Monday, January 15, 2007

Tough start of 2007 for the Albiceleste in many fronts

The new year is young, yes. But it is as busy as it gets with 2 national teams competing in important tournaments and several tennis players trying their luck in 2007's first Grand Slam.

Football never stops and its crazy world have turned a minor South American U20 qualifying tournament for Canada's Youth World Cup into an all-important contest also giving two teams the golden access to the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.

So the Albiceleste's boys, without major figures like Lionel MESSI (not allowed to play but injured anyway!), Sergio AGUERO and Gonzalo HIGUAIN, now have the tough task of sending Argentina to the Olympics to defend the gold medal won by Carlos TEVEZ and company 3 years ago.

And it started very roughly for TOCALLI's men. A tough match against Ecuador saw Argentina throwing away a 1-0 advantage to finish 1-1 only to do the same against Colombia, this time even managing to lose it conceeding two late goals.

A light of hope came last night with a 6-0 thrashing of a very "dirty" Venezuela and now we could even lose against Uruguay and still qualify for the second round (if Colombia beats Venezuela and we don't lose by 5 goals). Of course I would like Argentina to take the field with determination and end this first round in high spirits.

Women's field hockey keeps on growing in Argentina and Las Leonas are playing at home in this year's Champions Trophy. Two wins in as many matches (Germany and Spain) give MINADEO's girls a boost before playing against the dangerous Dutch team.

We'll see how it goes in the next few days.


After losing the Davis Cup final against Russia in the end of 2006, this new year started very badly for our racket men and women.

Only Gisela DULKO managed to win in the first day of action at the Australian Open and at the moment of writing David NALBANDIAN (arguably Argentina's best chance to fight for the title) is on the verge of elimination in the first round against the Serb TIPSAREVIC.

The story is different for our football players in Spain, with HIGUAIN having an assist for Real Madrid against Zaragoza and Maxi LOPEZ, Javier SAVIOLA and Sergio AGUERO all scoring last weekend.


john said...

Hi There Everyone,

It's been a while since I've posted any comment. By the way how you guys doing so in 2007?
Lets start with the English Premiership and it looks like neither of our players are having a good time. No doubt Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano did start in the match against Brighton but I still have my doubts on Alan Curbie faith in them. With Boa Morte's arrival, things are gonna get tougher for Carlitos.

The last I heard that Javier was a target for Liverpool and if this deal pulls through I supposed that will great news. Rafa Benitez has had great success with Argentine players judging by his time in Valencia with Aimar and Ayala. But then again, this is the same Benitez that used to tinker things around and has made Gabriel Paletta life more misery by using him in League Cup matches. On the other hand joining them in Emiliano Insua, a left back from Boca Juniors, who will be up against the likes of Risse and Fabio Aurelio. So once again is this player a long term or part of Rafa tinkering programme.

Well joining Paletta, Insua and maybe Javier at Anfield is another young player by the name of Sebastian Leto from Lanus. I've never heard of him so does anyone like to share any information pertaining to this player?

Regarding Gabriel Heinze, the other day Alwin, Bala and myself were watching the match between Man Utd and Aston Villa, and Gaby was no where to be seen. The worst of he was not even on the bench. Now it seems like Sir Alex has made up his mind on who prefers on the left back position. I would hate to see a player of Gaby's caliber being used as a substitute player so I guess a move might do good for him too. Or maybe I could be wrong here because Sir Alex might not want to risk him due to his injury proness and use him in important matches.

In the Primera Liga, I'm very happy for two of our best prospect for the future, Gago and Gonzalo joining a huge club like Real Madrid. Though they did not had a great start after losing 2-0 to Deportivo but that was just their first game. I'm pretty sure with their talent, its only matter of time that their names will be glorify in legendary status at the Santiago Bernabau, just as Redondo and Di Stefano before them.

Another great news is Saviola scoring two goals for Barcelona in the Copa Del Rey against Alaves. But still with Eto'o almost making a comeback from his injury, I'm quite skeptical about his future at the Nou Camp. The last I've heard that Villareal is interested in him and for me I personally he should leave. At Villareal he would get to team up with Riquelme and for those who saw the second goal against Ivory Coast in the World Cup will know what I'm talking about here.

I'm pretty surprise with the way our Under-20 team had started in the South American Championship. The idea on missing out the chance the gold medal that we won in Athens, scares the hell out of me. I just hope that 6-0 that we gave Venezuela might boost some confidence among our young lads. So next is Uruguay, and I dare to say that I'm pretty confidence that we will get a good result from that game.

Other Sports

Great to see Los Leonas having a great start in 2007 with two win out of two in the Champions Trophy. So bring on the beautiful Oranje!!!

NBA News

It was a battle between two of the outstanding Tall Albicelestes in the Chicago Bulls vs. San Antonio Spurs match. Manu Ginobili was in outstanding form scoring 22 points while Fabricio Oberto had 2 points. But it was the ever improving Andres "Chapu" Nocioni had he last laugh scoring 12 points as the Bulls beat the Spurs 99-87

Carlos Delfino had 10 points but the Detroit Pistons lost to the Minnesota Timberwolves 90-94.

Which leaves me asking why is Walter Hermann often on the bench but not given any time play at all for Charlotte Bobcats. Perhaps Seba you can clear the air for me on this matter.



john said...

Here is a great news that I've discovered on the FIBA website. It was an interview with Andres Nocioni and here given his thought on his national team colleague Luis Scola.

ARG - Nocioni tips Scola to star

CHICAGO (NBA) - Chicago Bulls forward Andres Nocioni has backed international team-mate Luis Scola to be the next Argentinian to take the NBA by storm.

Nocioni is only saying what many European observers have known all along - that the 26-year-old Scola has what it takes to shine in North America.

The Tau Ceramica power forward almost joined the NBA in 2005, but contractual problems scuppered a move to the San Antonio Spurs, who signed fellow Argentinian Fabricio Oberto instead.

The Spurs had drafted Scola in 2002, but could not reach agreement with Tau over his US$3 million (£1.5m) buy-out clause.

But Nocioni is certain NBA teams would do well not to forget about Scola, telling’s Spanish-language service he "should have been playing in the NBA for a long time already".

"For several reasons, he has not entered the league already," the 2004 Olympic gold-medal winner said.

"I think Scola is the player of the future for Argentina in the NBA. He can be a starter in this league whoever he plays for.

"I hope he can solve his contractual problems and reach the NBA because he deserves it."

Scola is averaging 15 points, 2.1 offensive rebounds and 5.6 defensive rebounds per game this season in Spain.

"He’s playing at a great level in Europe," Nocioni added. "In my opinion, he is the best in Europe, so the only thing he has left to do is to reach this league."

Nocioni is now in his third season with the Bulls, and he has established himself as a key player averaging 15.7 points and 6.1 rebounds so far this season.

The Bulls remain a young team, but Nocioni believes they can challenge in the post-season after the addition of center Ben Wallace.

"It’s been quite easy to get used to Ben," Nocioni said of the off-season free-agent signing.

"He is the same leader he was for the Detroit Pistons. He does his best both in games and in training. He is very kind, calm and a good man.

"For us, he is a leader and we hope he can go on doing his job so we can consolidate ourselves as one of the best teams of the Eastern Conference."

Chicago are two game back of leaders Cleveland in the Central Division.

After reading this, I have agree with you Chapu


Seba said...

And in the end, David NALBANDIAN survived after overcoming 2 match points for TIPSAREVIC.

He struggled, but he is through.

As for Carlitos, he is injury now! Now he is a doubt for Argentina´s friendly against France in February.

andaman said...

Hi all,

Our two young men at Real Madrid shined on Sunday night (early morning in my case) against an attacking strong side of other 4 senior albicelcetes. Gogo seemed more settled and I'm sure he will get better and better with more games. He showed some great moves and skills. He received more ball than when with Boca and it's great he always asking for it and create good passes and game for his mates. But Higuain, this boy is a revelation. I saw him a couple of games with River Plate and he was good. But the past Sunday night, he was my MOM. No pressure, nothing from someone who still very green in a way. He seemed so relaxed with the ball at his feet in front of his home crowd for the first time. Oh, had he chosen yet which team he will play for, the blue or white & blue.

Let see how the boys fare in more games but I'm sure they will succeed in Spain with Real Madrid's team of new blood and the end of the Galacticos which fall flat on their butts so miserably.

Seba said...

News in every front.

U20 South American tournament.

Colombia defeated Venezuela 2-1 to secure first place in Group B.

Now Argentina are losing to Uruguay 1-0 and will only fail to advance to the second round if they lose by 6 goals.

If we lose or draw against Uruguay, the first team we will face in the second round will be the mighty Brazil on January 19.

Las Leonas are losing 2-0 against Holland in their third match for the Champions Trophy.

Javier SAVIOLA scored a hat-trick for Barcelona against Alaves in a 3-2 victory for the Copa del Rey.

And a new friendly match for Argentina has been confirmed. It'll be against Norway at Oslo on August 22 and it'll be our first match after the Copa America.

Seba said...


Las Leonas have lost to Holland and now have won 2 and lost 1, while the Oranje have won their three games.

U20. At halftime Argentina is now winning 3-1 in an impressive comeback.

Now with this win we are set to face Paraguay on January 19.

Anonymous said...

Uruguay appears to have recovered well (3-3) and I think we are playing with 10 men because Di Maria left injured. The commentators aren't happy with the team at the moment.


Anonymous said...

BTW, if we tie or lose we play Brazil


Anonymous said...

Damn. Argentina needs to improve their defending in the air ASAP or else I'm sorry to say that Brazil is going to kill us there. Romero needs to get his game back too. I'm so sad, we were ahead! I need chocolate.


P.S I lost track of how many yellows Maxi Morales has, is he going to play against Brazil?

Seba said...

Don´t worry argentinafan, Maxi MORALEZ (with a Z at the end) didn´t play last night because he had 2 yellows before the match against Uruguay.

The guy booked last night was Leandro MORALES (defender with an S at the end!).


It´s Brazil on Friday and a great opportunity to start anew, win a move closer to Beijing 2008.

If we lose...well...we´ll still have chances and facing Brazil at a non-knock-out stage is better. Imagine if we had won the group and we play against Brazil in the last game desperately needing a win.

I prefer things like this.

johnny said...

Well, it's been a long time since I posted as I was busier than I thought I would be in Barcelona (I am returning to BsAs soon-my dollars got butt kicked by the Euro). I watched Saviola single handedly beat Alaves last night, and he has been a lone bright spot for Barca recently. Their defense has unexpectedly been very drafty and the offense sputtering save for "The rabbit". I also saw Higuain and Gago. Higuain is very impressive and looks like the real deal. Gago less so so far though much improved in his second match. I wish he would move with the pelota a little more rather than indulge his tendency to pass it as soon as he receives it. The Militos' continue to be impressive as does Aimar. Riquelme is in the doghouse at Villarreal and you have to wonder about his state of mind these days. I like him but with all this smoke for so long there must be some fire. "El Rato" scored for Valencia recently. As for Premier news, Heinze is much discussed these days, and apparently being wooed by a number of clubs. It would not be a surprise to see him moved soon. The latest rumor would be to Tottenham.

As an aside on Gago and Higuain-in some ways it is unfortunate they are joining Real Madrid at this time. The owner looks increasingly like a George Steinbrenner clone and the coach is wound up tighter than a drum-after the last match he flipped the bird to some fans who had been riding him-and looked a bit like a mad man while doing so !

Well, I am sorry to be leaving Spain right in the middle of the futbol campaign, but it can't be helped. I will miss the constant futbol coverage on tv and particularly the great visuals from Skysports who broadcast alot with High Def. Watching Premier league matches in high def on a big flat screen in a screaming Irish pub in Barcelona has been a big treat.

linda said...

Hello everyone!

I must say I agree with the assessment that Gago and Higuain, while both playing admirably and probably Real's best players right now, have joined the club at a very bad time. Things just aren't going too well on a structural level there right now.

Is anyone else as outraged as I am by the battering poor Gabriel Paletta is getting in the press? This also concerneds Masche and Carlitos - it's absurd how people expect players to adapt to the Premiership in 2 or 3 games, when it takes about a season on average. Look at Drogba.

Saviola is probably going to start for Barca now, at least until Eto'o gets back to fitness. I have the sneaking suspicion that there's an internal battle over whether or not his contract should be renewed. Rijkaard is certainly happy with him. We'll see.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the corrections Seba! Hehe, I'll admit to not knowing a lot about the current U-20 team and I've been listening to most of the games on the radio and so I don't haven't had a lot of visuals of the players (I did see the Venezuala game). Actually the Colombia game was a fairly hilarious experience for me and a colombian friend of mine who is equally ignorant about her team. We were listening to the game and every time something exciting happened would start screaming at the radio "Which country?!"
I agree that it's a great place to start again, take care of all the kinks like defending in the air and get back to business. And if we were to beat Brazil...well that would be a wonderful confidence booster. I agree though that if we were to lose that we still have games to make up the points. Much better system.
I will have faith and try and find a tv tomorrow. Vamos Argentina!

Linda, I briefly skimmed Ole magazine and they mentioned that Barcelona was going to offer Saviola a new contract with a reduced salary (to go with the new system). Don't know if he will take it.

So I don't know if anyone mentioned this but I've been hearing rumors that Palermo might follow in Beckham's footsteps and transfer to the MLS, to D.C United specifically. I imagine that if he wants to retire and earn some money that that would be a good way to do it (my guess is that he would be the "Beckham player" or the high paid one since he has an international reputation). Because he is a goal scorer I imagine that he would be popular with the american soccer fans. What do we think? Is he on the list of domestic players that Basile is considering? If so then I doubt he would move.


Anne said...

Great blog, Seba!

After reading all the comments made on this page by people from anywhere in the world who will keep their fingers crossed for the Albiceleste against Brazil in the U-20 tournament tonight, I felt that I had to leave a comment myself just to join this group of supporters.

Vamos Argentina!

linda said...

argentinafan, I've heard that about Saviola as well. I think if he gets a bigger offer from another team in Spain he'll go there, and if not he'll consider his options.

The U20s drew with Brazil, not a bad result at all given the run of play. Good on them, and more improvement would be nice as the tournament goes on. Only the top 2 qualify for the Olympics, and since I might have an outside shot of being a volunteer in Beijing, I really want Argentina to be there.

Just imagining players like Kun and Messi leading Argentina at the Olympics like Tevez and D'Alessandro did is getting me excited for 2008. Vamos mini-Albicelestes!

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