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Brazil

Duarte: Five good things about 2014

Brazil
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Messi and Ronaldo: The view from home

Argentina vs. Portugal
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Firmino ready to take his chance

Brazil
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 By James Young

Brazilian clubs confront hooliganism with creative measures

Clubs have tried to approach the hooliganism of torcida organizadas with creative solutions.

BELO HORIZONTE, Brazil -- At first glance the dawn of a new season seemed to have brought little in the way of progress in Brazil's ongoing battle with football violence.

On the first weekend of the Porto Alegre state championship, a 16 year-old-fan was shot and killed (most likely, it is being suggested, by police) during rioting between torcidas organizadas (organised fan clubs to their defenders, hooligan gangs to everyone else) after a game between two minor clubs, then Palmeiras supporters...

 By Tim Vickery

Uruguay-Brazil headlines second round of South American U20 championship

Giovanni Simeone and Argentina have run rampant at the South American under-20 championship, but tougher competition awaits the Albiceleste in the second round.
Giovanni Simeone and Argentina have run rampant at the South American under-20 championship, but tougher competition awaits the Albiceleste in the second round.

With all due respect to Ecuador, Bolivia, Venezuela and Chile, it is time for the main event of the competition. In the South American under-20 championship, the aforementioned four teams have been knocked out. Six are still standing, and over the next few days, they will play one another in the tournament's decisive second stage.

The stakes now rise. Four of the remaining six will make it through to this year's Under-20 World Cup. One will join host Brazil in next year's Olympics; another will...

 By Tim Vickery

South American U20 Championships defined by exhaustion, tough schedule

Peru and Paraguay may have played out a dubious draw but blame the schedule more than anything.

Worst fears were realised when Group A came to a close in the South American Under-20 Championships.

Argentina had already booked their place in the decisive second stage. Behind them were three teams, Paraguay, Ecuador and Peru, all level on points. Two would join Argentina. One would be eliminated.

Ecuador had completed all their matches and could only watch from the sidelines, hoping for a decisive result in the match between the other two. But a draw between Paraguay and Peru would qualify...

 By Tim Vickery

Argentina, Brazil show their flaws in South American U20 Championship

Angel Correa is Argentina's star, but their defending is a cause for concern.

The South American Under-20 Championship is mainly about individuals. After all, there's little point in a team winning continental and world titles at this level if none of its members go on to become important players for the senior national team. More than anything else, the focus in the tournament currently taking place in Uruguay is therefore on the best youngsters, the ones most likely to become household names all over the world.

But there is an interesting collective dimension too, especially...

Could a more focused, mature Neymar challenge for next year's Ballon d'Or?

After a tough week for FC Barcelona, Luis Enrique's side put on a masterclass performance at the Camp Nou to see off Atletico Madrid in dramatic fashion.
Barcelona head coach Luis Enrique insists that a future without Lionel Messi at Barca is "not something we contemplate."

As the Brazilian saying goes, if someone's grandmother had two wheels she would be a bicycle. But it is interesting to think what could have happened in the 2014 Ballon d'Or voting if Juan Camilo Zuniga had been a bit less reckless in Fortaleza last summer. Sure, it probably wouldn't have meant that Brazil were victorious vs. Germany or perhaps even avoided that 7-1 "cricket score" result in the World Cup semifinal. But it would probably have given Neymar some more weight in the voting process...