Sunday, December 30, 2007

Mundo's Best Of 2007

It's hard to believe that 2007 is finally coming to an end. Wow!!! How much time has gone by.
When I wrote the Best of 2006 article last year (it was still known as Vamos Argentina), I was still just another reader in this blog. Then somewhere in March, came the opportunity to become a co-writer. At first, I doubt myself that I can do it and wasn't to sure about it.

But once I've decided and that was it, there was no turning back. But none of this would have been possible if wasn't for Seba (Muchas gracias, Mi mejor amigo). Your support is truly indispensable.

Then we had a new name or should I say our very own trademark, Mundo Albiceleste.

Part of my mission as a writer was to take this blog to the next level and beyond its comfort territory. In some ways, I believe we have achieve just that.

For example, we had many non-Argentina supporters commenting on our blog every now and then. Among those were our South African, Aussie and Irish friends during the Rugby World Cup. Not forget all those hoop fanatics that often has something to share with us as the NBA season progresses. Certainly all this has increase the exposure of our blog.

Among the highlights of this blog that I would like to talk about is our very own readers cum correspondence. Thank you Roy and Pablo for sharing with all of us your great experience watching our beloved Albiceleste. Not to forget, the Crazy Albi-Malaysian Gang giving you guys some history lesson as well. Certainly we would like to have more articles like this in the future.

Another milestone achievement for this blog is that this is the 500th article that is to be posted here. Unbelievable!!!

Now as it is still less then 24 hours to go before the countdown to 2008, here is my personal Top 10 best of Albiceleste of 2007. And it goes something like this.

10. Historical Gunners
Believe or not, on the 5th of December 2007 more than 18,000 spectator made the trip to the Juan Domingo Perón Stadium (Seba's Racing Club stadium) to witness a history landmark. It was the day that El Viaducto has finally won a top-level honour for the first time in its 50 years of existence. None of this would have been impossible if wasn't Martin ADRIZZI strike in the 83rd minute. Certainly a success that deserve a place in our annual standings.

9. The Reina Albiceleste
Something for the ladies, the success of Los Leonas in both Argentina and international hockey would not be where it is today it wasn't for La Maga outstanding talent and gift. If last year was mediocre, than this year was a phenomenon. We at Mundo Albiceleste would like to recognize her achievement of becoming the first player (both men & women) to win the player of the year for a record of four times.

8. B-Sides With A-Class Performance
The critics had their fair share of say about the chances of this so-called B-Team but so did the coach and the players. At the FIBA Americas Sergio HERNANDEZ and his boys prove that the Tall Albiceleste was more than just Manu GINOBILI & NBA players. Their resilience and determination became the x-factor on their journey towards Beijing 2008. Not only that, Luis SCOLA took home the MVP Award and Pablo PRIGIONI had the most assist ( 6.3 per game).

7. Juan Over Our Rival
What makes this year's Copa Libertadores look so special? Well it was perhaps the only time on the football pitch that Argentina prevails over Brazil. Juan Roman RIQUELME has shown that with the right place, the right environment and the right time he can be a devastating force on the field. However I would still like to give a kudos to the entire team for giving us that one moment of happiness against our eternal rival in the game that we love so much.

6. Kun & The Gang
Muchos gracias to Senor Hugo TOCALLI & his boys for giving us the antidote for all our sorrow, just as when we needed the most. Our youth team has proven once again that at this level, we are the best in the business. And as always because of these young misfits, they became the beacon of hope that there is a great future lies ahead in our football team. In AGUERO, ROMERO, MORALEZ, BANEGA & Co. we trust.

5. Mastermind David
An injury plagued year, slipping out of Top 20 and lost of form, how worse it could have gone for the man that was remarkable last year. But not always a worse start could lead to a bad ending. Which was just the case when he won the Madrid and Paris masters back to back. Along the way, he became the bogeyman for World No.1 Roger FEDERER. Lets hope this form will continue next year.

4. Deadly Duo In San Antonio
This year's best ever tag team. Both had their own story to tell. One was making a personal milestone on winning his third championship ring in a space of five years. While the other won his first in a remarkable journey that saw him being promoted from bench to starter. Today because of them, the team that everyone in San Antonio loves has become a dynasty and their achievement, in some ways, has put Argentina on the map even brighter in the land of Uncle Sam.

3. Hammering Devil
Last year we all argued about how difficult it can be for him to play in the rough and tumble Premiership. I have to say that I feel ashamed for myself for not having faith in our man. So just look at what he has achieved since then. From a hammering savior, to an instance Upton Park legend. From a new hit on the block to at Old Trafford to almost a legendary Devil in the making. Believe or not, on many occasion his sublime and magic feet has even made English fans chanting Argentina!!! Argentina!!!

2. Immortalized Pumas
We all know how much they've achieved and what did their success meant so much to us. Well let me tell you something, they say that it takes a miracle to unite fans of the El Superclásico derby in Buenos Aires in their respective colours. Not for these guys, they've done it in 80 minutes. Another big factor on the kind of impact they had on their fans back home. Believe me when I say they actually did win a trophy; the hearts and mind of its passionate supporter around the world .

1. Might Duck Of Córdoba
The story about a boy, born in the city of Córdoba, Argentina where both he and his family barely had something to eat; who had to quit school at a young age so that he can work as a caddie to put food on his family's table .

Through that profession, he had the chance learn the art of golf, which set him on a journey that will one day crowned him as the US Open champion .

Certainly such story are good enough for the man we all know simply as El Pato to share the same pleasure as any Albiceleste greats, for example a certain Diego MARADONA.

The one thing I liked about him is that he is a true people's champion. He made our heroes look more human than anything else. Unlike most of his peers, he doesn't have a large entourage accompanying him on tour, he doesn't go to the gym that often and when asked on during a post match interview on how did he calm himself during the last shot at Oakmont, CABRERA said "Well, there are some players that have psychologists, some have sports psychologists, I smoke."

Now that's what I call honesty at its purest form. He has also put both Argentina and Latin America on the golf map. For this Pato, you are 2007 Mundo's Albiceleste of the Year.

Now what do we have in store for 2008. Of course it is going to be another exciting year to look forward to. And we will do our best to cover them all @ Mundo Albiceleste .

Now on behalf of Seba & myself, we would like to take this opportunity to say a BIG thank you to all our wonderful readers. It was indeed exciting to read all your comments and opinions. We appreciate this very much.

To end this we wish you, your friends & family, a very Happy New Year. Together let us look forward to 2008 with full of anticipation.


Feliz año nuevo 2008!!!

News -Nothing Much

Despite several action that took place over the weekend, it was pretty much a boring one indeed. Here are some of them.

English Premier League

Carlos TEVEZ was a given a hero reception upon his return to Upton Park, since his move to Manchester United. It was an amazing sight seeing the Hammers faithful applauding him when he was on the pitch.

Clearly this shows they have never his forgotten his contribution in helping to remain in the Premiership.

However it was a sour ending for TEVEZ as he was substitute in the second half and United went down 2-1. Can't blame him for that as Luis SAHA was a very bad choice to partner him.

Javier MASCHERANO was everywhere for Liverpool in their goalless draw against Manchester City. He was winning possession, providing some great passes and on some occasion could have got his first goal for the club.

NBA News

San Antonio Spurs, still without Manu GINOBILI, defeated Memphis Grizzlies 111-87. Fabricio OBERTO was on the bench today with only 2 rebound & 1 steal to his credit.

Chicago Bulls on the other hand inflicted more pain on the struggling New York Knicks, defeating them 100-83 at Madison Square Garden. Chapu NOCIONI posted 5 points, 4 rebounds & 1 block shot.

NFL News

End of the road for Martin GRAMATICA and the New Orleans Saint as they missed out the play-offs after going down to the Chicago Bears 25-33. Once again he was at 100% converting a 48-yard field goal in the second quarter and two extra points.

Friday, December 28, 2007

NBA - Scola's High & Walter's Debut

San Antonio Spurs 73 Toronto Raptors 83

Spurs suffered their second loss at home and were very much struggling with their shots (32% from the field) without super sub Manu GINOBILI.

Though there would have been a mouth watering clash between Fabricio OBERTO and Carlos DELFINO, neither had a great game so to speak.

OBERTO had no points just 3 rebounds & 1 block shot. DELFINO finished off with 8 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals & 1 block shot.

Detroit Pistons 114 Indiana Pacers 101
Walter HERRMANN was given his Pistons debut in the fourth quarter. He was given less than 10 minutes of time play on which he notched 2 points & 1 rebound.

Memphis Grizzlies 83 Houston Rockets 103

As expected, Luis SCOLA needs to step up his game in the absence of Tracy McGRADY. Tonight against the Grizzlies, again he did just that.

I think we need to build a solid team, and be able to win with whatever we have," SCOLA said of playing without T-Mac, the league's 10th-best scorer at 22.8 a game. "If we want to do something big, we need to be solid. We need to have four or five people step up."
Alongside YAO Ming, he finished off the game with a career high 22 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist & 2 steals.

This goes to show that what the Rockets have been missing from him which is given the right role he will produce qualitative performance.

Chicago Bulls 103 Milwaukee Bucks 99

Interim coach Jim BOYLAN had a dream start after being promoted to head coach following the departure of Scott SKILES.

Despite the fouls and turnovers, Andres NOCIONI finished off the game with 11 points & 9 rebounds.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

2007 Mundo’s Review – Others

Golf was a real phenomenon in 2007. To tame a tiger at the majors has never been easy unless you have the stroke of an angel.

Angel " Pato" CABRERA made headline throughout the golf world when he won the US Open at Oakmont Country Club. He finished the tournament at 5-over, topping Tiger WOODS and Jim FURYK by one stroke. Cabrera entered the third round as the leader at even par, after finishing the first round at 1-under, and shooting 1-over on the second day. He was also a winner of the PGA Grand Slam of Golf and the Barclays Singapore Open.

To capped off an extraordinary year, he was awarded with the Honorary Life Membership of The European Tour.

If he had coverting his shot precisely we would have been making history by completing the double at the majors. The person that I’m referring to is Andrés ROMERO. At the Open Championship at Carnoustie Golf Links, he briefly held the lead, but ended up missing the play off by one shot.

He made up for his disappointment just a week later by winning the Deutsche Bank Players Championship of Europe.

The women’s hockey team lead by Luciana AYMAR did not had a great start to the year. Los Leonas started off the finishing second in the Champions Trophy on home soil.

However at the Pan Am Games, they seal their status as the region’s best by winning the gold medal against the United States.

And just recently, La Maga AYMAR was awarded as this years FIH Women Player of The Year for the record of four times.

The men however had some mixed result. The return of inspirational skipper Jorge LOMBI to the national team was timely as he helped them to win the Champions Challenge Trophy in Brussels, Belgium.

However they were short handed at the Pan Am Games where they surprisingly lost the final to Canada on penalties. As a result the team missed a chance for an automatic berth in next year’s Olympic Games and will need to play in the qualifying round.

The men volleyball team to had a year to forget as they finished 7th at the World Cup and were winless at the World League.
The roller hockey team only managed to finish third at the World Champioship in Montreux, Switzerland.

Finally at the Pan Am Games in Rio de Janeiro, Argentina’s overall medal haul was 11 gold, 15 silver & 33 bronze to finish at 7th place in the medal ranking.

2008 - What To Look Forward

Of course we would like to see more success at the Majors and the PGA Tour.

Then there is the Olympic qualifying round the men’s hockey team to be held in Auckland, New Zealand somewhere in February.

Los Leonas could provide a great prospect for a medal contention at the Beijing Olympic Games.

Speaking of the Olympics, we will follow the Argentina’s contingent in all the various disciples that they are participating.

2007 Mundo’s Review – Rugby

If parents in this world would like to teach their kids about how a group of brave men stood up against every odd thrown against them, then nothing fits in the puzzle better than this.

Till the moment when I started writing the article, I just still can’t believe what an amazing journey that this brave Pumas has taken us to. I must admit that they’ve actually changed my life forever. My passion for Argentina will never be the same again after watching them playing during the Rugby World Cup.

I’m also going to admit that watching their victorious triumph against France on the opening match brought me tears of joy.

To prove that their achievement was no fluke, just take a good look at the list of their victims. France (twice!!!), Ireland and Scotland, teams that are tagged as first tier rugby nations.

I couldn’t care less if people say that this could be a one hit wonder or how much we were outclassed by the Springboks. The bottom line is that the 2007 RWC will forever be remembered for just only one reason and that is the Pumas.

Senor Marcelo LOFFREDDA, Capitán Maravilloso Agustin PICHOT and the rest of the team are truly an inspiration. Thanks to them, kids in Argentina are now dreaming about scoring a try, getting into the scrums, converting drop goal and stuffs like that.

Speaking of PICHOT, he is just the type of leader that even Coco BASILE would dream to have in his team.

2008 - What To Look Forward

There is still plenty of debate about including the Pumas to play in either the Northern Hemisphere Six Nations or the Southern Hemisphere Tri-Nation tournaments. As of now, there is still no word yet where they are going to end up as much remains to be seen.

One thing for sure the departure of coach LOFREDDA (he is currently now in charged of the Leicester Tigers in the Guinness Rugby Premiership) and the retirement of PICHOT will serve as a big blow to the Pumas.

Whoever their successors maybe will definitely have a huge act to follow. But with the passion and courage that they have displayed, you can just never tell what might happen.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

2007 Mundo’s Review – Basketball

The least to say, basketball was never disappointing for Argentina as this year it was just simply a great year for the Tall Argies.

Among the most notable highlights was the rise of Walter HERRMANN at the Charlotte Bobcats, from an almost disappearing act to a Bobcats star. Then there was the ever-improving Chapu NOCIONI at Chicago, until injuries hindered his progress. Carlos DELFINO was struggling as always with the Pistons system.

So in the end it was down to our prime duo at San Antonio Spurs.

Let me start with Fabricio OBERTO, well what can I say but it was a roller coaster season that ended on the right of the season. He showed plenty of improvement in his second year in the NBA. From deep reserve, his name will now be remembered forever as one of the starter in this Spurs championship winning team.

Then there was Manu GINOBILI, the one player that every coach dreams to have on his roster. Despite the fact that he was relegated to the bench by coach Gregg POPOVITCH, none of that seems to bother him. When needed the most he was always there for his team.

This was proven in the series against the Phoenix Suns, when he posted back-to-back game high performance to take the Spurs into the Western Conference Final. Another game high performance helps them to beat the Jazz in the Conference final. Once again it was his excellent performance in Game 4 of the NBA Finals that clinched Spurs 3rd title in four years.

Then suddenly the good news was coming to an end. National team coach Sergio HERNANDEZ was rocked by the news that several key players (especially NBA based player either due to physical condition or contract issues) will not be available for the FIBA Americas (which also serves as the 2008 Olympic Qualifier) to be held in Las Vegas.

In the end he had to take a relatively B-Sided team with DELFINO and Luis SCOLA being as the only star players. It was a mission that did look very unlikely from the beginning. But as the tournament progress the team was slowly showing its potential and found confidence in their game. In the semi-final win against Brazil all those uncertainty has been finally answered that the Tall Albiceleste will go to Beijing 2008.

That wasn’t the only good news as SCOLA bagged the tournament’s MVP Award for his effort and became the sixth Argie to play in the NBA when the Houston Rockets signed him. Though it has been slow start, he has showed some sign of promises in some games in which definitely will make him the star in the league.

DELFINO also had a great outing in Vegas was signed by the Toronto Raptors where he is showing some great performance from them.

2008 - What To Look Forward

Without a doubt it has to be Beijing 2008. The main goal is to defend the other gold medal we’ve won in Athens 2004. I know the task is never going to be easy considering that they type of quality our opponents (especially USA) will bring to the table. However there is no harm in dreaming that the impossible might just be possible.

Now that we have six aces playing in the biggest basketball league in the world, let’s hope that one of them will bring along their championship ring to Beijing as well. Or perhaps maybe we might have two of them playing for different sides in the Finals. Now that will be something.

2007 Mundo’s Review – Tennis

For the most part of 2007, tennis has been pretty much a disappointing one indeed but ended in a real bang!!!

We never had a serious contender and someone to challenge the dominance set by Roger FEDERER and Rafael NADAL in all four Grand Slams. After finishing runner-up in 2006, our Davis Cup team crashed against Sweden 5-0 in the quarter-finals.

But there were still some consolation to say the least.
A strong side consisting the likes Juan Ignacio CHELA, Agustín CALLERI and José ACASUSO won the World Team Cup back in May.

There was the emergence of a new star by the name of Juan MONACO who won 3 titles in the ATP circuit thus finishing at No.14th in the world ranking. He is definitely one to look forward in the future.

Guillermo CANAS probably had one of the best years in his career since returning from his drug suspensions. Who can forget his back to back to win over Roger FEDERER? Certainly this great run has also helped to push his world ranking all the way to 19th place. In my opinion, the ATP Comeback Of The Year.

The best has yet to come.

After suffering from an erratic of form throughout the year due to various injuries and dropping out of the Top 20 in the world ranking, the old warrior himself David NALBANDIAN suddenly came back alive as the year was drawing to an end.

First was in the Madrid Master, from which he stunned Roger FEDERER in the final. On route, he also defeated Rafael NADAL and Novak DJOKOVIC in consecutive rounds. Thus becoming the second player after Boris BECKER to defeat the world’s top three in a single tournament.
He then played in the Paris Master where once again he defeated the Swiss maestro FEDEX then went on to win his second ATP Master series after defeating the King of Clay NADAL in the final.

As a result of his back to back win his world ranking improve tremendously, allowing him to move back into the Top 10 at No.9

2008 - What To Look Forward

With the rise of Juan MONACO and the return of Guillermo CANAS and David NALBANDIAN back to their very best, lets hope maybe in 2008 we might have a good chance of winning a Grand Slam or more titles in the ATP circuit.

Maybe perhaps an Olympic gold medal in Beijing.

However the one I’m keen to look forward the most is our first round Davis Cup clash, with non other than Great Britain on 8th – 10th of February. Hopefully team captain Alberto MANCINI will have all his best players for this mouth-watering encounter.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

2007 Mundo's Review - Football

Well what a year it was indeed. So many things to talk about, so much to remember and perhaps some to forget. In the end that’s life, always preserve the good.

The year started off with the uncertainty situation that surrounded both Carlos TEVEZ and Javier MASCHERANO’s time at West Ham Utd. It seems at one moment of time both of them are likely to be forgotten for this season.

But in true Albiceleste fashion that was not the case. Javier found his one-way ticket out of hell when Liverpool came knocking on his door for a loan move to Anfield. A move that subsequently became possible after FIFA needed bend some rule about players transfer policy within one season.

As a result Javier went on to become Liverpool’s starting midfield and played an important role in the clubs run towards the Champions League Final. Despite the defeat in that final to AC Milan, whenever he was on the pitch he gave no chance for the likes KAKA, Andres PIRLO and Gennaro GATTUSO to move around. For his contribution, the Kop faithful voted him as their man of the match for the final.

As for CARLITOS, the moment he started scoring, every single Hammers faithful knew that their messiah has arrived. So do I need to ask where would West Ham United be today if it wasn’t for him. He did not leave Upton Park empty handed as a result for his contribution; he was named as the club’s Player Of The Year.

His winning goal against Manchester United on the last day of the season not only saved West Ham Utd from relegation but also pave the way for his move to Old Trafford where he is now deadlier than ever.

Speaking of Manchester United, Gabriel HEINZE has finally won a premiership medal and for his reward, he was given the honour to lead the team into the field as newly crowned champion at Stamford Bridge, in front of Jose MOURINHO & Chelsea.

There were plenty other successes on the European domestic leagues.

Pato ABBONDANZIERI won the Ricardo Zamora Trophy as the best goalkeeper in Spain for his effort helping Getafe in La Liga. Javier ZANETTI has finally won a Serie A medal with Inter (on the field at least) after all these years. Not to forget Fernando GAGO and Gonzalo HIGUAIN winning La Liga with Real Madrid.

Then came the most heartbreaking story, the Copa America. Hard to believe as I’m sure some of you out there who would rather not talk about it but still despite of that painful defeat in the final, I chose to remember all the great times that we had in this blog during that one-month. All the discussion, debates and the hundreds of comments that we received, I cherished them all.

The bitter moment during the post Copa America was merely forgotten when just one week later, our young guns captured the World Youth title in Canada for the record of six time thus sealing our status as the Worlds best youth team. Kun AGUERO, who was only a sub player two years ago, became the star of tournament, following the footstep of Diego MARADONA and Lionel MESSI. He won the tournament's best player award and finished off as the top scorer as well.

And he did not just stop there. As the new season progressed, he made everyone in Atletico Madrid realized that there is life after Fernando TORRES at the Vicente Calderón.

Apart from this it has been a disappointing year on the international front. The women’s national team, which had plenty of promises, failed miserably in the Women’s World Cup in Japan. While the Under-17 did not managed to capture the one title that is still elusive in the AFA cabinet.

Despite the many things that we can talk about, when it comes to Argentina’s football there are only two things that matter the most. One its Lionel MESSI and the other is Juan Roman RIQUELME.

MESSI has proven to us many times this season why he is the right man to fill the vacant throne left by the Great Diego. Who can forget that goal against Getafe? Or what about the one he scored against Espanyol? From Buenos Aires to Catalonia to Naples, everyone just can’t stop talking about him and he is just simply irresistible.

As the new season began, the arrival of Thiery HENRY didn’t seems to bother him at all as despite the presents of all the big names, it is he who has shine the most at the Nou Camp. So what does the future holds for the Atomic Flea? Something inside me tells me that the 2010 World Cup was made for him to shine and to take us all the way to glory, just as was the 1986 World Cup was made for someone we all know as Diego MARADONA. But only time will tell.

And next we have is ROMAN. Love him or hate him, no one can deny that on his day there is no one better to inspire us all. The type of inspiration that he provides is so significant that it helped carry Boca Juniors all the way in the Copa Libertadores. That same inspiration was surely missed during the club’s 2007 World Club Cup campaign in Japan.

Despite being frozen out in Villareal, ROMAN was so crucial in COCO’s plan that he help us win our first three matches in the World Cup qualifiers, having scored four goal in the process. But then again sometimes ROMAN can also be his, own worst enemy. Don’t get me wrong here, as I’m not trying to start a new debate but only just a gentle reminder to everyone about the ROMAN that we love so much.

Now that his nightmare in Villareal is already over, all I can ask for from ROMAN is sing for us the same tune as he does when he wears the blue and yellow jersey.

2008 - What To Look Forward

So what can we expect from 2008? Well as usual we will follow the Albiceleste Army at all the top leagues in Europe, the Champions League and at various club football competition around the world.

Definitely the World Cup qualifier, which will resume in the month of June and supposedly some friendly matches that are likely to take place before that.

Then of course we look forward to the Olympic games in Beijing. Though still too early to predict who might be in the team but of course there is no denying that MESSI, KUN, GAGO and perhaps TEVEZ should all make the trip to defend our precious gold medal that we won gracefully in Athens 2004.

But before that, please marked your calendar on the date 18th of June. It is the first part of the South American World Cup qualifying blockbuster. After plenty of disappointment, all I can do is pray that 2008 will bring us good fortune.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Some Early Christmas Gift

Sorry for the lack of response throughout the weekend, but you know Christmas is approaching. With all the last minute shopping and preparation, I needed to take a back seat for the time being.

But anyway it was a weekend full of excitement with plenty of things to talk about. So I'll take things one at a time.


Italian Serie A

Absolutely tremendous and very high pulsating. Not to take away anything from Milan after that superb free kick from Andres PIRLO and KAKA, now the World Player of the Year, trickery run. But it was night where Inter owes everything to the products made in Argentina.
Javier ZANETTI was running all around the field, forgetting that he is 35 not 25 years old. Walter SAMUEL was a hard wall in marshaling Inter's defense. But it was all down due to the C+C combination.
Esteban CAMBIASSO pulled the ball back for Julio CRUZ on the edge of the penalty. He squeezed past three Milan defenders and shoots at the out stretch of the goal post to level the score.

Then came that stunner from El Cuchu and what a goal it was. He rammed his shot at the center of the goal on which he scored with little a bit help from DIDA. 2-1 to Inter.

Again it was another brilliant Clasico encounter that the Albiceleste made the difference.

Another player had a great night was Mario SANTANA who scored twice for Fiorentina in their 5-1 win over Cagliari.

Spanish Primera Liga

If the Albiceleste are the one's that is going to make a difference in this El Clasico, then my personal view in this match has to be true.

Without Lionel MESSI, all I can say is that Barca's up front were running like headless chicken in the penalty box. I can't recall a moment where they did look like threatening Real's well organized defense. Gabriel MILITO had an average game so to speak.

But the other Gabriel, HEINZE that is, was superb all night in limiting Andres INIESTA performance on the left. Well done HEINZE!!! Fernando GAGO came in as a second half substitute in the last 11 minutes.

Kun AGUERO not again!!! Only a fort night ago he was sent off against Getafe and this time he got himself into trouble again. It was the turning point for Atletico in that game but he is till young and I do hope he learns from this.
Diego MILITO also had a goal to his credit, the a penalty in Real Zaragoza's 2-2 draw with Valencia.

NBA News

A night for the Rockets to forget, not just losing to one of the best teams in the league but in the process losing their two best players. Yes they were defeated by the Detroit Pistons 94-82 at home.

Certainly the Rockets are almost nothing without Tracy McGRADY and YAO Ming. The bench had to step it up, who else if it was non other than Luis SCOLA. He was the Rockets best performer despite the defeat, posting 18 points and 9 rebounds.
At present moment there is no news yet whether T-Mac and Yao will be fit for their next game against Memphis in Tennessee. If not, this must be a big chance for SCOLA to prove his worth and Rick ADELMAN should have more faith in him.

NFL News

The Philadelphia Eagles defeated the New Orleans Saints 28-23. Despite this Martin GRAMATICA was at 100% in both field goal and the extra points.

He converted a 55 yard in the 2nd quarter and a 35 & 46 yard in the 4th quarter. He also made two extra point kicks.

Now before I end this article, on behalf of Mundo Albiceleste, we would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone of our reader's a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. Enjoy a wonderful festive season with your friends & family. Take care.


Saturday, December 22, 2007

News Round Up

What a weekend to look forward to with two Super Clasico encounter, one in Spain and the other in Italy. Of course the absence of the one and only Lionel MESSI will be a huge blow for Barca. What are the chances of Julio CRUZ continuing his great form in the Milan derby.

Before that, here are some news update.

Batigol To Coach Boca

Now that Miguel Angel RUSSO has just departed, there has been several reports that Gabriel BATISTUTA could be next coach of Boca Juniors. It seems that the new Boca's president Pedro POMPILIO, has been interested in him for a while now.

"When I was in Germany (for the 2006 World Cup) POMPILIO told me that he would like it if I would coach the team," he declared.

"For me to coach Boca would be a dream; I think I'm prepared for the responsibility, because for a number of years now I have the certificate that allows me to be a coach," he said.

Some Transfer News

Porto have denied that they were interested in the services of Fernando BELLUSCHI of River Plate. The offer was speculated around 7 million euros. Now it seems that Greek side Olympiakos are prepaid to match that speculated deal.

With one player almost on his way to Greece, another could be on his way back.

Cristian LEDESMA of Olympiakos could be on his way to San Lorenzo on a 6 months loan deal. Among the most notable reason was the chance to reunite with his old coach Daniel DIAZ, whom he worked previously at River Plate.

Speaking of River, new appointed coach Diego SIMEONE could be very much busy in the transfer market. With the speculation of a mass exodus from the Monumental, he could be spending heavily in the transfer before Clausura Championship.

Among the names that has been in the spotlight is the return of Andres D'ALLESANDRO and Roberto AYALA, both from Real Zaragoza.

Automatica Now A Saint

After being released by the Dallas Cowboys, Martin GRAMATICA has just signed for the New Orleans Saints. He did not dissapoint them on his debut.

In their 31-24 win over the Arizona Cardinals, he converted a 31 yard field goal and 4 PAT (Points After Touchdown).

Thursday, December 20, 2007

NBA News - Manu's 20 Can't Help Spurs

Portland Trail Blazers 101 Toronto Raptors 96

The Raptors were blown away this one, Carlos DELFINO posted 3 points, 4 rebounds & 1 assist.

Houston Rockets 92 Orlando Magic 97

Another home defeat for the Rockets and I'm keep pondering on when Rocket's coach Rick ADELMAN is going to response to many critics call to give Luis SCOLA more time play.

By his own standard, SCOLA did not have a good game, only posting 6 points, 6 rebounds & 2 assists in the process.

Memphis Grizzlies 88 San Antonio Spurs 85

Tony PARKER sat out for the fourth straight game and another defeat for the defending champion. But what can you say when you loose a game after trailing a 23 points lead? Heart breaker.

GINOBILI, who entered shooting 34 percent over the previous five games, missed his first six shots, finally hitting his only field goal of the first half in the closing seconds before the break.

"There's no excuse for how we played in the first half,'' GINOBILI said. "We played so soft. There are too many good teams that are talented, and when they get momentum, it becomes really hard to beat them.''

GINOBILI got going after halftime, scoring 12 points in the third. And with 2.4 seconds left, he dunked in to level the score at 85 a piece. Then came that devastating shot from Rudy GAY to give Memphis the win.

Manu finished off the night with 20 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists & 3 steals. Fabricio OBERTO finished off the game by posting 6 points, 6 rebounds & 1 steal.

Washington Wizards 84 Chicago Bulls 95

The injury scare to Andres NOCIONI was simply forgotten when his name was announced in the Bulls starting line up. Thank god for that.

Not one of his best, but still he had almost 30 minutes of action, posting 8 points & 2 rebounds.

Superb Performance From Cavenaghi

Once upon a time, he was regarded as one of Argentina bright young strikers to emerge since Gabriel BATISTUTA. By contrast, both players really did look almost alike.

Then he decided to go freeze himself in the Russian cold and thats was it.
But he is getting back to his best since his move to France to play for Bordeaux. Last night he was instrumental in the clubs 3-2 win over Greek side Panionios in the UEFA Cup.

Going to 2-0 after 20 minutes, he scored to reduced the deficit and then had a couple of more chances to increase his current tally of 5 goals in the competition. Together with him on the same number of goals is Kun AGUERO (who will play later on when Atletico take on another Greek side, Panathinaikos).

There has been rumours that he could be on his way back to River, with new manager Diego SIMEONE looking for high quality players. Bur for now, it feels happy to know that CAVENAGHI still has that finishing touch in him and I'm hoping for more goals from him.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

NBA News - Chapu Nocioni's Hurt

Chicago Bulls 91 Los Angeles Lakers 103

Perhaps one of the greatest rivalries in NBA history (remember the Finals 1990/1991).

Chapu NOCIONI hurt his foot late in game but not before posting 14 points, a team high 7 rebounds & 1 assist.

Los Angeles Clippers 77 Toronto Raptors 80

A win on the road for the Raptors. Carlos DELFINO finishes off with 8 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists & 3 steals.

Monday, December 17, 2007

NBA News - Suns Get Revenge

San Antonio Spurs 95 Phoenix Suns 100

Everyone remembers this clash in last season’s Western Conference semi-finals. Steve NASH’s bleeding nose, Manu GINOBILI’s bruised eye and of that rumble in the jungle in Game 3.

This is Spurs first loss at home and their third defeat in the last four games. Tony PARKER sat out for the third straight game with a sprained left ankle.

Manu GINOBILI was not able to repeat his last season back-to-back game high performance on this occasion. Instead he finished of the night with 18 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists & 1 block shot from the bench.

Fabricio OBERTO, who started the game, posted 4 points & 5 rebounds.

Second Place For Lionel

Surprise!!! Surprise!!! Something, which I didn’t expected when looking at the formbooks and each individual achievement throughout the whole year.

KAKA was the obvious choice to win it but Lionel MESSI came in at 2nd place, ahead of Cristiano RONALDO, in the annual FIFA World Player Gala 2007.
I personally feel this is not a bad accomplishment for the young lad. After all it feels like we have been seeing him playing for like 10 years without even realizing that he still only 20 years old.

Of course there is a long road ahead of him, and we all know that Lionel has plenty more of unfinished business that needs to be complete. His time will come.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Tevez & Javier The Star In El Classico

English Premier League

Liverpool 0 Manchester United 1

For both Javier MASCHERANO and Carlos TEVEZ, this wasn’t something new for them as both of them have squared off in a match of such intensity during their times at River and Boca respectively.

For me it was not the about the result but the presence of both players doing their thing that made it even more special for me.

In Asia, the EPL is widely follow as if it was their own adopted domestic league and perhaps by viewing these guys they will one day become newly converts of Albiceleste lovers just like you and me
And without a doubt it was Carlos TEVEZ who made the difference of the day. United scored when Ryan GIGGS sent a corner along the ground to Wayne ROONEY, who was unmarked on the edge of the penalty area. He passed to TEVEZ, who knocked the ball into the roof of the net.

Liverpool inability to score was a clear factor that the likes Fernando TORRES, Dirk KUYT, Peter CROUCH and Ryan BABEL are nowhere in the class of Carlitos finishing.
And I dare to say this that United inability to score more goals was clear justification that Javier MASCHERANO warrior like performance was a menace for the likes of ANDERSON and Cristiano RONALDO.

It was an El Classico derby made in England but modified by the typical finishing and tackling from Argentina.

Italian Serie A

Cagliari 0 Inter Milan 2

Another match and another goal for the man himself.

Inter without the injured Zlatan IBRAHIMOVIC had no problem seeing off Cagliari with two second-half goals.
Julio CRUZ who partner up front with Hernan CRESPO was among the goal scorer of the night. Walter SAMUEL, Javier ZANETTI & Esteban CAMBIASSO were in the starting line up.

Spanish Primera Liga

Deportivo La Coruna 1 Real Zaragoza 1

Diego MILITO scored in the 17th minute to put ZARAGOZA in the lead and Fabricio COLOCCINI equalized for Deportivo in the 53rd minute.

Real Betis 3 Almeria 1

Two goals from Mariano PAVONE in the 51st and 83rd minute helps Betis to a convincing victory over Almeria.

Valladolid 0 FC Seville 0

Federico FAZIO alongside with Luis FABIANO was sent off in this goalless draw encounter.

It Wasn’t To Be For Boca

The clear fact is they were not the favourites to win it in the first place. Certainly not when you’re best players is not available for the tournament and another is serving a suspension.

But still before going down, they gave everything they got; determination and never say die attitude.

This proven when it only took just one minute for Boca to equalize through Rodrigo PALACIO after Filippo INZAGHI gave Milan the lead.

I know the result may not reflect the action that took place on the field but sometimes this is how cruel the beautiful game can be.

Had Hugo IBARRA stunning long-range effort, rather than his post but went through perhaps the script would have been different. Massimo AMBROSINI’s own goal was too little too late.

But in the end I have to say congratulation to AC Milan on winning it but Boca WILL go out with their heads held high. Also I’m proud to say is that Kudos to the sea of blue and gold they made their present known in the stadium.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

2007 Club WC - Repeat Or Revenge.

As expected, AC Milan and Boca Juniors will run out at the International Stadium in Yokohama on Sunday to contest the final of the FIFA Club World Cup Japan 2007.

In a repeat of their 2003 showdown, the big two, the only outfits to have won the Intercontinental (Toyota) Cup three times, will square off to decide the world's champion club. And with Boca having prevailed four years ago, the Rossoneri will not need much motivation.

Back then, the Rossoneri, then coached by Carlo ANCELOTTI, arrived as strong favourites to take the title, only to be confounded by Carlos BIANCHI's Xeneize (the same side that contained a certain Carlos TEVEZ), who brought the trophy back to Argentina.
Boca Juniors will be hoping to improve on Albiceleste football's impressive record of nine wins to date. Alongside with Milan, Boca too are keen to win the title for a record of four times.

Coach Miguel RUSSO will be without the suspended Fabian VARGAS, who was sent off against Etoile du Sahel. VARGAS, alongside Sebastian BATTAGLIA, are only two survivors from the 2003 winning side.

"A lot of people say the Europeans don't really care that much about these competitions, but I can tell you none of the Milan players enjoyed seeing us celebrate in 2003 and going away empty-handed. We have the utmost respect for them because they're a great side, but we've got our strengths and we know what we have to do. I hope we can take the title home again." says Sebastian BATTAGLIA.

Another player that is no stranger to this competition is non other than Martin PALERMO. In 2000 he got himself in the front page of every newspaper for scoring both goals in Boca's 2-1 win over Real Madrid. Paraguayan Claudio MOREL is given the upmost task which is to contained Milan's playmaker KAKA.

The match will be played at about 6.30 pm and I'm certainly going all for Boca.


NBA News - A FAB-ulous Night For Oberto

San Antonio Spurs 102 Denver Nuggets 91

They have lost their last two fixtures. Tony PARKER is still out with a injury. Though Tim DUNCAN has returned from injury, his form is still far from his best yet. And Manu GINOBILI
can't carry the team all on his own if his teammates don't step up.

And they have responded. And for once it was a spectacular night for one Tall Albiceleste player, not MANU but FAB-ricio OBERTO.

Alongside Michael FINLEY, OBERTO posted a season high 21 points, to help the Spurs maintained their 100% home record.
OBERTO, who was 10-of-11 from the field, also posted 13 rebounds, 5 assists & 1 block shot.

Manu GINOBILI will not be bothered too much about his performance just as long as Spurs are back to winning ways. He posted 11 points, a game high 7 assists, 4 rebounds & 1 steal.

Houston Rockets 83 Dallas Mavericks 96

Another poor outing for Luis SCOLA in this Texas derby. He only had 3 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist & 1 steal to his credit.

Messi Out For Month With Torn Muscle

Before I go into this, thanks for the anouncement Johnny and seriously what a bad news in this.

Lionel MESSI will be out of action for around a month after sufferring an injury in the Barca's away match Valencia. The Catalan giants announced on Saturday night that MESSI, 20, tore the biceps muscle in his left calf in Saturday's easy 3-0 win.

MESSI - who had set up Samuel Eto'o to score Barca's first two goals - had to limp off the Mestalla pitch after 40 minutes.

He will be out until around mid-January, and will therefore, together with fellow injury victim Thierry HENRY, miss next Sunday's big game at home to leaders Real Madrid. It is a real pitty for him considering the fact that in last season corresponding fixture, he scored a hat-trick.

MESSI is Barca's leading scorer this season, with eight goals in La Liga and four in the Champions League.

NBA News - Winning Mode For Chapu & Delfino

Chicago Bulls 101 New York Knicks 96

Despite putting of a convincing victory against the much troubled Knicks, Andres NOCIONI was quick to point that the good times have not returned to Chicago. Not just yet.

"We are not playing the same way as last year, but I think we're in the right (direction),'' said NOCIONI.

Chapu eventually finished off the game with 17 points, 2 rebounds, 3 assists & a game high of 5 block shots

Indiana Pacers 93 Toronto Raptors 104

It may have been Jason KAPONO's night with his career high 29 points, but every contribution in a team is equally crucial. That's my opinion at least

Carlos DELFINO posted 9 points, 7 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal & 1 block shot.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

NBA News - Lakers Beat Manu's Spurs

Los Angeles Lakers 102 San Antonio Spur 97

Playing against Kobe BRYANT and the Lakers without two of your best players must have a huge task to fulfill. That was what San Antonio Spurs realized when they played at the Staples Center, Los Angeles.

Tim DUNCAN sat out his fourth straight game because of a sprained right ankle while Tony PARKER missed his first game of the season with a sprained left ankle.
Despite putting a good fight, Manu GINOBILI with little help from Bruce BOWEN (22 points) and Brent BARRY (17 points) was not able to prevent Spurs from suffering their first back-to-back defeat of the season.

Manu eventually finished off with 14 points, 6 rebounds & 3 assists. Fabricio OBERTO posted a game high 16 rebound also had 9 points, 3 assists, 1 steal & 1 block shot t his credit.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

NBA News - Another Low Scoring Night

Indianan Pacers 117 Chicago Bulls 102

The Bulls thrown away a brilliant lead in the first quarter, with Andres NOCIONI suffering from foul trouble.

In the end he only posted 11 points and 1 assist.

Toronto Raptors 92 Dallas Mavericks 76

A tremendous victory for the Raptors who were playing without their starting point guard TJ Ford.

Carlos DELFINO, though poor in the shooting aspect, but helps his team in defense. He eventually posted 7 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists & 1 steal.

Charlotte Bobcats 108 Los Angeles Clippers 103

If the likes of Gerald WALLACE and Emeka OKAFOR keep producing like what they did tonight, it is going to be extremely hard for Walter HERRMANN to get quality playing time.

The deadly duo was sensational posting 25 points each. Walter was only made it about 3 minutes on the court and only managed to post 1 point & 1 rebound.

Houston Rockets 80 Detroit Pistons 77

I’m very sad. Another no show night for Luis SCOLA as he had no point, no rebound & just one assist.

UEFA Champions League – Cruz Is The Word

PSV Eindhoven 0 Inter Milan 1

There was no Lionel MESSI or Carlos TEVEZ (both players were rested by their respective clubs) involvement in the Champions League. The only goal courtesy from the Albiceleste Army came in the match between PSV Eindhoven and Inter Milan. Who else that might be, if not Julio CRUZ.
CRUZ bagged the only goal of the game to dump 10-man PSV out of the Champions League on Wednesday.

The veteran Argentina striker had sent a host of efforts high and wide of the Dutch goal throughout an uninspiring evening, but finally made amends with a neat finish in the 64th minute.

Not to forget, Santiago SOLARI & Hernan CRESPO were both in the starting line up while Esteban CAMBIASSO & Javier ZANETTI came in as 2nd half substitute.

Club WC 2007 - Etoile S. Sahel vs Boca Juniors 0-1 [Cardozo]

Well unfortunately for me, I only managed to catch the last 30 minutes of the game. From what I can say, Boca should have scored more but at the same time their defense needs to be on their toe, should they face AC Milan in the final.

I do like the build up to that goal consisting of great passing and cool finishing. I also agree on the refereeing decision, which seems to be was a bit too harsh especially the red card on VARGAS.

2007 FIFA Club WC - Boca Ready To Take On Etoile

It is just barely a few hours ago to go before kick off, as Boca Juniors takes on surprise package Etoile Sportive du Sahel from Tunisia. The African Champions League winner stunned the much highly fancied Mexican side Pachuca in the earlier round.

But perhaps for Boca it has suffered the biggest blow even before the tournament got started when FIFA made it clear Juan Roman RIQUELME will not play due to late registration.

It is not just a big blow to Boca but for the whole tournament itself to loose such a find player, when it really needed one.
Showing remarkable patience and affability with the media's line of questioning, coach Miguel Angel RUSSO left no one in any doubt with his feelings on the matter: "It's true RIQUELME was a key man for us in the first semester of the year, when we secured the Copa Libertadores and the right to play in Japan. But so too were his team-mates, in whom I have the utmost faith. Boca have a great history, and we're come here to underline that once again."
Veteran Boca striker Martin PALERMO, one of those to profit from RIQUELME’s sparkling service earlier in the year, echoed his coach's sentiment, saying: "Everyone's aware Roman is a great player who knows Boca to perfection. It's precisely because of this that he assumes such much responsibility and takes the pressure off us. But we also know what we're capable of achieving without him, with quality players who will do their utmost to replace him. Our dream is to return home with the title."

This will be first meeting between these two clubs, with Boca being at full strength. The match will played at the Tokyo National Stadium.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

NBA News - A Low Scoring Night

Golden State Warrior 96 San Antonio Spurs 84

The Golden State Warrior did what previous few teams could not do; take advantage against a Spurs still playing without Tim DUNCAN. Definitely a night to forget especially after you commit a season high of 21 turnovers
Manu GINOBILI did not had a good game as he committed 5 of those turnovers and finished off with 13 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assists, 1 steal & 1 block shot.

Fabricio OBERTO had some foul trouble subsequently ended up posting 3 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists & 2 block shot.

Chicago Bulls 123 Seattle Supersonics 96

Despite a convincing victory against Kevin DURANT’s Sonics, it was certainly a quite night for Chapu NOCIONI as he posted 8 points, 2 rebounds & 1 assist.

Toronto Raptors 100 Atlanta Hawks 88

With the return of some of the big names, Carlos DELFINO had less action than he had in previous games. He finished off with 3 points & 2 rebounds.