Thursday, August 09, 2007

Countdown to Beijing 2008

One year to go to defend our gold medal from Athens 2004, when a mercurial Carlitos TEVEZ led a team that didn't conceed a single goal, to that unique triumph.

Everyone is prepare to live what promise to be the most exciting, monumental, breath-taking, spectacular Olympic Games of our time.

And I thought we could play a little game between all of us and start thinking of the possible candidates to form our squad of 19 U23 players and 3 over-23 stars.

Of course there is a name that stands out as he is in a league of his own: Lionel MESSI. Not only he will (should) be the main star of our Olympic team, he is also among those U23! No reasons for him to be left out of that squad.

But what about the rest?

Are the recently crowned U20 champions in the drivers' seat? What about those who were too old to go to Canada 2007 but are still elegible to go to Beijing (those aged 21-22)?

And who should be called to provide the experience? Who should, in your opinion, be the over-aged players?

I'll get the ball rolling and I'll pick my team.

For that, I'll go back to what an old man said to me (he was a Racing Club and Argentina player in the 50's and 60's and his name is Pedro DELLACHA)

"Remember this number '1259'".

I asked him, "why is that number so relevant?"

He replied: "It is the back-bone of any team that is bound to succeed. 1 - the goalkeeper; 2 - the first center back; 5 - the central midfielder; 9 - the striker. If your team has a solid back-bone, with a stud in every one of those positions, then it will succeed".

And I think these group of players provides us with a good '1259', even though I have decided not to use all my over-aged players to cover those specific positions, because I think our U23 are strong enough to do so.


Oscar USTARI (aged 21)
Sergio ROMERO (20) -that makes 2 U20 World Champions, USTARI in 2005, ROMERO in 2007-
Fabián ASSMANN (21) - Briefly relegated USTARI to the bench after Oscar came back from injury last season at Independiente. Now he is the first choice goalkeeper in one of the 5 biggest teams in Argentina. And he showed great skills-


CB - Federico FAZIO (20) -U20 World Champion in 2007-
CB - Matias CAHAIS (19) -U20 World Champion in 2007-
CB - Ezequiel GARAY (20) -U20 World Champion in 2005-
CB - Gustavo CABRAL (22) -U20 World Champion in 2005-
RB - Javier ZANETTI (33) -I think it could be a great way to close his international career. After winning silver in Atlanta 96, he could have a great chance to go for gold in Beijing and he could really help the group with his experience-
RB - Gabriel MERCADO (20) -U20 World Champion in 2007-
LB - Emiliano INSUA (18) -U20 World Champion in 2007-

Note: I choose to take 7 defenders, sacrifizing the chance of taking a substitute for each position -there is only one LB in my list-. But if needed, Javier ZANETTI could cover the LB position.


CMF - Eber BANEGA (19) -U20 World Champion in 2007-
CMF - Claudio YACOB (20) -U20 World Champion in 2007-
RMF - Matías SANCHEZ (20) -U20 World Champion in 2007-
RMF - Lautaro ACOSTA (19) -U20 World Champion in 2007- After was his header against Uruguay in the South American tournament that gave us the ticket to Beijing! SANCHEZ would be a more defensive option on the right, while ACOSTA is better to give a better offensive aspect to our midfield-
LMF - Damián ESCUDERO (20) -U20 World Champion in 2007-
LMF - Pablo PIATTI (18) -U20 World Champion in 2007-
AMF - Juan Roman RIQUELME (29) -If he is playing competitive football and he is motivated enough, then why not? Showing the level of performances and dictating the games as he did in Copa America -and even at some stages in the World Cup-, he is second to none when it comes to natural play-makers-
UTIL - Maximiliano MORALEZ (20) -Provided his performances don't take a huge blow by joining FC Moscow, he could provide the team with a good range of options. He can play the enganche role, can be a winger in midfield and can also join in on the attack-


WG - Lionel MESSI (20)-U20 World Champion in 2005-
ST - Diego MILITO (28)- He completes my over-aged group of players that I have decided to use one in each line. Why Diego MILITO? Yes, we still need to see how he does in this La Liga season and if he is back to his 2006-07 kind of scoring production. But I also think it could be an excellent opportunity to give our potential "Nro 9" of South Africa 2010 a chance to convince the demanding Argentina supporter. Yes, he'll be 31 in 2010, but I still rate him as our best scoring machine after Hernan CRESPO and the Inter striker won't be around in the next World Cup -with 35 years of age-. Mariano PAVONE can become our target man (he's 25) and I'm very curious of watching him play for Real Betis this season. Carlitos already won the Olympic Gold Medal and he doesn't need another chance to win the people's approval. Of course, I want to take the best players we can, and if Carlitos is in a better form than Diego MILITO, I'd take him instead of the Zaragoza striker. A tough "decision" to make one year in advance.
ST - Sergio AGÜERO (19)-U20 World Champion in 2005 and 2007-
FW - Angel DI MARIA (19)-U20 World Champion in 2007- I'm not taking Mauro ZARATE because I don't like a player that is so individualistic (or whatever you call a player that never pass the ball to a team-mate). Plus...he'll disappear in Qatar.

If I have to pick this team again tomorrow, I'll probably make it in a slightly different way and that's the beauty of it! There are a lot of sensational players to pick from!

What do you think about this squad?

Would you rather use other over-aged players?

Let me know what you think, we've got almost a year to agree!


allan ng said...

I think I agree with your choices mostly, but I will include Fernando Gago as well. I think Banega is fantastic so I'll leave out Yacob.

Also I think 2005 U20 captain Pablo Zabaleta deserves a place in the team. I think I will take him ahead of Matias Sanchez.

By the way, anyone born after 1st Jan 1985 is eligible as an U23 player for next year's Olympics.

Zanetti and D. Milito are good choices for the over-age players. I am not sure about Riquelme though. Actually I think I will take Mascherano and let Moralez be the playmaker.

Seba said...

Thanks Allan! My bad! I miss out on both ZABALETA and GAGO! How could I?

I was also thinking of using one of the over-aged wild-cards to take MASCHERANO, but I think we've got the central midfielder position pretty covered with BANEGA and GAGO.

Yes, yes, yes, I knew I could miss a big name and I thank you for bringing it to the table.

GAGO in. YACOB out.

Also, Pablo ZABALETA goes to my list (look at how big your influence is on me, Allan! haha!) and, just like you, I'd leave out Matias SANCHEZ (even if we are taking out two Racing Club players here! Maybe my heart picked those players for me.

I'd keep my three over-aged players the way I picked them. But again, I might think different tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

why is saviola not included in your list?

Rio said...

I'll answer for him
because his choice of the 3 O-23 players are zanetti, diego milito and Roman :D

gonzo said...

allan pretty much nailed it. and i agree on zarate; going to qatar will ruin him. he will have to go from qatar to russia to germany to france and finally, maybe, possibly (when he's 26 or something) get to spain or italy.

shame, but he's too selfish to make it in a pressure cooker team like a real madrid where u have to produce or pass to a producer. i get a sense that he would miss 50 times and never deffer to a better option and then everyone would throw stuff at him.

Rio said...

there are really 18 allow slots for olympic right.

4 are alternative players. Cannot sub in unless their status had changed during the tournament for injury reasons.

please know the rules before making up the list.

gonzo said...


Seba said...

OK, so I made, yet another, mistake.

Thanks for pointing that out. Almost a year to go before the Olympics start and so I have a lot of time to cut down the list to 18.

How many time do you have to stop being such a pain?

I thought you wanted to stop the arguments and leave those things behind. I can see you're not really interested in that and you rather keep trying to disrupt the good atmosphere we have here.

Internet is such a big big place, I'm sure there must be other spaces with better information, done by better prepared people than me.

Why don't you find a blog or a website that is really up to the high standards you are used to and you deserve.

Your blog for example. Try and concentrate on it. I'm sure you don't need Mundo Albiceleste.

Rio said...

aren't you being a little too emotional and sensitive?

Seba said...

For a guy accused of knowing nothing about football, using non-honorable arguments and plagiarizing, maybe I'm being a bit emotional and sensitive. Yes.

Again, you are right. As always.

Rio said...

then don't make stupid mistakes like this.

Rio said...

If you don't say anything, no one will accuse you of being mute. But if you're to give opinions, then be ready to defend your points.

Bottomline, do your homeworks. Research your topics.

allan ng said...

Seba, I have not visited any other Argentina fan sites because I love your enthusiasm and I come everyday.

Everyone make mistakes, no big deal.

What do you think about Jose Ernesto Sosa and Ezequiel Lavezzi? They are in the senior team list but they are both eligible for 2008 Olympics too. But I have not seen them play so I am not sure.

Seba said...

Thanks Allan!

SOSA and LAVEZZI are two of the argie players I'm most curious about watching them in their first European campaign.

SOSA is a modern all-around midfielder. He can do it all. Chase a rival, mark, pass the ball around, dribble, shoot from the distance, take marvelous free-kicks.

I'd like to know if he'll cut into one of Europe's strongest squads, like Bayern Munich. My fear is exactly that. If he doesn't make it to the starting eleven, then it'll be difficult for him to convince COCO he can go to Beijing or keep a place in the Albicelestes. We'll have to wait and see.

As for LAVEZZI, his pace is a crucial aspect of his game. But he is also very talented on the ball and he has a great finishing ability.

Napoli will probably struggle in their first season back in Serie A, and if LAVEZZI can adjust to life at the San Paolo, he can become a crowd favorite and cause a few problems to more than one of Napoli's rivals.

His off-the-pitch acts and his lack of discipline (sometimes on the pitch), makes him a little liable, but that will depend exclusively on him.

John said...

Sorry for not being part of this crazy discussion for the last few days as I was busy caught up with work.

But all I can say is that WOW!!! Just wow!!!

But for now I would like to step aside from our usual discussion as I feel I need to say something about what I've just read in this blog.

Rio, I do admire your exclusive knowledge about the game and in fact many of your views are appreciated in our blog. But please try to understand there is saying that “The pen is mightier than the sword”.

Everyone one of us here have different opinions, thoughts and comments but in the end we are bounded by one common love which is Argentina.

And Yes!!! I dare to admit than I do make mistake but so do all us here. After all we are human beings and what better way to learn from, if not from the mistake than we created.

I've learned from each and everyone of our readers on the many interesting things they have to say. Just because someone doesn't agree to me than doesn't give me the right to show disrespect to my fellow Albiceleste supporters. Even if I had some points to counterfeit their comment I wouldn't use hard words or something like that.

There many occasions when things we say can be interpreted in different manner altogether.

At the end of the day, I'm just another passionate supporter of Argentina thats just the way I'm going to be for as long as I live. I'm not the one who is going to decide who should play and where to play or even how to play.

For example, I was pretty upset when Javier PINOLA was dropped from the Copa America squad just for the sake of RIQUELME (whom I still believe has taken our beloved national team for a ride) to come in. But still that didn't change my feelings as all I wanted to see Argentina win the dammed cup.

And this goes out to all the loyal readers in our blog. Mundo Albiceleste was created with an objective to bring all passionate Albiceleste supporters around the world to gather and to express our love for the blue and white team. Arguments and disagreements are good but lets keep them clean and constructive.

johnny said...

John-Thanks for the breath of fresh air !

Rio said...

Sosa and Lavezzi:
Eligible for Olympic, that's all.

choosing F.Insua to temporarily relieve Roman = purposely exclude Aimar and choice by nepotism.

Rio said...

olympic football is relatively pointless to watch. I have attended 2 world cups (94, 02) and 1 olympic (96). In all 3 cases I went to every argentine match. The atmosphere and quality of football weren't even comparable.

Anonymous said...


I am a big fan of Argentina who live in Thailand. I visit this blog everyday. This blog is very good.

I want to say that everyone make mistake. Please do not blame Seba, because he's done a lot of terrific jobs to update the news for the Albiceleste supporters around the world .

I love to watch Olympic and Youth World Cup as well as World cup and Copa America. In Olympic 2004, I was overjoy with the gold medal of football and basketball. I can't wait to see the performance of the Argentine football and basketball team in Olympic 2008.

P.S. I prefer Higuain than D. Milito. Gago deserves the place in the team.

gonzo said...

thailand, higuain is garbage. until he comes within a goal of being pichichi like milito he should not be considered.

Allan said...

I think we always have one key player in each of our wins. In 2001, we had Saviola, in 2004 Olympics we had Tevez, in 2005 we had Messi and 2007 we had Aguero. So in 2008 another star will rise. Or maybe Aguero and Messi will combine to beat everyone?

Seba said...

Thanks for your message Thailand! Good to see we've got people from all over the World improving our blog through their comments!

I agree with Rio (Oh God!) with what he says about Olympic football not being even close to World Cup. But then...nothing comes close to a World Cup!

Olympic football tournaments used to be weaker. The U23 used to be worst than those teams we see today. How many U23 were part of World Cup squads the 80's?

Now the tendency is that young players are having more chances in every league in the World. And that's why U23 teams can be very strong. If you add 3 over-aged players, then you can expect to see impressive sides. I remember Italy (when we defeated them in the semifinals) had the likes of GILARDINO, PIRLO, DE ROSSI, BARZAGLI (who were all in Italy's World Cup winning team two years later).

And Brazil will probably have KAKÁ, RONALDINHO and (why not?) RONALDO (who will all want to give Brazil their first ever football olympic gold medal). Then you'll have Alexandre PATO (AC Milan), LUCAS (now at Liverpool) and a number of talented youngsters.

And Thailand, as for the basketball team? Wait for John's impressive preview of the FIBA Americas Tournament.

Without our big guns, Argentina will play in Las Vegas for a ticket to Beijing (where we expect to see the Tall Albicelestes defending their Athens gold).

If we don't reach the final of the FIBA Americas tournament, then we'll have to wait and see if we can make the cut to Beijing in another Olympic Qualifying tournament that will be played later this year in Europe.

Seba said...

And Allan, I've just read that Javier AGUIRRE (Atletico Madrid manager) will send Kun AGÜERO to the bench in favour of Diego FORLAN and Maxi RODRIGUEZ (who will be used as a forward).

Bad news for Kun, who I expected to see taking a bigger role now that Fernando TORRES is gone to Liverpool.

Atletico will face Vojvodina from Serbia on Thursday for the UEFA Cup.

And José REYES (new Atletico star signing) won't be part of the team. Luis GARCIA (former Barcelona and Liverpool player) will play in midfield along with Costinha, Cleber SANTANA and SIMAO. That's why Maxi RODRIGUEZ will be tested as a second forward.

gonzo said...

fuck atletico.


johnny said...

Remember, Kun did not exactly tear it up last year in La Liga. Forlan and Maxi are proven players with much more experience. That said, I would love to see Kun get more time on the pitch. At least he is learning his craft in Spain and not learning russian, or whatever they speak in Qatar ! I'm pumped to see Carlitos start for Man U ! Actually, I think he and Rooney have similar games, though Carlitos the more talented of the two. I can just see him swooping around the pitch after scoring some dynamic goal with the ManU faithful going nuts. It will be a spectacle !

Rio said...

actually, during the first half of last season el kun wasn't doing all that bad (goal against Barza that tied them 1-1). keep in mind he was always taken out early or put in late second half.
Also, atletico sticked Torres in the front, all others are just supporters.

a player can't get into a run of form unless he's given enough pitch time.

Forlan goes on a fluke here or there, but consistency is not something he's known for. If he wasn't getting those goals after April, he would of had another season of mediocrity.

and I agree with Gonzo
Atletico is a waste of emotions. I mean, for that much money, how much worse can they do? Barely getting into intertoto cup, and then barely getting UEFA spot over a romanian team, and that's in a good year....

Rio said...

here's the ole article about aguero

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