I begin today with a dispatch from the Copa América:
Ramble of the Day
Monday saw two teams eliminated, and leaving their marks in different ways. The first was Spain, who ended the tournament on as high a note as one could in defeat. It was an inconsistent tournament for the team, who opened the World Cup with a defensive error that led to South Africa scoring, and the second half of that match was really the only strong performance of the group stage. As a result, Monday’s performance against the United States was unexpected, but as defender Maria Leon’s neck tattoo reads, looks can be deceiving. They went almost toe to toe with the reigning champions, matching the intensity and applying pressure to the defensive unit, with more than a decent shot at winning. The end result was ultimately not in their favor, but the lasting impact is such that this may be just the first part of what is shaping to be a long period of excellence.
Next went Canada, who had come to the World Cup as an unfortunately boring team. Boasting a reliable veteran on the verge of the international scoring record in Christine Sinclair and an experienced youngster who will likely be the team’s next star in Jessie Fleming, this Canada team was supposed to be fun to watch. Under the guidance of Kenneth Heiner-Møller, though, the team played as conservatively as possible. It all worked out well enough against easier opponents, but when tougher opposition came around, the team never did quite seem set up to succeed, style points or not. An underwhelming performance against Sweden knocks them out, and like Marta yesterday, the World Cup likely said goodbye to another legend of the game in Sinclair.
tl;dr: Leaving France next are Spain and Canada.
Links of the Day
Rafa Benitez has left Newcastle after three years as the team’s manager.
Joel Tagueu has withdrawn from Cameroon’s Africa Cup of Nations squad after doctors detected a heart defect.
Peru’s Jefferson Farfán will miss the remainder of the Copa América with a knee injury.
The San Siro will be demolished, with a new stadium expected to replace it in time for the 2026 Winter Olympics.
Today’s longer read: Tom Garry on the lack of World Cup signage in the tournament’s largest host city of Paris for the BBC