Saturday, June 30, 2007
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.
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.
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
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).
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
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.
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):
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.
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.
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...
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.
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: http://www.as.com/articulo/futbol/Atletico/ata/Forlan/Riquelme/millones/dasftb/20070628dasdaiftb_30/Tes/
In the meantime, here are the latest rumours about Argentine players from BBC.co.uk 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
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.
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.
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.
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.
We hope you enjoyed this humble production by Mundo Albiceleste!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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”.
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.
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!
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: http://globoesporte.globo.com/ESP/Futebol/TempoReal/0,,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: http://globoesporte.globo.com/ESP/Home/0,,3556,00.html
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!
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.
BASILE confirmed this information Today at a press conference in which he said: "Argentina have to win everything they play"
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
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)
David NALBANDIAN vs. Frank DANCEVIC (CAN)
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
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?"
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: http://www.gazzetta.it/Calcio/Calciomercato/Primo_Piano/2007/06_Giugno/26/tevez.shtml
Monday, June 25, 2007
Who is going to be the star of Copa America?
Matías FERNANDEZ (Chile)
José ARANGO (Venezuela)
Jefferson FARFAN (Peru)
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
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.
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 : Gabriel Iván HEINZE
Club : Manchester United, England
Caps : 39 (2)
Saturday, June 23, 2007
2 FAZIO Federico
3 INSUA Emiliano
4 MERCADO Gabriel
5 BANEGA Ever
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
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)
Sacha KLJESTAN (Chivas USA-USA)
Justin MAPP (Chicago Fire-USA)
Lee NGUYEN (PSV-NED)
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
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:
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:
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.
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
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?
RIQUELME is back. PALACIO was picked instead of SAVIOLA. The rest, we've had anticipated here during the last few days.
Juan Pablo CARRIZO
Juan Román RIQUELME
Juan Sebastián VERÓN
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...
I'll anticipate here the 21 names that are pretty much set in stone:
Roberto ABBONDANZIERI, Juan Pablo CARRIZO, Agustín ORIÓN
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
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
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).
"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.
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
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.
Monday, June 18, 2007
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?