Saturday, September 30, 2006

Other sports

I just came back from watching american football in Argentina.

And it was in the occassion for the 2nd. Silver Bowl, between the national teams of Argentina and Uruguay.

Last time around the Uruguayans won 24-0 playing at home. And today they were the winners again. Only this time it was by the minimum difference 7-6.

It was a great day out and a good experience, seen some friends involved in the national team of a sport which is not very popular in this latitudes.

You can visit the following website for more information:

Here are some more pictures from the SilverBowl II

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

ZANETTI playing his 500th match for Inter

His international career with Argentina might have come to an end a little bit before the last World Cup, when he was ignored by Nestor PEKERMAN.

But today is a special day for a very special player: Javier ZANETTI will be playing his 500th match for INTERNAZIONALE when the Italian giants face BAYERN MUNICH for the Champions League 2006/2007 second gameweek.

An example of durability and a high-performer playing his 12th consecutive season for Inter while collecting more than 100 caps for Argentina.

Forza Capitano!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

AIMAR, AYALA and CRESPO back in the Albiceleste

The friendly match against Spain is shaping up. And there are great news for some talented players that have been relegated in favour of others during the last few months.

Alfio BASILE named a list with an exciting mix of experience and youth. Amongst those who can help the youngsters with their advice and leadership in the pitch there are a couple of stand-out figures like Roberto AYALA, Hernán CRESPO and Pablo AIMAR.

In AYALA's case there is a special incentive because if he plays, he will equal Diego SIMEONE's record with 106 caps for Argentina.

Before further explanations, here is the list of players that will be making the trip to Murcia:


Roberto AYALA
Gabriel HEINZE
Gabriel MILITO

Leonardo PONZIO
Leandro SOMOZA
Daniel BILOS
Federico INSUA

Lionel MESSI
Carlos TEVEZ

The local players (those still competing in Argentina) were left out of this list because logistics and travels and time and competition being at the highest peak in Argentina were big obstacles.

I expect to see Fernando GAGO, Hugo IBARRA and Rodrigo PALACIO (to name just 3) to feature in our coming friendlies.

Highlights in my opinion:

I'm glad to see CRESPO back in the mix and listed amongst the finest of our younger talents.

Happy to see AIMAR looking as favourite to cover for RIQUELME as a playmaker. I've seen him playing for Zaragoza this season and he is looking fast and sharp, full of confidence.

Roberto AYALA played a great World Cup and he deserves to be back in the squad. He looks as number one favourite to claim the arm-band and become our new captain.

What would I like to see in the future?

A chance for Diego MILITO (provided he stays healthy) to widen our chances upfront even more.

And I hope Fabricio COLOCCINI is not called up again. I've got nothing personal against him. I simply don't think he has the tools needed to play at the highest international level.

COCO preparing to face Spain

While the Champions League is entertaining us today (with Nicolas FRUTOS scoring for Anderletch), Coco BASILE will announce the list of players he has in mind for the second friendly of his second tenure as Argentina manager.

The date is confirmed: October 11th at the Nueva Condomina Stadium in Murcia, Spain.

Now the main actors will be known today and the biggest comeback is a fan favourite who has been impressive in the last World Cup and during the last week of action in "La Liga de España" scoring two goals to help Atletico Madrid comeback against Sevilla to win 2-1. Of course I'm talking about Maxi RODRIGUEZ.

Yes, he has a couple of games he will have to miss out through a suspension after that post-match brawl against Germany in the last World Cup. But he'll have to miss official dates: Copa America or WC Qualifiers, so he is elegible to play this friendly against Spain.

Roberto AYALA will also be on COCO's plans and will probably become the next captain.

Those appear to be the biggest names in this, the first list after RIQUELME's international retirement.

I'll give you the full list later on tonight, once COCO announces it.

Other players almost certain to be a part of the list are:

Lionel MESSI

Carlos TEVEZ

Friday, September 22, 2006

Davis Cup: Argentina vs. Australia is underway

After David NALBANDIAN defeated Mark PHILIPPOUSIS in straight sets, José ACASUSO is battling very hard against Lleyton HEWITT in a game that went all the way to the 5th. set.

A great very active and vocal crowd said "here we are" and guess who is the leader in the stands?????

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


I feel like starting a new section in this blog devoted to Argentina and sports (in no particular order!).

Every now and then I will feel like publishing an entry about a character in particular and what I feel about him/her.

I'll write something like: "THE OWNER OF THIS BLOG LOVES (......)" -and then I'll fill in the dotted line with a name-

And some other time I'll go like this: "THE OWNER OF THIS BLOG....
FEELS SORRY FOR, and a lot of different emotions/opinions about several celebrities/personalities.

I'll also offer a space for you to vent out your emotions/opinions on anybody from the sporting world.

This will give us reasons to talk about individuals in particular and express our feelings towards them.

I hope we can do it with all due respect to all the individuals named here and I'll avoid violence. If I don't like one or two characters, then I'll explain why but I'll do it with respect.

At the same time if you don't like one of the individuals I admire, I ask you to be polite and to give us your reasons without being offensive.

That said...I'll get the ball rolling by saying:



Because he was the best player I've ever seen live on a football pitch.Because he led my country to the most beautiful victory of all our history by winning the Mexico 86 World Cup almost by himself.
Because he scored the most beautiful goal in history of football.
Because he made a million mistakes and he paid for them with his health, his money, his career.
Because he dreamt his whole life of playing in a World Cup and winning it with the Albiceleste.
Because you'll never find a former team-mate saying bad things about him.
Because he decided not to join the establishment (which would have been the easiest path to take).
Because he IS football to me.

I get angry when the first thing I hear from people who hate MARADONA is: "He is a fat cheating drug addict". At the same time, I reckon those people have nothing to object if they had to talk only about football so they opt to speak about his off-the-pitch troubles.

Let's face it, nobody was capable of doing the things DIEGO did so naturally when he made the beautiful game look even more pretty. And while doing it he made Argentinos Juniors (his first club) popular around the World. Then took Napoli to glory for the first time in their history. He made the poor South of Italy happy by constantly defeating the big powerhouses from the North (Juve-Inter-Milan) and by winning 2 league titles and a UEFA Cup.

DIEGO: I felt terribly bad when your health was so compromised. I felt horrible when you made thousands of troubles in your public life (I'm not talking about personal life here. I'm talking about scandals in public.) but I know you were the one paying for those mistakes. Maybe you'll keep on paying for them until the end of your days.
But the happiness you gave to the people of your country and those supporting you and Argentina from every corner of the Earth is a million times bigger and will remain forever.
Like those memories when I first saw you live on a football pitch.

Your World Champion Argentina were playing a friendly match against Germany in Buenos Aires in 1987 (a year after both teams faced off in the World Cup final in Mexico) and you started doing keepy-uppy with an orange and then magically you sent the ball from the ground all the way over your shoulder to catch it with your hand while turning around facing the crowd with a smile in your face like if what you had just done was as easy as breathing. Up there, a few meters from the corner flag, there was a lucky 9-year-old child, who is now writing these lines, recording everything in his mind and knowing that from that moment on football for him had changed forever.

Because you ARE and you WILL EVER BE football.

Gracias Diego!

Davis Cup: Argentina getting ready to face Australia

Why do we hate Lleyton HEWITT?

Despite having a number of things to talk about, the huge number of tennis followers in Argentina only talk about one thing: Lleyton HEWITT.

I would like to stop that "movement" against Australia's number one racquet for the time being and concentrate on the most important aspects of this long-awaited semifinal match.

The colosseum is set

The brand new Parque Roca Stadium has been inaugurated this week and will host its first ever Davis Cup tie.

With a capacity of 14.000 spectators and a very compact design, Argentina will have the best vocal support they ever had.

To add a stylish detail to the party we'll have in Buenos Aires despite the result, the Parque Roca Stadium seats will be covered in ALBICELESTE colours.

Gladiator David looking for a partner

It’s been a rough year for many of our top tennis players.

Playing on clay, Argentina will have to refuse the idea of using Roland Garros 2004 champion Gastón GAUDIO. One of the best exponents of the sport from our country and a master in clay, is not happy with his current level of performances. He is being too erratic and so team skipper Alberto MANCINI decided not to call him up to face the Aussies.

Guillermo CORIA, runner-up in that edition of the French Open after an epic match against GAUDIO is struggling like never before. After a record number of double-faults he is now having trouble to even win a first round match in a challenger tournament (like this week when he lost against Romanian Sabau (167th in the world ranking) at Szczecin, Poland.

Another fallen star now playing challengers is Guillermo CAÑAS. His ban for doping has been lift and after a 15-months absence he is back for good. He won the Belem, Brazil challenger in good fashion, climb back up to the 514th place in the ranking (after being erased from it) and he looked totally fit and in great form. Now he dreams of making an international comeback if Argentina makes it to the final match. MANCINI says he’ll consider calling him because he is one of our best players in hard or fast courts and in case we face Russia it’ll be in that kind of surface.

With that scenario David NALBANDIAN, who is also not enjoying his best season, looks like the most solid figure to use in a Davis Cup semifinal.

The Cordoba-born top-10 player will play two single matches and the doubles encounter. And who will be Argentina’s second single player it is a big mystery up to today.

The rest of the team is composed by Agustín CALLERI, Juan Ignacio CHELA and José ACASUSO, with the latter being the one who appears to have more chances of facing HEWITT on Friday.

And so now we’re back again to talk about the Adelaide blonde kid.

Lleyton HEWITT will be on the spot light and he’ll hear a thousand insults coming his way from the ardent crowd at Parque Roca. But he deserves that treatment (of course I’m against physical violence and crowd misbehaviour) because he likes to generate that.
How? Not only by shouting “COME ONNNNNNN” at his opponents’ face everytime he has the chance. But there is also an added condiment in his rivalry with Argentina.

When Argentina and Australia were both competing in the Under-16 Davis Cup (or a similar tournament in which players represent their countries), the Albiceleste (formed by youngsters David NALBANDIAN and Guillermo CORIA amongst others) surprisingly lost to Venezuela in the first round. That night after the match, NALBANDIAN and CORIA started to hear somebody shouting and they went to the balcony to check it out. It was HEWITT with a banner that read: “ARGENTINA playing for 9th-16th” and he was singing the famous “Don’t cry for me Argentina”.

Ever since that happened, there has been bad blood between HEWITT and all the Argentine players. The latest example of this came today at a press conference when David NALBANDIAN said: “Nobody is friends with HEWITT in the ATP circuit”.

Juan Ignacio CHELA went too far once when he spat towards Lleyton to add spice to a bad-tempered relationship.

And so it is no surprise that also the fans picked him as the main target to off-load their anger. Especially when HEWITT, surrounded all the time by 2 bodyguards, repeatedly mentions the fear he has when arriving to Argentina because he feels the country is unsafe, like if people here were monsters.

A little history lesson

Argentina has a unique chance to emulate their best result ever in the Davis Cup: reaching the final.
The only time Argentina managed to do that was in 1981 when the great Guillermo VILAS and his partner José Luis CLERC lost against the USA (McENROE-CONNORS) after defeating Great Britain in the semifinals.

However there are a couple of worrying memories for Argentina because we’ve lost twice against Australia in semis.

1977 (the year I was born!) Guillermo VILAS was at his best (winning 16 tournaments –including Roland Garros and the US Open and setting the record of 53-straight wins in clay-) but Australia was too much for Argentina and they won 3-2 in Buenos Aires to advance to the final and to eventually win the cup.

1977 - Semifinal – September 14th–16th
Australia 3 – 2 Argentina, Buenos Aires (clay)
G. VILAS (ARG) b. P. DENT (AUS) 6-2, 4-6, 7-5, 6-3
J. ALEXANDER (AUS) a R. CANO (AUS) 6-4, 6-0, 6-0
T. DENT – J. ALEXANDER (AUS) b. G. VILAS – R. CANO (ARG) 6-2, 4-6, 9-7, 4-6, 6-2
T. DENT (AUS) b. R. CANO (ARG) 6-4, 6-4, 6-3
G. VILAS (ARG) b. J. ALEXANDER (AUS) 6-4, 7-5, 4-6, 6-2

In 1990, Pat CASH and the grass surface in Sydney were a mountain to climb for Martin JAITE and current captain Alberto MANCINI. After the doubles match ended in a 15-13 5th set, we’ve lost 5-0 and were out again.

1990 - Semifinal - September 21th-23th
Australia 5-0 Argentina, Sydney (grass)
P. CASH (AUS) b. A. MANCINI (ARG) 6-1, 6-1, 6-2
W. MASUR (AUS) b. M. JAITE (ARG) 3-6, 6-7, 6-4, 6-0, 6-2
D. CAHILL- M. KRATZMANN (AUS) b. J. FRANA - C. MINIUSSI (ARG) 3-6, 7-6, 7-6, 4-6, 15-13
P. CASH (AUS) b. M. JAITE (ARG) 7-5, 6-2
W. MASUR (AUS) b. J. FRANA (ARG) 6-2, 6-2

Will it be third-time lucky for Argentina?

On Thursday with the order of play being drawn, we’ll start getting some answers to that question.

Till then….VAMOS ARGENTINA!!!!!!!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Updated calendar

Here's the updated calendar with the scheduled activity for Argentina in the next few months:


Venue: Nueva Condomina Stadium, Murcia (Spain)

Venue: Brazil (several venues)

Venue: San Cristóbal (Venezuela)

Venue: Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)

Venue: Mar del Plata (Argentina)

ODESUR GAMES (South American Games)- FUTSAL (indoor football)
Venue: Mar del Plata (Argentina)

SOURCE: AFA official website:

We've got a record of 5 wins, 2 draws and 3 defeats against Spain. Our last match against them was 2-0 victory for Argentina with Kily GONZALEZ and Mauricio POCHETTINO as scorers. It was November 17th. 1999.

BASILE's team will also play against France in Paris in February 2007 and a friendly against Italy is also being scheduled.

The friendly against Turkey in Germany has been cancelled and it looks like the World Champions could be our rivals on November 15th. The venue looks to be the Italian southern city of Bari.

It's been a long time since I remember a list of friendly matches as impressive as this one: Brazil, Spain, Italy and France!

It's obvious that the contract signed with the Russians is delivering the goods in this sense. I'm thrilled with the opportunity to face top teams (with great rivalry in some cases) and with the exposure our national team will get from those fixtures. The fact of facing the World Champions and the World Cup finalists is something that can't be beaten. And only good things could come out of such encounters.


Monday, September 18, 2006

MANOLO is back at home!

Granpa is at home!!!!

He was discharged from hospital and he is back with grandma!

Tonight is the first of many nights that I'll stay at home instead of being with him in hospital. So I'm slowly coming back to my "normal" sleeping hours and hopefully I'll resume a normal life soon.

Good old Manuel (I call him MANOLO) gave us a true scare but his recovery has been sensational. I'm going to visit him tomorrow for a Sudoku competition! haha! Not that I like numbers, but he does!

He even stood bravely in front of the TV while his beloved Racing Club lost the last two matches (3-2 against Argentinos Juniors and Arsenal), giving us all a proof that his heart is strong as ever!

Here's a pic of Manolo with me:

I'll try and update you more often with everything related to Argentina and hopefully with your help we can make this blog a better source of information for all Argentina fans around the World.

Thanks for your prayers and thoughts for Manolo. He thanks you dearly as I told him about it and he was deeply touched.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Adios Juan Roman RIQUELME!

One of the most beloved players in our team and yet one of the most hated has decided to end his international career and so, our defeat against Brazil could have possibly been the last time Juan Roman RIQUELME wore the Albiceleste.

He is announcing a decision that was rumoured for a long time and he seems adamant in keeping his word.

Juan Roman RIQUELME will anounce tonight that he will play no more for Argentina.

Here are some numbers to take a look at RIQUELME's campaign with Argentina:

Debut: November 16th, 1997 (Argentina 1 – Colombia 1)

Matches played: 37

Goals: 8

World Cup matches: 5 (all in Germany2006)

Titles with Argentina: Youth World Cup Malaysia 1997 and South American tournament also in 1997.

Despite being an admirer of some of the aspects of his game, I must say I think it is a good thing for us. Sometimes he looks like he doesn't want to play. At times it was an advantage because he was so cool when other players tend to lose their heads. But in the end, he lacks the inspirational power I thought he had and I think that we have a lot of time to find a proper replacement.

Now who should be RIQUELME's replacement?

AIMAR, D'ALESSANDRO, INSUA, MESSI (playing some yards behind his natural position?)

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Reporting live: BEHIND ENEMY LINES!

Hello everyone! I'm dropping you a line of two with just over 20 minutes to go before the start of the match between Argentina and Brazil.

And I'm doing it from a very particular location. As some of you might know, I'm in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil!

I've got my Argentina shirt and I'm ready to support our team in front of a couple of Brazilian friends of mine.

It's going to be a great experience and I'm looking forward for BASILE's team to give me reasons to be happy.

Lineups are confirmed and the first big surprise came with the decision BASILE made regarding who will be our captain today. There were talks about ABBONDANZIERI, SAMUEL, maybe MILITO, but COCO chose Juan Roman RIQUELME who will also be wearing the number 10 shirt.

Brazil won't have a magical number 10 playing for them today, because RONALDINHO is injured.

Our starting eleven?