Estadio Garcilaso

The South American qualifiers for the 2014 World Cup are done and dusted and the inquiries into what went wrong for the four countries who failed to qualify can now begin.

Of the four, Peru have perhaps the blankest canvas to work with. Sergio Markarian is set to leave his post as national team coach and a number of players are reaching an age at which international retirement is likely. Read More

Courtesy of AP

Courtesy of AP

In 2007 I began to take my first tentative steps towards the vocation that I now, somewhat laughably, refer to as my career. I knew that I wanted to write about the sport that I loved and at the time the best approach seemed to be to set up a blog. And so, El Espectacular, a now-abandoned blog on Latin American football, was born.

One of my first posts on El Espectacular saw me pick 10 young Latin American prospects from the then recently concluded 2007 U20 World Cup in Canada. There were two very simple rules: the players had to be from a country in Latin America and could not already be contracted to a European club. The second of those stipulations ruled out Sergio Aguero, who was undoubtedly the star of the tournament-winning Argentina side.

With the 2013 U20 World Cup in Turkey soon due to kick off, I thought it would be interesting to look at the 10 players I picked out back in 2007 and see whether their careers have progressed as I expected them to. The results, it is fair to say, are mixed:

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Jefferson-Farfan-Schalke 04

When one surveys Tottenham Hotspur’s current squad it is hard to identify many weaknesses, excepting of course the lack of a top quality centre-back to replace the brilliant, but injury-laden Ledley King and of a credible deputy for Emmanuel Adebayor. But one area of the team that does seem rife for improvement is the right of midfield, the position currently occupied by Aaron Lennon.

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New Atletico Madrid Signing Radamel Falcao Garcia

Atletico Madrid pulled off a bit of a transfer coup last week when they broke their transfer record to sign prolific Colombian striker Radamel Falcao Garcia from FC Porto for the grand sum of €40million.

A superb record of 72 goals in 87 games (a rate of a goal every 1.21 games) in two seasons at Porto suggests that Atletico have used the money raised from the sale of Sergio Aguero to Manchester City wisely. But history indicates that Falcao only thrives in certain setups and Atletico coach Gregorio Manzano would be advised to take heed of this when deciding upon his tactics for next season.

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