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México… Copa Mundial?

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mexicoweb17s-3-webShortly after the CONCACAF World Cup Qualifiers romped to a close last night, the official US Soccer website put out a picture with the hashtag “YoureWelcomeMexico” as the USA rubbed salt into the Mexican wounds.

Make no mistake about it, Mexico got extremely lucky last night. El Tri were as listless and limp as ever as they succumbed to a 2-1 loss in Costa Rica to a Ticos side who had already qualified for the Mundial. Seemingly no one knows what to do to rectify the situation for El Tri…

Even the Mexican federation had little faith in their team, why else would they launch an early release of the new 2014 World Cup Mexico Jerseys? Way ahead of any other World Cup teams? Way ahead of the original set schedule?

What needs to happen? As blase as it sounds, Mexico needs to get Carlos Vela in there somehow…is he Leo Messi? No. But Mexico is an altogether different prospect when he’s in there with Gio and Chicharito. The team needs something to bring back the swagger of ages past and getting mad at the growth of major rivals USA is a great way to inject some anger into the team.

Beyond that…who knows? The two legged playoff versus New Zealand will be no joke, the All-Whites are a dangerous side who Mexico will do well to be wary of, El Tri is in for a fist-fight and that anger needs to be well in place before that playoff starts or NZ will ensure Mexico doesn’t appear at the World Cup in Brazil and that would be sad. Now there is talk of replacing Vucetich with Miguel Herrera as coach of the team…that would make four coaches in one month…not good at all.

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Eric Abidal is What Makes Football Great

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While a player is on the ground after an obvious dive, waving frivolously for the stretcher…we forget about why we watch football. When a football powerhouse steals a young starlet away from his hometown club and ends up ruining his career…we forget about why we watch football. But, as soon Eric Abidal started warming up on the sideline to come in and play for Barcelona during a 5-0 win, our love of football came flooding back.
For those of you that do not know about the French defender, Abidal has already had one miraculous recovery under his belt and he fought cancer for several months. After the cancer had finally gone in remission, he was told that it would be a long time before he was able to play top level football again. However, three months later, he was on the pitch for Barcelona as they took home the Champions League title at Wembley Stadium.
As if his story was not inspiring enough, the tale does not end there. In March of 2012, Abidal was told that his liver issues had worsened and that he would need a liver transplant to live out a full life. At the time, his ability to ever return to the game he loved seemed like impossibility and his story seemed destined to have a slightly sour ending.
But, if there was anything that we had learned about Abidal, it was that he should never be counted out. After receiving a liver transplant from his cousin, Abidal began the recovery process. Of course, despite the fact that this man had to recover from MAJOR SURGERY, he is now back in the fold at Barcelona. Not to be redundant, but it is not like Adibal recovered enough to play charity matches in France with local intermediate players. Abidal is playing for a team that is largely considered to be one of the best club teams of all time.
So, the next time there is a player waving the fake yellow card at the referee. Or, the next time that a coach pitches a toddler-esque fit on the side of the pitch. Or, whenever any black spot tries to take away the joy that we all get from the beautiful game, remember the amazing journey that Eric Abidal has been on and remember why we keep tuning in every weekend

Written by: Andrew McCole, Soccerprose.com

Bayern Munich Become Champions League Favorites

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Although the matches that happen today might see Madrid march on and BVB end Malaga’s Cinderella run, the Champions League matches from yesterday have left no doubt that Bayern Munich is now the favorite to make it back into the Champions League final and seems the likeliest team to emerge victorious. A 2-0 victory by the soon-to-be German champions against Italian giants Juventus was impressive enough, but the fact that Barcelona stooped to a 2-2 draw against PSG translates into the Bayern club becoming the Champions League favorite.
Although this writer proclaimed the Munich club to be the favorite from the beginning of the competition, a recent stumble against Arsenal had many jumping off the Bayern bandwagon. Despite dismantling the London club when they visited Munich’s home fortress, Arsenal made it a very interesting affair when Munich played the second leg at the Emirates. Then, as if in response to that stumble, Munich went out and made Juventus look second-rate.
Although a second leg will have to be taken into account, Munich seems to be one of the strongest in every area of the pitch of the teams remaining. Barcelona has an immaculate attack force but their defense is typically poor, Madrid can’t seem to string two positive results together, BVB has a questionable midfield, and Juve has already fallen prey to the Bayern machine. Bayern has one of the best defenses in the world, their midfield is filled with international powerhouse players, and their attack is as deep as any other club in the world, making them the deadliest team remaining in the competition.
Remember, Juve knocked out last season’s champions Chelsea and they have looked very impressive throughout the Champions League campaign. PSG looked like they deserved to be on the field with Barcelona, but Munich makes teams look like they have no right to be a part of any competition that Bayern is involved in (including Juventus).
If Ribery, Schweinsteiger, Neur, and Lahm are involved, the German giants have to be considered as the favorite against any other club. Lahm has shown that he is the best outside defender on the planet and Schweinsteiger can control the pace of any match that he is involved with. If any of these players accrue yellow cards or injuries, the tide may turn, but until that happens then it seems that no one should really have a chance against Bayern. If they aren’t already the heavy favorites for most betting companies, then they need to be.

Written by: Andrew McCole, contirbutor, soccerprose.com