Colombians win competition against Ecuador's Independiente del Valle.


What makes the two young Rosario Central players Franco Cervi and Giovani Lo Celso the players they are?


An interview with Uruguayan sports journalist Nicolás Difiori ahead of Sunday's Clásico.


Taking a look at the next great Argentinian #5, the next Javier Mascherano.


Colombians win the Copa Sudamericana after penalty thriller against Huracán.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Brian Lozano leaves Mexico to return home

Brian Lozano is very close to a return to his home country Uruguay. A transfer from Mexican side CF América to Nacional is imminent and will be made public in the near future. 

Brian Lozano in the Uruguay shirt. (Photo:
During January 2016, Brian Lozano made the big step: The then 21 year old decided to leave his home country to reach his breakthrough in the (probably) best Latin American football league, in Mexico. The young Uruguayan had some trouble finding his way into the new side, starting just one game. After 45 minutes without much luck, he was substituted in a 1-4 loss to Pachuca. 

In mid-March it was an injury that stopped him and kept him out of the team until the end of the season. A total of 112 minutes of playing time in 6 months is not sufficient for a player that is still developing. It was the main motive for Lozano's agent, Flavio Perchman, to push a move to a foreign country. Mexican league regulations would only allow a move outside of the country at this time. 

Due to Christian Tabó's exit from Nacional, it was clear that coach Martín Lasarte wanted to bring in a new speedy winger to replace the often underperforming Tabó. Lozano fits that role perfectly and will join the Tricolor on loan for one year. He has been a standout player for Defensor Sporting ever since going up the youth ranks of the club. In 2015, he even managed to be called up to Uruguay's national team, an honour that not many young players receive from coach Óscar Tabárez. 

The diminutive winger (just 1.66m) will enter the competition for a starting spot with Kevin Ramírez on the left and Leandro Barcia on the right side. Both played excellent seasons in early 2016 until injuries stopped them. The latest reports suggest that the club will keep searching for a true #9 to be fed by those wingers and support Nico López in his role up front.

According to Pasión Tricolor, the negotiations between América and Nacional are about to reach its conclusion, and the Uruguayans are also positive on the deal. América's president Ricardo Peláez has already confirmed the player's exit to Uruguay's record champion.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Sebastián Rodríguez joins Nacional from Liverpool

Uruguayan record champions Nacional have made their first purchase of the summer. Central midfielder Sebastián Rodríguez leaves Liverpool to join one of the big two clubs of the city.

Sebastián Rodríguez joins Nacional. (Photo:
After a disappointing league campaign, Nacional have started their business early during the month of June. Following the arrival of new coach Martín Lasarte, the first (and not the last) player has joined the club too. 

Central midfielder Sebastián Rodríguez is 23 years old and has been one of the most consistent players for Liverpool last season. During the Clausura, he played 14 of 15 games for the full 90 minutes. While doing so, Rodríguez scored a goal and assisted a further one. 

His main strengths are strategic ones. He will battle Santiago Romero and Gonzalo Porras for a place in the starting eleven, should they stay at the club. Rodríguez' technique and ball control are excellent, along with decent vision on the pitch. Despite not showing up on the scoring sheet too often, the midfielder has a good shot. 

Take a look at him demonstrating that shot during the Apertura on Youtube.

After becoming a professional footballer in the youth academy of Danubio, Rodríguez left his home country aged 18 in 2011. His destination: Spain, where he played for UD Almeria's second team in the third tier of Spanish football. In 2014, he moved on to Swiss fourth league side Locarno. During the first half of the season, he could not make it to the matchday squad, before playing a key role in the second half all of a sudden. He found himself on the pitch for 90 minutes regularly, yet decided to return to Uruguay a year after his arrival. 

Seemingly, the player had already been on the transfer market a while ago, with reported interest of Nacional and Peñarol. In the end, the Tricolor made the decisive move and had enough convincing arguments for Rodríguez.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Diego Forlán leaves Peñarol after realising dream

Following his long-dreamed-of triumph in Uruguay's Primera División final against Plaza Colonia, Diego Forlán has announced to leave Peñarol. 

Says goodbye with a trophy: Diego Forlán. (Photo:
His dream came true at the very end. Diego Forlán, most prolific figure of his country for many years, won the Uruguayan championship in his final game for Peñarol. A 3-1 win over Plaza Colonia in added time at the Estadio Centenario was all Cachavacha and his family had wished for.

Arriving back home a year ago from Cerezo Osaka in the second Japanese league, there were doubts regarding Forlán's potential to be one of the leading players for Peñarol. He brushed them aside early on by scoring two goals against Montevideo Wanderers in his first friendly appearance. There was never any doubt about his influence on Uruguayan football and the league off the pitch. As a figurehead, he excited not only fans of his new club, but across South America.

Forlán's league performances were mixed throughout the year and turned better continuously towards the end of the Apertura. His vision set him apart from large parts of his opponents in Uruguay. The 37-year old produced magnificent assists in the process and shone one last time back home. Four goals and eight assists during the first part of the year, another four plus four in the Clausura.

Peñarol's general level of play experienced a large drop of quality in that second half of the football year. Despite their early and disappointing Copa Libertadores exit, Forlán and his colleagues could not pick it back up in the league anymore. A continued stumble behind Plaza Colonia led to second place and a final against the aforementioned promoted team from Eduardo Espinel.

Peñarol ended up profiting from a late red card against their opponents in extra-time. Diego Forlán himself stepped up and assisted the winning goal shortly after. Clearly an appropriate way to go out for Uruguay's legend and the club he wished to play for since his childhood days. His father Pablo (70) defended the same colours from 1963 to 1970.

The most important aspects of his time in yellow and black will not be goals or assists. It will be the countless times he produced smiles on people's faces, from his dad to the countless fans of the club. For a year, Uruguay's league felt very special and rightfully so in the light of the World Cup 2010 Golden Ball winner. The long-lost son leaves with many memories. Where will we see him next?

Monday, June 6, 2016

Plaza Colonia - A championship in numbers

Plaza Colonia stunned Uruguay's big teams with their surprise Clausura win. They finished the second half of the year 5 points ahead of Peñarol. Germancopa takes a look at their title in numbers.

Plaza Colonia have won the title.
1 - Only one loss during the Clausura. As a promoted team? As a promoted team. The single team able to beat Plaza Colonia was Juventud. Therefore, the qualification to the 2017 Copa Libertadores was the logical consequence.

2 - Eduardo Espinel's team needs two more wins against Peñarol to crown themselves champion of Uruguay. If they lose one of them, Peñarol wins the yearly title. The first of the possibly two games will take place on Sunday at the Estadio Centenario.

8 - Eight of 15 times, the small club from Colonia del Sacramento kept a clean sheet. It proved instrumental on their way to the championship. Goalkeeper Kevin Dawson, playing in 14 games of them, was responsible for seven of those occasions.

8 - Germán Rivero was the best striker of Plaza Colonia. The Argentine scored eight goals during the Clausura, ranking fourth best among the league's top scorers.

9 - The amount of goals against. Plaza had the best defense in the league by far, next best team was CA Fénix in 7th place.

20 - The amount of goals scored by Plaza. It was only good enough for fifth best in the league. Defense wins championships again?

32 - The total amount of points Plaza Colonia won during the 15 Clausura games. That is an extremely strong average of 2.13 points per game from Espinel's men. 

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Disappointing end to a good season? - Nacional

After years of international struggles, Nacional had a good year again in the Copa Libertadores. While reaching the quarterfinals in the most prestigious South American competition, the league form dipped accordingly. Despite having the chance to win the annual table, they lost game after game to end the year.

Will he continue? Coach Gustavo Munúa. (Photo:
At the end of the day, the record champion was lucky that Racing Club was present enough to beat CA Cerro. Nacional had even slipped into danger of missing the 2017 Copa Libertadores completely, which would have been a complete disaster for Gustavo Munúa's men. The former goalkeeper, along with club management, built a good team that competed in both competitions for the longest time.

Once injuries and Copa América ripped core parts out of the team, the obvious fact surfaced: The alternatives are nowhere near the quality of the first team. A lot of blame gets directed towards Munúa, which is not fair in my opinion. The team was carried by Nico López' goalscoring and presence up front for weeks and when he was down and out, Leo Gamalho was supposed to replace him. The same Gamalho that scored a grand total of two goals after arriving to the club from Brazilian side Avaí. In no way was he able to replace the previously departed Iván Alonso or the injured López. The former captain was missed in every way, despite the club's decent success.

Two further players that had been among the best all season, Jorge Fucile and Mauricio Victorino, were called up for the Copa América Centenario by Uruguay and missed the last two games of the Clausura season as well. Poor defensive sequences and the obvious losses to average teams such as Rentistas and Liverpool followed. During yesterday's last game of the season, a 0-2 loss to Liverpool, the team completely lost its cool and had three players sent off: Eguren on the bench, Gamalho and captain Polenta on the field. There are ways you can go out of the season with your heads held high, this was not one of them.

Nevertheless, a weak season with five losses and just seven wins in 15 games are the remainders to go along with nice memories of the Libertadores campaign. Nacional finished fourth in the league, were even overtaken by Montevideo Wanderers on Saturday. From my personal view, there are still many positives one can build on next year. For example, some individual seasons were outstanding. Not only Nico López fully convinced upon his return, Esteban Conde did really well in goal throughout the season, being supported by Victorino and Diego Polenta. Both had their ups and downs, but were usually there when it mattered most. Left-back Alfonso Espino made a lot of progress and Jorge Fucile was probably the best player aside from López.

For the club, it would be very important to keep their best players for next year as well. To have any chance of a larger development, Nacional should continue to move forward with Munúa. They have the advantage of not having to play in the Copa Sudamericana in the fall, as the champion of Uruguay (Plaza Colonia or Peñarol) will qualify along with the 4th, 5th and 6th best teams. It gives the team the opportunity to concentrate on the Apertura, which is well needed after the disastrous end to 2015/16.

Until next season. (Photo:
One thing that is for certain in the midst of all questions? The fans will continue to walk into Gran Parque Central next year as well and make the atmosphere an unforgettable one.

Just one goal - Guerrero in Peru's record books

Last evening marked day 2 of the Copa América Centenario. While most teams failed to convince or even score a goal, Peru's Paolo Guerrero set a new record for his country.

The first game was played between Costa Rica and Paraguay and that was pretty much all there is to say about that. Not many supporters came out to support the teams in 32°C hot Orlando. Understandably, the game was not very fast and lacked cutting edge chances throughout the 90 minutes, before lastly finishing 0-0. 

A game that was very aggressive in the opening stages started off with a yellow card for Costa Rica's Yeltsin Tejeda inside the first 25 seconds. Solid chances came from headers alone, Bryan Ruiz saw his attempt saved comfortably by Colo Colo's Justo Villar. On the other end, Dario Lezcano, who had previously convinced for his country in the World Cup qualification, headed on target himself, but could not find the back of the net either. 

At the end of the night, Kendall Watson set the appropriate Latin American end to the game by getting himself sent off in added time with a straight red card. With their one point after the first game, both Costa Rica and Paraguay move into second place in Group A. They trail Colombia (3) and find themselves ahead of the USA (0). 

Paolo Guerrero, Peru's record goalscorer. (Photo: picture alliance)
The only goal of the Copa América night was scored by Peru. Who else but Paolo Guerrero would be the one to convert? With his 61st minute goal, the Flamengo striker wrote history, moving past Peruvian legend Teofilo Cubillas for most goals ever scored for his country (27). 

Outsiders Haiti did not stand a big chance against their South American opponent, collecting just one shot on target throughout the 90 minutes. Before Guerrero even scored, it could have been Peru in the lead already, but Edison Flores only hit the post on the brink of halftime. Going into the second half, Peru kept their dominance up and were rightfully rewarded through Guerrero's header from 5 metres after a nice cross from the left side.

Peru continued to be the better team and ended up celebrating their first three points of the tournament. Haiti simply find themselves where everyone expected them, the experience of playing the Copa América will still be a valuable one for the team. 

Over in Pasadena, Brazil entered the competition with a 0-0 draw against Ecuador. They were lucky in the process, as a good goal for their opponents seconds into the second half was not given by the refereeing team. They had seen the ball cross the goalline, before Alisson turned it into his own net. 

While the Brazilians looked superior, the statistics that actually matter look grim for the record World Champions. Despite their ton of possession and excellent passing success, they never managed to find the dangerous areas on the field, ending up with a total of two shots on target. Not good enough for a team that severely missing their stars like Neymar and Douglas Costa's speed up front.

Philippe Coutinho tried his luck early (6'), Lucas late (84'), none of them could find the back of the net past Javier Dreer. By the final whistle, everyone was somewhat happy for the game to be over, just Ecuador felt like they should have won. They meet Peru in their next outing, while Brazil face Haiti in their attempt to reach their first three points.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Copa América hosts drop opener to Colombia

Last night, the Copa América Centenario started in Santa Clara, USA. The hosts dropped their opening match 0-2 to Colombia and are under pressure to win their next game instantly. 

James Rodríguez celebrates his goal against the USA. (Photo:
Disaster started early on as the Colombians took the lead only eight minutes into the game. Cristián Zapata scored with a thunderous shot from Edwin Cardona's corner. Instead of showing a fast reaction, Jürgen Klinsmann's Americans never found their game and were pretty much chanceless throughout the first 45 minutes. 

Colombia controlled the game and kept finding their Milan striker Carlos Bacca up front, who left out several chances or was whistled offside. While they kept giving away freekicks in their own half, the USA could do near to nothing with them. After 40 minutes, Colombia received the opportunity to double their lead when referee Roberto García awarded the South Americans a penalty. Farid Díaz' cross had previously gone off the hand of DeAndre Yedlin, a correct decision. James Rodríguez left Brad Guzan not the slightest chance, converting it to the bottom right corner (42'). 

If you thought to yourself at halftime that the USA could hardly play any worse, you were proven wrong to start the second 45 minutes. A strangely lifeless performance continued to get even worse, but coach Klinsmann did not elect to react with a substitution. Cardona and Bacca continued to be the most dangerous players on the pitch, endangering Guzan's goal several further times. 

After an hour, the Soccer Boys finally worked out their first big chance. Unsurprisingly, it came from a set piece, as Michael Bradley's corner was headed towards David Ospina's goal by Clint Dempsey, but cleared off the line by Sebastián Pérez. Dempsey continued to shoulder the American attacks afterwards, trying his luck with a shot towards the top corner, countered magnificently by Ospina. Instead of letting his players continue after finally creating some chances, Klinsmann made two substitutions after which the USA was dead again. 

Colombia regained their composure and the endless Bacca marathon continued. Once he was denied by a defender storming back in the last second, another time he hit the crossbar after having Guzan beat already. Towards the end of the game, they even had the physical advantage, receiving a lot of room to counter on top. The USA never got another chance and deservedly lost after an extremely disappointing home performance. 

Coach Klinsmann said after the game: "We are standing with our backs against the wall and we need three points against Costa Rica." To have any chance of winning against their CONCACAF rivals in a few days, they will need a 100% better plan. Paraguay is a very tough opponent they will need points from at the end of the group stage too. Not few have predicted them to be one of the surprises in the Copa América Centenario. In the meantime, Colombia can celebrate a decent start and are well on their way to the quarterfinals. Their only worry is the injury of James Rodríguez, substituted off after falling on his shoulder.