South American Dispatch: Sao Paulo’s Morumbi Stadium Ruled Out For 2014 By FIFA

Goal.com’s Tim Sturtridge reports on the shock ruling from FIFA over ground safety at the 2014 World Cup, Boca's plans to bring out the big guns plus your Copa Libertadores round-up…

FIFA have suspended the use of Sao Paulo’s Morumbi Stadium for the 2014 World Cup and called for increased safety measures to be put in place before the ground is allowed to host matches.

Jerome Valcke, secretary general of FIFA, slammed the stadium which is scheduled to be used for the opening game and a semi-final fixture at the 2014 World Cup.

“We need to see evidence of money being put into this project to ensure there are World Cup games in the largest city in Brazil. As it is, we could not allow more than a group stage game and a quarter-final. Right now the stadium is not suitable to host the opening or a semi-final.

Valcke’s opinions are at odds with the Morumbi Stadium representatives who flew to Zurich for talks with FIFA last week. The stadium chiefs returned from FIFA’s headquarters proclaiming that although some modifications had been requested the meeting was positive.

Adalberto Batista, Sao Paulo’s marketing director, has now conceded that the eventual decision will rely on how well he and his team can play FIFA’s game.

“The decision will be political but we will continue with the planned improvements to the stadium. When these changes are made I’m sure the Morumbi will be allowed to host all the games scheduled to take place here.”

The first game at the Morumbi took place in 1960 when 70,000 saw Sao Paulo defeat Sporting Lisbon by a single goal. The stadium was then expanded and in 1977 over 130,000 watched Ponte Preta beat Corinthians 2-1.

A major overhaul of the Morumbi was completed in the year 2000 which saw the stadium’s capacity reduced to 80,000. Despite such recent renovations, FIFA appear to want further measures to be put in place before they allow the Morumbi to host some of the most important games in the world.

Boca Go Big Up Front

Boca Juniors head coach Abel Alves seems set to shrug off convention on the weekend as he looks to play both of his big men up front.

There is a fairly rigid accepted way of playing in domestic Argentine football which has produced a string of two very different attacking players. It is the way teams set up in Argentina which produces not only players like Mario Kempes but also Diego Maradona.

It is therefore shocking to see that Alves seems set to start Sunday’s game with Godoy Cruz with both Martin Palermo and Lucas Viatri. The coach’s hand has been forced by injuries to Pablo Mouche and Nicolas Gaitan.

With two lumbering strikers on the pitch, Juan Roman Riquelme will be asked to perform a slightly different role and will find himself shackled to the middle of the park rather given the freedom to float.

There is also a forced change in defence for Boca as Julio Barroso gets his chance due to an injury to Ezequiel Munoz’s right knee.

The probable starting XI for the ever evolving Boca Juniors on their trip to Mendoza on Sunday; Javier Garcia, Santiago Villafane, Julio Barroso, Claudio Morel, Gary Medel, Cristian Erbes, Jesus Mendez, Juan Roman Riquelme, Lucas Viatri, Martin Palermo.

Copa Libertadores Round-Up

Group 8 kicked off yesterday and it was a happy occasion for Universidad de Chile as they overcame Caracas FC by a single goal.

Home advantage paid off for the Chilean team as Uruguayan striker Juan Manuel Olivera stroked home a spot kick in the second minute of the match.

With the game finishing 1-0, Universidad de Chile take the first points on offer in Group 8 but with Flamengo and Universidad Catolica also in the mix there is still a long way to go.

Last night’s result in Group 3 raised a few eyebrows as the tournament’s holders Estudiantes were battered by Alianza Lima in Peru.

Estudiantes got off to dream start in the game when Jose Sosa grabbed the opener. The midfielder on loan from Bayern Munich stuck in the first minute of the match.

It was down hill for the Argentines after that however as a brace from Wilmer Aguirre put Alianza 2-1 up at the interval. Aguirre then completed his hat-trick in the second half and Jose Carlos Fernandez added a fourth for the home side.

A thumping 4-1 defeat sees Estudiantes travel back to Argentina with their tails between their legs while Alianza now have maximum points from their first two games.