Cosas locas: Worst corner kick ever?

In a Brazilian Serie B game against Criciúma in 2007 Coritiba player Ricardinho demonstrated possibly the worst corner kick technique ever seen.

For more crazy South American football check out the rest of the Cosas locas series.

Errado: Jonas, Boyacá Chicó 0-1 Grêmio, Copa Libertadores 2009

On March 2009 Brazilian side Grêmio travelled to Colombia to face Boyacá Chicó in a Copa Libertadores tie, they won the game 0-1 but the result was overshadowed by this pair of misses from Jonas.

The following season Jonas did another famous miss in a game against Grêmio Prudente.

For more crazy South American football check out the rest of the Cosas locas series.

Pick of the rest: 30 November 2010


The final stages of the Colombian championship are settling down, after 3 games 4 of the top five finishers in the league stage occupy the best positions, the only surptise is the fact that 4th placed finishers Atlético Nacional are bottom of their group with only one point from 3 games so far.

Santa Fe won their midweek game 3-1 against La Equidad, their 2nd goal from Cristian Nazarit was a cracking free kick and La Equidad's consolation goal was bagged by Jhon Viáfara. They also beat Atlético Huila 2-1 on Saturday with a last minute winner from Nazarit. Winners of the regular stage of the season Deportes Tolima are in 2nd after a 2-3 away win against Atlético Huila and a 1-1 draw at home against La Equidad.

In the other group Once Caldas lead the way after consecutive 1-3 away wins against Deportes Quindio and Atlético Nacional. Quindio played some good stuff midweek and were unlucky to lose but they bounced back on Sunday with a 2-1 against Cucuta Deportivo.

Group A
Santa Fe 3-1 La Equidad
Atlético Hulia 2-3 Deportes Tolima
Santa Fe 2-1 Atlético Huila
Deportes Tolima 1-1 La Equidad

Group B 
 Deportes Quindio 1-3 Once Caldas
Cucuta Deportivo 2-2 Atlético Nacional
Deportes Quindio 2-1 Cucuta Deportivo
Atlético Nacional 1-3 Once Caldas

Group A table
Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
1 Santa Fe 3 2 1 0 7 4 3 7
2 Deportes Tolima 3 1 2 0 6 5 1 6
3 Atlético Huila 3 0 2 1 2 4 -2 2
4 La Equidad 3 0 1 2 3 5 -2 1

Group B table
Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
1 Once Caldas 3 2 1 0 6 2 4 7
2 Deportes Quindio 3 2 0 1 5 5 0 6
3 Cucuta Deportivo 3 0 2 1 3 4 -1 2
4 Atlético Nacional 3 0 1 2 4 7 -3 1


Oriente Petrolero are the Bolivian champions for the 4th time in their history. they had virtually assured themselves of the championship with a 1-2 away win against Real Potosi on Thursday meaning that they only needed a point on Sunday to secure the championship. They got their point in a 1-1 draw against The Strongest, however 2nd placed Bolivar lost 2-0 at Blooming anyway, making the winning margin four points which disguises the fact that until the last couple of games this was a very close championship with four or five potential champions.

At the bottom of the table Jorge Wilstermann managed a surprise 1-0 win against 3rd placed Aurora to jump out of last place, leapfrogging Universitario who could only draw 1-1 with Real Mamore.

Final standings - here


Colo-Colo's spectacular capitulation at the top of the league is almost complete after they lost 2-1 away at O'Higgins and title rivals Universidad Cátolica won 2-3 at Cobreloa with a winner late in the game from Argentine midfielder Juan Eluchans. UC now have a three point advantage going into the last game of the season.

O'Higgins win against long time leaders Colo-Colo secured their safety from relegation and Palestino reached safety too with a 3-2 win against bottom of the table and already relegated San Luis. The remaining automatic relegation place will be filled by Everton, Santiago Morning or Ñublense and the two playoff positions will be filled by the remaining two unless Santiago Morning or Ñublense can leapfrog Universidad de Concepcion or Cobreloa to safety,

The league table after round 33.


Nacional spoiled Defensor Sporting Club's coronation as champions by beating them 1-2, setting up an incredible finale to the season in which any one of five teams could win the championship. Defensor still lead the way on 27 points, Nacional are joint 2nd on 26 with Bella Vista who won 2-4 away at Cerro. Behind those two on 25 points are Peñarol who beat Central Español 2-3 and El Tanque Sisley who won 0-1 at Miramar Misiones.

Defensor Sporting Club are still overwhelming favourites with one game remaining, they are at the top of the league and face Tacurembo who are bottom of the table with only five points and have lost 8 games in a row.


Both of the leaders won in Paraguay, Libertad beat Sol de America 3-0 and 2nd placed Cerro Porteño beat Apertura champions Guarani 1-2 to keep their title ambitions alive.

The last round of fixtures sees Libertad face Tres de Febrero at home and Cerro Porteño travel to Sport Colombia.

The league table after round 21.


The gap at the top of the Venezuelan Primera has been reduced to only one point with two games each remaining after leaders Real Esppor cound only draw 1-1 with Trujillanos after 2nd placed Deportivo Tachira had won 0-1 away at Aragua.

At the bottom end of the table Deportivo Lara moved up a few places after hammering bottom of the table Caroni 4-0.


With only one round left in Peru nearly everything is decided, Universidad San martin will play Len de Huanuco in the two legged final, both sides qualify for the group stages of Copa Libertadores 2011, they will be joined by Alianza Lima assuming they win their first round qualifier.

Universitario de Deportes will play in the 2nd round of Copa Sudamericana 2011 and the two teams qualifying to the first round are Juan Aurich and Universidad Cesar Vallejo.

Total Chalaco are already relegated and the only open question is who will join them in the other relegation spot out of Jose Galvez, Alianza Atletico and Cienciano.

The penultimate round of action threw up some odd results by far the strongest team in the division Universidad San Martin were beaten 1-2 at home by the worst side Total Chalaco. One time Copa Sudamericana champions Cienciano gave themselves a great chance of survival after a 2-3 win away at Juan Aurich and Jose Galvez slipped into the automatic relegation zone after a disastrous 2-6 home defeat to Colegio Nacional Iquitos.

Peruvian league standings after the weekend's action.

For more South American football highlights, including the Argentine & Brazilian leagues and international tournaments: click here.

What a mistake from Leandro Euzébio, what a way to capitalise by Dinei.

In the 37th and penultimate fixture of the 2010 Brasileirão leaders Fluminense faced a trip to Palmeiras. They needed a win in order to stay at the top of the table going into the last round of fixtures but they conceded after only 4 minutes after this dreadful mistake from Leandro Euzébio, which was capitalised upon in brilliant style by Dinei. Fluminense fought back andeventually won the game 2-1.

Highlights: Brasileirão Série A 2010 - round 37

In the penultimate round of the Brazilian championship all three of the top teams managed to win meaning that any of them could win the championship next weekend. Leaders Fluminense managed a 1-2 away win against Palmeiras, coming from a goal down after a dreadful defensive error by Leandro Euzébio followed by a brilliant curling shot from Dinei. 2nd placed Corinthians won 2-0 at home against Vasco da Gama and 3rd placed Cruzeiro also came back from one goal down to win 1-2 away at Flamengo.

In the relegation struggle long time occupants of the relegation zone Atlético Mineiro secured their safety with a 3-1 win against relegated Goiás, a third consecutive win for the home team. Avaí also recorded their third consecutive win to ensure their safety, coming from two goals down to beat Santos 3-2 with a hat-trick from Caio. They move two points clear of the drop zone which is enough to secure their safety since the two teams below them play each other on the last day.

Guaraní were relegated after a 0-3 home capitulation against Grêmio, who still lead the chase for the last Copa Libertadores berth. Vitória occupy the last remaining relegation place although a 1-1 away draw against continental champions Internacional should not be scoffed at, they are behind Atlético Goianiense who drew 1-1 with São Paulo with yet another goal for Rogerio Ceni, São Paulo's world record highest scoring goalkeeper.

Atlético Goianiense and Vitoria are level on points and goal difference, only separated by goals scored the last round of fixtures will determine which of three teams will win the title and which of these two teams will suffer relegation to Serie B.

Grêmio are in the last remaining Copa Libertadores spot on 60 points, however Botafogo kept their hopes of pinching it on the last day of the season alive with a 3-1 win against bottom of the table Grêmio Prudente. Outsiders Atlético Paranaense are out of the race after they could only manage a 1-1 draw away at Ceará.

Corinthians 2-0 Vasco da Gama
Palmeiras 1-2 Fluminense
Flamengo 1-2 Cruzeiro
Botafogo 3-1Grêmio Prudente
Guaraní 0-3 Grêmio
Atlético Mineiro 3-1 Goiás
Internacional 1-1 Vitória
Atlético Goianiense 1-1 São Paulo
Ceará 1-1 Atlético Paranaense
Avaí 3-2 Santos

How the league table looks after round 37.

For more South American football highlights, including the Argentine league, the pick of the rest and international tournaments:

What's that old cliche? You're never more vulnerable than when you've just scored.

On Saturday 28 November 2010 Banfield hosted Racing Club in the 16th round of the Apertura 2010 tournament in the Argentine Primera Division. All of the goals came in a quickfire five minute spell midway through the first half. Banfield scored a brilliantly worked equaliser but then less than a minute later Claudio Bieler scored the winner after only 24 minutes of the game, a perfect example of a team forgetting the the old managerial plea, "when you've just scored try to keep calm and concentrate".

For more crazy South American football check out the rest of the Cosas locas series.

Nicolás Cambiasso goalkeeper mistake

To be fair to him, Nicolás Cambiasso could never have been expecting such a long range backpass, however it is still no excuse for what happened next in this game between divisional new boys Quilmes and All Boys in the 16th round of the Apertura 2010 tournament in the Argentine Primera Division 2010-11 season.

For more crazy South American football check out the rest of the Cosas locas series.

Cosas locas: Windy football

In 2008 in an Argentine 2nd division game Instituto goalkeeper Gastón Pezzuti took advantage of the windy conditions in the southern city of Comodoro Rivadavia to score this incredible goal against the home side CAI. Two years later another Instituto goalkeeper found himself playing in similar windy conditions, however this time he was kicking into the wind.

For more crazy South American football check out the rest of the Cosas locas series.

Cosas locas: Windy football 2

The Patagonian city of Comodoro Rivadavio in Chubut is the southernmost city in Argentina to host professional football. It is pretty close to the Antarctic and sometimes it gets pretty windy down there as can be seen in this clip from a game between C.A.I. and Instituto on 20 November 2010. Here are the rest of the highlights.

For more crazy South American football check out the rest of the Cosas locas series.

Golazo: Franco Niell Olimpo vs Argentinos Juniors, Apertura 2010

Both Olimpo and Argentinos Juniors had dismal starts to the Primera División Apertura 2010 tournament. The reigning champions failed to win any of their first nine games and Olimpo found themselves in the automatic relegation place and miles from safety after a six game losing streak.

Both teams began to recover in October and by their encounter on 22 November they had the best recent form of all the teams outside the top 7 places. Olimpo dominated the game until this "chilena" from Argentinos Juniors striker Franco Niell earned the champions a point.

Part of the Golazo series.

Golazo: Enzo Maidana, Atlético Tucumán vs Rosario Central, Primera B Nacional 2010-11

on 16 November 2010 Enzo Maidana came on as a late substitute in the Argentine 2nd division game between Atlético Tucumán and Rosario Central who were both relegated the previous season and were looking to make an instant return to the top flight.

Atlético were 3-2 up as the game went into stoppage time, the fans were celebrating and Enzo Maidana hit his first goal for the club with an impressive long range strike.

Part of the Golazo series.

Highlights: Copa Sudamericana 2010, Semi-finals

Goiás vs Palmeiras

On the evening of Sunday 21 November Goiás were relegated to the Brazilian 2nd division after a 7 minute hat-trick from Neymar then on Wednesday 24 November they overturned a 0-1 first leg deficit with a 1-2 away win against Palmeiras to qualify for the final of Copa Sudamericana 2010. Some commentators would jape that this kind of thing could only happen in the crazy world of South American football, however a closer look at the Brazilian qualification process for international tournaments and the disproportionate amount of places that they are awarded reveals that a Brazilian team can qualify for Copa Sudamericana with a 13th or 14th place finish. Last season Vitória qualified for Copa Sudamericana by finishing only 3 points above the relegation places.Goiás didn't finish that low in the table, but they were still closer to the relegation zone than the championship leaders.

Luis Felipe Scolari's Palmeiras side had one foot in the Copa Sudamericana final after a controversial 0-1 first leg away win against fellow Brazilians Goiás. The game was a rather turgid affair only enlivened by a magnificent "bombaso" of a goal from Marcos Assunção and some pitiful refereeing decisions. The first dreadful mistake was referee Evandro Rogério Román's decision to give a yellow card to the wrong player in the first half. Early in the 2nd half Marcos Assunção gave the away team the advantage with a blistering strike. At the very end of the game the match day officials let themselves down again disallowing a Goiás equaliser for offside, despite the fact that neither of the supposedly offside players touched the ball. After the game Goiás fans showed their displeasure by throwing stuff at Scolari, his reaction when he was hit in the head with a small radio was priceless.

The 2nd leg seemed to be going well for Scolari's team, Luan scored in the 34th minute to double their lead, however Goiás scored an equaliser in the last seconds of the first half to give themselves hope for the 2nd half. In the 83rd minute Emando scored for the away side to give them a famous 1-2 win and leave this 2nd division team only 2 games away from qualifying to play in the Copa Libertadores.

Liga de Quito vs Independiente

Independiente are through to their first continental final since 1995 after beating reigning champions Liga de Quito on away goals after a 4-4 draw on aggregate, a remarkable victory considering that they came back from 3-0 down after 62 minutes in the first leg.

In the first leg Independiente faced a tough trip to the Casa Blanca in Quito to face the tournament holders Liga de Quito, who are unbeaten at home in Copa Sudamericana since 2007, the last time they even failed to win was a 1-1 draw against Boca Juniors in October 2008. Despite losing the game 3-2 the Argentine side will be more than satisfied to have come back from 3-0 down to bag two vital away goals.

Liga de Quito's Uruguayan midfielder Juan Manuel Salguiro scored a wonderful goal to put the home side 1-0 up at the break. Things began to look desperate for the Argentine side when they conceded another two goals early in the second half. At 3-0 with more than an hour to play it seemed that a repeat of Liga's incredible 7-0 win in the home leg of the semi final in 2009 was more likely than what actually happened.

Within two minutes of going three goals behind, Néstor Silvera broke Liga's momentum a vital away goal for Independiente which was clearly scored from an offside position. Six minutes later Lucas Mareque scored a brilliant goal to make it 3-2. Liga came close to extending their lead on several occasions, they were denied by a brilliant double save from Independiente keeper Hilario Navarro who had an outstanding night despite shipping three goals.

The second leg was also an enjoyable game to watch, apart from the transmission failure that blacked out coverage across multiple networks for around ten minutes early in the first half. Facundo Parra gave Independiente the advantage after 26 minutes with a close range header but in the last seconds of the first half  Juan Manuel Salguiro scored another tremendous golazo to give the advantage back to the Ecuadorian side.

At the start of the second half Hernán Fredes scored Independiente's second goal after intercepting a dreadful attempted pass from Patricio Urrutia. They held on for the win despite pressure and good chances for Liga in the second half. The closest they came to scoring the goal they needed to win the tie was a shot from Enrique Gámez that beat Independiente goalkeeper and hero of the first leg Hilario Navarro only to hit the post.

The final whistle sparked delerious celebration amongst the Independiente fans, who now have the prospect of a final against Goiás to look forward to.

Goiás (Bra) 0-1 Palmeiras (Bra)
Palmeiras (Bra) 1-2 Goiás (Bra)
Winner: Goiás (on away goals)

LDU Quito (Ecu) 3-2 Independiente (Arg)
Independiente (Arg) 2-1 LDU Quito (Ecu)
Winner: Independiente (on away goals)

For more South American football highlights, including the Argentine & Brazilian leagues, the pick of the rest and other international tournaments:

Pick of the rest: 23 November 2010


Liga de Quito are the Clausura champions and will play the Apertura winners Emelec in the grand final in December. They secured their place in the final with a 3-1 win against El Nacional. They then ensured the Clausura championship on Monday with a 1-1 draw against Deportivo Quiro.

Emelec are now in 2nd position in the Clausura table after a 3-1 win against Espoli.

Deportivo Quito ensured their place in the 3rd place/Copa Libertadores qualification playoff with a 5-0 win against Universidad Cátolica and Barcelona Sporting Club were gifted the other position in the playoff after  LDU's long time title rivals Deportivo Cuenca were hammered 3-0 by bottom of the table Independiente.

All of the issues may be decided at the top of the table but with one round left any two of Espoli, Universidad Cátolica and Macará will be relegated next weekend.


The convoluted and unpopular final phase in Colombia is underway. The 8 teams that have qualified are divided into two groups, each team plays the other home and away giving the team that finished 8th in the division the same advantage as the team that finished 1st. The two group winners progress to the final.

In the first round of games the only winners were Deportes Quindío who surprisingly beat Atlético Nacional on their own pitch. The other 3 games were all drawn.

Deportes Tolima 2-2 Santa Fe
La Equidad 0-0 Atlético Huila
Once Caldas 0-0 Cucuta Deportivo
Atlético Nacional 1-2 Deportes Quindío

Group A
Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
1 Deportes Tolima 1 0 1 0 2 2 0 1
2 Santa Fe 1 0 1 0 2 2 0 1
3 Atlético Huila 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 1
4 La Equidad 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 1

Group B
Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts

1 Deportes Quindío 1 1 0 0 2 1 +1 3
2 Once Caldas 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 1
3 Cúcuta Deportivo 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 1
4 Atlético Nacional 1 0 0 1 1 2 −1 0

With Colo-Colo and Universidad Cátolica tied at the top at the beginning of the weekend both teams faced must win games. Universidad Católica beat Universidad de Chile 4-2 in the Clásico universitario to record their 5th consecutive win. It was an extraordinary game featuring six goals, two red cards and two penalties, one scored and one missed.

Colo-Colo recovered from their three game winless streak to beat Cobresal 1-0 to ensure that the championship race will go down to the last day whatever happens in the penultimate round next weekend.


last week Libertad beat their closest rivals Cerro Porteño last week to establish a four point advantage at the top, however this weekend they lost 1-0 against Nacional and since Cerro Porteño had beaten Tres de Febrero 3-0 earlier in the weekend the gap is back to a single point.


Deportivo Táchira hammered Zulia 4-0 to close to within 3 points of leaders Real Esppor, who could only manage a 0-0 draw against Carabobo. In 3rd and 4th places Caracas FC and Deportivo Petare are tied on 26 points, six points behind the leaders after a 2-2 draw.


In group A the top three all won. Universidad San Martín kept their 8 point lead with a cracking 4-1 win against Inti Gas, which featured two bicycle kicks. Despite their mid table position in group A Inti Gas remain the highest scorers in the league. 2nd placed Universitario won 0-1 at José Gálvez and 3rd placed Alianza Lima won 2-1 at home against bottom of the group Total Clalaco.

León extended their lead at the top of group B with a 1-2 away win against Melgar and 3rd placed Alianza Atlético won 1-0 against Juan Aurich in 2nd.


It is still tight at the top of the Bolivian league. Bolívar lead the way after a 4-1 win against Universitario, level with them on 36 points at the top are Oriente Petrolero who beat Jorge Wilstermann 3-1.

Aurora are 3rd after a 2-1 win against Blooming and one time leaders San José are now in 4th after a 3-0 away defeat to Real Mamore.

It was an entertaining Sunday's football for Bolivian football fans, none of the 6 games had less than 3 goals, the other two results were Real Potosí 2-3 The Strongest and La Paz 3-1 Gaubirá.


Defensor Sporting Club are now 4 points clear at the top of the league after a 0-1 win against Peñarol. The only other team to win in the top 7 were Nacional, who beat Danubio 2-1 to jump from 6th to 2nd position.

For more South American football highlights, including the Argentine & Brazilian leagues and international tournaments: click here.

En Contra: Facundo Quiroga bicycle kick own goal for Racing Club

On 28 September 2008 River Plate defender Facundo Quiroga scored one of the truly great own goals with a bicycle kick to start the scoring in an entertaining 3-3 draw with Racing Club.

For more crazy South American football check out the rest of the Cosas locas series.

Universidad San Martín 4-1 Inti Gas, Preuvian Primera 2010

On 21 November 2010 Peruvian sides Universidad San Martín and Inti Gas faced each other in a Primera División match. USM were the best team in the division at the time and Inti Gas were the highest goalscorers and the game didn't disappoint. USM established a 4-0 lead including a bicycle kick from Ronald Quinteros then in the last minute Colombian striker Leonardo Mina Polo scored a consolation goal for Inti Gas with the 2nd bicycle kick of the game.

En Contra: Paulo Sérgio own goal for Ipatinga

This great own goal was scored by Paulo Sérgio in a game between Portuguesa and Ipatinga on 20 November 2010. Fortunately for the 32 year old defender, his team were already 2-0 up and they held on for the win they needed to keep their slim promotion chances alive.

For more crazy South American football check out the rest of the Cosas locas series.

Game of the week: 24 November 2010, LDU Quito 3-2 Independiente

This weeks pick as game of the week is yet another game from Independiente's Copa Sudamericana campaign. On 18 November the Argentine team traveled to the high altitude fortress of La Casa Blanca in Quito to face Liga Deportivo Universitario de Quito who are unbeaten on their own pitch in the tournament since 2007 in the first leg of their semi-final encounter.

The first goal of the game was a long range strike from Juan Manuel Salguiro to put the home team one goal up at half time. Independiente started the 2nd half slowly and within 12 minutes they were 3-0 down and at risk of falling so far behind that they would have no hope of overturning the defecit back in Avellaneda.

Within two minutes of going three goals behind, Néstor Silvera broke Liga's momentum with a vital away goal for Independiente which was clearly scored from an offside position. Six minutes later Lucas Mareque scored the second excellent long ranger of the game to make it 3-2. Liga came close to extending their lead on several occasions, they were denied by a brilliant double save from Independiente keeper Hilario Navarro who had an outstanding night despite shipping three goals. The second leg on Thursday next week should also be a contender for next week's game of the week.

Part of the game of the week series.

Cosas locas: Richarlyson red card vs Fluminense, Brasileirão 2010

On 21 November 2010 Fluminense faced a tough trip to face São Paulo in the 36th round of the Brasileirão 2010 championship. They had a chance to go back to the top of the table with only two games of the season remaining with a win.

Fluminense established a lead but São Paulo levelled the scores with a lovely goal from Lucas Gaúcho. At this point Fluminense were struggling however the game changed when the referee sent off two of São Paulo's players in a seven minute spell. The first did seem to be a professional foul however after Fluminense won the title their criticspointed to this 2nd red card as a definitive moment in their championship.

Fluminense managed to score 3 goals against the 9 man side and give themselves a 1-4 win and establish a one point advantage with 2 games remaining.

For more crazy South American football check out the rest of the Cosas locas series.

Most exciting league in the World; a reply from Argentina.

I was motivated to write this article after reading this thought provoking article by Matt at CONMEBalls which begins "Yesterday while driving home I heard commentator Nigel Adderley on Radio 5 Live refer to the Barclays Premier League as the most exciting league in the world when commentating on the Fulham x Manchester City game. And after shaking my head about it all day I've decided to put it into words and defend my choice of league." He then goes on to give several compelling reasons why the Brazilian league is more entertaining than the Premier League.

I wholeheartedly agree with the premise of his article. The constant cheerleading from the mainstream media in the UK for the Best League in the World™ is getting really stale.

I'm going to give my view from a more Argentine perspective than Matt's Brazilian one. As regular visitors will know my focus is slightly towards the Argentine Primera División, although I do my best to write about both of South America's biggest leagues and also cover the pick of the rest of the action in South America too.

For me the Argentine league is the most exiting because it has been the most competitive league in world football for several years (8 different champions in the last 8 tournaments), had three final day deciders between the two championship rivals in the last 4 years including the epic decider between Vélez & Huracán last year, has what is widely acknowledged as the best atmosphere in world domestic football and produces some really exciting young talent (Agüero, Lavezzi, Tévez, Di Maria, Pastore, Defederico.....the production lines just keep producing).

Argentine games usually attract a
few more fans than this.
I saw Primera División new boys Quilmes play Godoy Cruz in an empty neutral stadium last week because of a lockout in response to Quilmes fan's violence and intimidation towards their own players after their 13 game winless streak at the start of the season. The banks and banks of empty seats behind the action reminded me of watching Brazilian football a bit. This is not a dig at the quality of the game in Brazil, just the stay at home fans. There was plenty of drama, controversy, high scoring games and quality goals just this weekend in Brazil.

I don't want to make this a debate about the relative qualities of Argentina and Brazilian football and I don't want to make this about Nigel Adderley's comment either. I didn't even hear him say it and to pick one man out amongst thousands of media types and millions of armchair pundits for having that distorted worldview would be pretty unfair.

The British media is like a cocoon around the Best League in the World™ and to a lesser extent European football, probably only because they have unavoidable exposure to it whenever English sides play in European competitions. Anything outside the seemingly impermeable bubbles around British and European football hardly gets a mention. The mainstream media don't seem to care unless it has some sensationalist value, like another Maradona feckup to gloat over, an Asian dude bollocksing up on the pitch twice in a week to become an internet sensation or another Brazilian wonder kid to speculate about.

This abject lack of decent coverage is why we are here, to fill in the gaps for real football fans who are sick and tired of the old Gerrard vs Lampard debate, the two dimensional analysis, the tired cliches and the endless bits of recycled speculation, platitudes and hearsay about the Best League in the World™ celebrity brigade.

I reckon this stagnation of mainstream English sports journalism goes hand in hand with the stagnation of English talent in the game. Former players are more than happy to claim their massive (and very low risk) salaries as pundits, commentators and columnists rather than take up coaching or management. Lets face it, it doesn't matter how often they mispronounce the players names, go off on irrelevant rambles, repeat the same cliches and bad puns week in week out and even make jokes about having done no research or preparation about the World Cup game that they are about to be paid to watch and pontificate about. They wont be sacked unless they do something really stupid like say something racist on air or run a dodgy ticket selling scam.

Paul Ince, credit due.
This is why I give a lot of credit to the ones that choose to pursue a career in the high risk business of management, rather than the comfort of a TV studio. Paul Ince for example, at least in some way he is giving something back to the game while he earns his pay, rather than just soaking up a lifetime salary airing unoriginal and predictable views on the Best League in the World™ gravy train like so many others.

Youth development is a joke in the Best League in the World™, as is the English game's ability to export players but these are subjects wide enough for another article or two. We hardly have any English managers capable of winning a major trophy anywhere in Europe, less than 40% of the Best League in the World™ players are actually English. We export a tiny percentage of top class players compared to Spain and less even than the notoriously insular Italians. To put that in perspective there are thousands of South Americans plying their trade across world football, with varying degrees of skill and success, There are also dozens of talented South American managers and coaches at all levels of the game across world football.

The problem in the English game is money, it seems that the richer the Best League in the World™ has become the more dominant the rich clubs have become. The Premier League has been won by one of three super rich clubs for 15 consecutive seasons, the FA Cup has been won by one of four super rich clubs in all but one of the last 15 seasons, the only exception Portsmouth, and it is now clear that they spent well beyond their means to achieve it. Even the commonly mocked League Cup has been dominated by the biggest spending clubs for the last 8 seasons, the only exception being Steve McClaren's Middlesbrough team in 2003. It is worth mentioning that Steve McClaren is the only English manager to win a major European league since Bobby Robson won the Portuguese league with Porto in 1996.

The most successful English manager of recent years, Steve McClaren
now plies his trade away from the Premier League money pit.
McClaren is commonly derided in England for his failure to qualify England for the European Championships in 2008, however his success at Twente last season suggests that he is more than capable of building a championship side out of hard working and determined underdogs. Perhaps he was just unsuited to the task of getting that same level of commitment out of a bunch of super rich, pampered and egotistical players with massively overblown senses of self entitlement?

I would like to clarify that this is not intended as an all out attack on the Best League in the World™ or the massive influx of foreigners in the English game. The Premier League features many of the best players in the World, there is no shortage of skill, drama and controversy but the whole thing is spoiled by the predictability that has arisen out of huge financial inequality.

Other sports have come up with solutions to prevent this kind of boring predictability, the American franchise sports have the surprisingly socialist style draft system that ensures an equitable distribution of the most talented youngsters amongst the franchised teams. Rugby league has a salary cap and strict quotas on imported talent.

In South American football equality is ensured by the parasitic European market, which will strip the key players out of any championship side as soon as the transfer window opens. This means that the previous season's best teams will have to rebuild the squad with a mixture of teenagers, journeyman footballers and older players returning from European football, giving everyone else a chance to have a tilt at the championship. One of the main benefits of this situation is the fact that the majority of clubs have a large contingent of youthful local players from their own academies playing in their first team. The very thing that created the bond between the local communities and their teams in the early history of the game, a community bond that is becoming increasingly rare in the money and results driven environment of English football.

I realise that my view on this subject is not particularly popular. I've has several people counter my assertion that the Argentine league has been the most competitive in the world over the last four years with an argument founded on their own misconception of the meaning of the word "competitive", having used it as a kind of lazy synonym for "best". They also rage when I bring up the number of South American players across world football as an example, displaying their own small minded ignorance and contempt with statements like "of course people from 3rd world scum holes like Argentina want to come and play in the magnificent English Best League in the World™." and "why would any right thinking Englishman want to play in any  bloody inferior foreign league anyway?"

Commonly held views about the superiority of the Best League in the World™ amongst the general public and pundit class are self reinforcing. The more the pundits say it, the more the public expect to hear it and the more the public hear it, the angrier they get when someone has the nuts to tell them that there are several more entertaining leagues across world football than the familiar predictability of the Premier League.

btw - Quilmes got their first win in 14 attempts in that game without the presence of their supporters.

Golazo: Sergio Aruajo, Boca Juniors 2-1 Arsenal, Apertura 2010

After the resignation of Claudio Borghi as Boca Juniors manager after defeat to River Plate in the Superclásico and the instillation of youth team manager Roberto Pompei as interim manager, it was a curiosity that his first opponents were Arsenal de Sarandí. The same side that he faced in his first game in his first stint as Boca's interim manager back in April 2010.

Boca had gone over a month without scoring a goal before Sergio Aruajo scored his first for the club to end their 322 minute goal drought. Arsenal equalised but Boca Juniors club legend Martín Palermo netted the winner to lift Boca to the lofty heights of 10th in the table.

Part of the Golazo series.

Highlights: Argentine Primera División, Apertura 2010 - Fecha 15

Estudiantes are two points clear at the top after beating Huracán 2-0.
In the weekend's first fixture the Godoy Cruz scored a couple of long range goals against Banfield who only managed a consolation goal in the last minute of additional time. The Mendoza side are closing in on their first ever Copa Libertadores qualification in 2011 while Banfield will have to fight it out with Racing Club and Newell's for the other places.

Newell's Old Boys suffered a 2-0 away defeat to Primera División new boys All Boys,who are currently averaging 1.467 points per game. If they can maintain this kind of form they will easily avoid relegation.

With Newell's and Banfield losing Racing Club had a golden opportunity to leapfrog them into the Copa Libertadores places if they could beat bottom of the table Quilmes, however the game ended 1-1, with both sides missing glorious opportunities to win the game in the last couple of minutes.

Estudiantes cruised to a 2-0 win against Huracán, it should have been more but "Gata" Fernández wasted 2 glorious opportunities in the 59th and 60th minutes. The Early moments of the 2nd half were disrupted when the Huracán fans hurled dozens of flares onto the pitch. Title rivals Vélez faced a trip to La Plata on Sunday to play Gimnasia y Esgrima. Anyone would have expected Gimnasia to lose on purpose against Estudiantes' main title rivals given what happened back in 2007 when some Gimnasia fans made death threats against their own players in order to make them lose against Estudiantes' then title rivals Boca Juniors, however they ground out a 0-0 draw to allow Estudiantes to open a 2 point lead at the top of the table.

San Lorenzo and River Plate faced each other in a vital game for both clubs, San Lorenzo need to turn around their dismal run of form and River Plate needed to build on the momentum of their Superclásico win on Tuesday, a dismal 0-0 draw was the result, which leaves both teams in mid table obscurity after strong starts to the season.

Boca Juniors' interim manager Roberto Pompei faces Arsenal in his first game back in charge, the same opponents he faced in his first game as interim manager back in April 2010. By the time Sergio Aruajo scored his first ever goal for Boca they had gone 322 minutes without a goal. Arsenal equalised in the second half through Lisandro Lopez (no - not that one) before Boca's all time top scorer Martín Palermo hit the winner.

On Monday relegation strugglers Olimpo hosted reigning champions Argentinos Juniors, the game ended 1-1 meaning that Olimpo are unbeaten in 3 games for the first time this season. It could have been better for the team from the coastal town of Bahía Blanca, they led the game but an 81st minute bicycle kick from Franco Niell was enough to earn the champions a 1-1 draw.

Antonio Mohamed faced his first trip back to Colón since he abandoned the club to take over as manager of Independiente earlier this season. Maxi Velázquez opened the scoring with yet another powerful long range strike for the Avellaneda giants in the first half. In the 2nd half the home team had most of the best chances and Esteban Fuertes headed the equaliser. Colón would probably have won the game without the fine performance of Independiente goalkeeper Adrián Gabbarini.

In the last game of the weekend Tigre faced a trip to Lanús who were playing their first game under interim manager Gabriel Schürrer after Luis Zubeldía's resignation on the back of 4 straight defeats the previous week. Lanús won the game with two goals from Uruguayan Mario Regueiro and a helpful controversial red card against Claudio Pérez from the referee. Tigre manager Ricardo Caruso Lombardi was also sent off for complaining too much.

Godoy Cruz 2-1 Banfield
All Boys 2-0Newell's Old Boys
Estudiantes 2-0 Huracán
San Lorenzo 0-0 River Plate
Boca Juniors 2-1 Arsenal de Sarandí
Gimnasia La Plata 0-0 Vélez Sársfield
Racing Club 1-1 Quilmes
Olimpo 1-1 Argentinos Juniors
Colón 1-1 Independiente
Lanús 2-0 Tigre

For more South American football highlights, including the Brazilian league, the pick of the rest and international tournaments:

Cosas locas: Luis Suárez bite

Uruguay and Ajax striker Luis Suárez had already made himself a bit of a hate figure after his last minute handball prevented Ghana from making it to the semi-finals of the World Cup. Other more level headed people realised that the opportunity came from a free kick earned through a blatant dive, what he did was an instinctive reaction and that Ghana should have scored the penalty anyway. However Suarez's constant diving in the World Cup was unjustifiable.

On 20 November 2010 in a game against PSV he really cemented his place as one of 2010's football villains by biting opposition player Otman Bakkal on the neck.

For more crazy South American football check out the rest of the Cosas locas series.

Highlights: Brasileirão Série A 2010 - round 36

The star of the weekend was Santos' 19 year old wonder kid Neymar,
who bagged a 7 minute hat-trick to relegate Goiás.
With 3 games to go the title fight was between 3 teams, the leaders Corinthians could only draw 1-1 with Vitória, who battled valiantly for the points because of their proximity to the relegation zone.

2nd placed Fluminense faced a tough trip to São Paulo and after the home team equalised in the 55th minute things were looking tough for Fluminense, however 2 red cards for the home team and three goals for the away team including 2 from Argentine striker Darío Conca gave Fluminense a 1-4 win and a one point lead at the top of the table. After a lot of complaining from Fluminense about Ronaldo's soft penalty for Corinthians last week, critics of the club will surely point to São Paulo's 2nd red card in this game should they go on to win the championship in two weeks time.

3rd placed Cruzeiro knew that their title hopes would almost certainly vanish without a home win against Vasco da Gama and they managed a 3-1 victory to leave them 2 points off the pace in 3rd position with two games of the season remaining.

In the fight for the last Copa Libertadores qualification position Grêmio leapfrogged Atlético Paranaense into 4th place after beating them 3-1 on Saturday. Botafogo would have been able to take it back with a home win against Internacional but they lost 1-2.

On Saturday Guaraní lost 2-1 away at Flamengo and now only have two remaining games against top 4 sides Grêmio and Fluminense in which to save themselves from relegation. The highlight of the game was a brilliant long range free kick from former Guaraní midfielder Renato Abreu after only 2 minutes.

Atlético Miniero continued their run of good form with a 0-2 away win against Palmeiras to lift themselves well clear of the drop zone and put themselves in with a good chance of qualifying to play in next year's Copa Sudamericana. This is because Brazil get an absurd 8 places in the Copa, meaning that of the 16 teams that remain in the division at the end of the season, 14 of them will qualify for international tournaments. Avaí also built on the momentum of their 2-3 win against Internacional last week with a comprehensive 3-0 victory in their must win tie against 14th placed Atlético Goianiense, moving them out of the relegation zone at the expanse of Vitória.

Grêmio Prudente are already relegated but they still managed a 1-1 draw against Ceará to keep alive their hopes of avoiding a bottom of the table finish. Goiás knew that they would be relegated if they failed to beat Santos and after 11 minutes they had the lead and things were looking good against a team who were without a win in six games, however they conceded the equaliser only 8 minutes later. Late in the 2nd half  Santos' wonder kid Neymar hit a 7 minute hat-trick to earn a 1-4 victory for his team and seal the relegation of Goiás in their own stadium.

Flamengo 2-1 Guaraní
Grêmio Prudente 1-1 Ceará
Grêmio 3-1 Atlético Paranaense
São Paulo 1-4Fluminense
Palmeiras 0-2 Atlético Mineiro
Botafogo 1-2 Internacional
Vitória 1-1 Corinthians
Cruzeiro 3-1 Vasco da Gama
Goiás 1-4 Santos
Avaí 3-0 Atlético Goianiense

For more South American football highlights, including the Argentine league, the pick of the rest and international tournaments: