Monday, July 30, 2007
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
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
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
"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.
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.
Sunday, July 22, 2007
Congratulations to our beloved Little Argentina, Youth World Champions in Canada 2007.
Friday, July 20, 2007
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
Men's Preliminaries Pool A
Argentina 7 Trinidad & Tobago 1
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
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
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
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...
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 posts...now 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
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!)
Saturday, July 14, 2007
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 do 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!
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
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.
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!"
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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
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.
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
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
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!
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
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.
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.
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.
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).
FULL TIME WHISTLE is blown.
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.
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.
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
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.
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."
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"?
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!
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
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.
HERE's MASCHE's BEAUTY!
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.
START OF SECOND HALF
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.
FIRST EVER GOAL FOR JAVIER MASCHERANO FOR ARGENTINA!
FULL TIME in Barquisimeto. Argentina top of Group C, only team with perfect record in this Copa America.
We take on Peru on Sunday.
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.