Saturday, June 30, 2007

Little Argentina couldn't find that final touch

What the big men had on Thursday, the young boys lacked Today. And viceversa.

The U20 Czech Republic side was almost the same as the USA team that is playing in the Copa America: all about defense and counter-attack!

But what MESSI, CRESPO, RIQUELME, AIMAR, TEVEZ and company managed to do almost to perfecting during the second half against the Americans, AGÜERO, ZARATE, MORALEZ and their team-mates, couldn't mimic. So the result was a hard-fought 0-0 with only one team really trying.

Without being put under pressure, the Argentine defense was really solid and the team never looked like conceeding a goal. Something that can't be said of Coco BASILE's back line!

The problem was clearly up front. A sub-standard performance by both, Sergio AGÜERO and Mauro ZARATE, overshadowed a great job by Eber BANEGA, who pulled the strings from midfield and controlled the game at will.

Argentina had the ball most of the time, but couldn't really do anything with it and suffered from a tendency of trying to do to much that their attacking men showed most of the time, especially the mentioned Kun and Mauro who failed to see a better-placed team-mate more than once.

A result that it's not a cause for concern, but I'm sure TOCALLI will want his boys to do some shooting practice and be ready to face Panama on Tuesday and then play against DPR Korea, two teams that also played for a goal-less draw in Canada 2007 opening day.

FIBA Americas: PEPE won't play for Argentina

The nightmare for Sergio HERNANDEZ goes on and on and on. Argentina's basketball team manager knew he won't have Emanuel GINOBILI, Andrés NOCIONI, Fabricio OBERTO, Walter HERRMANN, but now Juan Ignacio Pepe SANCHEZ becomes the latest absentee for the FIBA Americas tournament that will be played in Las Vegas from August 22 until September 2, 2007, which will hurt Argentina's chances, risking the defending-champions participation in the Beijing 2008 Olympics.

This decision by Pepe, leaves Luis SCOLA as the only starter from the last World Championship that will play in this crucial Olympic Qualifying Tournament.

"If I rest now, then it is possible that I'll be able to play some more in the future" said the 30-year old point guard that was the best Argentine player in the last World Championship.

Pablo PRIGIONI will now take on the starting role as Argentina will try and make up for the very important absences that will suffer.

Samba Boys chrash in Youth World Cup debut

Just like the grown up did when they faced Mexico in the start of the Copa America, the U20 Brazilian national team have lost their debut match, 1-0 against Poland, in the Youth World Cup opening game.

Poland went ahead in 23 minutes thanks to a KRYCHOWIAK's free-kick, but soon after that was reduced to 10 men as KROL saw an early red card.

Nevertheless, Brazil never found an opening in the Polish defense and they will have to improve dramatically if they want to fight for the title.

Argentina will make their debut, against the Czech Republic, in a couple of hours.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Youth WC: Time to watch the boys in action!

In a really busy period, the Copa America is catching every eye, but the Youth World Cup will get underway tomorrow (Saturday, June 30th) and Argentina will be one of the teams in action as they start their title defense with a game against the Czech Republic.

Led by Atletico de Madrid tricky forward, Sergio Kun AGÜERO, Argentina will aim for their sixth Youth World Cup title and repeat what Lionel MESSI (with AGÜERO as a back-up) did two years ago in The Netherlands.

Argentina and the Czechs have never faced each other before in the finals, although the South Americans did beat the former Czechoslovakia at Mexico 1983 with a side that had defender Jorge THEILER as one of the main figures. Now he is one of TOCALLI's assistant coaches.

In the build-up for the game, Racing Club keeper (recently bought by Dutch outfit AZ Alkmaar), Sergio ROMERO said: "We've got a number of objectives for this tournament, but the main one is to play seven games. That's what we're here for and we're hopeful of achieving just that."

The game will be played at Frank Clair Stadium in Ottawa and will be one of Group E opening matches. Panama and Korea DPR will jump to the field earlier tomorrow in the same stadium.

Another big favourites, Brazil, will also have their debut tomorrow as they take on Poland to open Group D. Their match will be followed by USA v Republic of Korea.

Midfielder Renato AUGUSTO from Flamengo and forward Alexandre PATO from Internacional de Porto Alegre will be the key players for Brazil as they will try and cover the absence of LUCAS, recently bought by Liverpool, who will be out with a knock.


(Play-by-play won't be available at Mundo Albiceleste as I think I'll have to run to a local pub and ask them to let me watch the game! I won't have it with my regular cable-TV provider. So hopefully, I'll be able to watch it and then write a match report here).

CRESPO with a very important milestone

I can’t say this enough times: Hernán CRESPO is probably the most under-rated player in the history of our national team.

Relegated to the bench by the excellent Gabriel BATISTUTA (top goal-scorer in the history of our national team with 56 goals in 78 games) during a decade, Hernán still managed to make history.

First choice as striker for Argentina (since BATISTUTA’s retirement after the 2002 World Cup), CRESPO scored twice last night and he reached a milestone that I’m sure he and all his fans and admirers will be proud of.

With last night's brace against USA, Hernán CRESPO have scored 34 goals for Argentina and now seats second in the all-time table alongside a certain little guy from Villa Fiorito named Diego Armando MARADONA!

CRESPO scored his 34 goals in 63 games, while MARADONA needed 91 matches to get to that number. Of course, this is not to compare both players as it will have no sense to do such a thing. They don’t even play in the same position!

Nevertheless, I think this comes to show just how under-rated Hernan is and how unfair I think the whole situation is.

He is Argentina's top-scorer in World Cup Qualifiers, he scored more than 200 goals in European leagues, he is the only Argentine to score two goals in a Champions League final (in modern times) and still, he can't seem to get all the appreciation that he deserves.

Mundo Albiceleste would like to recognize all his hard-work and his committment to the Albiceleste. His 34 goals were nothing else than the result of that!

Congratulations Hernán Jorge CRESPO.
Here’s hoping he can finally lift a trophy with Argentina!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Argentina 4-1 USA: Watch the goals


Comfortable win for Argentina after nervy start

Yes. It was tough in the first half.

Yes. We were surprised by an early American goal.

But, YES! We never lost our cool and we were able to score 3 goals in the second half to secure three points and start with a great result and a good performance.

There are no easy games these days in football and a group of unknown, untested players, can really complicate your life if they are disciplined and they block every one of the roads you try to create to get to scoring positions.

Eventually, the best team prevailed and took home the three points. No surprises there.

Colombia is next. They will have to really step up their game and go for the win, after being thrashed 5-0 by Paraguay. They might even open up some glorious spaces for us to benefit from.

But before we move on, let me offer you a quick one-by-one players ratings:

ABBONDANZIERI: Wasn't really tested. No responsibility in the USA goal. 6/10

ZANETTI: Always offered an option on the right. Was OK marking but wasn't really threatened. 6/10

AYALA: A quiet game. It was worrying to see some lack of communication with MILITO. 5/10

MILITO: In my opinion, the weakest player for us Today. Lost Eddie JOHNSON and then fouled him for a penalty kick. Saw yellow because he arrived late in coverage. 3/10

HEINZE: JOHNSON won his back in the play that ended with MILITO fouling the American. Played badly with the ball in his feet. But sent a great cross for AIMAR to score our third goal. 5/10

MASCHERANO: Quiet, but efficient. I can't remember how many balls he won back without committing many fouls. Supported the back four and most importanly, the offensive midfielders in front of him. 7/10

VERON: Covered a lot of ground. Tried a couple of times from outside the box and helped both creating and marking. Showed great communication with RIQUELME and MESSI at times. 6/10

CAMBIASSO: Didn't have much influence down the left. I would think the USA didn't play a game that is suitable for him. Was replaced by AIMAR and the team improved dramatically. 4/10

RIQUELME: Not his Boca version. Not a bad game either. Great ball into the box for our first goal. Showed flashes of great connections with MESSI. 6/10

MESSI: Did not gravitate a lot on the right. But changed the game when he moved to the left. Lovely assist for CRESPO in our second goal and looked very dangerous every time he was on the ball. 7/10

CRESPO: Best of the gang. Two goals and a lot of movement. A striker should be judged by how many and how crucial are his goals and he scored our first two in the tournament. 8/10

AIMAR: He was a key to our comeback. He clearly is in a great shape at the moment and he topped the evening with a perfect header to score the third one for Argentina. 8/10

TEVEZ: Played a few minutes but it was enough to write his name in the scoresheet. Nice finish to score the fourth and put some more pressure on BASILE. (I won't grade him as he didn't play enough minutes).

GAGO: Same as with TEVEZ. Didn't play enough to judge him.

Argentina v USA: Match coverage

The moment we've been all waiting for. The Albicelestes take on United States of America in their first game.

We'll be doing a play-by-play commentary and, of course, you'll be very welcome to post your opinions on the comments' section.

For those of you without broadcast of the game, check this link to watch videos of the goals and/or the most important plays (with a little delay):,,TEP17197-8646,00.html

Teams are taking the field right now!


With Diego MARADONA dressed in white and blue in the stands, the match is underway.

3rd minute - MESSI touches the ball for the first time and combined well with RIQUELME and then with VERON before he is dispossessed.

5th minute - MESSI burst inside the American defense and crossed for CRESPO, but the defense was quick to react and sent the ball out for a corner kick.

7th minute - Eddie JOHNSON beats Gabriel MILITO and the Zaragoza defender fouls him inside the box. Penalty kick for USA.

8th minute - Eddie JOHNSON scores. USA 1 - Argentina 0.

11th minute - RIQUELME sends a ball into the area, HEINZE challenges KELLER and the ball goes to CRESPO who cooly finishes to level the score. Argentina 1-1 USA.

31st minute - Dangerous free-kick for the USA. Wasted chance by Brazilian-born FEILHABER. Argentina in control of the ball but not creating scoring chances.

39th minute - RIQUELME sees CRESPO inside the box, but HERNAN's volley goes wide.

42nd minute - Powerful shot by VERON, slightly deflected by KELLER before the ball hit the bar and went out for a corner kick.

43rd minute - In the resulting corner kick, CRESPO heads the ball towards goal but KELLER is alert to save it.

After an easy save by ABBONDANZIERI, the referee signals the end of the first half.

Argentina 1 - 1 USA

Second half underway. No substitutions in Argentina.

52nd minute - ZANETTI is careless in possession and then fouls JOHNSON near our box. Dangerous free-kick for USA. MAPP sends it over the bar.

55th minute - Nice cross by RIQUELME, CRESPO does all he can to reach the ball but eventually he is unable to get a shot.

57th minute - Pablo AIMAR replaces CAMBIASSO and Gabriel MILITO sees the yellow card after fouling MAPP down the right.

60th minute - MESSI, now on the left, sees an opening and shots, but hits the outside of the net.

63rd minute - MESSI turns on the style. One two with RIQUELME and then a great assist for CRESPO who doubles his personal account. Argentina 2 - 1 USA.

70th minute - VERON tries again, but it goes wide. Argentina finding more spaces now.

78th minute - AIMAR surprises everyone with a tremendous header and makes it 3-1. Soon after that, TEVEZ comes in to replace Lionel MESSI.

85th minute - CARLITOS is through and has no problems to finish with a nice touch. Argentina 4-1 USA. GAGO replaces VERON.

FULL TIME - Argentina 4-1 USA.

News Update - From Brussels To London With Love

Just before we kick-off against the United States, here are the news round up on Albicelestes involved other sports.

BDO Men's 2007 Champions Challenge

Argentina looks like in a much better position to book a place in the Final play-off after defeating India 2-1. In a scrappy match with few memorable scenes, Argentina were the lucky party at the end, Jorge LOMBI made good use of his third attempt at a penalty corner, flicking the ball hard past Adrian D'SOUZA to give Argentina the lead.

In the 60th minute, it was Mario ALMADA, the flamboyant Argentine captain, who delivered the undisputed highlight of the match, scoring the second goal for Argentina with a reverse stick hit after a spectacular solo run and outplaying several opponents. In the following minutes, India had a string of penalty corners, which eventually gave them a penalty stroke when the ball hit postman Fernando ZYLBERBERG's foot.

Sandeep SINGH seized the opportunity to reduced Argentina's lead to one goal, and India fired from all cylinders in the remaining six minutes to salvage a point from the encounter but to no avail. Argentina took the glory and are now in a slightly better position for the last round of pool matches that will decide which team joins New Zealand in the final.

2007 Wimbledon Championship

David NALBANDIAN and Guillermo Ignacio 'Willy' CANAS are the only survivors from five of our players whom were involved round two.

NALBANDIAN won his tie comfortably after defeating Canadian Frank DANCEVIC 6-2, 6-3, 5-7 & 6-3. On the hand CANAS rallied back after losing the first set to beat Max MIRNYI from Belarus, 6-7, 6-1, 7-6 & 7-6.

Playing against the World No.1 Roger FEDERER prove to be a mountain to climb for Boca Juniors hardcore supporter Juan Martin DEL POTRO as he was beaten in straight sets, 2-6, 5-7 & 1-6.

Juan Ignacio CHELA also suffered straight sets defeats, at the hand of Frenchman Edouard Roger-Vasselin 6-7, 4-6 & 5-7. While Racing supporter Agustin CALLERI couldn’t prevent LEE Hyung-Taik from creating back to back victory against our boys, as he lost in a tight match 6-7, 4-6, 7-6 & 3-6.

Awaiting our boys in the Third Round will be two highly competitive matches , with CANAS being the most toughest against non other than Lleyton HEWITT. Knowing the love-hate relationship between our boys and HEWITT, I would love to see nothing more than “Willy” sticking it up to HEWITT in this clash.

While David NALBANDIAN will face 2006 Australian Open runner-up Marcos BAGHDATIS from Cyprus, which I’m pretty confident that NALBANDIAN will prevail and progress to the next round.

More problems for DUNGA: FRED suffers fracture

Striker, FRED, has suffered a fractured toe and will be dismissed from the Brazilian squad that is playing in the Copa America.

The Olympique Lyon's player got injured during Today's training and DUNGA is unable to call another player to replace him because Brazil have already made their debut in the tournament (losing 2-0 against Mexico last night).

Talks about a curse have already started in Brazil. Well...whatever...

Santa Paraguay too much for Colombia

It looked like Colombia could have taken the lead when referee Jorge LARRIONDA gave them a penalty kick before the first 30 minutes of the game against Paraguay.

But Alvaro DOMINGUEZ wasted a chance, keeper Justo VILLAR saved, and Colombia were punished.

Roque SANTA CRUZ was left with a lot of space in a counter-attack and easily scored when keeper Miguel CALERO was trying to close the striker's angle.

And with 19 seconds gone into the second half, SANTA CRUZ was on the run again. Inter defender, Iván CORDOBA couldn't keep up with Roque's pace and the Bayern Munich striker doubled the lead for Argentine Gerardo MARTINO's team.

With 35 minutes into the second half, SANTA CRUZ recorded the first hat-trick of the Copa so far and substitute Salvador CABAÑAS scored a brace to give Paraguay a sensational 5-0 win that leaves them in great shape to face the USA in their next game.

Paraguay and Colombia share Group C with Argentina.

Is Roman heading for Madrid?

In a European summer that started red-hot in terms of transfers, the latest news coming from Spanish newspaper AS, suggest that Juan Román RIQUELME is pretty close to become the newest Atletico de Madrid signing.

The red and white have reportedly agreed a deal with Villarreal to secure both Juan Román RIQUELME and Uruguayan striker Diego FORLAN for a fee of around 30 million euros.

No official announcement yet, but with Liverpool being determined to splash a lot of money to buy Fernando TORRES, Atletico could very well use FORLAN as a replacement for El Niño and get Roman on board to pull the strings and feed both FORLAN and our U20 star, Sergio Kun AGÜERO.

Personally, I think this could be a great move for Roman. He’ll finally have a chance to play in a big Spanish club again (after failing to succeed in Barcelona) and the hype and excitement that Atletico fans can give their team when they perform well, could just simply be sensational.

Here’s the link to the news from AS:

In the meantime, here are the latest rumours about Argentine players from football gossip:

Liverpool midfielder Javier Mascherano has pleaded with Argentine international team-mate Carlos Tevez to join him at Anfield. (Daily Star)

West Ham are willing to pay Carlos Tevez £115,000 a week to keep him at the club for another year. (Daily Mail)

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The pressure is on: Argentina debut against USA

There are very few people in the World that would bet againts Argentina as they open their Copa America campaign facing a depleted USA side in Maracaibo.

Here are some bits and pieces about Today's match:

  • Argentina and the USA have played 6 times in their history, with 4 wins for the Albiceleste and 2 for the Americans. The South American scored 14 goals and conceeded 5.
  • The best result for the USA came the only time they both met at a Copa America (Uruguay 1995, First Round: USA 3-0 Argentina. Goals by KLOPAS, LALAS and WYNALDA). USA won Group C on goal-difference as they finished with 6 points tied with Argentina.
  • Both teams met in the first World Cup (Uruguay 1930) and Argentina defeated the Americans 6-1 in what would be an unlikely semifinal match these days.
  • Argentina will have 7 players in their squad (5 in the starting lineup) that played in the last Copa America (ABBONDANZIERI, HEINZE, AYALA, ZANETTI, MASCHERANO, Lucho GONZALEZ and TEVEZ).
  • Argentina have won the Copa America 14 times (same as Uruguay). Here's the list of editions in which the trophy was won by the Albicelestes: 1921, 1925, 1927, 1929, 1937, 1941, 1945, 1946, 1947, 1955, 1957, 1959, 1991, 1993.

Breaking down the list: Forwards

Done! We've got a player profile for each and every one of the 22 Albicelestes that are starting the quest to win the Copa America on Thursday.

The following is one hell of an elite group of forwards that even have the luxury of leaving out a top player like Javier SAVIOLA.

There is speed, talent, bravery, power, desire, heart and a thousand other virtues in these fine five forwards that will provide the bulk of the goals in our Copa America campaign.

Let's see them in a little bit more detail:

Name : Carlos Alberto TEVEZ
Club : West Ham United
Caps : 27 (6)
He is the People’s Player. Overcame EVERYTHING since he was born. A humble origin. A tough childhood. But he seems to handle the pressures that come with fame, success and fortune in a good way. Carlitos is clever. That’s one of the keys. Like MASCHERANO, he too had to endure troubled times in England but finished off the season in the classiest style ever. His goals (including the game-winning at Old Trafford in the last game of the season) were the inspiration the Hammers needed to avoid relegation and the fans have voted him as player of the season. With his deadly finishing and trickery in the penalty box, he is an indispensable quality in COCO’s team.

Name : Lionel Andrés MESSI
Club : FC Barcelona
Caps : 20 (7)
What else do we need to say about him? At the age of 19, the Atomic Flea has done more than most average kid of his age could only dreamed off. Touted as “His Successor” by a certain Diego MARADONA, MESSI is most likely to be COCO’s preferred choice for the playmaker role. The question still remains whether as he matured enough to bare this responsibility.

Name : Diego Alberto MILITO
Club : Real Zaragoza
Caps : 10 (5)
The MILITOS are a unique family indeed. One is a hard wall to crack; the other cracks the hardest wall. Possess power with a keen eye for goal and is regarded as one of the finest header of the game. His 20 plus goal in La Liga and the fact that he became a fan favourite in every team he played for (Racing Club, Genoa and Zaragoza) will be a testimony to that. However in Venezuela, he is most likely to used as a back up for CRESPO.

Name : Hernán Jorge CRESPO
Club : Internazionale
Caps : 60 (32)
CRESPO is one of the most effective poachers within the six-yard box. Was told by COCO to go for a holiday instead he made it clear he wants to go to Venezuela. He is Argentina’s top-scorer in World Cup Qualifying matches in history and he deserves to win a title with the Albiceleste.

Name : Rodrigo Sebastián PALACIO
Club : Boca Juniors
Caps : 4 (0)
The Jewell is one of Boca Juniors’ hottest properties. Born in the land of COCO and Manu GINOBILI (Bahia Blanca), Rodrigo had a quiet season but his pace and ball control will make him a great addition to Argentina’s fire-power. An experience at a World Cup will surely help him when it comes to deal with the pressures of having to perform in limited time.
How many teams in the world have a similar fire power these days?
It looks like MESSI-CRESPO will be the starting line-up but who would you most like to see breaking into the team?
Who'll be Argentina's top goalscorer in Venezuela 2007?
Do you feel there is anybody that should be in the list and was ignored?
Big thumbs-up to John! It would have been impossible to have the profiles and the pics ready in time for the start of the Copa America!

We hope you enjoyed this humble production by Mundo Albiceleste!

Breaking down the list: Midfielders

Well, time played against Mundo Albiceleste again, as we were unable to publish the players' profiles that we prepared before the list was announced.

But it is not too late yet, here are the midfielders that will represent Argentina in Venezuela 2007.

Name : Fernando Rubén GAGO
Club : Real Madrid
Caps : 2 (0)
Hail to the new REDONDO. Apart from sharing the first name, GAGO’s quality has often been compared to those of his predecessor. A very elegant player can cover the defensive aspects of a modern midfielder but his main strenght is his ball distribution. No wonder why Real paid so much for his services. Hasn’t really shine for the Albicelestes yet but Venezuela could just be the perfect platform for him to do so.

Name : Javier Alejandro MASCHERANO
Club : Liverpool FC
Caps : 22 (0)
He arrived in England with full of promise and was going nowhere but ended up becoming Liverpool’s man of the match in the Champions League final, as voted by the club supporters in their official website. Well-known for his tough-tackling defense he is also equally effective on the ball.

Name : Luis Oscar GONZALEZ
Club : FC Porto
Caps : 31 (5)
Know as LUCHO. He was the inspiration for Porto in their Champions League campaign and even scored probably the goal of the season against Hamburg. While chances are he might be starting from the bench, his control, great technique and scoring ability could be crucial to COCO, when needed the most.

Name : Juan Román RIQUELME
Club : Boca Juniors (on loan from Villarreal)
Caps : 36 (8)
Passion is the word. There are people who love ROMAN with passion. They are people who use that passion to hate him. But being the most controversial player in our national team in the last couple of decades, he still manages to confuse the rest and keep them undecided! He owns an incredible touch and he can keep the ball away from defenders like very few players in the World can. After a great semester with Boca Juniors, he decided to return to international football and the Copa America is his chance to prove people he can be as effective with Argentina.

Name : Esteban Matías CAMBIASSO
Club : Internazionale
Caps : 27 (2)
El CUCHU will forever be remembered in Albicelestes folklore for finishing that masterpiece move against Serbia & Montenegro in the last World Cup. A tremendous ball winner could face stiff competition from MASCHERANO and GAGO for a place in central midfield. Also a key member of the Scudetto champions: Inter.

Name : Pablo César AIMAR
Club : Real Zaragoza
Caps : 44 (7)
For years he lived in the shadows of VERON and RIQUELME for that elusive playmaker role. A moved to ZARAGOZA from VALENCIA has helped him to rediscover some of his old magic and Venezuela could be his re-launching pad. Was once described by DIEGO as the “only player he will pay to watch” and Lionel MESSI have recently said: “The player with whom I feel more comfortable playing alongside is Pablo AIMAR”.

Name : Juan Sebastián VERON
Club : Estudiantes de La Plata
Caps : 58 (9)
Mysterious is the word often associated with La Brujita. Ever since his returned to Argentina, VERON is making headlines for all the good reasons again, which leads up to his recall to play for the Albicelestes. Though criticised for being slow and cold, he compensates that with his considerable experience, field vision, long-distance shot and elegant passing.
Who's your favourite from this group of midfielders?
Apart from Maxi RODRIGUEZ, who do you think is/are missing in this list?

Arriba Mexico! Brazil surprised in a 2-0 defeat

I was kind of neutral before this game, but the constant irritating comments by the Brazilian broadcasters, really made me support Mexico (I have to admit that I was inclined to do it anyway! haha!).

They were saying that the Mexicans were staging an act in which they were pretending they were going through a period of crisis. The Brazilian commentators (Bandeirantes channel) said that everything was a lie and that there is not such a thing as crisis in football. WHAT????? Yeah...that.

The other target of their verbal attacks was the Argentine referee, Sergio PEZZOTTA, who in my opinion had a correct game and was not at fault in any incident.

They didn't want to say what was obvious to my eyes: Brazil were outplayed, outclassed and outran. Mexico struck them early with a wonderful goal by Nery CASTILLO and gave them no chance to recover thanks to a perfect free-kick by Ramón MORALES.

Then simply controlled the game and decided to give Brazil the ball and wait for them and hit them in the counter-attack.

But the DUNGA Boys couldn't do nothing. They were frustrated by a resilient defensive midfielder (led by Gerardo TORRADO) and the commanding presence of Rafael MARQUEZ at the back.

Mexico was unlucky not to score a couple more goals, but CASTILLO was at fault two times. First when he failed to see an open team-mate as they both were on the run with only the keeper to beat. And then in the game's final play when he ran from behind the midfield line, skipped past the keeper and soundly failed in front of an empty net. A clamorous error that denied Mexico of a classic 3-0 victory.

A lot of work to do for DUNGA and some humble pie to eat for those Brazilian commentators, please!

I won't wear my sombrero tomorrow, but I predict a great day at the office, where I'll be the only one wearing a smile the size of my face!

Mexico stunning Brazil in the first half

The Copa America defending champions, Brazil, are two goals behind in the score against Mexico after 30 minutes in the first half.

Impressive goals by Nery CASTILLO and Ramón MORALES are giving the Gold Cup runners-up some reasons to smile after they lost against the USA on Sunday.

The reason why I'm writing this mid-game is because I wanted to share with you the following link so you can follow the game and watch some videos that are uploaded just as they happen.

So, watch the goals and follow the action here:,,TEP17191-8646,00.html

And also, add this link to your favorites to follow the Copa America as they will also have (I believe) videos of the Argentina games:,,3556,00.html

Argentina favourite to host Copa America 2011

Brazilian newspaper O Globo, through their website, are saying that sources inside the Conmebol (South American Football Confederation) stated that Argentina is the main favourite to host the next edition of Copa America in 2011.

They want to top continental competition to be played every four years, one year after the World Cup.

Chile is another country that could have chances to receive the oldest national team's international tournament.

The last time Argentina hosted the Copa America was back in 1987 (I was 10 and I remember!). The memories are not that great, though. Uruguay, receiving a bye in the first round, won that tournament that saw Brazil crashing out in the first round.

There were three groups of 3 teams each. Argentina won Group A (knocking out Peru and Ecuador) before losing to Uruguay in the semis (1-0, Antonio ALZAMENDI).

Uruguay then defeated Chile (1-0, Pablo BENGOECHEA) to take the trophy all the way accross the Rio de la Plata.

If the Copa America is to come back to Argentina, I cannot say anything else that this is great news!

Chile shocks Ecuador, come back to win 3-2

In Group B opening match, Chile came back twice from behind to earn a dramatic 3 points and start the Copa America with a smile.

Ecuador started off brightly and went ahead through a lovely goal by Luis Antonio VALENCIA (Wigan Athletic).

Humberto SUAZO levelled the score, just before Cristian BENITEZ restored the Ecuadorian lead. All of this inside 22 minutes in the first half.

Ecuador came out to play the second half without the right attitude. It looked like if they thought the game was pretty much in their pockets.

But Chile had other plans and with 11 minutes to go, Humberto SUAZO again, equalized with a ball that went in off the bar.

A point that was taylor made for Chile after a rough start. However, the prize was going to be bigger!

87 minutes and Carlos VILLANUEVA curled a perfect free-kick to give Chile the three points and to complicate Ecuador's chances with both teams having to face Brazil and Mexico in their next two matches.

Starting eleven confirmed

With a little more than a day to go before our Copa America debut against USA, Coco BASILE confirmed the starting lineup that will start the quest for the first major trophy that Argentina want to win after winning this same tournament back in 1993.

As revealed by the local press and announced also here in Mundo Albiceleste, these will be the eleven Albicelestes that will jump to the field tomorrow:

BASILE confirmed this information Today at a press conference in which he said: "Argentina have to win everything they play"

DIEGO kick-off a Copa that started with surprises

Sometimes it seems that the Copa America is Venezuela's president, Hugo CHAVEZ, very own birthday party.
I don't like when politicians take center stage in an event that should only be considered as a sporting festival and not being used by presidents, governors, etc, as a tool to get more votes or increase their popularity.

OK, let's concentrate on football and on the things that matter to us, Argentina supporters.

The opening day of Copa America was marked by a shocking result as Peru defeated Uruguay 3-0 with goals from Miguel VILLALTA, Paolo GUERRERO and Juan Carlos MARIÑO.

La Celeste share with Argentina the honour of being the two national team with more Copa America trophies in their cabinet, with 14 each. But they couldn't have had a worst debut.

The hosts Venezuela were unfortunate not to have been granted a penalty kick in the dying minutes of the game when Jorge ROJAS was clearly fouled inside the box by Gualberto MOJICA but the incident was ignored by the referee.

Giancarlo MALDONADO and Ricardo PAEZ put Venezuela ahead twice, but Jaime MORENO and Juan Carlos ARCE gave an unexpected point to Bolivia.

Before the game, Hugo CHAVEZ and his counterpart from Bolivia, Evo MORALES, together with Diego MARADONA "officially" opened the Copa America, with Diego receiving a standing ovation from the crowd.
Brazil will make their debut today against Mexico, a rival that has a history of complicating their lives in previous Copa America but now they arrived in Venezuela with a very low morale after losing the Gold Cup final on Sunday against USA.

Ecuador and Chile will play the other Group B match also Today.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Tennis - The Championship, Wimbledon 2007

The Wimbledon Championship has just begun and nine of our tennis of player were in action, with five of them progressing into next round. As expected, the usual suspect such as David NALBANDIAN and Guillermo CANAS progress without much trouble against their respective opponents. Here are the results involving all the Albicelestes in Round One.

David NALBANDIAN def. Mischa ZVEREV (GER) 6-3, 6-4 & 6-2

Mariano ZABALETA lost Nicolas DEVILDER (FRA) 7-6, 4-6, 5-7 & 4-6

Agustin CALLERI def Luis HORNA (PER) 6-2, 7-6 & 7-5

Guillermo CANAS def Ivan Navarro PASTOR (ESP) 7-6, 6-3 & 6-1

Juan MONACO lost Kristof VLIEGEN (BEL) 4-6, 3-6 & 6-7

Juan Martin DEL POTRO def Davide SANGUINETTI (ITA) 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 & 6-4

Martin Vassallo ARQUELLO lost HYUNG-Taik Lee (KOR) 4-6, 2-6 & 3-6

Juan Ignacio CHELA def Benjamin BECKER (GER) 3-6, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 & 10-8

Juan-Pablo GUZMAN lost Andrei PAVEL (ROM) 4-6, 4-6 & 1-6

As for the second round, the most mouth-watering clash for anyone at Mundo Albiceleste is going to the match between Juan Martin DEL POTRO against non other then Roger FEDERER. Another tough test waiting for the Albicelestes in this round will be Guillermo CANAS in which he will face Max MIRNYI from Belarus. While CALLERI will want to prevent Korean representative HYUNG-Taik Lee from creating back-to-back victory over us as well. Here is the list of fixtures involving all our players in Round Two: -

Juan Martin DEL POTRO vs. Roger FEDERER (SWI)

Juan Ignacio CHELA vs. Edouard Roger VASSELLIN (FRA)


Guillermo CANAS vs. Max MIRNYI (BLR)

Agustin CALLERI vs. HYUNG-Taik Lee (KOR)

Watch out for this space for all the results!!! In the meantime good luck to all our players in the second round



Uruguay and Peru are opening the Copa America as I write this from work.

I won't be able to watch today's matches (later on there is Venezuela v Bolivia) as I have a concert to attend to! haha!

But I'll be posting some words on the opening day's games tomorrow.

As I write this, Peru have just scored the Copa's first goal through VILLALTA on 26 minutes in the first half.

Kind of a surprising result as I expected something different from Uruguay...

Now listen carefully...this is between you and me..."YOU KNOW THE COPA AMERICA STARTS ON THURSDAY, DON'T YOU?"

TEVEZ: "I choose Inter over Real Madrid"

Just when everything looked like he was going to be dressed in white and play in Spain, Carlitos TEVEZ opened his mouth and say three words that I’m sure sounded like a bomb at the Bernabeu: “I CHOOSE INTER”

Prestigious Italian sports newspaper, Gazzetta dello Sport, published an interview with the Apache, and it clearly stated that the player have said that he knows there is an interest from Real Madrid, but he is the one to decide he prefers to play for Inter rather than joining GAGO and HIGUAIN at La Casa Blanca.

Nothing confirmed yet, but if the river sounds…

Here’s the link to the interview published by Gazzetta dello Sport:

Monday, June 25, 2007

"El Matador" KEMPES to talk to Mundo Albiceleste

You know Mundo Albiceleste is a new blog with very few resources and not a long time of being online.

We hardly have the time or the chance to cover live events, go to matches or offer you attractive multimedia files, but we try and keep you updated and give you the chance to comment on every post while you meet others around the World that share your passion for Argentina.

Our biggest asset is passion for everyone that wears the Albiceleste in any sport.

And we are proud to announce that, very soon, we will have our first ever interview published in Mundo Albiceleste!
We will start by talking to someone really big in the history of Argentine football: Mario Alberto KEMPES, World Cup champion and top-goalscorer in Argentina 1978.

Very few players in history represented the Albicelestes the way El Matador did in that unforgettable final against Holland in our way to our first World Cup title.

But I still didn't finish! I've left the most important thing unsaid: Mundo Albiceleste will give YOU the chance to send in your questions and comments to Mario Alberto KEMPES before we publish the interview in the coming days.

Here's your chances to be as close as you ever got to one true Albiceleste legend!

Start sending in your questions! I know he will be pleased to know there are Argentina fans all over the World that still pay tribute to him and follow the team through thick, thin, language barrier, distance and different time-zones!

The following e-mail address will be open for you to send in your questions: .
Please don't forget to give us your name (not necessarily full name, just one name will do!) and the city and country where you live!

MESSI: "I felt great training with ROMAN"

When asked about who is going to be the best player in Venezuela 2007, Lionel MESSI was the name in the minds of more than 30% of the people at the Copa America’s official website, with ROBINHO (Brazil) a distant 5th (7%) in the people's choice.

Who is going to be the star of Copa America?

MESSI (Argentina)

Matías FERNANDEZ (Chile)

José ARANGO (Venezuela)

Jefferson FARFAN (Peru)

ROBINHO (Brasil)


Diego FORLAN (Uruguay)

Iván CORDOBA (Colombia)

Oswaldo SANCHEZ (Mexico)

Ulises DE LA CRUZ (Ecuador)

Jaime MORENO (Bolivia)

Salvador CABAÑAS (Paraguay)

Soon after his 20th birthday (celebrated away from his family and WITH the national team, just like his 19th last year in Germany and hopefully it’ll be the case every year, as the major tournaments are played always around the same time of the year), Lionel MESSI talked to the media and said some interesting things about various subjects.

He had time to talk about RIQUELME and said “I felt great in Yesterday’s training with him. We played very close to each other, with the ball on the ground, played a couple of one-two combinations. Same as I play with AIMAR”.

Being under millions of eyes the 24 hours is not something that is easily handled by a teenager, but Lionel is not afraid of fame. “I don’t mind signing autographs and taking pictures with the fans. It is a great way for me to say thanks for all the love they give me”.

“With Brazil there is mutual respect. We are, clearly, the main title contenders. We have an important squad and we have the desire to face them”.

It doesn’t matter that his head is 100% set in the Copa America, LIO still has time to welcome new team-mate Thierry HENRY to FC Barcelona: “Who doesn’t want to have HENRY in his team? I feel proud to have him as a team-mate”.

And finally, MESSI confessed there is a defect he wants to correct soon. “I don’t know how to take free-kicks. I think it is just a matter of training hard and start hitting the ball”.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Does COCO already know the starting lineup?

"It hurts not to be in the starting eleven. I'm a football player and all I want is to play. I will support my team-mates from the bench" said Carlos TEVEZ after Argentina completed a couple of training session in Maracaibo, Venezuela.

That opens up a question?

Does Coco BASILE already have his starting lineup confirmed? Did he tell the players or is this something that TEVEZ is just assuming?

Apparentely, there is some truth in Carlitos' statement. COCO's been testing and the Apache is not a part of the starting lineup that on Thursday's Copa America debut will take on the USA, crowned today as Gold Cup champions by defeating Mexico 2-1.

Our plans here at Mundo Albiceleste, were to break down the whole list and eventually, all together, arrive to our very own conclussions and see what's everybody's favourite starting eleven.

Forget about those plans, then!

The team for Thursday should be:

Roberto ABBONDANZIERI on goal. A back four of Javier ZANETTI, Roberto AYALA, Gabriel MILITO and Gabriel HEINZE.

Up to this point, no major surprises. But starting from our central midfielder, up to the main striker, EVERY position has a legit candidate to be picked. There are a lot of options to COCO to use and that could turn into a very difficult puzzle to solve.

Let's continue unveiling the whole formation.

Javier MASCHERANO has edged Fernando GAGO for the central midfielder role. The inclussion of RIQUELME have played against the Real Madrid midfielder as the team will need more balance and for that, it is imperative to use the most defensive-minded player.

Juan Sebastián VERON, as anticipated here, will play on the right, taking Lucho GONZALEZ' place, while Esteban CAMBIASSO is the choice to occupy the left hand side of midfield.

Juan Román RIQUELME will of course be the play-maker and he will sit behind Lionel MESSI and Hernán CRESPO.

Player by player, a very strong line-up. One that should have no problems in beating the United States.

VERON, RIQUELME and MESSI will all play together and COCO insists with the formula he used in the USA 94 World Cup. He had all his best players (maybe TEVEZ is the exception) together from the start. I remember that tournament in America when Fernando REDONDO, Diego SIMEONE, Diego MARADONA, Claudio CANIGGIA and Gabriel BATISTUTA were all starters. Argentine became the best team in that World Cup until the MARADONA-GATE that saw the team morale take a deadly blow and the dreams of reaching a third consecutive World Cup final faded out.

What I really like about this group of players that COCO took to Venezuela is that they can't fall asleep. There are too many options available for the manager and the moment one player underachieves, he knows he can be replaced in no time.
* Lineup image courtesy of the excellent blog

Breaking down the list: Time to think defense

We've already seen our goalkeepers and we know that, if nothing happens to ABBONDANZIERI -like in the World Cup against Germany-, he will play every minute.

Now it's time to take a look at our back line. Those who will try and control the opposing strikers while containing our midfield.

Let's have a look at our defenders' profiles and then start a debate as on who should start and who should wait in the bench.

Name : Roberto Fabián AYALA
Club : Valencia CF, Spain
Caps : 107 caps (7 goals)
The most capped player in Argentina’s history and the one that COCO has entrusted to take the captain arm-band. One of the best center back in the world, AYALA has the ability to score headers from set pieces. At the age of 34, the Copa America might just be his final swansong and he would want to go out on a high.

Name : Gabriel Alejandro MILITO
Club : Real Zaragoza, Spain
Caps : 16 (0)
MILITO is likely to be best option to partner AYALA in central defense. Will go to the Copa America with plenty of confidence after having a great season with Zaragoza. Once rejected by Real Madrid because they said he had a career-ending knee injury he went on to play for Zaragoza and have had excellent performances and results against Madrid. He is currently one of the most wanted defenders in Europe. A fine performance in the Copa America may just establish him in the international context.

Name : Javier Adelmar ZANETTI
Club : Internazionale, Italy
Caps : 104 (8)
Despite his age (33 years old), PUPI has never shown any sign of slowing down and still possess the strength, resilience and the ability to run past opposing player when joining the attack from right back. Was controversially left out in the last World Cup by José PEKERMAN and will be highly motivated to go to the Copa America after captaining Inter to the Scudetto glory.

Name : Gabriel Iván HEINZE
Club : Manchester United, England
Caps : 39 (2)
Confidence will soar high for HEINZE after winning the Premiership with Manchester United last season. COCO’s first choice at left-back, is a fan favourite among the Old Trafford faithful. With ruthless being his middle name, he is a no nonsense defender and a real fighter on the pitch. His ability to join in attack is somewhat improved as seen on numerous occasions in the Premiership last season.

Name : Nicolás Andrés BURDISSO
Club : Internazionale, Italy
Caps : 10 (0)
The debate will always be there about his inclusion in the last World Cup, but all that changed after he had a good tournament in Germany 2006 and a tremendous season with Inter winning the Scudetto and scoring many goals. Could be used either in every position of the back line.

Name : Hugo Benjamín IBARRA
Club : Boca Juniors, Argentina
Caps : 7 (0)
IBARRA is the most “Brazilianesque” right-back we have in Argentina. He’s great on the ball and he can become an extra forward at times. Pin-point crosses and feared long-distance shots are other weapons in his Arsenal. Also a COCO’s favourite from his Boca days.

Name : Daniel Alberto DIAZ
Club : Boca Juniors, Argentina
Caps : 3 (0)
Daniel Alberto was also the name of the first Argentine to ever touch the World Cup trophy! Like PASSARELLA, “Cata” DIAZ plays in defense and his power in the air and solid presence, makes him a tough bone to bite. COCO knows him well from his days as Boca manager and he looks like an interesting back-up as a central defender.
Honestly? I like our defense.
Brutally honest? I'm worried about the generational transition. There are no outstanding talents around that show signs of deserving a chance to play international football.
Not something that will hurt our chances at this Copa America, as we will probably have the most experienced defensive line in the competition. But what about the long run?
Will AYALA, ZANETTI, HEINZE, IBARRA and MILITO be "fresh" enough to travel to South Africa in 2010? I doubt it.
The Copa America represents the last chance for some of them (I think especially of Javier ZANETTI and Roberto AYALA) to win a major trophy with Argentina.
So what do you think?
Is COCO right in bringing to Venezuela the "Old Boys"?
Regardless of that:
Who should start?
Should we play with a line of 3 defenders? Or you prefer 4?

June 24 should be "Play-Maker Day" in Argentina

Of course it is just a play of words. But...why is that? often can this happen?

The play-maker of our last World Cup and the soon-to-be Argentina's Number 10 in Venezuela 2007, Juan Román RIQUELME was born in Don Torcuato (the outskirts of Buenos Aires) a day like Today in 1978.

9 years later (June 24, 1987), Lionel MESSI, the Argentine play-maker of the future, arrived in this World in Rosario.
Now the two of them represent their national team and they are amongst the best players in the World right now.

A double birthday celebration that comes days before the Copa America debut against USA.

In Saturday's training session, ROMAN and LIONEL were seen very close to each other with the Boca legend teaching the Barça star some basic moves and positioning. And they seem to be on the same page when it comes to commitment and desire to win the trophy for Argentina.
Happy birthday to both of them and let the Copa America be their present!

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Canada 2007 Youth World Cup - One week to go

Argentina's title defense will start in one week when the Canada 2007 Youth World Cup kicks-off with Brazil facing Poland the 30th of June in Montreal.

Hugo TOCALLI's team will debut that same day against the Czech Republic and will have the difficult task to repeat what Diego MARADONA did in 1979, Juan Pablo SORIN in 1995, Juan Roman RIQUELME in 1997, Javier SAVIOLA in 2001 and Lionel MESSI in 2005 and win the U-20 World Cup.

Argentina have won more FIFA Youth World Cups than any other nation and history will force them to at least get to the final match.

Without Lionel MESSI (technically allowed to play but choosen by COCO to play with the big guys) and Gonzalo HIGUAIN (technically allowed to play but not willing to miss out on his vacations....), the responsibility to lead the team and provide the goals will fall on phenom Sergio AGÜERO.

The Atletico de Madrid forward will wear the number 10 shirt and will be thrilled to take on the anchor-man role after being a substitute of Lionel MESSI two years ago in The Netherlands.

The former Independiente's striker will not be alone, though! Hot-shot Mauro ZARATE, recently sold to Al-Sadd (Qatar) in 16 million dollars, will join him to form one of the deadliest attacking combination of the tournament.

Just sitting behind them we will see play-maker Maximiliano MORALEZ, a key first team member in Racing Club and one of the best players in the U20 South American tournament that saw Argentina qualify for both, the Canada 2007 World Cup and the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Eber BANEGA, a starter in a Boca Juniors team that have won the Copa Libertadores last week, will be the star defensive midfielder while Matias CAHAIS, also from Boca, will provide the height and presence as a stand-out central defender.

Sergio ROMERO, recently bought by Dutch side AZ Alkmaar, will be the goalkeeper.

Here are the 21 young lads that will represent the Albicelestes in Canada (to the left you can see the shirt numbers):

1 ROMERO Sergio
2 FAZIO Federico
3 INSUA Emiliano
4 MERCADO Gabriel
6 CAHAIS Matias
7 YACOB Claudio
8 SANCHEZ Matias
9 ZARATE Mauro
10 AGUERO Sergio
11 ESCUDERO Damian
12 GARCIA Javier
13 VOBORIL German
14 SIGALI Leonardo
15 CABRAL Alejandro
16 GOMEZ Alejandro
17 MORALEZ Maximiliano
18 DI MARIA Angel
19 PIATTI Pablo
20 ACOSTA Lautaro
21 CENTENO Bruno

It is very hard to leave players out of this brief introduction I'm trying to do as this squad have a lot of talent in every position. We have Federico FAZIO (Sevilla), Emiliano INSUA (Liverpool), Angel DI MARIA (Rosario Central), Damián ESCUDERO (Velez Sarsfield)...

Talent is everywhere and on paper, the only thing that worries me is our manager Hugo TOCALLI.

He says he will use offensive tactics and I really hope they are not offensive to our glorious history in this category!

I would hate to see something similar to what we witnessed in February when we qualified for the Beijing 2008 Olympics in complete agony when Lautaro ACOSTA scored the winner against Uruguay in the very last second of the game we needed to win and we did nothing to do so.

For what is worth, I implore to Mr. TOCALLI from this space to go for it! To attack! To use the immense talent he has at his dispossal and to take us to our sixth U20 World Title!


Follow all the adventures of the Young-Argentina in the Canada 2007 Youth World Cup here at Mundo Albiceleste!

USA: Do they care about the Copa America?

One of the national teams that is always improving and they are already qualified to play the CONCACAF Gold Cup final match, the United States of America, will take to Venezuela an alternative squad with only 9 first team regulars in the list.

Manager Bob BRADLEY announced the list of 22 that will face Argentina in their debut and the majority of them play in the local MLS.

"Copa America is a great opportunity for our youngsters to earn a very valuable international experience. This group have a lot of players that can be used during 2008 and 2009 in our quest to qualify for the next World Cup" said the American manager.

USA will debut on Thursday against non-other than Argentina and both teams share Group C with Paraguay and Colombia, but before that, BRADLEY's team can lift a trophy if they beat Mexico on Sunday in the CONCACAF Gold Cup final match.

Check out the list of 22 players that will represent the U.S. in Venezuela 2007:

Brad GUZAN (Chivas USA-USA)
Kasey KELLER (Borussia Moenchengladbach-GER)

Jonathan BORNSTEIN (Chivas USA-USA)
Bobby BOSWELL (D.C. United-USA)
Dan CALIFF (Aalborg BK-DEN)
Jimmy CONRAD (Kansas City Wizards-USA)
Jay DE MERIT (Watford FC-ENG)
Drew MOOR (FC Dallas-USA)
Heath PEARCE (FC Nordsjælland-DEN)
Marvell WYNNE (Toronto FC-CAN -MLS-)

Kyle BECKERMAN (Colorado Rapids-USA)
Ricardo CLARK (Houston Dynamo-USA)
Benny FEILHABER (Hamburgo-GER)
Eddie GAVEN (Columbus Crew-USA)
Justin MAPP (Chicago Fire-USA)
Ben OLSEN (D.C.United-USA)

Charlie DAVIES (Hammarby-SWE)
Herculez GOMEZ (Colorado Rapids-USA)
Eddie JOHNSON (Kansas City Wizards-USA)
Taylor TWELLMAN (New England Revolution-USA)

Well...what can I say?

I think it is just a matter of setting your priorities and Mr. BRADLEY played it safe. He will try and win the Gold Cup that will qualify them to play the next edition of the glamourous Confederations Cup, knowing the had every chance to do it. There are only 2 strong teams in that region (CONCACAF) and they are both in the finals. In my opinion, a final match between Mexico and the USA was always going to be the case. No surprise at all.

So why not win that one and go to Venezuela with a reserve team without pressures or responsibilities.

If they get a couple of results, they will come as a bonus track. If they are knocked out in the first round, then there is no harm because it's kind of logical to lose against Argentina, Paraguay and Colombia.

But I wonder if taking only a handful of slightly known players is a good thing for the USA (Kasey KELLER, Jay DE MERIT and Eddie JOHNSON are the only three names that ring any bells to me).

Why not bringing the best they have to the Copa America and see how they fare against the big guns from South America?

I guess all of those (like me) who were waiting to see how the ever-improving USA could do against tougher opposition, will have to wait a little longer...

Friday, June 22, 2007

Brazil vs. RIQUELME: Are they afraid of him?

I have to confess that I have changed!

I used to hate those games that media plays. I used to think they were meant to hurt and to cause distress to players, teams, supporters or anyone involved in football.

But now I enjoy them! I think they are amusing, entertaining. I understand the game now and I flow with it.

Juan Roman RIQUELME is the subject again.

No Albiceleste have been so controversial since Diego stopped playing. While MARADONA was never questioned for his on the field skills, RIQUELME separates Argentines to the extreme that half of them love him, the other half hate him.

But I have found that this is not something that happens just in Argentina! Brazilians are watching Roman very closely and they are also divided!

O Globo, the biggest media corporation in Brazil, have published in their website a couple of lists containing the 10 reasons why Brazil should fear RIQUELME in the Copa America and 10 reasons why they shouldn't be worried about him!

They can be right or wrong in many of those 20 reasons, what they can't deny is that they are already talking about him, starting to open the umbrella before the first drop hits the floor.

RIQUELME is already getting to their heads. Installing some insecurity in them. Making them talk about him, think about him...

So here's the list of 10 reasons why Brazil should fear RIQUELME:,,MUL56932-4482,00.html

1. Because he destroyed Palmeiras in 2000

2. Because he destroyed Brazil in the World Cup Qualifiers in Buenos Aires in 2005 (Argentina won 3-1 with a sensational goal by Roman from outside the area).

3. Because he destroyed Gremio in 2007 (this week!)

4. Because he was the best player of the Copa Libertadores and Boca's top-scorer.

5. Because he will wear MARADONA's number 10 shirt.

6. Because he will want to avenge the defeat he suffered against Brazil (3-0 in London) in his last game before his interrupted international retirement.

7. Because those who will have to stop RIQUELME's shots are HELTON and DONI.

8. Because it is forbidden to use weapons in football to stop him.

9. Because he is as ugly as Topo Gigio (a mouse-puppet from a kids TV show that was immortalized by Roman when he celebrated a goal against River Plate by putting his hands around his ears, resembling the image of the famous puppet).

10. Because he is Argentine.

Now the list of 10 reasons why Brazil should not be afraid of Roman:,,MUL56941-4840,00.html

1. Because he always underachieve playing for Argentina.

2. Because he is an usual victim of Brazil.

3. Because he failed at FC Barcelona where RONALDINHO is king.

4. Because there is no Bombonera stadium in Venezuela.

5. Because the Copa America is not quite like the Copa Libertadores.

6. Because Brazil have ROBINHO.

7. Because this time Argentina won't have contaminated water (in reference of the incident in which Brazilian BRANCO was given intoxicated water during the World Cup match in Italy 90 by a member of BILARDO's staff).

8. Because Brazil should better be worried about MESSI and TEVEZ.

9. Because he has the face of Topo Gigio, and Topo Gigio can't hurt nobody!

10. Because he is Argentine.

Albicelestes land in Venezuela

The Albicelestes have landed in Venezuela last night and will start training in their Maracaibo head-quarters later Today.

Before leaving Buenos Aires last night, COCO left us with another motivational lesson in front of the microphones that were eager to capture his voice.

“I’m not a future-reader. I don’t know if everything is going to be OK. All I know is that the players I’m taking with me to this Copa America are the best”.

He wasn’t the only one talking to the press last night. Here are some bits and pieces of what was said:

Roberto AYALA: “We will try and not disappoint the people. Because of our history, we are always contenders”.

Daniel DIAZ: “I dream of return to Buenos Aires with the title. I’ll be the perfect end for an awesome semestre”.

Roberto ABBONDANZIERI: “This is a beautiful tournament to play in. We want to win it and forget that bitter experience we had in 2005”.

Carlos TEVEZ: “I wish we can get to the final and get revenge over Brazil. What happened in the last Copa America (Argentina defeated by Brazil on penalties after conceeding a goal in the last minute of regulation) was very tough”.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Breaking down the list: Goalkeepers

They say all the great teams in history are built starting at the back.

For years, Argentina have failed to keep up with a school of great keepers and nobody seemed to become the undisputable Number 1 for the Albiceleste.

In my opinion, the last great goalkeeper we had was Ubaldo Matildo FILLOL (World Cups 1978 and 1982). He was the greatest keeper from Argentina. And since he left, some have had success, Nery PUMPIDO, Sergio GOYCOCHEA and sometimes Carlos ROA or Roberto ABBONDANZIERI himself.

But a lot of names came by and showed that they were not good enough or simply lacked the consistency to give security to the team.

In the build-up to Copa America, Alfio BASILE went for experience between the posts and mixed it with some of the most exciting youngsters that are making a name for themselves.

Let's take a quick look at our three goalkeepers:

Name : Roberto Carlos ABBONDANZIERI
Club : Getafe CF
Caps : 27(0)
Safe hands ABBONDANZIERI, nicknamed PATO, moved to Getafe in 2006 after 16 years playing domestic club football in Argentina. His arrival proved to be one of La Liga best signing last season and has made the club a household name with arguably the best defensive record in the league. Has great reflexes and a well-known penalty-saving skill, a combination that have given him the Zamora award (a prize given to the best goalkeeper of La Liga).

Name : Juan Pablo CARRIZO
Club : River Plate
Caps : 1(0)
They say River Plate have one of the biggest goals in Argentina, because for their goalkeepers it is extremely difficult to perform in a top level. Historically, they are most of the time in attack, both home and away, so the goalkeeper will only be called into action a very few times through 90 minutes. Now Juan Pablo has been impressive and with youth on his side, he’ll push PATO in the next few years for a place in the first team.

Name : Agustín Ignacio ORION
Club : San Lorenzo
Caps : 0(0)
There is no other spot less glamorous than being the third-choice keeper in a list of 22 players. But don’t tell that to Agustín ORION. This young goalkeeper won his first title and he consolidated in the first division this season. To top it all, he’s going to Venezuela as a result of an injury to Oscar USTARI. ORION will travel to learn and that experience could be crucial if he wants to become first-choice by 2010.

My first take on this is that I think COCO is right. Many would think that if ABBONDANZIERI is not young enough to get to the next World Cup, then COCO is wasting time by calling him and not giving the youngters a chance. But COCO picked what he thought was the best keeper RIGHT NOW. And I agree with him. I think PATO is the best goalkeeper we have.

USTARI was forced out by injury but I don't think he is up there with PATO. CARRIZO and ORION look like great prospects but at the moment, they are just that: prospects.

Thumbs up for these group of three goalkeepers!

Are you with me?


The following are the 22 players that will wear the Albiceleste in Venezuela 2007.

RIQUELME is back. PALACIO was picked instead of SAVIOLA. The rest, we've had anticipated here during the last few days.


Juan Pablo CARRIZO
Agustín ORIÓN


Roberto AYALA
Gabriel HEINZE
Gabriel MILITO
Daniel DÍAZ


Fernando GAGO
Juan Sebastián VERÓN


Lionel MESSI
Carlos TEVEZ

Argentina travel to Venezuela today at 4 PM local time and will make their debut next Thursday against the United States.

Mundo Albiceleste promises players' profiles and analysis on the probable line-ups.

In the meantime...give us your two-cents about these strong group of 22 players that will represent you in Venezuela...

Countdown to THE LIST: Who's the last passenger?

We are a couple of hours away from the announcement. 22 players will be named by Coco BASILE to represent Argentina in Venezuela 2007, but with so little time to go, there is still a big question mark as to who will be the last passenger?

I'll anticipate here the 21 names that are pretty much set in stone:




Roberto AYALA, Javier ZANETTI, Gabriel MILITO, Gabriel HEINZE, Nicolás BURDISSO

And after the Copa Libertadores final, Daniel DIAZ and Hugo IBARRA (both from Boca Juniors) will join the team.


Lucho GONZALEZ, Javier MASCHERANO, Esteban CAMBIASSO, Fernando GAGO, Pablo AIMAR, Juan Sebastián VERÓN and of course the open secret is that Juan Román RIQUELME will be the last midfielder to join in.


Lionel MESSI, Hernán CRESPO, Diego MILITO and Carlos TEVEZ

So that makes 21, with two clear-cut candidates to fight for the last spot. Both play for Boca Juniors. One is a midfielder and the other one is a forward.

Pablo LEDESMA and Rodrigo PALACIO.

So who’ll be Coco’s pick?

Who’s your pick between these two?

We’ll start talking more about the 22 and what the team should look like, once the list is announced later today (it is thought that the announcement will come at around noon in Buenos Aires (4 PM London time, 10 AM New York, 5 PM Madrid, Rome, Paris, 10:30 PM New Dehli and of course, midnight in Tokyo!).

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Boca wins Copa Libertadores back for Argentina

For the half-plus-one of Argentina's football fans, the Flag Day had different colours. They are allowed to change the blue and white for the blue and gold as Boca Juniors, led by an incredible performance by Juan Román RIQUELME, won their sixth Copa Libertadores by defeating Gremio (Brazil), 2-0 (5-0 in aggregate) at Porto Alegre.

After two years in which only Brazilian teams got to the final match, the Copa Libertadores is back in Argentina, the country with most titles in the history of the competition (21), followed by Brazil with a distant 13 triumphs.

This is Boca's fourth Copa Libertadores title in this decade alone and they are now just one short of Independiente (also from Argentina with 7) in the list of teams with more silverware in the history of this competition.

There were many differences between the two sides in a contest that was already decided in the first leg with a clear 3-0 win by the Buenos Aires outfit.

But the main factor in the decision of this two-legged final was non-other than Juan Román RIQUELME.

He scored one and participated in the other two goals last week in La Bombonera and tonight he was simply too much for Gremio. He controlled the game at will. He always played the ball safe. And to cap it all, he scored both goals in the game.

The first one was a screamer from the edge of the box. A typical RIQUELME shot, towards the far post and giving the Gremio keeper, Argentine Sebastián SAJA, no chance at all.

Then he capitalized on a rebound given by SAJA after a Rodrigo PALACIO's shot and scored his third overall goal in Copa Libertadores finals.

In his previous two titles (2000, 2001) he only scored a goal in each of the penalty shoot-outs.

Martín PALERMO wasted a golden chance to make it 3-0 by missing a penalty kick in which he didn't even hit towards the goal! Remember Copa America against Colombia and his three penalty misses?

Not that Boca fans really cared about that. They already had the cup in their hands and they are the best team in our continent.

A couple of little things to add...

It was mentioned by the Brazilian TV (O Globo), during the game, that RIQUELME is being closely followed by Juventus as they look to improve their team to start the next Serie A season.

In finals decided between Argentine and Brazilian teams, the advantage is for the Albicelestes as they won 8 out of a possible 11 titles!

Congratulations to Boca Juniors and what I always say...I hope RIQUELME plays for Argentina at least a 10% of what he shows for Boca.

If that's the case, come COCO's list, I'll be looking forward to see his name there. But only if he tries REALLY hard.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007


23 August 1812

Manuel José Joaquín del Corazón de Jesús BELGRANO, or Manuel BELGRANO as he is widely known, had a vision and he made history.

He was commanding a battle near Rosario. He noticed that both the Crown's forces and the independence forces were both using the same colors (Spain's yellow and red). After he noticed this, BELGRANO created a new flag with the colors that were used by the Criollos during the May Revolution in 1810.

The flag was first flown, for the soldiers to swear allegiance to it, on 27 February 1812, on the Batería Libertad (Liberty Battery), by the Paraná River (that very first flag is pictured to the right and it was white & blue rather than blue & white).

Soon after, BELGRANO dispatched a letter addressed to the First Junta, informing them of the newly created flag. The Junta, fearing the Spanish Crown, sent a warning to Belgrano not to fight under the flag, but by the time the reply had arrived, BELGRANO had moved on, and was flying the flag on the battlefield. The letter contained the following passage:
"Being it necessary to hoist a flag, and not having one, I ordered one made, white and sky blue in the colours of the national cockade; I hope Your Excellencies will find it worthy of approval”

Manuel BELGRANO died 8 years later on a 20th of June, a day that will always be remembered as Argentina’s Flag Day.

Even though I can clearly see the differences between an historical event like the one I’m writing about and a merely recreational (yet very serious!) thing like sports, I thought it would have been a great idea to re-launch our blog on this very day.

After all, the Argentine flag, is what connects us all. It is our common denominator. It is what makes us all equal in this place. WE FOLLOW THE ARGENTINE FLAG NO MATTER WHERE WE WERE BORN.

I think that’s the whole idea behind this space that Today is re-born.

A new address, a new name, a new era in our blog!

I hope many new readers will join our gang of regular posters in what we decided (together with John) to call MUNDO ALBICELESTE (BLUE & WHITE WORLD).

What can you expect in MUNDO ALBICELESTE?

Everything you need to know about Argentina in sports ALL THE TIME!

Updated information on the most important tournaments (starting of course with the Copa America Venezuela 2007), videos, pictures, gossip, opinion, coverage of every sport in which an Argentine is shining and…best of all, a community of Albicelestes from around the World formed by people that share the same passion you have and will provide you with lots of interesting messages and stories through our comments section.

We will of course be looking to improve all the time, so we will also welcome you if you want to be a part of our team or simply send us your ideas and suggestions.

A new era begins.

Welcome to your MUNDO ALBICELESTE!

John & Seba

Rivals, Title, Results...


Argentine Gerardo MARTINO, now national team manager of Paraguay, have announced the list of 22 players that will represent them in Venezuela 2007, a tournament in which they will face Argentina in the group stage.

With 5 players from the Argentine league and one being born in Argentina (Jonathan SANTANA), the main stars of this team will be: Edgar BARRETO, Julio DOS SANTOS and Roque SANTA CRUZ.

The 22 Paraguayans:

Justo VILLAR (Newell's Old Boys), Aldo BOBADILLA (Boca Juniors) y Joel ZAYAS (Bolívar de Bolivia).

Paulo DA SILVA (Toluca, México), Claudio MOREL RODRIGUEZ (Boca Juniors, Argentina), Julio César CÁCERES (Tigres, México), Darío VERÓN (Pumas, México) and Julio MANZUR (Guaraní).

Carlos BONET (Libertad), Enrique VERA (LDU, Ecuador), Edgar GONZALEZ (Cerro Porteño), Cristian RIVEROS (Libertad), Aureliano TORRES (San Lorenzo, Argentina), Jonathan SANTANA (Wolfsburg, Germany), Edgar BARRETO (NEC Nimega, Holland), José Domingo SALCEDO (Cerro Porteño) y Julio DOS SANTOS (Bayern Munich, Germany).

Salvador CABAÑAS (América, México), Nelson CUEVAS (América, México), Roque SANTA CRUZ (Bayern Munich, Germany), Oscar CARDOZO (Newell's Old Boys) and Dante LOPEZ (Crotone, Italy).


The U17 Argentina basketball national team have won the South American Championship by defeating the hosts, Venezuela, 66-55.

"We had the crowd against us but we were not afraid" said our best player Matías NOCEDAL.


World Cup - Roller Hockey:

Argentina defeated South American neighbours, Chile, 6-0 to finish top of Group B in the Montreaux Roller Hockey World Cup.

RIQUELME to announce come-back

Not official yet.

Rumour has it that Juan Román RIQUELME will shortly announce his desire to make an international come-back and declare himself available for the next Copa America.

Alfio BASILE is to unveil a list of 22 players that will travel to Venezuela on Thursday. So Roman's idea would be to make that announcement before the list is known and therefore have chances to make it to the team, if BASILE decides so.

We are talking about the most controversial player (perhaps together with VERON) that ever graced our national team in the last few years. Some managers loved him, some hated him...BASILE is identified with those who like the way he plays and would welcome him back.

Not for nothing, his play-maker for his first game in charge in his second tenure for Argentina was Juan Roman RIQUELME (0-3 against Brazil in London).

So...I'll be the first one to say it and I'll accept all the criticism I might get after saying this...

I think RIQUELME wants to play for Argentina just to try and attract the interest of an European team and see if he can secure a move away from Villarreal. His future in Boca is jeopardized by his very expensive salary and Villarreal manager, Manuel PELLEGRINI, would not be keen on having him again.

Even though, and I said it many times, I think he is a terrific player, I don't think he wants to come back just because he wants to play for Argentina again. I think he is not committed like others in our team.

So again...RIQUELME is out there, with another controversy and he is turning me into a Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde situation. Making my two sides fight between them.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Change of gloves: USTARI injured, in comes ORION

His got a surname identical to the name of a famous constellation, and he honoured this resemblance, with a star performance for Torneo Clausura champions San Lorenzo de Almagro.

Agustín ORION have just been called up by Coco BASILE and he will be Argentina's third-choice goalkeeper in Venezuela 2007.

With ABBONDANZIERI being number one and Juan Pablo CARRIZO as his natural substitute, Agustín ORION comes into play because of a last-minute injury suffered by Europe-bound Oscar USTARI.

Independiente's keeper pulled off a muscle and will miss out of the Copa America: "This is the worst thing that happened in my career" said USTARI who is chased by Villarreal amongst other teams from Europe.

Another name in Coco's list.

The 22 names will all be unveiled this Thursday.

I'm sure you can wait till then, can you?