Thursday, July 26, 2012


The first record has been broken at the 2012 Olympics, just four hours in and still two days before the opening ceremony, the London organising committee have already made a major cock-up and hugely offended North Korea, which, to be honest is not hard to do. Ahead of their women's football international with Columbia, their players were introduced on the big screen alongside the flag of South Korea ! This was considered a major insult by the Democratic People's Republic, who are still technically at war with their neighbours from the South and have been so for over 60 years !

This must be the fastest "major" gaff in Olympic history !

BTW I heard from several people who went to the Opening Ceremony rehearsal this week and all said it was fantastic, which will surprise any cynics amongst us !


Atletico Mineiro won’t be able to call upon defensive midfielder Leandro Donizete and they have a 100% record in the six matches he has started this season. Otherwise, they are pretty much at full strength,

As we have discussed a couple of times recently, Santos are struggling for numbers and are low on offensive quality at the moment. I wrote about them on saturday  ......we opposed Santos in midweek, taking Botafogo with the handicap start ,  .....Hosts are without star player Neymar, Paulo Henrique Ganso  and Rafael , all on Olympic duty, Juan is suspended, Bernardo, Fucile, Leo, Edu Dracena and Galhardo are all injured. So, they are missing five starters including three defensive players and keeper from an already suspect backline, plus a couple of likely replacements and their two big names in Neymar and GansoSantos held out for a 0-0 draw, which was pretty good under the circumstances, they will have Juan back from suspension, but that shaky backline will again be missing several players and the big three are going to be in London for several weeks yet. It will definitely not be so easy for Santos to hold out on the road, especially at strong home side Vasco da Gama, who have won four of their five home starts and who could go top of Serie A with three points this evening.

They lost 2-0 at Vasco and now face another very difficult away start to the league leaders, the big 3 are still at the Olympics of course,  the defence is without three players again including the suspended Durval ( 21 Serie A and Copa starts) and Edu Dracena ( 18 starts). No goals in three matches for the visitors and it is hard to see that improving too much, with much of their offensive talent in London. Hosts have won six in a row and scored 13 in their last four, average league position of those six teams when they played AM was 9th, which makes the sequence even more impressive.Ronaldinho has made a big contribution to each of those wins, with three goals and four assists after a very slow start to his season and he, and his team mates will surely fancy this against a Santos side low on confidence and missing both starting central defenders.They collected just a single point from the three league games that  both missed this season and that came against 19th placed Bahia. However, it will be hard for us to get too fat on the odds offered about the hosts ( -1 ball 1.82), having said that the visitors make no appeal at present. I would like to say that it might be an option to wait a while and back the hosts "in running", but Santos have conceded an awful lot of early goals ( over 26% of their total allowed) in the first 15 minutes, more than in any other 15 minute period in their game(s), which is very odd, average time for a first goal scored in Brazilian football is 32nd minutes, so these stats are way out of line .

Good luck.

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