Monday, July 30, 2007

Glory Glory Argentina!!!

Tennis - Austrian Open

Fifth seeded Juan MONACO rallied from a set down on Sunday to defeat Italy's Potito STARACE, 5-7, 6-3, 6-4, in the $1.087 million Austrian Open final.

The win gave the Argentine his third ATP title this season on clay, having previously won in Buenos Aires and Poertschach, Austria. MONACO now is 28-8 on clay courts this season, second only to Rafael NADAL's 31-1 mark.

MONACO had split his two previous meetings with the 10th-seeded STARACE, including a straight-sets win at Buenos Aires in February.

But it was not as easy this time for MONACO. Despite going down a break early in the first set, STARACE broke back in the seventh game, before breaking decisively in the 11th game take the set, 7-5.

MONACO battled back in the second set and converted on break point in the eighth game for a 5-3 lead. After an ace brought set point, MONACO promptly evened the match at a set apiece.

Both players broke serve early in the third set, before MONACO got the decisive break in the seventh game and closed things out after two hours and 29 minutes to take home the $152,800 first prize.

MONACO is now the sixth Argentine to win the Austrian Open since 1968, and the fourth Argentine winner in the past five years, joining Guillermo CORIA in 2003, Gaston GAUDIO in 2005, and last year's champion Augustin CALLERI.

Golf - Deutsche Bank Players' Championship

Andres ROMERO claimed his maiden victory on the European Tour at the Deutsche Bank Players' Championship at Gut Kaden near Hamburg - one week after his disappointment at the British Open.

The Argentinian closed with 19 under, three strokes better than Denmark's Soren HANSEN and England's Oliver WILSON (-16). ROMERO once again showed his swashbuckling style, which in the end cost him dearly at Carnoustie. He started with three birdies in the first four holes to extend his two-shot overnight lead.

But at the ninth ROMERO sent his approach from the rough into the pond to double-bogey. Suddenly his lead reduced to two. But he then enhanced his win by holing a 25ft birdie putt on the last. HANSEN, with a fantastic 64 today was later matched by WILSON's 66.

England's Zane SCOTLAND, who was expected to give ROMERO a test, because he was the only man who had really stayed with him in the third round, faded down the finishing field after he triple-bogeyed at the seventh.

The EUR600,000 first prize saw ROMERO climb up and replace compatriot Angel CABRERA in fifth place on The European Order of Merit.

Well what can I say....


Friday, July 27, 2007

30 Pumas ready to roar in the Rugby World Cup

Marcelo LOFFREDA announced the list of 30 players that will represent Argentina in the Rugby World Cup.

Here are the 30 names that will wear Los Pumas colors in France.

1- AGULLA, Horacio (Hindú Club)
2- ALBACETE, Patricio (Stade Toulousian)
3- ALVAREZ KAIRELIS, Rimas (Perpignan)
4- AYERZA, Marcos (Leicester Tigres)
5- BORGES, Lucas (Stade Francais)
6- CONTEPOMI, Felipe (Leinster)
7- CONTEPOMI, Manuel (Club Newman)
8- CORLETO, Ignacio (Stade Francais)
9- DURAND, Martín
10- FERNANDEZ LOBBE, Ignacio (Sale Sharks)
11- FERNANDEZ LOBBE, Juan Martín (Sale Sharks)
12- FERNANDEZ MIRANDA, Nicolás (Hindú Club)
13- GAITAN, Martín (Biarritz Olympique Pays Basque)
14- GONZALEZ BONORINO, Santiago (Capitolina)
15- HASAN, Omar (Stade Toulousian)
16- HERNANDEZ, Juan Martín (Stade Francais)
17- LEDESMA AROCENA, Mario (ASM Clermont Auvergne)
18- LEGUIZAMON, Juan Manuel (London Irish)
19- LONGO ELIA, Gonzalo (ASM Clermont Auvergne)
20- LOZADA, Esteban (CASI)
21- NUÑEZ PIOSSEK, José María (Aviron Bayonnais)
22- OSTIGLIA, Lucas (Sporting Union Agen)
23- PICHOT, Agustín (Stade Francais)
24- RONCERO, Rodrigo (Stade Francais)
25- SCELZO, Martín (ASM Clermont Auvergne)
26- SCHUSTERMAN, Martín (Leeds Tykes)
27- SERRA MIRAS, Federico (S.I.C)
28- TIESI, Gonzalo Pedro (London Irish)
29- TODESCHINI, Federico (Montpellier Herault Rugby Club)
30- VERNET BASUALDO, Alberto (Asociación Alumni)

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Offseason moves: Carlitos and the rest

I hate to see the blog without new posts in several days. I'm in one of those periods in which I can barely check my e-mails, but that's not excuse! Enough with this inactivity here!

But you've got to help me here...

So here's my idea: Why don't we discuss the best offseason moves involving Argentine players (and why not some of the other notable moves)?

It is obvious, in my opinion, that the biggest and most important one has to be Carlitos going to Old Trafford (or whatever the Court decides). It is the best move in terms of money, relevance and the potential of both, club and player.

But who's next?

Will HEINZE go to Liverpool?
Will Lucho GONZALEZ finally move to Valencia?
What will happen to RIQUELME?

We've got a long list to work with. Here are some examples coming from the top of my head:

Gabriel MILITO to Barcelona
Javier SAVIOLA to Real Madrid
Oscar USTARI to Getafe (will he replace Pato ABBONDANZIERI?)
Daniel "Cata" DIAZ to Getafe
Roberto AYALA to Zaragoza

Let me hear from you and, of course, if you heard of or remember another big offseason move that I'm surely forgetting, just shout!

OK...back to work now...

Monday, July 23, 2007

The Open Championship - ROMERO Almost Made It Two For Argentina

How close we were from achieving an amazing feat of winning a double Major in Golf.

Well that would have been a fantastic story not just in the British Open but also throughout the world of golf, if Andres ROMERO did not throw away the claret jug at the 17th hole. The 26-year-old Argentine was the improbable leader at Carnoustie with two holes to play, looking invincible after a run of six birdies in seven holes. But leading a major can do strange things to the mind, especially when you're a golfer with no big wins.

"I feel very pleased, but the pressure suddenly caught up with me, especially the pressure at the last two holes in such a big event," Romero said through an interpreter.

His troubles began when he drove into the rough at the 17th and wavered between which club to use. Finally deciding on a 2-iron, he hit a sharp hook that dove into the wall of the Barry Burn, which sent the ball ricocheting straight right toward the 18th fairway.
The ball stayed dry, but it sailed past the out-of-bounds line between the two closing holes. Romero had to take a drop and switched to a 3-wood to reach the green. He missed the putt and staggered off with a double bogey, his lead suddenly gone, a weak smile about all he could manage.
"I hit a very bad second shot at the 17th," Romero said, "but I also had a lot of very bad luck."

After that Padraig HARRINGTON made an eagle at 14 and Sergio GARCIA knocked in a birdie at 13 and ROMERO went from first to third just like that.

In fact he was lucky on the last to not go out of bounds on the right side of the 18th green but was still unable to get down in two fro his par. ROMERO's arms seemed to get even shorter when a weak chip came up 12 feet short of the flag. The par-saving putt lipped out; the bogey, as it turned out, kept him from making it a three-way playoff with eventual winner HARRINGTON and GARCIA.

HARRINGTON made a double bogey at No. 18 - hitting two shots into the burn - and GARCIA followed him in with a bogey. Those two went to extra holes at 7-under 277, with Harrington claiming his first major title.
It has to be a very unfortunate end as ROMERO was hitting more good shots than anyone during the course on Sunday, finishing with 10 birdies in all. In addition to sinking putts from up to 25 feet, he holed out from a bunker at No. 11.
But the mistake that he had made on the 17th prove to be too costly, a reminder to many golf fans of Jean VAN DE VELDE’s series when the Open was last played at this venue.
He laughed at the comparisons to the VAN DE VELDE, who went wading in the Barry BURN while squandering a three-stroke lead on the 72nd hole at the '99 Open. At least the Frenchman got into the playoff, losing to Paul LAWRIE.
"I did it at 17, not 18," ROMERO said. "But I could be put into that category by some. I certainly wasn't thinking about Jean VAN DE VELDE at that moment. I was very concentrated and what happened happened. Unfortunately, it ended with a double bogey and a bogey."

ROMERO never considered laying up out of the rough at 17, saying it wasn't thick enough to keep him from reaching the green. Club selection was his major concern.
"I was aware I was leading," Romero said. "I hit a 2-iron. I was not certain it was the club I should play and perhaps it was my mistake. I was doubting between and wood and an iron. The second time I used the right club."
It was a mistake he'll long regret.
"I was thinking of hitting the 3-wood. I should have hit the 3-wood, stuck with my original thought," ROMERO said. "I didn't. That was the result."
He missed a chance to give Argentina its second straight win in the majors. Last month, Angel CABRERA won the U.S. Open at Oakmont.
ROMERO, who has a victory on the second tier European Challenge Tour to go with three wins in his homeland, is still seeking his first victory on the European Tour. Despite that rather thin resume, he didn't feel out of his element among the Open's leading contenders.
"I am happy. The best players in the world are here and I played with the No. 2 in the world (Jim FURYK)," ROMERO said. "I felt very comfortable playing with him and I felt I belonged here."
Meanwhile El Pato CABRERA’s day was not as promising as it was on Day 1 as he finished of the course at 34th place with 3 shots above par.
Nevertheless what a year it has been for our golfers. Mundo Albiceleste would like to give a shout out to both of them.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Let them grow!

And give us the title in South Africa 2010!

Congratulations to our beloved Little Argentina, Youth World Champions in Canada 2007.

Sergio AGÜERO won his second Youth World Cup in a row and this time he achieved what Lionel MESSI did two years ago. KUN have been named the best player of the tournament and he also became the top-scorer with 6 goals in 7 matches, including one in the final.

Maxi MORALEZ, the little fellow, have won the Silver Ball as the second best player of the tournament (and he was also our second best scorer with 4).

You can vote for the best goal of the tournament here:, where Angel DI MARIA and Kun AGÜERO (with two of his goals) are contending for that prize. We can help them!


Youth World Cup: Argentina v Czech Republic


Half time: 0-0.

Those of you who are lucky enough to be able to watch it, don't hesitate to give the rest of us all the updates you can give!

Friday, July 20, 2007

Albiceleste Around The Globe

News from Other Sports….

FIBA Under-19 World Championship, Novi Sad, Serbia

Argentina conquest has come to end after 22 points in the last five minutes guided the United States as we lost 86-112 in the quarter-final

Argentina, who had only edged into the last eight on points difference, were shown up here, although the result could have been closer had it not been for the wayward shooting from the arc of Facundo PINERO.

After trailing behind an 18 points deficit in the first period, we manage to reduce that to 11 points with 5.10 left on the clock.

Nicolas DE LOS SANTOS was unlucky to be on the losing side after chalking up 16 points, five rebounds and five assists. Argentina ends their tournament with a 3-4 record while the USA is now on an impressive 7-0 winning run.

Golf, The Open Championship 2007

It has not been that long ago that Angel “PATO” CABRERA shocked everyone by claiming the US Open it one of the most dramatic style. So what are his chances of creating the spectacular double this year?

As for now he is still much in the contention as he is currently tied in 7th place on one under with the likes of Lee WESTWOOD and double US Open winner Retief GOOSEN and trailing Sergio GARCIA behind 5 shots.

15th Pan American Games, Rio de Janeiro

Not so good news from our Senoritas Albiceleste as despite crushing Paraguay 5-2 they were still out of the semi-finals berth as the USA were surprisingly beaten by the Mexico 2-3. As a result, Mexico goes through on a better goal difference.

Tomorrow our Under-18 boy’s fate hangs in the balance as they need to beat Colombia and hope that of all teams in this World, Haiti do not win in their match against Jamaica, should we stand a chance to defend our gold medal.

I’m simply lost for word when I think of this situation (all of which are happening in the space of a week!!!) and I keep asking myself is this some Brazilian curse?

Anyway here are some other results involving the Albicelestes in various disciples on Friday, the 20th of June.

Women’s Preliminaries Group B
Argentina 79 Cuba 81

Field Hockey
Men's Preliminaries Pool A
Argentina 7 Trinidad & Tobago 1

Men’s Semifinal
Argentina 30 Cuba 29

As of now, Argentina is currently standing in eight place with 5 gold, 5 silver & 13 bronze in the medal chart.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Youth World Cup, semifinal: Argentina - Chile

Argentina up 1-0 thanks to an Angel DI MARIA's goal in the 12th minute of first half.

Chile reduced to 10-men after MEDEL was sent off in the 15th minute.

The winner advance to the final match, where the Czech Republic will be waiting.

I'm working at the moment, I can't watch the game and I won't be able to post updates very often.

I though I could open a space for you to discuss and live the match as it happens.


Wednesday, July 18, 2007

What now?

I can't help being in this terrible mood.

A few days have past now and the more I think about the opportunity we've lost on Sunday, the more it hurts.

Because it was our time to get revenge from the previous Copa America. It was our moment to end a period of 14 years without a trophy.

Now what? How long will we have to wait to have another shot at a title?

World Cup Qualifiers? Nah...that's a competition that goes on and on and on for like forever! Impossible to capture the attention of the whole nation and most importantly, you don't get a trophy if you top the table there...

Confederations Cup? It hurts. That's what hurts me the most. We are not going. We should have qualified for that.

I looks like our next chance of redemption will be non other than the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. A long way to go to get there.

But the worst is that, in the meantime, I don't care about AYALA signing for Zaragoza, HEINZE staying at Old Trafford or going to Real Madrid, Gabriel MILITO arriving at the Camp Nou...

I don't want to talk about it. Not now.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Are there explanations?

The morning after. A terrible feeling. My shift starts at 3 PM (1 hour and 20 minutes from now). Everyone will be waiting for me to tease me until they run out of voice.

I couldn't write anything last night because I was running with 2 hours of sleep from the day before and just after the U20 win over Mexico I feel asleep and woke up 12 or 13 hours later.

I've seen you've been posting a lot and that's a good thing to see. I've got plenty to read.

But right now, I wanted to see if we can find explanations, reasons for this to have happened yet again...

I'll try...

1. It is easier (there is no denying) to play defensive, especulative, negative tactics than to try to create and play beautiful.

2. It was always a matter of who scored the first goal. No doubt the first team to score was bound to win. If it was Argentina, then Brazil would have been forced to attack and leave spaces at the back. It wasn't, we'll never know, but it really helps me to think that way.

3. Argentina's way of playing, really suited this Brazilian team.

4. Brazil's way of playing is the worst possible a team like Argentina can face.

I wouldn't want you to think these are all excuses, because I think what I'm trying to do is look for explanations. Trying to decode the game.

My first thoughts are:

BASILE should stay.

There must be a way to be able to play beautiful and win trophies. The way this national team gave us joy and made us look forward for the next game is second to none and I think that should continue.

It is not by changing EVERYTHING we have that we will win in the future. There are no guarantees of that. And there are no guarantees that a team which plays beautiful, offensive, attractive football will never win.

It is a matter of improving the only aspect of our game that failed from game one: defense.

We've got 3 years to go for the World Cup and we should build on a lot of what we did right in this Copa America.

There are players who had the chance to retire in style from international football, with a trophy in their hands, but it wasn't meant to be.

We'll talk about them in future I'm only one hour away from the start of my shift and I have to prepare and get to work, even though I wasn't born prepared for this very sad day...

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Life goes on...Little Argentina facing Mexico

I dreamt of this Argentina v Mexico for the U20 World Cup quarterfinals to be the icing on the cake.

Now it has the face of a consolation prize to avoid going to sleep in a very sad state of mind.

Our U18 playing at the PanAm Games have disappointed too! We only managed to get a draw (1-1) against Haiti in our debut.

We need to win this U20 match and advance to the semifinals, where Chile is already waiting for us, after scoring 4 goals in extra-time! 90 minutes ended 0-0 against Nigeria and then they scored 4 in 30 minutes.

The match is being shown live here in Brazil and we've got 15 minutes of the first half. Still 0-0. (but check on the comments' box when you read this, if you want to be updated!)

There is no justice in this World

Everything that could go wrong, went wrong.

We were clearly the best team of the tournament.

It doesn't matter anymore. Not now.

I'll write more in a while. Not now.

Argentina v Brazil: The big final. Match coverage

Yes! I made it again!

I'm here, sitting in the same place I've been for all of the Argentina matches in this Copa America.

The national anthems of Argentina and Brazil are about to the played.

And I don't know, this time, if I'll be able to type during the match.


Saturday, July 14, 2007

Me, The Albiceleste Supporter

The other day one of my colleague ask me why am I getting so much into the Copa America when there is an equally big tournament going on in my own backyard? When I mentioned to him it's because of the passion and love that I have for our beloved Albiceleste, his reply was that I must be a real fool.

Well then I guess that I'm proud to be the fool that I am for the last 21 years and will do so proudly for the rest of my life.

You see everyone, here in Malaysia we are currently hosting the 2007 Asian Cup (alongside Thailand, Indonesia & Vietnam) but as you can see I've been hardly mentioning anything about this tournament throughout the last couple weeks. If you wish to know my reason, well I've mentioned this in one of my comments on the "How Little Argentina won the "Malaysia War"......." article as a response towards Rio's comments.

It's because of the MIND and SOUL.

My feelings about tomorrow's Final is not something new. I've had this with me in 2002, but it was not meant to be. I did have this again in 2004, but again it was not meant to be. Then again in 2005, and once again it was not meant to be. And to not forget in 2006......Ok I think you all know the rest.

Disappointment is not something new to me, it has haunted me in many ways through out my whole 27 years life but that is only temporary because in many ways it can also be a source of energy that grows within me when time goes by.

It is this energy which will fuel my fire and burns my desire when tomorrow's match kicks-off.
As I'm writing this article, it is almost 1.00 pm here in Malaysia and after this I'll be meeting up Alwin for a futsal match and then after that we will be heading to Bukit Jalil Stadium to watch Ali KARIMI and Sun JIHAI in action in the Iran v China game.

After the game, we will head back home to get some sleep as tomorrow we'll need to be up (that is if I'm able to get a good night sleep, if you know what I mean) around 4.00 am in the morning to be ready for the match, as it will start at 5.00 am.

Am I nervous about the game? To be honest, yes I am. Am I scared? Well maybe a little. But as I've found out in Seba's article "Is it just me?", I know that I'm NOT alone in this mission. So if someone were to ask me d
o I feel confidence about the game? 120% yes.

Just to calm my nerves before the game I've found the perfect motivation through the following lines.

May the laurels be eternal

that we knew how to win,
that we knew how to win,
let us live crowned with glory...
or swear to die gloriously!
Or swear to die gloriously!
Or swear to die gloriously!

Sounds familiar?

And once the match is over, irrespective of the result and I pledge to continue to remember these words for as long as I live

Blue & White Till I Die

Little Hoops Through To The Last 8

In another thriller, a 33-5 scoring burst for Argentina either side bridging the third and fourth quarters propelled them to a 112-72 demolition of Puerto Rico.

Puerto Rico had to win to have a chance of making the next phase from Group D, but were undone by the impressive Facundo PINERO, who made five of six shots from the arc on his way to 20 points. The Puerto Ricans started the stronger, opening up a seven-point lead at one stage. But they ended the first period leading just 19-17, and then Argentina turned that around to lead 42-36 by the break.

The third quarter was where it really got exciting, though.

Having briefly trailed by 11 points, Puerto Rico pulled the scores back to 48-47 with 6:14 on the clock thanks to eight points - including a pair of three-pointers - in just over two minutes from Angel Luis GARCIA.

That was the signal for Argentina to take off the shackles and went on their decisive run.

Before Puerto Rico knew it, the Argentina triumvirate of PINERO, Nicolas DE LOS SANTOS and Sebastian URANGA had given their team a commanding 81-52 lead a few seconds into the final period.

Argentina didn’t let up, either.

Nicolas AGUIRRE’s two free throws took them over the 100-point mark as they extended their advantage to 39 points with 20 seconds remaining.

There was still time for Sebastien VEGA to catch team-mate PINERO though as he grabbed two lay-ups and a free throw to level the individual tally at 20 points, with DE LOS SANTOS and Leandro CECCHI not far behind on 18 apiece. Josue SOTO finished with 14 points for Puerto Rico.

Argentina outshone their opponents in all areas of the game, with higher percentages from two-point range and at the charity stripe. But it was their shooting from the arc which really won it as they recorded an astounding 17 of 31 (54.8%) compared to Puerto Rico’s six of 26 (23%).

Argentina qualified in second place with five points, behind undefeated group leaders Spain but ahead of third-placed Korea.

Some info before the Super-Sunday

Argentina lineup to face Brazil on Sunday:
Alfio BASILE confirmed Argentina will start with the same eleven men that defeated Mexico 3-0 in the semifinals. That is: ABBONDANZIERI; ZANETTI, AYALA, G. MILITO, HEINZE; MASCHERANO, VERÓN, CAMBIASSO, RIQUELME; MESSI and TEVEZ. Coco also said: "I'm very happy!"

Roberto AYALA:

Even after he signed a pre-contract with Villarreal, a surprising move by Real Zaragoza, will take El Ratón to Estadio La Romareda to play next season.

Zaragoza pay the "buy-out" clause and they will leave Gabriel MILITO go to Barcelona but will bring in his national team partner to cover as center back.


He was the missing link when we talk about Argentineans in the NBA. Not anymore! Luis have signed a 3-year contract with the Houston Rockets and will fulfill his dream of playing in the most important basketball league in the World. Congratulations for all his hard work and for this impressive move to the Rockets. I'm sure their fans still don't know how good a player they are getting!

He joins Manu GINOBILI, Fabricio OBERTO, Carlos DELFINO, Walter HERRMANN and Andrés NOCIONI to make it 6 Argies in the NBA.

Little Hoops Fall To Espana

Argentina scored the game’s first eight points but ended up being brushed aside 88-68 by Spain on the second day of the FIBA U19 World Championship.
In the Group D clash, Sebastian URANGA opened Argentina’s account with a three-pointer, Sebastian MORALES followed with a jump shot and Nicolas DE LOS SANTOS also struck from the arc as our young guns seized an 8-0 lead just over three minutes into the game. But Spain struck back with a 24-6 spanning 12 minutes to take the lead for good.

Argentina did keep the contest close for the first 20 minutes and only trailed 33-27 at the break, however, the Spanish delivered a knockout punch soon after the restart. They extended a 37-31 advantage to 51-31 with 5:44 remaining in the third quarter, with Victor CLAVER scoring nine of his game-high 23 points in that run.

At the end of the third period, the lead was 63 -38 and the game turned into an exercise in damage limitation for Argentina. The game was not attractive to watch, with Spain turning the ball over 27 times to 24 for Argentina. Where Spain excelled was good shot selection. They ended up 25 of 39 (64.1%) inside the arc while Argentina were 17 of 36 (47.2%).
Spain are unbeaten at the top of pool while Argentina are 1-1 following their victory over Korea on day one.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Is it just me?

Or do you also think about the match against Brazil more than what the doctor could advise?

El conejito blanco

As announced a couple of months ago, when Mundo Albiceleste was still Vamos Argentina, Javier SAVIOLA was finally presented at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium as a new Real Madrid player.

The Little Rabbit, unhappy for not being part of the Copa America squad, now has some reasons to smile, after signing a 4-year contract, with the White Empire.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Little Hoops In Novi Sad, Serbia

Argentina endured an almighty struggle against Korea on the opening day of the FIBA U19 World Championship but struck back from a seven-point deficit in the second half and won 91-85.

With the game having been tight for the entire first half and the opening six minutes of the third quarter, Korea managed to raise their level of play and seize a 63-56 advantage on a three-point play by Seung Won KIM.

Our “Little Hoops” tied the contest at 67-67 by the end of third quarter, but the Koreans again surged into a 73-67 lead after consecutive three-pointers by Min Seob KIM and Yoo Min PARK.

With 8:25 remaining in the contest, Argentina finally caught fire and not only pulled level, but raced ahead.

Sebastian URANGA started a 13-0 spurt with a three-ball, and Nicolas AGUIRRE followed with a lay-up.

Jonathan MACHUDA and Diego GERBAUDO hit consecutive shots from the arc before Federico AGUERRE capped the run with a dunk for an 80-73 lead.

GERBAUDO was the team best performer, posting 16 points, 8 rebounds & 8 assists

U20: First ever Mundo Albiceleste's correspondent!

Yes, Copa America is getting all the attention these days, but here at Mundo Albiceleste, we don't forget the Youth World Cup is happening!

The knock-out stages have started yesterday and Brazil were knocked out of the tournament by Spain (in extra time). The eight-finals will be completed today and Argentina will be taking on Poland.

Last Friday, our boys played against North Korea and Mundo Albiceleste had the pleasure to have Roy, one of our regular visitors, attending the match and very kindly giving us his views as well as some pictures and videos.

Roy made it to the Frank Clair Stadium in Ottawa and it was a unique experience for him. Sometimes, we Argentinean, take our National Team for granted and we don't get too excited to go to matches in Buenos Aires. Through this blog and after meeting a lot of Albicelestes supporters in the World, I learnt that there are a lot of people in different latitudes that don't get that chance too often.

Roy had his and he is now sharing it with all of us.

Thanks you very much for your work, Roy! You are a true Argentina supporter!

Before we got to the stadium, people outside were selling flags, headbands, jerseys, you name it, they were selling it. I ended up getting 2 flags and a headband for the record.

We got to the stadium with it being 3/4 full, with the rest being outside trying to get in. My section was pretty much 90% Argentine fans which made it that much better.

Onto the action. When Korea scored, I think there were more Brazil fans cheering than Korean fans, thankfully the goal was disallowed.

As you can see in the video the few seconds leading up to the Aguero free kick(in which he scored on) many people were anticipating a goal... Aguero shoots... GOAL!!! Everyone(including myself) went crazy. It truly was a fantastic feeling. Half time consisted of buying water and getting back into our seat.

Argentina's Goal

During the second half when Aguero got substituted off, many people had that "What, why? Is this Argentina/Germany all over again?". And it seems as if once Aguero got subbed off, Argentina lost its concentration a bit.

We had a few more chances(one of which we hit the post), but the rest was all Korea. Korea had some very nice chances, including one in injury time, but thankfully our goalkeeper was at the top of his game. But once the ref blew the final whistle, thats when the celebration really started. People throwing confetti, music, chants, EVERYTHING!

Argentina hits the post

Following the match, there was a one hour break between the Argentina match and the Brazil match(which I still ended up watching). People in the stadium chanting, celebrating and thats when the fans poored outside the stadium and started celebrating. Argentine fans were celebrating until half time of the Brazil game(which is 1 hour and 45 minutes following the match).

My first "Official" FIFA match and what a feeling. I couldn't of been happier.

Argentina fans celebrating

Overall, a day I will never forget in my life. I couldn't of been happier. And here's some pics aswell.

MESSI's goal (Mexican commentator!)



Wednesday, July 11, 2007

"Kick me baby one more tiiiiiiiiiiime"

Argentina 3-0 Mexico: Match highlights

Argentina 3-0 Mexico: Players' ratings

ABBONDANZIERI: Every great keeper must be able to make the woodwork play its part! Pato sent a couple of sharp looks towards the ball and he make it hit the post and the bar! Other than that, he didn't have a really busy night. Had troubles when tried to control the ball with his feet. 6/10

ZANETTI: Not as great as he's been throughout this competition. Still, our best option at right-back. I can recall a couple of errors. He waited too long for a ball that was stripped from him and then he gave GUARDADO a lot of space in that play in which the Mexico's midfielder hit the post. 5/10

AYALA: A couple of errors that, luckily didn't cost too much. Had a chance with a shot that was deflected for a corner kick. Worked well with MILITO and the highlight of his game was a sliding tackle inside the area that kept a Mexican from taking a dangerous shot. 6/10

Gabriel MILITO: His best game at this Copa. One unnecesary foul in the first half that looked to be a product of his lack of confidence. But it is the only bad thing I have to say about his performance. His passes were OK. 6/10

HEINZE: The best from our back four. Sealed the right channel of the Mexican attack, won a good number of balls with hard tackles and had a couple of problems with ball control (typical of him! ha!). However, he opened the scoring with a ghostly appearance and a karate-kick on the ball! 7/10

MASHERANO: A match that was tailor-made for him. A lot of action in that part of the pitch during the first half and MASCHE was always the winner, whoever his battle was against. We kind of missed him in the score sheet! I'm about to say something: MASCHERANO is the best ball winner in the World when using a sliding tackle. He is slowly making the transition between EL JEFECITO to EL GRAN JEFE! 8/10

VERON: I really liked him in the first half. Showed a lot of movement and was always happy to help a team-mate. He got to scoring positions too, but TEVEZ didn't see him free and decided to shoot (with the game still 0-0). In the second half, his clynical long-passes and pitch vision helped us big time. Did a quiet job and he did it well. 7/10

CAMBIASSO: He suffers from playing around those monsters that he has as team-mates. His job will never be as visible as the others', but it is effective. Battled hard on the left and his priority seemed to be focused almost exclusively in the defensive aspect of the game. He did have time to get in the box, jump and tried a back-heel pass towards MESSI. It would have been a beauty of a pass if it wasn't intercepted. 6/10

RIQUELME: Another man of the match performance, but he won't get that award from me tonight. He is not to blame for playing with an extra-terrestrial being. Roman is responsible for our first goal (lovely pass to HEINZE) and he scored our third with a classy penalty-kick. He was immense in the second half. Nobody was able to take the ball out from him. 9/10

MESSI: Would you believe me if I say that what I enjoyed the most from him tonight was that action in which he fought for the ball against three defenders, fell to the floor 3 times, got up 4. He is simply NOT AFRAID. Throw him all you've got. He'll always be back for more -if you can catch him-. To score a goal like that, you need to be extremely talented, but you also need to be very brave and mature to take that shot. Or all the opposite...extremelly unconscious! Whatever he is, I'm loving it. I can't get enough from you MESSI. Give me more! 9/10

TEVEZ: Hopefully, he is saving some goals for Sunday against Brazil. What he lacked in scoring, he made up with courage, hard work and passion. Gave a brillant assist to MESSI and then forced RAFA to foul him for our third goal. 7/10

GAGO: Played as a scape valve for our midfield as the game was dying. He opened up the field and tried to help the team defend with the most effective tactic there is: ball possession. 6/10

PALACIO: Could have done better with the first ball he touched after a perfect pass from MESSI. Came in to give the team some fresh air and tried some runs at Mexicans. 6/10

AIMAR: Didn't play too much. Helped ROMAN to get a standing ovation from the whole stadium.

Argentina v Mexico: Match coverage

WOW! I made it!
Just in time for the national anthems.

Sorry I was unable to provide you with a match preview or facts and figures.

But here we are, with Carlos TEVEZ and Nery CASTILLO both playing from the start, Argentina and Mexico will fight for a place in the final match, where Brazil is already waiting...three steps in front...just like their keeper.

5th minute - RIQUELME shoots from 20 yards, Oswaldo SANCHEZ saves (caught).
8th minute - ZANETTI with his first blatant mistake of the Copa America so far. He misjudged a ball that was coming from the left and GUARDADO intercepted. Then CACHO shot over the bar.
12th minute - One minute after an action in which MESSI was pulled in the area, ZANETTI made a lovely "sombrero" on a Mexican and then his left-footed effort was easily controlled by SANCHEZ.
13th minute - AYALA with a mistake that could have costed us dearly. He ends up fouling CASTILLO and Rafa MARQUEZ couldn't hit the target from the free-kick.
20th minute - TEVEZ with a great individual action, took a shot with his left but went wide.
Nice try!
35th minute - Great play by MEXICO (the best of the game so far). GUARDADO sends AYALA and ZANETTI the wrong way and then hits the post.
41st minute - One-two between TEVEZ and RIQUELME. Carlitos is face to face with the keeper but his shot is weak. VERON was waiting for it in the middle with a better angle.
44th minute - Great free kick by ROMAN and HEINZE hits it with a ninja-kick!SANCHEZ was committed but HEINZE anticipated and touched towards an empty net!Oh boy...that was a HEINZE-SEEKER MISSILE by RIQUELME! Argentina 1-0 Mexico.
Half time whistle is blown.
Second half starts...
50th minute - Ridiculous ref! MARQUEZ trips MESSI inside the area and Lionel gets a yellow for "diving"????? What the hell is that? A clear penalty, not given.
60th minute - TEVEZ sees MESSI incredibly wide open, Lionel gets inside the box and when the logic adviced to try to find TEVEZ again in the area, he defied every law that is written and softly touched the ball over the keeper for a classic goal! Argentina 2-0 Mexico.
65th minute - TEVEZ tries to go round Rafa MARQUEZ to try to take a shot, but the Barcelona defender obstructs him and the ref gives the penalty he didn't give 15 minutes before. Roman takes it better than ZIDANE in the World Cup final. Argentina 3-0 Mexico.
85th minute - All three of our substitutions are made with the last one being AIMAR in for RIQUELME. Previously, GAGO replaced VERON and PALACIO took TEVEZ's place.
Argentina with their fifht win in as many matches.
Brazil now. The match we've been waiting for a long time now!
Living in Brazil, this is going to be very very interesting!

TEVEZ confirmed

Just that...

I'm rushing so I can get home in time for the game and to prepare a little "facts and figures" post so we start living Argentina v Mexico here at Mundo Albiceleste.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

FIBA Americas - JASEN Out. CHAPU In?

Sergio FERNANDEZ preparation for the FIBA Americas took another blow as Hernan JASEN has became the latest player to withdraw from the Argentina squad. The Adecco Estudiantes forward, who suffered a lateral ligament tear in his right knee in May and has failed to recover sufficiently, informed coach Sergio HERNANDEZ of his decision to drop out by letter on Thursday.

Jasen said: “I am very sorry that I have to say that I will find it impossible to be part of the Argentina squad who will play in the FIBA Americas Championship in Las Vegas. The reason is the injury I suffered in May that has recurred recently. I have sent all the medical tests that I had done at Estudiantes to the CABB (Basketball Confederation of Argentina) doctors. I would have loved to help the national team clinch qualification to the Olympic Games, as I'm proud to wear the national shirt.”To coach HERNANDEZ, JASEN added: "I am available for future selection and wish you the best luck in the championship. I want to thank you for the attention you've paid to me, giving me all your support during this bad time."

This has certainly not been a good time for HERNANDEZ as it is confirm that he will be without superstars Manu GINOBILI, Fabricio OBERTO, Walter HERRMANN and Pepe SANCHEZ.

However there is a chance that Chicago BULLS Andres “CHAPU” Nocioni, could make the trip after his agent, Claudio VILLANUEVA revealed that there is a chance of him been active in Las Vegas.

"He really wants to do it", VILLANUEVA said. The player, member of the Chicago Bulls in the NBA, has been suffering of a plantar fascitis in his right foot.

Today, there is some light at the end of the tunnel. “He really wants to do this…he began to train about six days ago”, VILLANUEVA, informed.

This announcement opens the possibility of NOCIONI playing alongside with DELFINO and SCOLA, two of the stars that did accepted to be part of the team in Vegas

Watch out for this space

It's TEVEZ time!

I've got news about the lineup with which Argentina will start on Wednesday against Mexico in the Copa America's second semifinal match.

Following a great performance against Peru, Carlitos TEVEZ will start in place of Diego MILITO. The rest of the team, will be the same with: ABBONDANZIERI; ZANETTI, AYALA, MILITO, HEINZE; MASCHERANO, VERON, CAMBIASSO, RIQUELME and MESSI to go alongside, of course, Carlitos TEVEZ.

Mexico speedy forward Nery CASTILLO is in doubt with a problem in his knee but the best news (from a personal point of view) is that I've managed to get the night off from work and I'll be able to watch the game!

It was easy! I cover for a Brazilian friend tonight and he covers for me tomorrow! That's what brothers are for! hahahaha!

So, hopefully, I'll be joining you for another exciting match coverage here in Mundo Albiceleste.

Till then....IT'S TEVEZ TIME!

Mexico is now. Should we be scared?

Well, time now really is at a premium for me. I will hardly have a moment to sit down and type and watching the semifinal against Mexico and eventually a final match will be a difficult task.

Knowing this, I can't write a lot of things in this space and that's why I thought of asking questions instead.

Here are some things to talk about:

Who should start at the back? Is Gabriel MILITO still worth of a spot in the starting 11?

Who should start in midfield?

Who should start up front?

And most importantly: ARE WE SCARED OF MEXICO?

I hope I can join this debate. But don't wait for me...go ahead!


Sunday, July 08, 2007

Argentina 4-0 Peru: Players' ratings

ABBONDANZIERI: Didn't have much to do and I can't remember a single save he made. I do remember him catching butterflies before he started our fourth goal play. 7/10 for being a great passer!

ZANETTI: I'm not tired of saying it: If only he would have gone to the World Cup... What an exciting player to watch. He does everything right. All the basics and fundamentals. Impressive runs going forward, great cross for CARLITOS when he hit the bar. All around sound performance by EL TRACTOR PUPI. One of our best players in this Copa America. 8/10

AYALA: Looked nervy. Unnecesary sliding tackle on GUERRERO costed him a yellow card. Could have been red-carded a few moments after that. Otherwise, he showed good command of that back four. 6/10

Gabriel MILITO: Back from a one-match suspension and showed no signs of improvement. Again, our defense wasn't really tested and he is the kind of player who shines when the team is under pressure. Today was not the case. Very bad passing from him aswell. 5/10

Gabriel HEINZE: After I confessed through the comments' box that I don't like him, I have to rate him severely. He is my weakest performer from Tonights game. That step-on-the-ball-and-create-a-great-but-unexpected-chance-for-Peru thing was ridiculous. Read all of what I said about ZANETTI and then change it to the opposite to understand what I think about Man Utd's left back. To top it all, he tried to chest a ball down and it went out for a throw in. 3/10

Javier MASCHERANO: MASCHERADONA the goal machine! The foot of God! The 8th New Wonder of the World! The 5th Beatle! The Perfect Father (dedicating his goal to his child)! He gave us a scare when his knee seemed to have been injured. But a warrior like him doesn't leave until the job is done. I had a dream...I dreamt about a team of 11 MASCHERANOS. Then I realize...we only need one! 8/10

VERON: As many of our posters...he was ANONYMOUS tonight. Very slow. Showed good intentions but that was not enough. One moment he was on the left, almost crashing with CAMBIASSO. The next minute he is on the right and it looked like he closed the space for ZANETTI and MESSI to run at defenders. A poor showing by SEBA (no, not me!). We saw almost the same thing from Lucho when he played in that position. Are they victims of COCO's formation? 4/10

CAMBIASSO: I would think that his importance will show up when we face a better team. So far, he didn't have to work that much in recovering the ball. He was marked and he is supposed to be the one marking (more than creating). 6/10

RIQUELME: Man of the match. After finding it hard to crack open the Peruvian resistance in the first half, he showed Argentina the way the goal. He scored with his left then found MESSI inside the box and then added another goal to his personal account. Two lovely strikes one unforgettable assist and 9/10.

MESSI: Showed he is from a different galaxy in the first half but was denied by the post. Linked up well with TEVEZ, scored his first goal in Copa America and he did all of that without showing a great deal of effort. Naturally. 8/10.

Diego MILITO: Not up to the task of replacing CRESPO, yet. Didn't have any clear chance though, but didn't create them either. A poor showing even if I still have faith in him. 5/10

TEVEZ: If Alex FERGUSON was watching (oh...I doubt it very very much!), then he would have been very happy to see the effect CARLITOS had on Argentina. Participated in three goals (just like RIQUELME, only that ROMAN scored twice). Revitalized our attack, looked always dangerous and was unlucky not to score with that header that hit the bar. Sure made a bid to start against Mexico. 8/10

GAGO: Didn't play much. The game was pretty much in the bag when he came in. Helped the team in midfield by replacing a tired VERON. 6/10

AIMAR: Didn't have the chance to do much. Played only a few minutes. No rating for him.

Argentina 4-0 Peru: ROMAN leads 2nd half party

At moments it seems Argentina is just moving the ball around, knowing that, eventually, the first goal will come...and with that, many will follow.

And boy that do happen!

It was like that against the USA and Colombia (both times coming back from a goal down) and it happened tonight against Peru in our way to the semifinals.

Argentina was so much in control of every game we played so far that sometimes it gets boring. Not being arrogant here. I don't know if that's a compliment for a team. But I don't know if you can criticize that as an strategy. Argentina seems to make the ball run, while our rivals run after it, making all the effort and wasting a lot of energy.

The amount of weapons we have, enables COCO to use the bench players when the other team is having a hard time to breath. So far, it paid off big time.

Tonight we had a very different game both sides of half time. With Diego MILITO playing CRESPO's role, we struggled to cause problems to the Peruvian back line. In my opinion that is not solely because of Diego playing a bad game. He touched very few balls as it didn't seem to get to him.

Peru ran a lot during those first 45 minutes and we were only close to scoring through a couple of MESSI's individual tricks (one hitting the post).

The rest of the first half was lethargic. Personally, I didn't like the way our defense played. All except for ZANETTI had some rough moments and it makes me wonder what will happen the day we face a Nery CASTILLO, a ROBINHO or even a Diego FORLAN...

I won't go on and on talking about each player's performance as the players' ratings will follow shortly.

Second half. Second life.

Carlitos in to replace Diego MILITO and boy did that substitution paid off!

Within two minutes they combined with ROMAN and the three-times Copa Libertadores champion with Boca gave the keeper no chance.

Let me tell you...ROMAN with his left foot (not his favorite) can shoot better than a huge percentage of the World's footballers population with their best foot! That's a FACT!

So we know ROMAN can shoot, but we also know he loves to pass the ball around. So every kid out there, watching the game tonight, should have opened his eyes and seen that neat assist to a wide open Lionel MESSI.

Those are the kind of passes that even a smaller percentage of the footballers in this World can even dream of making! Then we all knew MESSI was bound to score. No mistake, lovely touch between the keepers leg. 2-0.

TEVEZ again, very active and causing Peru all sorts of problems, broke through on the left and instead of shooting, gave it to a better-positioned Lionel MESSI who was unlucky not to score.

But all the luck in the World is property of Javier MASCHERANO these days as he found the rebound and punished Peru to score his second international goal, only a few days after scoring his first. RAFA, are you watching? You paid all those millions to buy EL NIÑO when you have a goal-scoring machine in MASCHE! hahaha! Shame on you!

I was laughing when I saw PATO trying to catch butterflies. It was hilarious (it would have been a horror film if he did that when we were 0-0!). He went to the air and couldn't get the ball. So then he punched it away and that damned spheric thing wouldn't go out of bounds. With no other solution left but to chase the ball outside the area, PATO sent a desperate ball upfield and it turned out to be a lovely long pass to CARLITOS.

The soon-to-be Manchester United forward then went past a defender and leading a 3-against-1 move, saw RIQUELME running free coming from the middle and sent him a perfect pass for ROMAN to deliver.

COCO's first choice team have now played 3 games and score 4 goals in each one. That helps our manager to a record of 17 undefeated games in his history at the Copa America.

Mexico is next.

No extra-time and no Maxi RODRIGUEZ for us. But somehow, I'm not scared.

The ball will always be with us.

Argentina-Peru: Match Coverage

All the pressure on Argentina now.

Uruguay, Brazil and Mexico scored 16 total goals in their quarter-final matches and are now waiting for the last semifinalist.

Peru without Jefferson FARFAN will play with a 3-5-2 formation and I imagine that two of those five midfielders will help A LOT in defense.

With Diego MILITO in for CRESPO, Argentina will look to continue with their winning form and keep their dream of winning their first major title since 1993 (Copa America Ecuador).

We'll follow the match here and through the comments' box.


2nd minute - ACASIETE fouls Diego MILITO near the box and earns the first yellow card. RIQUELME takes the free-kick and sends the ball over the bar.
3rd minute - HEINZE with a shocker! He steps on the ball. It goes backwards and GUERRERO accepts the present, takes the shot well over the bar.
14th minute - RIQUELME running (yeah! running!) on the left, takes a shot from a tight angle and the keeper saves.
17th minute - MESSI with a Maradonesque slalom, shots, ACASIETE deflects and the ball goes over the keeper only to hit the post.
19th minute - MESSI looking closer and closer to score. Tries with the right and VILLAMARÍN saves with his chest (when the keeper was beaten).
20th minute - ROMAN sends the ball to the box and AYALA goes very close from heading it. PIZARRO, an expert in the other side of the field, shows his talent in his own box and saves Peru in a very complicated situation.
35th minute - Argentina not attacking like 15 minutes ago. AYALA has a yellow for a foul on GUERRERO and risked the second one.

Half-time whistle

Argentina looked to be more dangerous, but only for a very short period of the game. The defense looks far from being secure and the midfield is very slow at times. The ball is not getting very clean to our front men.

Best player so far: ZANETTI and MESSI, with Pulga being a little bit ahead of Pupi in the man of the match race.

Second half underway.

TEVEZ in for Diego MILITO.

46th minute - TEVEZ combines well with RIQUELME, a fortunate rebound and ROMAN is faced with only the keeper to beat. AND HE DOES! Superb shot with his left. Argentina 1-0 Peru.
51st minute - ZANETTI runs upfield for 40 metres before he sends a cross for TEVEZ. Carlitos with great effort heads it and sends it straight to the bar. Sooooo close!
61st minute - ROMAN with one of those passes we will remember forever. MESSI comes in at full speed and finishes between the keeper legs. Sensational goal. First Copa America goal for MESSI. Argentina 2-0 Peru.
74th minute - Lovely one-two between TEVEZ and MESSI on the left. Then TEVEZ gets inside the box and sends a lovely pass for MESSI. He shots, BUTRON saves but the ball felt to MASCHERANO and Javier scores his second consecutive goal and celebrates by sucking his thumb! We're loving it, baby! Argentina 3-0 Peru.
85th minute - PATO is complicated by a high ball but manages to clear after getting outside the box. TEVEZ is at the other side of that delivery and sends a great unselfish pass to ROMAN, who cooly finishes to make it Argentina 4-0 Peru.
Is RIQUELME's fourth goal in the competition (second tonight).


Argentina advance to the semifinal where we will face Mexico.

A great performance in the second half. Match report and players' rating will come soon to Mundo Albiceleste!

Thanks for the company throughout the game and hope those that are just waking up in their part of their world will enjoy this match thread and all the comments.

Argentina-Peru: Facts and Figures

With his mind set on a third Copa America title, Coco BASILE knows that, in order to achieve that, he will have to lead his men to victory against Peru in Today's quarter-final match.

COCO has an impressive record in Copa America (a tournament he won twice -Chile 1991 and Ecuador 1993-) as he will look to win tonight to get to 17 games without defeats.

History, just like against Paraguay, is on the Albicelestes' side.

Let's take a look at some facts and figures about the history between these two teams:

  • This will be the 50th official match between Argentina and Peru.
  • Argentina have won 29, scoring 89 goals and conceeding 39.
  • Peru have won 5.
  • There were 10 draws.
  • The most famous meeting took place in Rosario with controversy all over a 6-0 win by the Albicelestes, host of that 1978 World Cup. Years after that, QUIROGA, born in Argentina but represented Peru as a goalkeeper in that game said in an interview that the match was arranged as Argentina needed to win by a huge margin to qualify. There were numerous voices out to deny QUIROGA's statement but the feeling of foul play was forever installed.
  • Argentina and Peru have a rich history of World Cup Qualifying matches. The first time they ever played was in 1969 and after two legs, Peru eliminated Argentina and knocked them out of Mexico 1970 World Cup. It was 2-2 in Buenos Aires and 1-0 for Peru in Lima.
  • In 1985, again in a World Cup Qualifying match, Argentina secured their ticket for Mexico 1986 with a famous Daniel PASSARELLA's goal (or was it Ricardo GARECA touching the ball as it was going in). If it wasn't for that goal...Diego MARADONA would have never had the chance to shine in that World Cup the way he did it!
  • In World Cup Qualifiers, Argentina have won 7, drew 3 and Peru won 2 (both in Peru, one in 69 and the other in 85).
  • In Copa America, Argentina have won 11, scoring 36 goals and conceeding 19.
  • Peru won 3
  • There were 2 draws.
  • The first time they met, Argentina won 5-1 in Lima (Copa America 1927).
  • The last time they met was in Chiclayo, Peru. Argentina won 1-0 (Carlos TEVEZ). It was also a quarter-final stage.

Argentina out to avoid unpleasant surprises

Watching Saturday's matches with only one eye (this is not a metaphor! I have a problem in my left eye! It can't stop crying!) was enough to come to the conclussion that Brazil could have taken a "C-Team" (not even this "B-Team") and it would have been enough for them to make it to the semifinals.

Truth be told, the Chilean had some off-the-pitch problems as some players, reportedly, molested a woman in the hotel and manager Nelson ACOSTA wanted to discipline them before the quarter-final match against Brazil.

The team played in a way that was very consistent with that crisis and Brazil seem to be awaking!

Uruguay, a mediocre team -basing my opinion in two matches I've seen from them- also won comfortably and all the Venezuelan efforts to clear their field all the way to the finals were proved useless.

It's Brazil v Uruguay in a semifinal with a lot of history, played with teams with very little present.

So Argentina, with a lineup still not confirmed by Coco BASILE, will jump to the field tonight at Barquisimeto to face Peru and knowing before hand which team will be waiting for the winner in the semifinal (either Mexico or Paraguay).

What Argentina need to do:

Try to score from kick-off. Put pressure on Peru and after (if) we score early, keep going and looking for insurance goals.

There is no room for complacency. We can't allow Peru to get to the final minutes of the game still with a chance.

A favorite should show all their credentials and do it with no mercy.

The time is now!

Friday, July 06, 2007

CHAPU a Raging Bull for five more years

Andres "CHAPU" Nocioni's enthusiasm is infectious, his passion is genuine and his desire to win is large.

So when the irrepressible forward says it's not about the money, you actually believe him.

That's especially so after he agreed to a $37.5 million five-year deal with the BULLS on Friday for slightly less money than the Memphis GRIZZLIES' offered to the restricted free agent, according to league sources.

"I just want to say thank you to the fans, thank you to the organization for giving me the opportunity to play five more years in the NBA," NOCIONI said in a phone interview from Argentina. "I'm really happy for this. I want to give everything of me to play hard every night, with passion every night, to win for the Chicago BULLS."

Grizzlies general manager Chris WALLACE flew to Argentina earlier this week to woo NOCIONI personally. But he bettered the BULLS' total package only slightly, perhaps fearing the team's estimated $8.8 million in salary-cap space would be locked up for seven days while the BULLS debated matching the offer sheet on their restricted free agent.

"I wanted to re-sign with Chicago anyway because Chicago gave me the opportunity to play in the NBA," Nocioni said. "I feel really lucky to play for the Chicago BULLS. So I'm really happy. I can see the future in Chicago. I think we have a great team to play for the Finals. I like the idea of playing for Chicago.

"So does John PAXSON. The Bulls' general manager can't announce any signing until July 11 per league rules, but he did confirm a verbal agreement is in place, as did one of Nocioni's agents, Dallas-based George BASS.

"Andres is one of those guys who have helped change a lot of things around here in terms of how we go about our business," PAXSON said. "I understand and [Chairman Jerry REINSDORF] understands our young guys are growing into this next contract. We're not in a position where we want to lose players for nothing. Some organizations have to do that. We don't feel like we have to right now.

"We talk all the time about needing another big, but the league [is playing] smaller. Andres helps us spread the floor and play a certain way. He brings an attitude. It's continuity for our team. Obviously, it doesn't keep us from making moves down the road. But that's for another day."

Indeed, Friday was for celebrating a player considered so valuable PAXSON made the rare move of a proactive offer to a restricted free agent.

"He fits in with what we're trying to do, and I felt the area we started talking about was a legitimate, fair offer," PAXSON said. "So I never have problems throwing that out there.

"When the GRIZZLIES' negotiations fizzled, BASS and Arkansas-based Mike COUND, another NOCIONI representative, finalized details with Paxson and Irwin Mandel, the Bulls' senior vice president for financial and legal matters.

"We aggressively worked to get this deal done," BASS said.

NOCIONI, 27, averaged 14.1 points and 5.7 rebounds last season before slumping in the playoffs as he battled pain from plantar fasciitis in his right foot and a strained right quadriceps muscle.

He's still resting his foot condition but feels well enough to pursue his passions for hunting and fishing—no doubt with his trademark intensity.

"I'm really happy for the organization, for John PAXSON, for coach Scott SKILES, for the players, for everybody," Nocioni said. "You know my dream was to play in the NBA. Right now, I'm living the dream."

U20 WC: Argentina to face Poland in eight finals

Despite playing a terrible game in which North Korea deserved to, at least, score one or two goals, Argentina won 1-0 thanks to a Sergio AGÜERO perfect free-kick and advanced to the Youth World Cup eight finals as Group E winners.
Argentina will face Poland next Thursday (12 July) in Toronto.

We went very close to have a totally different kind of rival. When South Korea equalized in their game against Poland, Brazil and the USA were also levelled. But Freddy ADU worked some magic on the right and after his shot took a deflection, Josmer ALTIDORE scored his second goal of the game and sent Brazil to Group D's third place.

If this tournament had the same structure as the World Cup, then Brazil would have been packing their things and going back home!

But they are lucky that four 3rd-placed teams will advance to the second round.

Now they'll probably face Chile, a team that have won both of their games 3-0 and look to be red-hot at the moment.

Argentina will have to improve a lot from Today's performance and Manager Hugo TOCALLI will have to understand, once and for all, that he has to respect the history of Albiceleste and ATTACK!

Don't you think, after he assisted PEKERMAN in last year's World Cup, he should have learnt the "Berlin Lesson"?

U20: Argentina looking to advance in Canada

After an anonymous debut against the Czech Republic (0-0), Argentina showed their complete arsenal and destroyed Panama 6-0 in their second Group E match.

Today (6 PM Buenos Aires; 10 PM GMT), Kun AGÜERO and his team-mates will take on North Korea and they look favorite to win and advance to the eight-finals as group winners.

Yes. There are still some matches to be played in this first round, but it all looks set for a possible show-down with non-other than the U20 version of the mighty team in yellow (you know...). And then, after they defeated Portugal last night, Mexico could be waiting for us in the quarter-finals with Giovani DOS SANTOS -FC Barcelona's rising star and a clone of RONALDINHO-, as their main player.

One of our regular visitors here at Mundo Albiceste (Arg10), will be attending the match against North Korea tonight and will send us his pictures and comments as soon as he can!

Team news:

Damián ESCUDERO, one of the most exciting prospects of our team, have suffered an injury against Panama, and might miss the rest of the Youth World Cup.

Sad news indeed.

Other than that, Little Argentina look ready to jump to the field and repeat the performance they had against Panama.


Thursday, July 05, 2007

Argentina 1-0 Paraguay: Players' ratings

ABBONDANZIERI: Looked safe for the first time in this Copa America. Didn't have much to do, but made a couple of crucial and difficult saves. Good game to gain some confidences. 7/10

IBARRA: Struggled. Not the dominant figure he is for Boca. Improved in the second half showing an option advancing on the right, but was not enough to push ZANETTI for the starting spot against Peru. 5/10

BURDISSO: Wasn't really tested. I don't recall a single important play in which he had to intervene. 6/10

Daniel DIAZ: CATA was a little bit more active than BURDISSO, but still, a very quiet game for both of our central defenders. To give this couple the credit they deserve, I have to say that they made me feel safe. 6/10

ZANETTI: Man of the match. If MESSI was on the field a little bit more, he could have taken home that prize, but PUPI was the best throughout the whole 90 minutes. Did everything right, even when he was moved to the left for the first time in this Copa. 8/10

GAGO: Did OK. Suffered a lot of fouls and that speaks volumes of his importance in the middle. He can control the ball and give the team a solid start in the creative process. Had a decent shot that went over the bar in the first half, then faded a little bit in the second. 6/10

Lucho GONZALEZ: Had his moments. Sent a couple of good balls to the box and connected well with Carlitos and sometimes with AIMAR. Not a great game. Not a bad one. 6/10

CAMBIASSO: I liked his display, but he is not gravitating that much. He's caught in the middle and he is not a clear defensive midfielder or an offensive one. 5/10

AIMAR: Not even close to what he showed against the USA in our debut, when he came in as a sub. Tried to find an opening through the middle but couldn't. Never find his game and was anonymous at times, though he never stopped trying and he helped when we didn't have the ball. 5/10

PALACIO: Showed movement and pace. Hit the bar and was involved in a lot of our attacking plays. But couldn't quite really have an influence on either the game or the result. 6/10

TEVEZ: Very active, as always. He has the goal between his eyes and was denied by the post. Not quite the CARLITOS we know he can be and was a victim of a solid Paraguayan display. 6/10

MASCHERANO: Didn't play that much, but that goal alone is worth an 8/10 performance.

MESSI: The X-Factor we needed. Was sent to the pitch to change the game and help us win the match and did just that. Brilliant. Our diamond! 8/10

AYALA: Just got in to get another cap (hahaha!) and to add numbers to our back line.

Argentina 1-0 Paraguay: MASCHERADONA!

COCO has a calculator.

He had to solve a difficult ecuation: "I have to rest my key players and, at the same time, I need to beat Paraguay so I can avoid Mexico and an 800km-trip".

Here's the logic he followed:

- 8 starters
+ 1 Carlitos
+ 1 Aimar
+ 90 minutes of rest for those 8 starters

And to borrow an idea from a famous Adidas ad, in the last few minutes, it ended up being


So COCO past the exam with a perfect score and he'll be proud to show the results of the test to his mother!

All in all, a very solid display from Argentina. A side that never looked pressured by Paraguay. The ball possession is slowly starting to become a great asset for this Albiceleste.

There is always a team-mate to give the ball to. There is always someone to help out when you are chasing a rival and want to win the ball back.

The first half showed a Paraguayan side very happy to play for the draw. Very determined in defense. They were up to counter-attack at every chance they had. But not much else.

AIMAR had the better chance for Argentina in the first half when it went very close to head a ball sent from the right by Lucho GONZALEZ.

Argentina was unlucky not to find a goal early in the second half, with TEVEZ and PALACIO both hitting the woodwork.

For 68 minutes, the game stayed the same. Argentina not having that inspiration they needed to break the Albirroja defense. But in that moment, COCO called two guys that were sitting on the bench and asked them to change the game.

So the did!

Lionel MESSI showed a lot of the tricks from his book. He quickly became a nightmare for Paraguay and was impossible for them to stop him.

MASCHERANO was brought in to give support to the attacking men and he did his job. But he wasn't quite happy with that.

So when Lionel MESSI broke through on the left, past two men, cutted in and sent the ball to the box, MASCHE got close to the box. Saw a defenders clearing the ball and was first to it. He first thought about passing the ball to a team-mate. After all, he was called up to defend, to give the ball to others...but then...the rebel in him took control of the situation.

His right foot's tip pointed towards the corner flag, as the inside of his shoe met a ball that had only one destination: the back of the net.


My mind was fooled! I thought: "What a goal by AIMAR!" But then the cammera showed MASCHE's face as he was as happy as he's never been!

Argentina won Group C and became the only team with perfect record after three games in this Copa America.


Well, Javier simply became MASCHERADONA for one night!

Argentina-Paraguay: Match Coverage

All set for our last first round match in this Copa America.

Our team will be looking to beat Paraguay and avoid Mexico in the quarterfinals. And will do it with the return of Carlos TEVEZ to the starting lineup!

Traditional Blue and white stripes. Javier ZANETTI back to wear the captain's armband and we are set to go!


1st minute - Long ball for TEVEZ, Aldo BOBADILLA gets first to it.
7th minute - Carlitos tries his luck from outside the box. Weak shot, straight to BOBADILLA's hands.
13th minute - Argentina very close to open up the score. PALACIO sent a cross from the left. LUCHO gets it on the right and crosses it back to the middle where a diving AIMAR almost connects in front of an empty net, with BOBADILLA covering the near post.
28th minute - Argentina pretty much in control. LUCHO tries from long range and the ball goes over the bar.
33th minute - Paraguay with their first real chance. A hand-ball by a Paraguayan midfielder when LUCHO challenged him near their box. The referee waved play-on and on the other side of the field, Salvador CABAÑAS forced ABBONDANZIERI to make a superb save. PATO needed treatment after that action but looks OK to continue.
38th minute - Carlitos with a fierce shot from outside the box. Just wide to the left.
42nd minute - Fernando GAGO, with not a long history of scoring goals -I think he scored only one in more than 100 matches for Boca-, he sends a bullet from outside the box and it went over the bar. Nice effort.
45th minute - Terrible foul on PALACIO just outside the box. GONZALEZ (already booked) went from behind and clearly fouled PALACIO. That was a red card and a dangerous free-kick for us. The referee gave none of those things.
HALF TIME whistle is blown.


46th minute - Salvador CABAÑAS forces CATA to make a diving tackle and deflect the ball for a corner kick.


49th minute - LUCHO finds CARLITOS just outside the box, the Apache shots and the ball kisses the left post before it goes out. So close for TEVEZ!


53rd minute - The woodwork saves Paraguay again! Nice pass from Carlitos to PALACIO. The Jewell shots with his right and the ball hits the bar. A great effort.


55th minute - AIMAR sees IBARRA wide open on the right. Hugo sends a cross to the far post and a defenders heads it out for a corner kick when CAMBIASSO was ready to score.


67th minute - Double substitution for Argentina. MASCHERANO in for LUCHO. MESSI replaces CAMBIASSO.


75th minute - Controversy as MESSI is fouled and Paraguay almost score on the counter-attack -just like in the first half-. PATO makes a good save. But I'm worried with Jorge LARRIONDA horrible refereeing.


79th minute - Argentine finally finds the goal that send them top of Group C. Great move by MESSI on the left, MASCHERANO gets the ball just outside the box, after a defender tried to clear with a header, and surprises the whole World with a lovely touch to the far post. No chance for BOBADILLA. Argentina 1-0 Paraguay.



FULL TIME in Barquisimeto. Argentina top of Group C, only team with perfect record in this Copa America.

We take on Peru on Sunday.


Argentina - Paraguay: Facts and Figures

Both teams are through to the next round and that is why the managers, Alfio BASILE and Gerardo MARTINO opted to rest several key players for Tonight’s Group C show-down in Barquisimeto, in Copa America Venezuela 2007 last first round match.

Paraguay will be happy with a draw as that will mean they will win Group C. Argentina, on the other hand, will be looking to win, avoid Mexico in the quarter-finals and play Peru.

As we prepare for this match, in which a lot of Argentina fans will be happy to see AIMAR and TEVEZ from the start, let’s see some facts and figures about the rich history of head-to-head meetings between the Albiceleste and the Albirroja.

  • This will be the 92nd match between both teams.

  • Argentina won 49, scoring 189 goals and conceeding 95.

  • Paraguay won 14.

  • There were 28 draws.

  • For Copa America, this will be their 22nd meeting.

  • Paraguay NEVER defeated Argentina in the history of the Copa America.

  • Argentina have won 17 of those 21 matches, scoring 67 and conceeding 19.

  • Their first Copa America meeting was in Buenos Aires (16 October, 1921) and Argentina won 3-0 with goals from LIBONATTI, SARUPPO and ECHEVERRIA.

  • The last time these two teams met in this continental cup, was in Cochabamba, Bolivia in 1997 (1st round). Goalkeeper José Luis CHILAVERT scored a penalty kick for Paraguay and Marcelo GALLARDO equalized for Argentina in the last minute (also from the spot, after missing a previous penalty kick in the 55th minute).

  • The biggest score between these two was an 8-0 win by Argentina at Santiago de Chile in the Copa America 1926.

  • The only competitive match (non-friendly) that Paraguay won against Argentina was a World Cup Qualifier for Germany 2006. 1-0 in Asunción, Paraguay (3 September, 2005). The scorer was non-other than Roque SANTA CRUZ.

A great retrospective for Argentina against Paraguay. BASILE’s men, with a lot of eager “reserve” players, will sure be looking to keep that favorable history going strong.