Reuters Soccer Blog
World Soccer views and news
Former England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson has described his next challenge as director of football at English League Two (fourth division) club Notts County as his toughest test yet.
Some would say that’s an understatement.
“It’s the biggest football challenge in my life,” the 61-year-old Swede told a news conference in the Midlands city of Nottingham on Wednesday.
“I always said I wanted to come back to the (English) Premier League, because it’s the best league in the world. I’ve chosen a difficult way to do it, it will take some years but I’m sure we will do it.”
Has there ever been a more eyebrow-raising appointment in world football?
Of course a lot of money from the new Middle Eastern owners of the oldest club in the world has tempted Eriksson but there will be many soccer fans who still won’t quite be able to believe it.
“The game is over for us,” said Justino Compean, president of the Mexican Football Federation (FMF).
from Left field:
Eight years ago, Mexico lost 3-1 away to Honduras in a World Cup qualifier, sunk by a Carlos Pavon hat-trick, and the defeat cost Enrique Meza his job.
Already under enormous pressure, Meza quit in the dressing room afterwards and has gone on to become a highly successful coach with Pachuca, a friendly club founded by Cornish miners whose modern-day facilities would put many of their European counterparts to shame.
Troubled Mexico face a potentially decisive five days in their attempt to qualify for the World Cup and the tension is already starting to tell.
After losing to the United States last month in the opening game of the CONCACAF qualifying tournament’s final stage, Mexico host Costa Rica on Saturday and visit Honduras — where they were beaten in a previous stage of the competition — on Wednesday.
And so to Ecuador.
With three stages, bonus points and a two-leg final, Ecuador’s championship is a brave attempt to keep as many teams in with a chance of winning the title for as long as possible. In fact, getting knocked out takes some doing.
This is the fourth instalment in our look at the wacky world of Latin American championships having started with an introduction and then analysed Peru’s interesting league system and moved on to Uruguay.
Today, we’ve reached Mexico and it’s a goody.
Mexico has some of the finest stadiums in Latin America and pays some of the highest wages. It is also notable for having a system in which the championship’s best team repeatedly fails to win the title.
Like so often in the modern game, arranging international friendlies is much easier if you happen to be a big and powerful footballing nation.
While this week offered three lucrative and prestigious friendlies — Brazil-Italy, Spain-England and France-Argentina — smaller countries were left scratching around for opposition.
Whichever way he turns, Mexico coach Sven-Goran Eriksson, whose team face his native Sweden in a friendly on Wednesday, runs into trouble.
If he looks to Europe for players, Eriksson will find most Mexicans either injured or warming the bench at their respective clubs. Previously seen as a chance to bring a more competitive and professional attitude to the national side, the export of Mexican players has become another headache for the national coach.
Has anything like this ever happened in football before?
Deportivo San Martin will win the Peruvian championship on Sunday if they lose their final game of the regular season. But if they win the match, they could have to face Universitario in a two-leg playoff.
Sports minister Roselyne Bachelot said that France matches must be stopped if it happens again and French Football Federation chief Jean-Pierre Escalettes was summoned by President Nicolas Sarkozy for a meeting.