June 30, 2010
I heard a rumour and I'm not a big fan of them, but seeing we have a tense wait before Saturday's match, I thought I'd drop it here and get some feedback from you.
Apparently, Diego and members of his coaching staff have agreed in playing 3-4-3 v. Germany.
DEMICHELIS-BURDISSO-HEINZE (SAMUEL is apparently not ready to make a comeback yet)
Jonas GUTIERREZ-VERON-MASCHERANO-Clemente RODRIGUEZ;
I've been out all day and I've missed the live coverage (if there was any) of Argentina's training session or media activity.
So I'm taking this information from the national media reporting on what Diego MARADONA said today.
Among other things, Diego said the following:
It's the late hours of Tuesday, 29 June and even though most of you will read this on the 30th, I can't ignore the fact that 24 years ago today, Argentina defeated West Germany 3-2 at the Azteca Stadium to win the 1986 Mexico World Cup. How many times have we watched those images and how many frustrations have we lived since then? 24 years later, it's Germany in our way again and we need to stop with this painful streak against them. It still hurts to remember how they beat us in the final in 1990 and how they eliminated us on penalties four years ago. It's time to stop them now.
And what would be the best way to do so?
June 27, 2010
I didn't like how we played tonight. I really didn't. But you want to know what I did like? That despite not playing a solid game, despite not enjoying that much possession, despite not creating as many chances as in our three previous games, we still won 3-1. And we still managed to make it look rather easy.
The reason? Apart from a horrible refereeing mistake that allowed our first goal in a clear offside position, was nothing more than our incredible individual quality.
June 26, 2010
Allow me to go a little bit off topic here and talk about other teams and not just Argentina. It's just that I'm obsessed with the World Cup (always have been) and in a way, all 32 teams are related and they all take part of the same competition.
So here we are. Some people say: "The real World Cup starts with the Round of 16". I would tell those people to look at Italy or France and think again.
I would go even further...the real World Cup starts with the World Cup Qualifiers! But they are history now. We need to talk about the present and here are some points I thought I'd raise for all of us to engage in conversation.
June 22, 2010
What a frustrating match of football that was! From every angle you look at it.
I thought Greece would have had the need to try and get something out of this game. I thought they would attack or at least try something to get what they needed from this meeting with Argentina. They gambled on getting a draw and shutting down Argentina and then on getting a result go their way from the other match in our group. Well...I'm glad it didn't pay off for them. Not only because we won, but also because I can't believe how negative they played tonight. It felt like they didn't want to be there in the first place. And I don't like it when teams that don't want to play football stay alive in the competition.
June 21, 2010
When I was a boy, I was fortunate enough to read a book which is an excellent classic, one of the many brilliant pieces from the old Spanish literature. This novel is called 'El Cantar de Mío Cid'.
Now this was the story about a Spanish knight called Rodrígo DÍAZ DE VIVAR, born around 1041 or 1054.
Known as 'El Cid Campeador', this man was a master military tactician and he was feared by all the other armies. He was invincible.
June 20, 2010
What do I mean with that question?
Before you accuse me of counting my chickens ahead of time, I don't mean who are we going to face in the round of 16. We are not quite there yet. I'm cautious. Not pessimistic. Just cautious.
I'm also not an ignorant. I know we play Greece next. That's not what I meant either when I asked that question in the headline.
I mean...who do we play? Which players do we keep in our starting XI?
June 17, 2010
What an offensive performance from the whole team!
That's the Gonzalo HIGUAIN we all want to see. He started off really cold but when he caught on fire, he jumped all the way to the top of the scoring charts in this World Cup.
If he is going to stay like this in front of goal, then I'll have no problems if Diego MILITO doesn't start every match, even though you know I'd still pick him and as I said regarding Gabriel HEINZE v. Nigeria, one performance, good or bad, doesn't change all my convictions.
I found myself speaking to Daniel CHO, my colleague correspondent for South Korea here on Soccernet, and we talked about how our teams met in 1986 and how their manager spent the whole match kicking the hell out of our manager as Diego MARADONA inspired our team to a 3-1 victory that was never in doubt.
Today, 24 years later, and after both teams have won in their Group B debut, to predict the winner of this Thursday's match between Argentina and South Korea is not as easy as in the 80s.
So I don't think we should be expecting a walk in the PARK for Argentina.
June 12, 2010
Who says that ball cannot be controlled? HEINZE showed it's possible!
Argentina defeated Nigeria 1-0 with a goal from one of the most unlikeliest scorers in a team so full of World Class forwards. And I think that was a key to understand this game.
We had to win it. It doesn't matter if it came on a set piece. The anxiety that comes with the World Cup debut is over now.
Dear players; dearest Diego:
I am feeling better from my flu (thanks for asking) and the day of the big debut against Nigeria has come.
Like me, millions of Argentines and fans of the Albicelestes from abroad (oh, boy! You gotta believe me there are plenty out there. I know you know it!), have been waiting for this day for four years.
I am about to live my 7th World Cup as a fan. I guess if you do the maths, you will realise which one was my first. I'm older than that, but the first I can clearly remember is that one I'm referring to. Many of you, our current players, weren't even born back then.
This one, though, it's different than all the others and I wanted to write to you just so you understand how big this is for me.
June 11, 2010
This is me being selfish. This is me writing just for me.
I found myself all alone at home for a while. I'm in the middle of a fight against a tenacious flu that doesn't want to go away. I can't help but watching TV and I stay around the sports channels. They can't help but to keep talking (nonsense) about the upcoming World Cup. And I'm fed up really.
All of a sudden, I'm struck by a thought that came to me like a warning. All I can do right now is to type these lines and think of them as a much-needed therapy. Not only for my illness, but also to fight the anxiety and that sense of insecurity that I feel ahead of the match against Nigeria.
That thought, my friends, is more like a question: "What if we play on Saturday just like we have been playing in the World Cup Qualifiers?"
June 3, 2010
Love him or loath him Diego Armando MARADONA is the most fascinating sports personality in the history of mankind. Period.
There is a legend that could come close, like Muhammad ALI, but I can't think of any other sportsman with a life as hectic and turbulent, as fun and dark, as brilliant and pathetic as Diego's. Perhaps not even ALI.
But before he leads Argentina to his first World Cup as a manager, and because results should not be the only judges when it comes to analysing his tenure as a boss, here is how Bad Diego compares with Good Diego.