Thursday Kickoff: Mexico ties Denmark, more Americans invest in Man United, and more

BY DAN KARELL

Mexico opened up their 2013 calender season with a 1-1 draw against Denmark in Glendale, Arizona on Wednesday night.

Both teams scored via the penalty kick. Mexico opened up the scoring in the 68th minute, when midfielder Javier Aquino was pulled down in the box, leaving the referee with no option but to point to the spot. The spot-kick was finished by teammate Marco Fabian, striking a laser into the left side netting.

Denmark kept their heads up, and were rewarded in the 86th minute, when 19-year-old forward Andreas Cornelius was pulled down as he was clear on goal in the box, earning his side a penalty. The young Dane stepped up, and expertly dispatched the ball into the back of the net.

Mexico kicks off their campaign in the Hexagonal stage of CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying with a home match against Jamaica on February 6.

Here are some other stories to get your Thursday started:

AMERICAN INVESTMENT FIRM BUYS STOCK IN MAN UNITED

BlackRock, an investment firm based out of New York City, has purchased 3.3 million shares of Manchester United PLC, according to reports from the Securities and Exchange Commission. The shares amount to an 8.21 percent stake in the club.

The Glazer family, who owns a controlling stake in Manchester United, decided to go public last August, in a bid to pay off the massive debt that the club has been accumulating.

The club’s shares have risen 35% in the last three months, and as of Thursday morning, it was trading at $16.78 in the New York Stock Exchange.

HERNANES DECLARES HIMSELF FIT

Just hours after leaving the hospital, Lazio midfielder Hernanes has announced that he’d like to play in this weekend’s Serie A matchup against Genoa.

The Brazilian midfielder suffered a horrifying clash of heads with Juventus’ Luca Marronne on Tuesday night in Lazio’s 3-2 aggregate Coppa Italia win, which led to Hernanes being rushed to the hospital for an MRI. The results came out negative, but according to the Lazio player himself, Hernanes was in and out of consciousness all the way too the hospital.

Lazio manager Vladimir Petković has yet to make a decision on the 27-year-old’s status.

DANI ALVES SUFFERS MORE RACIST ABUSE

Speaking to reporters after training this morning in Barcelona, Dani Alves admitted that the measures taken to end racism in Spain have failed. Alves was subjected to racist chants from the Real Madrid fans at Wednesday night’s Copa Del Rey match against Barcelona.

This isn’t the first time that Alves has been the subject of racial abuse from the stands, as Alves himself stated in 2011 that the racism was “uncontrollable” at Spanish grounds.

The 29-year-old Brazilian full back has called for action taken to end racism at the grounds, and decried the current status of the football culture in Spain.

GIBBS SET TO MISS THREE WEEKS

Arsenal’s defensive depth took another hit Wednesday evening, as starting left back Kieran Gibbs limped off in 37th minute of the 2-2 draw against Liverpool. After the match, manager Arsene Wenger confirmed to the press that Gibbs had been diagnosed with a thigh strain, and would miss at least three weeks.

This leaves Arsenal with just Andre Santos, an converted defender, and Thomas Vermaelen, a center back, as options to cover for Gibbs until he is healthy.

Gibbs, who recently signed a new contract extension with Arsenal through the 2018 season, had a streak of 12 starts in a row in all competitions broken when he was named to the substitutes bench for Arsenal’s 3-2 victory over Brighton and Hove Albion last Saturday in the FA Cup.

BRAZILIAN CLUBS GREMIO, SAO PAULO, PROGRESS IN COPA LIBERTADORES

The offensive potential of Sao Paulo was on display once more on Wednesday, as the Soberano defeated Bolivar 8-4 on aggregate, despite a 4-3 defeat in La Paz.

Sao Paulo dominated last week’s match, winning 5-0, and Wednesday evening’s match started similarly, with the Brazilian side scoring the game’s first three goals to take a commanding 8-0 aggregate lead. The Bolivian side kept it interesting, as they struck back with two more goals in the first half, and another two in the second half, though they were well short of defeating Sao Paulo on aggregate.

Luis Fabiano, Jadson, and Osvaldo each scored again for Sao Paulo, who now progress to the second stage of the Copa Libertadores, where they’ll face Atletico Mineiro of Brazil, The Strongest of Bolivia, and Arsenal de Sarandi of Argentina in Group 3.

In Wednesday evening’s other match, Gremio of Brazil defeated LDU Quito of Ecuador on penalty kicks, after a 62nd minute goal by former Manchester City striker Elano tied the teams on aggregate. After the scoreless periods of extra time, the match went into penalties, where the Porto Alegre side won by a score of 5-4.

Gremio now will join Group 8, where they’ll see Fluminense of Brazil, Huachipato of Chile, and Caracas of Venezuela.

ECUADOR ELIMINATED, CHILE AND URUGUAY IN POLE POSITION TO QUALIFY

The 2013 South American Youth Championship is winding down, and Wednesday evening another piece of the puzzle was finished, as Ecuador were eliminated from the competition, following a 3-2 loss to Peru. Through four matches of the final stage Ecuador has failed to record a win.

The two other matches on Wednesday saw Chile defeat Colombia 1-0, on a Nicolas Castillo penalty kick goal, and Paraguay defeat Uruguay 1-0, which sees the Paraguayans jump to the top of the final stage leader board with 10 points.

The outcomes have set up an intriguing final day of matches on Sunday, February 3. Chile will take on Peru, with the latter needing a win to advance to the U-20 World Cup, while the former just needs a draw or a win. A loss could potentially knock Chile out of contention, which places real importance on the match.

Paraguay will take on Colombia in the second match of the day, though both have already qualified, while Uruguay and Ecuador will finish out the tournament, with Uruguay in the same situation as Chile, needing at least a draw to earn a berth into the international competition this summer.

QUICK KICKS

Dennis Bergkamp has been rumored to be the man to take over the Arsenal Academy once Liam Brady leaves his post at the end of next season. (REPORT)

Ashley Cole has a chance to win his 100th cap, after being called into Roy Hodgson’s England squad to face Brazil in a friendly at Wembley Stadium. (REPORT)

Raphael Varane’s heroics for Real Madrid in their 1-1 draw against Barcelona have earned him a France National Team call up for their friendly match against Germany. (REPORT)

Everton have cancelled a proposed deal for FC Twente midfielder Leroy Fer because of a knee problem caught in the footballers medical. (REPORT)

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What do you think of these reports? Do you think Mexico deserved the result? Do you see BlackRock investing more money in the club? Are you surprised that Hernanes wants to play this weekend?

Share your thoughts below.

This entry was posted in European Soccer, Featured, Mexican Soccer, South American Soccer. Bookmark the permalink.

22 Responses to Thursday Kickoff: Mexico ties Denmark, more Americans invest in Man United, and more

  1. zaty says:

    Vikings vs Aztecs

  2. zaty says:

    Does Mexico only play friendlies in the USA?

    • Beto says:

      Seems like it. After the WC they played a few including Spain in Mexico. In 2011 they played Brazil in Osvaldo Sanchez’s send off match and last year they played the US in Mexico but besides that they have been enjoying the NFL stadiums all over the US most of their friendlies.

      • Joe+G says:

        They even played their last WC qualifier in the US (after they had clinched a spot in the hex).

        The US has become the destination for NTs & clubs for generating revenue. Good for the game overall, though it would be nice to capture more of the ticket revenue in MLS.

        • The Imperative Voice says:

          I don’t know if it’s necessarily positive for 43K+ to watch Mexico while less than 12K watch the USA. Ditto all the cash-harvest big name club tours here. A portion of that money then presumably exits the country with the touring team.

          What benefits USA soccer is our NT and clubs getting attendance.

          • Derrick says:

            The spread of soccer in this country is the benefit. If a thousand more kids decide that soccer is something to keep playing instead of quitting in high school or middle school then having friendlies here are worth it. And it is only a matter of time before the Mexican Americans and the the other such and such Americans will not be able to suit up for those national teams and they will have no choice to play for the US. You can not transfer citizenship forever.

          • Phantom says:

            I believe that SUM helps organize these things and gets a cut of the money from many of these games. That money goes straight back to the people who own MLS, so in a roundabout way, these Mexico games actually end up supporting our league.

            • Kevin says:

              If I remember correct, SUM paid the FMF a certain amount of millions to schedule a certain about of friendlies in the US every year.

              The FMF to my understanding has no control where in the US they play or against who. As mentioned by Phantom SUM is own by the same people that own MLS, so it some way it helps US soccer, similar to how Chivas USA entry to MLS generated television rights from Univision.

  3. Alex says:

    Im surprised no transfer deadline topic from SBI

  4. Brett says:

    Is that the Danish Dax McCarty in the photo.

  5. A says:

    Anybody who watched last night can tell why our disjointed, rookie C team didn’t do what Denmark did. Denmark’s squad is really, really good. They took it to a Mexico team missing only something like 4 starters.

    • Brain Guy says:

      +1. I still can’t believe Brad Evans was asked to lead the attack. JK talks a lot about rewarding players for their professionalism and their performance in training, but it seemed clear to me that he was using this match more to evaluate certain players who perhaps needed a terrific performance to leap-frog some others and get consideration for the WC qualifiers. Many of the best players from this camp (Agudelo, Gatt, Feilhaber, Diskerud) did not start; Mix didn’t even make the team.

    • Oranje Mike says:

      The Danish league is better than MLS, I suppose.

    • ed - houston says:

      yes, i would have been ugly had we played Denmark or Mexico

      • T-lover says:

        If we played Denmark, or Mexico, the game would have been open. Making for a much entertaining game.

      • Dennis says:

        No, I think it would have been more interesting than what we got. With Denmark or Mexico at least the opponent would not have taken up a 100% defensive posture. But I think Klinsmann’s plan was for this group to play very defensively so what we would have likely seen would have been a team attacking a bunkered US defense and the US making occasional forays and counter attacks.

        Klinsmann in his after-game comments said we wanted to put players in difficult situations to see how they would do. His strategy of attacking while keeping 5 players back, certainly was successful in making it difficult for the US to attack.

  6. Dennis says:

    Both Mexico and Denmark (Can you believe it, Denmark?) played attacking soccer and still managed to keep their defenses organized. When Mexico attacked they left only one or two defenders back, unlike the US who kept 5 back to watch a single striker. Denmark was more likely to have 3 defenders back, but of those 3, at least one was a bit more forward to support the attack.

    The Mexico-Denmark game probably had more highlights in the first 15 minutes than the US-Canada game had in the whole 90. Comparing those games just makes me shake my head.

  7. Doh doh says:

    Part of the problem with friendlies…BOTH Mex and Den were out to win that game. Canada was playing primarily not to lose against us. Nevertheless, we MUST develop the ability to stretch/open teams with that intent. We’re gonna see a lot of that in our home hex matches…

  8. Oranje Mike says:

    Aquino was not brought down in the box. I saw it with my own eyes. There were book marks about a foot outside the chalk from his foot dragging upon contact.

    • A says:

      Oh yeah that was absolutely ridiculous.

      Not only was it a legitimate shoulder to shoulder challenge but it was several feet outside the box. It was debatably a foul, but regardless of that argument it was well outside the box.

      If you can get a penalty for getting fouled, then continuing to run into the box and fall then we’re in for a LOT of penalties.

      • fortunate only says:

        It wasn’t a PK but it was certainly a foul.

        Aquino had control of the ball as he was driving towards the box and the defender was losing his balance as he was catching up to Aquino and put his arm across him. Definitely not a “shoulder to shoulder” challenge.

        A shoulder to shoulder challenge was more like Cornelius and Torres Nilo in Mexico’s box where Cornelius outmuscled Torres Nilo and the Mexican defender ended up kicking the ball out for a corner kick. It was a great play that highlighted the intent of both teams and the understanding of the rules by the ref.

  9. Steve-o says:

    Blackrock – thats some serious investors