santa Tecla
11:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Aguila
CD FAS
1:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Universidad de San Carlos
Penarol
9:35 PM GMT
Game Details
Petapa
Coatepeque
2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Vida
Victoria
1:00 AM GMT
Game Details
FC Kansas City
Portland Thorns FC
ESPN2 5:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Next
Atletico MadridAtletico Madrid
Real MadridReal Madrid
1
0
ESPN3 FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 2 - 1
Game Details

WhoScored: Zabaleta-Sterling a key battle

Tactics And Analysis 15 hours ago
Read
Mar 23, 2009

Andalucía rises to prominence

"Andalucía... even though never intended to become a separate state, is, among all Spanish regions, the one with the most radically own culture." José Ortega y Gasset.

In the year 711, Tariq crossed the Straits of Gibraltar leading an army of Muslim troops. Less than a decade later, the Muslims had conquered most of Iberia, starting one of the most culturally prosperous periods in the history of the region.

The Muslims' influx was most powerful in Al-Andalus, today's Andalusia, where people from three different religions co-existed peacefully for almost eight centuries under their rule. The Catholic Kings ended up defeating the Muslims and expelling the Jewish to unify the country under a single religion, but that long spell had already created a new identity in the South.

The results are still felt today. Andalusia is the preferred destination for tourists who visit Spain (over 30 million visitors in 2008), as it offers the essence of what is expected from the country: sun, flamenco dancing, warm people, bullfights, history in every corner and great fun any time of the year. They've also given us "Macarena", but well, nobody's perfect...

Andalusia is also the largest Comunidad Autónoma in terms of population, and the cradle of football in Spain. However, its footballing relevance had been traditionally restricted to the odd good season of the larger clubs from Sevilla, the token comment about Recreativo de Huelva being the oldest Spanish club or the memories of the amazing Mágico González playing for Cádiz (the original "yellow submarine").

But this La Liga season started like the Second Coming of Tariq. After Málaga's controversial promotion last June, five clubs from Andalusia (Almería, Sevilla, Betis, Recreativo and Málaga themselves) were in La Liga, a number with no precedent that shows the growing power of football in the south. This is always good news because Andalusians take their football very seriously, and manage to bring the same colourful approach they have in their lives to the stadium.

Actually, this golden age of Andalusian football started in 2005, when Betis won the Copa del Rey and managed a top-four La Liga finish that earned them a Champions League spot. Neighbours Sevilla were not going to swallow that one quietly, and assembled a fantastic side that won two UEFA cups, one Copa del Rey, one European Super Cup and consecutive Club World Ranking IFFHS titles in 2006 and 2007.

The sevillistas are the kings of a three-step formula that Andalusian clubs have tried to apply to become competitive in recent years: leverage their loyal group of supporters; get dependable signings based on a comprehensive knowledge of foreign football markets; and work with low-profile, domestic coaches (Hugo Sánchez being a rare exception in Almería) completely aligned with the management of the club.

It's easy to explain why Sevilla have mastered this approach: first, they have the third largest season-ticket holders base in the country, only after Barcelona and Real Madrid. Second, they always had a knack for bringing unknown but eventually excellent foreign players to Spain, even if their hairdos were of questionable taste, such as Toni Polster and his mullet, Iván Zamorano and his helmet-like perm or Davor Suker and his gravity-defying toupee.

Ramón Rodríguez, "Monchi", their executive manager, has taken this recruiting skill to new heights. During his tenure, Sevilla have signed Daniel Alves, Julio Batista, Freddy Kanoute, Seydou Keita and many others who either still play for the club with excellent results, or were sold at an amazing profit. The cherry on the cake was Sevilla's youth teams, which produced a handful of great players, such as Jesús Navas, Diego Capel or the late Antonio Puerta.

Finally, the coaches and Sevilla started this successful phase with Joaquín Caparrós (current Athletic de Bilbao coach, a man down-to-earth as they come) in charge. Together with Monchi they defined a "Hombres, no nombres" (real men, not big names) hiring policy that was key to build the team. Mr. Caparrós was later on replaced by Juande Ramos, at that point another low profile manager, and when he left for Tottenham, Manolo Jiménez, the youth team coach, took the reins. No big names on the bench either.

This year's side is probably not as fun to watch as the Juande Ramos high tempo teams, but even when your signings are great, it is difficult to completely make up for the losses of Daniel Alves, Keita, Poulsen, etc. In any case, Sevilla have been as consistent as ever this season. Their 4-1 victory over Valladolid on Saturday leaves them in a comfortable third position, six points clear of Villarreal and with a Champions League spot almost theirs.

The recently promoted Málaga are also contending for European football in a very successful return to La Liga. Even though their promotion was stained by match-fixing accusations from Real Sociedad, they have played hard and are making their city proud, leaving aside their 6-0 rout at the hands of Barcelona at the weekend.

Fernando Sanz, the former Real Madrid and Málaga player and son of a former Real Madrid president, has proven to be much better executive than he was a centre back. Sanz spent zero euros on summer signings, but managed to put together a very competitive side and recovered some declining careers in the process, such as that of Albert Luque (on loan from Ajax), Duda (on loan from Sevilla) and Salva Ballesta.

However, not everything is good news on the Andalusian front. The remaining three teams have fallen into the wrong part of the table. As of this week, only four points separate the eighteenth (relegation) and tenth spots, and Almería, Betis and Recreativo are all in the middle of that worrying pack.

Almería started the season on the wrong foot, but then Hugo replaced Gonzalo Arconada and got some results. Despite their great attacking duo (Negredo and Uche) they've had issues with scoring goals in the last few matches, and their defeat at the Bernabeú on Sunday leaves them only two points away from relegation.

They're tied with Betis, who can't seem to take advantage of their excellent range of offensive options with Emaná, Sergio García and the re-signed Ricardo Oliveira. The growing rumours about the sale of the club to an Arab Sheik would be a suitable return to the Muslim rule, but are not helping a side which must focus for the final weeks of the season.

Recreativo are also in danger. They haven't been able to recreate their great performances from 2006/07, and now need gaffer Lucas Alcaraz (former Almería manager) to perform another miracle with a very limited side. But even assuming that an Andalusian team could be relegated, their golden age is not over yet. Xerez lead the Second Division and in pole position to make the leap into La Liga. We will indeed have another full season of Andalusian flavour, colour, chants and jokes in La Liga, and that is hardly bad news. I, for one, am not complaining.

Comments

Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.