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 By Tim Vickery

Brazil and Colombia remember Chapecoense as Dudu settles friendly

Chapecoense friendly: Brazil vs. Colombia
Brazil and Colombia stood to remember the victims of the Chapecoense air disaster on Wednesday.

The prime purpose of Wednesday night's game between Brazil and Colombia was, of course, to raise funds for the victims of the Chapecoense air disaster. The secondary aim was to further strengthen ties of friendship between the two countries involved. Drawing serious conclusions from the 90 minutes played in Rio de Janeiro comes a long way third.

Quite apart from the other, thoroughly noble objectives, it is increasingly hard to make solid assessments based on international friendlies, which tend...

 By Jack Lang

Chapecoense memorial a fittingly imperfect testament to humanity

It was always going to be emotional. Two months after the tragic plane crash that robbed 71 people of their lives and a football club of their happy anonymity, Brazil welcomed Colombia to Rio de Janeiro for a meeting that was not about the match.

The marketing men had dubbed it "The Game of Friendship," but the feelings ran deeper than that. In the first instance, it was a chance to pay tribute to the fallen -- to the players, officials and journalists who boarded LaMia Flight 2933 and never returned...

 By Tim Vickery

48-team World Cup could negatively affect South American qualifying

Gab Marcotti and Shaka Hislop join Outside the Lines and have their say at FIFA expanding the World Cup to 48 teams.
Gab Marcotti joins Outside the Lines to discuss the reasons behind moving the World Cup from 32 to 48 teams in 2026.
Shaka Hislop expresses his disapproval at FIFA's decision to expand the World Cup to 48 teams.

On the website of CONMEBOL, the South American Confederation, there is an article entitled: "From 13 teams in Uruguay 1930 to 48 in the 2026 World Cup."

It is a neat way of reminding everyone of one of the great trump cards of the South American game: its fabulous tradition. This is the continent where the World Cup began and which has won nine versions of the tournament, divided between Brazil (five wins) and Uruguay and Argentina (two apiece).

The big three has provided Barcelona with the "MSN"...

 By Chris Wright

This Rene Higuita outfit at a fancy dress party = Best. Costume. Ever.

What you're about to see is definitely, without the faintest shadow of a doubt, the finest football-themed fancy dress costume ever assembled.

Paying homage to that famous night at Wembley in 1995, this intrepid chap cobbled together a bundle of era-appropriate kit, a tousled wig and moustache, and a swathe of "turf" to recreate Rene Higuita's career-defining moment of ingenious madness.

Without further ado, behold the very finest Scorpion Kick costume you're ever likely to witness...

 By Tim Vickery

Jubilant Peru ready for Brazil test while Argentina need Colombia reprieve

Peru had not won an away World Cup qualifier since June 2004. And then, two weeks ago, their nightmare run came to an end in bizarre circumstances. Back in September, they had lost 2-0 to Bolivia. But their opponents fielded an ineligible player, and so FIFA punished them by awarding the game to Peru by a 3-0 margin. And winning on the road has suddenly become a habit. Last Thursday, 1-0 down to Paraguay at the interval, they turned things around to claim an astonishing 4-1 victory. 

"This...

Back in form, Falcao set for Colombia return

Thirty-three miserable months after the injury that tore Falcao from his perch as one of the world's most feared strikers, a light finally blinks at the end of the tunnel.

Eight goals in ten games following a return to the French league with Monaco, including four strikes in his last two games, has helped brush a calamitous spell in the English Premier League into the past. El Tigre's form may growl rather than roar these days, but in his native Colombia these flickers of form have caused more than...