TEAMtalk Likes... Chilenas & Italian chic

Our new feature, TEAMtalk Likes, highlights a trend-setting linesman, Spain's secret, and Mexico's journey from joy to despair and back again.

Last Updated: 17/10/13 at 12:12 Post Comment

Andrea Pirlo: No tracksuit and trainers for Italy maestro

Andrea Pirlo: No tracksuit and trainers for Italy maestro

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F****** Chilena!

That (in all its glory, without the asterisks) was the headline on the front page of Critica, a Panamanian newspaper, after their national team suffered a late defeat to Mexico last Friday.

You can understand their frustration. Panama were holding El Tri 1-1 at the Azteca, having capitalised on Javier Hernandez's missed penalty for the hosts to equalise with less than 10 minutes remaining.

The point would have seen Panama go into the final round of matches in the CONCACAF Hexagonal as heavy favourite to secure fourth spot and a play-off for a World Cup finals place against New Zealand.

Mexico, though, introduced Raul Jiminez, and the Club America striker ensured he would never have to buy another cerveza in Mexico City by doing this...

God Bless America.

Jiminez's heroics left Mexico needing only a draw with the already-qualified Costa Rica to secure the play-off place. They bottled it.

Luckily for Mexico, though, so did Panama. The United States did their arch-rivals a huge favour by scoring two late goals in Panama City to win 3-2, and the Mexican media were quick to show their gratitude, while also displaying their disgust with their own team.

Spreading a little happiness...

Tahiti captured the hearts of many at last summer's Confederations Cup and the feel-good vibe remains on the French Polynesian island, thanks to a new points system in its domestic league. All because, according to FA director Charles Ariiotima: "We just don't want anyone to be sad."

After a recent rule change, no one goes home empty-handed, as losers are rewarded for their efforts with a single point. Winners now walk away with four points, while both teams take two from a draw.

Ariiotima explained the method behind the madness: "Since we adopted the new system, the games have gained more intensity. This has improved our football and also our national team."With this system, even if a team loses every game, they won't be on zero points at the end of the season. "Football, first of all is joy."

Crossing the line?

Players throwing shirts and managers chucking medals into grateful crowds is nothing new, but referees are now getting in on the act.

Cascadia Cup rivals Portland Timbers and Seattle Sounders met on Saturday night in what turned out to be a feisty MLS affair, with the Timbers triumphant by a single goal. The Sounders were furious about the 73rd-minute dismissal of their captain, Osvaldo Alonso, whose elbow on Will Johnson was missed initially by the referee, but not by assistant referee Corey Rockwell.

As a central figure in the evening's proceedings, linesman Rockwell decided to give one lucky Timbers fan a souvenir of his night at JELD-WEN Field.

Will it catch on in England? Seems unlikely that Howard Webb would offer up his autographed accessories to grateful fans at Old Trafford, having earlier shown it to a Liverpool or Manchester City player, but you never know...

Unbelieveable, Jeff!

Stelling's tan - real of fake?

Italian style.

Having already qualified for Brazil 2014, Italy appeared sharp on the pitch in Copenhagen when they retained their unbeaten record with a draw against Denmark. But they looked even sharper off it.

Not satisfied with the standard footballer's travel attire of tracksuit and over-sized headphones, Andrea Pirlo and his team-mates have donned Dolce and Gabbana suits and overcoats while conquering Group B.

Attack, attack, attack!

For any coaches out there looking to achieve world domination: forget your pre-planned, well-structured training drills and do away with your Xs and O - as the Spain Under-21 squad showed last week, sometimes, all you need is a bit of organised chaos.

It might not be to the taste of the coaching illuminati on Twitter, but it hasn't done Spain any harm, has it?

Grandad, we love you...

Pete Edwards, the 58-year-old grandfather of Liverpool starlet Harry Wilson, cashed in on a £50 bet he placed at odds of 2,500-1 when Wilson was 18 months old that the toddler would go on to represent Wales - which he duly did as a 16-year-old on Tuesday night against Belgium.

Many people, upon receiving a windfall, insist the money won't change them and they will continue to work. Not Grandad Pete. He retired on the spot, having given his boss notice he won't be returning to his job as an electrician if Wilson played some part of the World Cup qualifier.

You can read the full story here. Enjoy your retirement, Mr Edwards.

Here comes the bridegroom...

Daniel Cutting knows how to make an entrance. The football freestyler chose his wedding day to showcase his skills, walking down the aisle with a football on his head before making the return journey with his bride on his arm.

Impressive stuff. Quite how the new Mrs Cutting felt about being upstaged on her big day, however, remains unclear.

Has anything caught your eye in the last week? Use the story comments facility below to have Your Say.

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