Columnist

Tim Vickery

British-born Tim works as a journalist and has lived in Brazil since 1994 and provides unrivalled knowledge of South American football. Follow @Tim_Vickery on Twitter.

281blog entries
It will surely be a traumatic memory for Socceroos fans, but I’ve always loved a piece of Australian radio commentary when Azizi scored that famous goal for Iran in the 1998 World Cup play off. It is a classic case of a man caught up in...
It often seems to be overlooked that even after Azizi had bypassed their defence, Australia still had more than 10 minutes – in front of their own fans – to do something about it.  Football can be a cruel game but it is much crueller when ...
Representatives of 15 leading clubs from six different South American countries recently met to set up an organisation dedicated to getting a better deal from CONMEBOL, the continent’s governing body of association football.
It can surely be seen as a consequence of the FIFA-Gate scandal, of which South America was the epicentre. The arrest or indictment of so many football fat cats has obviously weakened the power structure – which in turn has emboldened the ...
At the end of the First World War there was a new hit tune in the United States, one that made reference to the experiences that US servicemen were having on the other side of the Atlantic. The title – ‘How can you keep ‘em down on the farm, now...
It is a song with relevance to modern football.  Because in today’s globalized world, footballers from the four corners of the globe have all seen ‘Paree’ – meaning, in this case, the likes of Barcelona, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and (why...
I discovered it late but I’m glad I got there in the end. As a 1960s nut, the TV series Mad Men was made for me. In the last few months I ploughed through all seven seasons of a program that looked at the decade and its changes, especially in...
At the centre of the turmoil is a lead character, Don Draper, who remains relatively immune to the shifts in attitudes going on around him – until the very end of the series, when we are led to believe that an experience in a hippy retreat...
The great Tostao, centre forward of Brazil’s 1970 side and the wisest voice in his country’s game, recently tried to clear up a basic confusion in football – the difference between ability and technique.
Ability, he wrote, “is the capacity to control the ball, dribble and create special effects in small spaces,” while the latter “is the lucidity in taking the right decision and the sound execution of the fundamentals of the position.” It i...

My Funes Mori faux pas

Time will reveal the full extent of my error but it seems clear that I got it wrong with Ramiro Funes Mori.
When the Argentine centre-back joined Everton from River Plate I did not think he stood any chance of success. I felt that in the Premier League he would be exposed for lack of quality, pace and physicality. True, his first couple of month...
Back in London last month, I saw at first hand the way that the pause for international games interrupts the usual routine of the fans. And then, a couple of weeks back, I was at home in Rio for the next international break – played out in a very...
It is clear that for the majority fans, on whichever side of the Atlantic, the club game is football’s main event.  It is the aspect of the sport in which he or she has the strongest emotional involvement.  That applies to those in Buenos ...
“No battle plan,” said a famous 19th century Prussian military man. “survives contact with the enemy.”
Argentina coach Gerardo Martino must surely be wondering about the validity of his plan of action after a historic 2-0 defeat at home to Ecuador in the first round of World Cup qualification.   Martino had spent his first year in charge bu...
Let’s go round again! The squads are being called up and the anticipation is rising. South America’s marathon World Cup qualification campaign is about to get under way, with the continent’s 10 countries playing each other home and away on the...
This format was introduced in 1996. Before, there had been a division in two or three groups. Qualification was a swift process, over as quickly as a tournament. It meant that there were huge gaps, of years, in between competitive fixtures...
I hope it is not seen as too much of a quasi-blasphemy if I write that the Venezuela national team has just said farewell to its Johnny Warren figure.
After 129 matches and 23 goals, Juan Arango retired from international football after the midweek 1-1 draw with Panama. He leaves the field with football in his country on a very different footing from the one it was in January 1999, when ...