Wednesday, January 31, 2007

MASCHERANO free to join Liverpool


MASCHERANO has played for West Ham and Corinthians since July
West Ham midfielder Javier MASCHERANO has been given special dispensation by FIFA to join Liverpool from West Ham.

Under FIFA's rules, a footballer cannot play competitively for more than two different clubs between 1 July and 30 June the following year.

MASCHERANO, 22, has already represented Corinthians and West Ham in that time.

But FIFA said: "The FIFA single judge ruled that Javier MASCHERANO is eligible to play in official matches with Liverpool with immediate effect."

In the statement FIFA explained its ruling was determined partly because the South American and European seasons overlap.

A Liverpool spokesman confirmed: "FIFA has confirmed the player is entitled to play for Liverpool.

"However, the move from West Ham still needs to be ratified by the Premier League - and we await their decision."

MASCHERANO arrived at Upton Park with international team-mate Carlos TEVEZ on 31 August.

But he has played only six minutes since the defeat at Tottenham on 22 October and had been desperate to leave the club.

Monday, January 29, 2007

In all was unfair!

It would have been unfair. Yes. Very unfair. And yet, it was unfair. Very unfair.

How do I explain what I´ve just wrote?


It would have been unfair for the likes of Lionel MESSI, Sergio AGÜERO, Gonzalo HIGUAIN, Fernando GAGO and a number of very talented Argentine players that I´m sure are looking forward to playing in such an important competition as the Olympic football tournament next year in Beijing.

Unfair for all the fans (like you) who follow anything that wear the Albiceleste colours regardless of the competition, sport, gender, name it.

Argentina won the all-important game against Uruguay in the dying moments. And (it hurts when I say it) IT WAS UNFAIR.

Not because Uruguay were better. Not because they deserved to win. Not because the competition format was appropriate (in fact I think it was criminal making these guys play crucial matches every 48 hours). It was unfair simply because Argentina didn´t play for the win. We did NOTHING to win it and we shouldn´t have won it.

I´m very disappointed with the team, but specially with Hugo TOCALLI, the manager.

Let me explain why.

From what I saw, Argentina were never going for the win. It looked (right until the very end) that we were OK with one point. But NO, Mr. TOCALLI, we were not OK with one point.

I must admit I was a little bit concerned everytime I read one comment from TOCALLI saying: “Our first goal is go to the Youth World Cup”. And by the looks of it, I was right to be scared.

But the worst thing is that we could have even lost by 3 goals and still be in the Youth World Cup and with Paraguay beating Chile earlier, we were going to both tournaments with only a 1-0 win. So there is nothing in the World that can justify such a strategy even though TOCALLI got the result because everybody, even Mr. TOCALLI, know that we got away with that without even trying to get it.

I have to say that this was the worst U20 national team I have ever seen and I think we are very fortunate to have qualified for both tournaments.

And I have to say that I´m very very very pleased that despite those facts, we will have a team to defend the gold medal in Beijing 2008. I hope to see MANY changes and I would like to make the most of this opportunity to ask everybody who should be the 3 over-aged players (older than 23) that should go with the youngsters to the Olympics.

Thursday, January 25, 2007


After a quiet time with virtually no activity around our national team suddenly we´ve got plenty to talk about in this Copa America year.

We´ve got a new squad to analise, hot newcomers like Fernando GAGO and an “old” symbol, like Javier ZANETTI, recalled after being ignored by PEKERMAN.

But the hottest news, in my opinion, have to be the choice Gonzalo HIGUAIN have just made.

I must confess that I didn´t think of him as a great prospect for the future when I first saw him playing. Let alone a reality of a world class striker he is becoming now, before he even turned 20, plying his trade in Real Madrid and now with less competition as RONALDO is heading for AC Milan.

Tonight we have a crucial game that somehow is really linked with HIGUAIN. Our U20 Albiceleste will be facing Colombia and we need to win to keep alive our chances of qualifying for Beijing 2008. A tournament that could mean the first important competition in which PIPITA could show the World (and the Argentina supporter in particular) what he could bring to the table.

So we´ll be following closely our match against Colombia and in three days the all-important game against Uruguay.

If we win both, we´ve got every chance of ending as one of the best two teams in the tournament and hence qualify for the Olympics.

The situation got a little worrying after we drew with Chile as we are now tied in 5 points with them and Brazil, trailing the leader Uruguay (7 pts). But both Chile and Brazil have a better goal difference and so we need to end the tournament with more points than them or else we could suffer big time.

Good news is that Uruguay and Chile are facing each other tonight so one of them will lose points (maybe both if they draw).

And the fact that we still have to play Uruguay is also encouraging.

Brazil look as favourite now as they have to face Paraguay (lost 2, won 1) and Colombia (lost 3) in their final two matches.

Another thing that worry our national team are the suspension of captain Matias CAHAIS and the injury picked up by star midfielder Ever BANEGA (already being tipped to be Fernando GAGO´s successor in Boca).

We´ll talk more about the senior team and the friendly against France in February in the coming days but right now I think the most important thing is to guarantee our ticket to Beijing 2008 so we can see MESSI, KUN, PIPITA and many more (plus the 3 over-aged players that COCO will be able to pick) to try and get our second Olympic gold medal in a row. And keep Brazil from winning the only major competition they are missing (because we´ve got every one of them and they hate that!).

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Another chance for a warrior?

Just when you started to forget about it, Argentina´s first friendly match of 2007 is just around the corner.

We are just two weeks away from the attractive clash between France and the Albiceleste at the Stade de France in Saint Denis (Paris).

While we wait for COCO´s squad to be announced by the manager himself later today, there is strong speculation around one big name that could be making his return to the national team.

It´s not under the happiest situation but he might be recalled due to a number of injuries in players that cover his position.

I´m talking about Javier ZANETTI. We have to wait and see but knowing that BASILE likes to play with classic and traditional defensive backs, PUPI has every chance of earning yet another cap and prove PEKERMAN wrong after the former manager didn´t give him a ticket to the Germany World Cup.

I think that this is a great chance for ZANETTI to prove he is still an elite player.

As for the rest of the squad, I´m hoping to see Diego MILITO getting the call and I would like to see Sergio AGUERO in action too.

MESSI, TEVEZ, Leo FRANCO, SORIN, Fabricio FUENTES and Pablo ZABALETA are all out with injuries so I expect at least a couple of surprising names to be pulled out of the hat by COCO.

Don´t know if I´ll be online when COCO announces the list so I trust any of the readers of this blog will post it in a comment below.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Vamos Los Pibes!

All of a sudden our boys look good looking for a place in the tournaments this southamerican tournament give access to!

Winning against the host Paraguay with 10-men and managing to mantain a result after several games in which we were winning and threw away our lead (Ecuador (leading 1-0 ending up 1-1), Colombia (leading 1-0 to eventually lose 2-1), Uruguay (leading 3-1 to end up 3-3) and Brazil (losing 1-0, then up 2-1 and finally 2-2).

So I think that was the most important thing last night when we beat Paraguay 1-0.

Surprisingly Colombia, which was the best team from what I saw during the first round, and Brazil, Group A leader and still undefeated in the tournament, are yet to win a game in this second round (Brazil with 2 draws and Colombia losing both matches).

Uruguay look to be a very difficult team to beat and they have 6 points in two games.

Argentina sit tied for second with Chile (our next rival) with 4 points.

Just a reminder: The top 4 teams in this second round consisting of six teams, will qualify for the Youth World Cup to be hosted later this year in Canada. While the top 2 teams will secure a place in the football tournament at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games where, in case of qualifying, Argentina will aim to defend the gold medal obtained in Athens 2004.

Here are the standings so far and the upcoming matches:

Monday, January 15, 2007

Tough start of 2007 for the Albiceleste in many fronts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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