Sunday, November 26, 2006


Or should it be CARLITOS walks away?

Yesterday, after PARDEW decided to substitute TEVEZ with Teddy SHERINGHAM, the Argentine striker went to the locker rooms, had a shower and left the stadium before all his teammates and his manager.

This is not good news and it reminds me a bit of the TEVEZ we've seen in his last days at Corinthians. Nothing to do with the unstoppable CARLITOS who won everything with Boca Juniors and then was elected as the best player in the Brazilian league when he helped Corinthians to win the title.

It is pretty clear to me that he is unhappy at the moment and he doesn't know what is his role at West Ham.

Here is a link to an article published in the BBC with more info about this issue:

On another note, things are great here at Doha as I look forward for the football tournament to start on Tuesday. There is still unclear what is the situation with Iran and whether they'll be able to play here or not. It's keeping us really busy and it's making us write and re-write every article again and again and again...but I'm enjoying it anyway!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Extreme measures against violence in Argentine football

It was always going to happen. Unlike other critical moments in the past, no-one has died in a football-related violence episode in recent days. But the situation is unbearable.

After the big Avellaneda derby was abandoned after the Racing Club supporters had a go at the police (with their team losing 2-0), football in Argentina has hit rock bottom and things just couldn't continue like this.

Countless games have been abandoned because of violence (in every division) and to understand the league standings is a difficult task with all those teams having game-in-hand after several matches were cancelled and that's just the less important aspect of this whole situation.

Club's presidents (like Gimnasia´s J.J. MUÑOZ) who invade the referee´s locker room to death-threaten him; hooligans of that club doing the same with their players if they win against Boca Juniors hence benefiting Estudiantes (Gimnasia´s biggest rivals); riots; missile-throwing crowds...

It just got worst and worst and today, some extreme measures have been applied by the AFA.

Here´s a list of these measures:

1. From now on, there'll be no more away fans attending games from First Division down to Primera D (fifth tier football).

2. No more tickets sold on the day.

3. Access will be only given to members and season-ticket holders.

Another measure was taken to punish Racing Club (in an attempt to give an example of taking measures against a big club so there are no suspicions from fans of smaller clubs who have been always prosecuted by the AFA and bad refereeing decisions against them).

After the trouble caused by Racing fans on Sunday, they have been ordered to play against San Lorenzo in a neutral ground (despite the troubles being caused at Independiente's ground). Now they'll play at La Plata's new stadium and with another of the measures going into action right away, there'll be no San Lorenzo fans either (remember: no away fans from now on until further notice).

So the first outcome is another classic match between big clubs like Racing and San Lorenzo, being played in an empty stadium.

If you ask me...I rather have this, than the constant non-sense we're seeing week in and week out in Argentina.

I doubt we'll reach a final solution to these problems, but I'm glad that at least the authorities are trying something.

Next on the line will be the feared and almost never implemented points deduction for the clubs with trouble-maker hooligans.

All of these measures will be running until 2007 where I'm afraid...things are going to go back to (un)normal. It's a never-ending least until we remove the real cancer out of football: corrupted club's board-members.

They use hooligans to help them out with their campaigns, they sell cheap and buy expensive, they fix games and then they pretend to be victims of the whole situation.

Hopefully...before too long, we'll see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Monday, November 13, 2006

A little bit more patience!

That's what I'd ask to all of this blog's visitors.

I'll be REALLY busy with work from this week until the end of the year.

I will eventually post the odd article but don't expect a new piece everyday.

What I did enjoy was the interaction between you with the comments (a lot of them with great information) and I would love to see that go on. I don't see why not.

Thanks in advance and VAMOS ARGENTINA!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Vamos Los Pumas!

It's rugby time, my friends!

Argentina is facing England today at the mythical Twickenham stadium and it is going to be a great test for Marcelo LOFFREDA's men.

We've never won in London (4 defeats, 1 draw) and this could be a good chance for a team formed by 8 players competing in the English Zurich Premier League.

Plus...I've got a bet on Los Pumas so the reward of winning could be even sweeter!

Anybody watching?

Monday, November 06, 2006

Five in four for Lisandro LOPEZ!

I must admit I was a little bit disappointed with the start of his European campaing playing for Porto.

He left Racing Club at top-goalscorer in Argentina and he struggled to become a first team regular in his first season.

But now Lisandro "Licha" LOPEZ seem to be enjoying himself and he is full of confidence while he keeps on getting more and more minutes.

Today he scored the first of Porto's 3 goals away against Vitoria Setubal and he kept his streak alive, scoring 5 goals in his last 4 matches!

It all started against Hamburg for the Champions League 3rd match day when LICHA got a brace in a 4-1 win.

Then he followed opening up the scoring against Benfica in Portugal biggest derby match.

Last Wednesday he scored again against Hamburg and with today's strike he's declaring he has no intentions to stop this impressive run of form.

Here's to LICHA keeping it up and getting another chance to play for Argentina!

Don't say OUI, say SI!

Raymond DOMENECH, France national team manager, is due to name on Thursday the squad for their upcoming match against Greece.

Now the rumours about Gonzalo HIGUAIN being in DOMENECH's radar are no longer rumours as the young River Plate forward is believed to be included on a preliminary list ahead of Thursday call up.

L'Equipe, the popular French newspaper, have published on their website a piece of news about this and you can read it here:

And you can translate it here:

You can also watch him in Spanish and saying that his priority is trying to win the league with River Plate.

I wouldn't want to be on his shoes right now as he is facing a decision that could hunt him down forever if he is not happy with it.

I guess we're gonna have to keep waiting and I wish DOMENECH, BASILE and the press can leave him alone while he gives this thing the time to think it properly and get to a final and very personal decision.

And we'll see which side of the road will he be on February 7th, 2007 when Argentina and France will meet up in Paris for a friendly match.

A football tour through Argentina

I came back to Buenos Aires a few days ago after my 3-week trip through Argentina, and now I sit here willing share with you one particular aspect I thought you might find interesting.

Throughout my trip, I’ve been to a rain forest in the North East with the gorgeous Iguazú Falls as the main attraction there. I’ve also been to the desert in the North West with a 90-square kms salt basin which was a pre-historic sea.

Then to the mountains that separate our country from Chile. Impressive views with 7-colours hills in the north and our continent’s top height (the Aconcagua -6.692 mts) a little bit down south in the beautiful Mendoza province, the land of wine and sunshine and the 7-lakes circuit in the provinces of Neuquen and Rio Negro.

Finally, we’ve got to the Atlantic coast and the whales were dancing in the bay, waiting for us to visit them.

I’ve got some pictures of every single place we’ve been but this time, those that I would like to share with you, were taken in some of my country's poorest regions. It doesn’t matter if you’re in the North, South, West or East, there is always one common link between the people in Argentina.

There is one thing that don’t care if you’re rich or you’re poor. If you’re catholic or you’re muslim. If you vote for left or right political parties.

Football is ever-present in Argentina and here you can see my very tiny little photo gallery of the diversity of pitches, surfaces and places you’ll see kids or grown-ups running like crazy behind the ball.
Picture index (from top to bottom)
1. A view through the wall in a local football club located in the outskirts of Cafayate, a little town near the province capital of Salta. Boca Juniors were facing Newell's at the same time, hence the empty pitch as everybody was watching the television.
2. A football match in a very irregular field in Tilcara, Jujuy. I was having trouble breathing because of the high-altitude and these guys were chasing the ball like mad people!
3-4. Some kids kicking it in Cafayate, Salta. I can tell you the one with the multi-coloured top sure has great reflexes on goal! Amazing stuff!
5. A chicken walking by as the kids play some footy. Cafayate, Salta.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

ZANETTI and Diego MILITO bursting the net

After a great mid-week with Lucho GONZALEZ, Lisandro LOPEZ and Julio CRUZ all scoring in the Champions League, we've got to the weekend and so far (Porto will play tomorrow) we only have 2 Argentine in the score sheet.

Javier ZANETTI (for top-of-the-table Inter against Ascoli)

Diego MILITO (for Zaragoza against Getafe -ABBONDANZIERI suffering the scoring power of joint-top-scorer in La Liga -with Freddy KANOUTE both with 8-)

Argentina through to Beach Soccer World Cup Quarterfinals

Where else than in Rio de Janeiro could this Beach Soccer World Cup be played?

I can’t think of a better stage for this competition.

Argentina is taking part of this and not only that: we are the first team qualified for the quarter-finals stage.

Heading Group D after defeating Nigeria (5-4) and Bahrain (2-1) we have to face Italy (already eliminated) on Monday in our last group game.

We’re not favourites to win the tournament but the boys will give it a try and our rival will be the 2nd-placed team from Group C (most likely Uruguay a team that defeated us in the semi-finals of the South American WC Qualifying tournament).

Anybody following the Beach Soccer World Cup?

This is a team profile from (

Argentina’s history in international beach soccer dates back to the sport’s formative period in mid-1993, when, alongside the USA, Brazil and Italy, they travelled to Miami Beach for the first tournament of the professional era. Foremost among the players to run out for that ground-breaking side were Sergio Goycochea and Julio Olarticoechea, two members of the Argentina squad that had finished runners-up at the 1990 FIFA World Cup™ in Italy.

Argentina also took part in the first unofficial Beach Soccer World Championship, in 1995, but failed to finish among the honours. Their best performance in the tournament would come six years later in Costa do Sauipe, Brazil, where they caused a sensation by beating the hosts. A dramatic semi-final reverse against France (5-4) left the Albiceleste to battle it out for third place with archrivals Brazil. With the odds stacked against them, the team coached by former professional Carlos Gerardo Russo secured a place on the podium with a 4-2 win over the Auriverde, in the process handing their neighbours their last regulation-time defeat in this competition.

In 2005, Argentina qualified for the inaugural FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup, held in Rio de Janeiro, but were eliminated by the hosts in the quarter-finals. One year on and they are preparing to return to the same city and cement the progress made under coach Hector Francisco Petrasso, who steered them to third place in the South American qualifying tournament earlier this year.

Nowadays, Argentine beach soccer has the firm backing of the country’s football association, who have built a special pitch at their Buenos Aires headquarters to enable the national team to have training sessions and get-togethers when required.


The Albiceleste booked their place in Rio de Janeiro courtesy of a third-place finish in the South American qualifying tournament held last March in the Brazilian city of Macae. The team's passage was not all plain sailing, however, with qualification only secured in their final game against Venezuela. Prior to that, Petrasso's side had looked impressive at the group stage, where a defeat to eventual champions Brazil was their only blemish in five outings.
In the semi-final, Uruguay's extra-time winner denied Argentina a place in the decider, but the team bounced back to secure a berth in Rio with a cautious 2-0 win over the Vinotinto. All told, Argentina posted five wins and two defeats, with 26 goals for and 19 against.

The Coach

At just 36, Francisco Petrasso is one of the youngest national team coaches in the discipline, though he comes into this tournament with the advantage of having participated in last year's edition in Rio de Janeiro as a player. Now, as coach, Petrasso knows he has to make full use of his knowledge and experience if he is to boost the development of Argentine beach soccer with a big performance at the showpiece event in November. “I know this squad very well, having spent years with it as a player. I'm even friends with some of the team, which makes for easier communication. They understand my new role and know that I'm trying to do what is best for the team,” he said.

Player to watch

Leadership, talent and experience are just three of the qualities brought to the side by Ezequiel Hilaire, the eldest of three brothers in Argentina's beach soccer squad. The recently qualified attorney, a one-time member of the “Rest of the World” team, has become the standard bearer for his side, who often fail to reach the heights in his absence.
As well as the influential Ezequiel, mention should also be made of the solid and reassuring goalkeeper Marcelo Salgueiro, and the goalscoring instincts of Santiago Hilaire, the team's top marksman in the South American qualifiers.

What they said...

“This group is giving their all to be among the top four sides in the world. That's our goal, and I'm sure these guys deserve it. They are working extremely hard, have been playing together for a long time now and are a very tight-knit group.” (Francisco Petrasso, Argentina coach)

And the squad list for Argentina:

1. Marcelo SALGUEIRO (GK)
2. Santiago HILAIRE (MF)
3. Gustavo CASADO (MF)
5. Rodrigo LOPEZ (DF)
6. Leandro PARADISI (DF)
7. Federico HILAIRE (FW)
8. Federico ANDRADE (DF)
9. Facundo MINICI (FW)
10. Ezequiel HILAIRE (FW)
11. Lucas BACA (FW)
12. Cesar MENDOZA (GK)

Coach: PETRASSO Hector (ARG)

Just one more thing to add: