Non-stop action in South America
Despite the disappointment of not having any representatives in the Final of the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™, South America is already focusing on the future. Both Brazil and Colombia have already been in action at the FIFA Women’s U-20 World Cup Germany 2010 and the new FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking was published on Wednesday, with some encouraging progress being made by a clutch of CONMEBOL teams. Add to that the resumption of the 2010 Copa Libertadores de America and the fast-approaching return of the domestic league season, and there is more than enough to keep the continent’s football fans occupied.
A new cycle begins
With South Africa 2010 having just come to a close, all eyes are now on the intensive preparations for the forthcoming 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™. Taking up the baton from the Rainbow Nation, O País Pentacampeão has already begun the long journey towards what they hope will be their sixth world title and thereby erase memories of their failed challenge on home soil in 1950. If the recent presentation of the Official Emblem in Johannesburg is anything to go by, Brazil will be putting on quite a show.
A Seleção’s quarter-final exit in South Africa caused them to drop two places in the latest FIFA/Coca Cola World Ranking, although the other four South American sides on duty at the world finals all fared much better. Argentina jumped up to fifth, Uruguay to sixth, Chile to tenth and Paraguay to 15th, progress that augurs well for next year’s Copa America.
On the club scene Argentinian giants River Plate and Boca Juniors have been busy strengthening their squads in a bid to improve on last season’s unsatisfactory showings. Los Xeneizes have brought in Claudio Borghi, the man who coached Argentinos Juniors to the 2010 Clausura title, while Los Millonarios have snapped up a host of new players including goalkeeper Juan Pablo Carrizo, who returns home from Lazio. Elsewhere Racing Club have bolstered their line-up with the acquisition of Colombian attacking midfielder Giovanni Moreno from Atletico Nacional.
Over in Brazil, Palmeiras went to great lengths to bring in coach Luiz Felipe Scolari and Kleber, while Internacional have welcomed back front man Rafael Sobis and goalkeeper Renan, two of the club’s biggest idols. Domestic rivals Atletico Mineiro have signed midfielder Diego Souza, with Santos recruiting Kierrison.
For their part, Flamengo will be without big name duo Adriano and Vagner Love, the pair beginning respective new challenges at Roma and CSKA Moscow, while Colombian attacking midfielder James Rodriguez has left Argentina's Banfield to join Porto.
Clubs back on duty
The 2010 Brasileirao resumed on Wednesday, with matchday eight featuring an intriguing top-two meeting between leaders Corinthians and season revelations Ceara, who collected 17 points in their first seven games. The 0-0 result left both teams three points clear of Fluminense. Over the last month no fewer than seven coaches have taken up new posts in the championship, which was won last time out by Flamengo.
Phase two of the Ecuadorian league season is already under way, while San Jose and Oriente Petrolero are going head-to-head in the Bolivian championship final. Wednesday’s first leg ended 2-0, with the return leg taking place next weekend. In Peru San Martin are on top after 23 games, while further north the Copa Colombia is currently at the group phase.
Flying the flag overseas
On the international front Brazil and Colombia are both in action at the FIFA Women’s U-20 World Cup Germany 2010, which began on Tuesday. As well as keeping tabs on their progress, fans are also expectant at the renewal of hostilities in the 51st Copa Libertadores de America, which broke off for over a month for South Africa 2010.
The continent’s premier club competition will shortly resume at the semi-final stage. Brazilian rivals Sao Paulo and Internacional face off in one half, while Universidad de Chile and Guadalajara will continue their bids for a maiden title in the other. The reward for the new champions, who will succeed Argentina’s Estudiantes, is a trip to the FIFA Club World Cup UAE 2010, their brief being to restore South American prestige after three consecutive triumphs for European sides.