Monday, March 31, 2008

NBA News - The Good Weekend Continues

San Antonio Spurs 109 Houston Rockets 88

Spurs picked up their seventh consecutive win and kept up their pressure against Conference rivals the Lakers & Hornets for the top spot in the West.

Despite of this win, the same that they’ve let go to the Rockets was there to keep haunting them again. How was this possible? Well T-Mac was kept pretty low by Bruce BOWEN and of course let’s not forget that there is no YAO.

Luis SCOLA was sensational for the Rockets posting a career high 24 points, 3 rebounds, 5 assists & 1 block shot. I’m just keen to look forward to see him play in the play-off and hopefully he will be able to lift them from the first round.

As expected, Manu GINOBILI was the best from the bench though tonight’s was below compare to his high five performance. He had 14 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists & 2 block shots.

Much to my happiness, Fabricio OBERTO is improving every game he has started since he lost it to Kurt THOMAS. He posted 8 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists & 1 block shot.

Toronto Raptors 111 New Orleans Hornets 118

I was hopping that both Carlos DELFINO & the Raptors could give the Spurs/Rockets some helping here.

However the Raptors sixth man brought the goods as expected by posting 18 points, 3 rebounds & 4 assists.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Save some goals for South Africa 2010!

I'm talking to you, Argentine strikers!

If you see the post below, you'll notice how effective a lot of the Argentine strikers playing abroad were on Saturday.

But the pace was kept alive on Sunday!

We mention most of the Argentines that score goals in Europe's most important leagues but we don't follow all of the Argies abroad because it'll be a very difficult task and one you could only follow with professional staff or something. But as I was entering comments in the previous post, I said to myself: "Seba, this needs to be put in a new article!".

That's why I'm here writing this.

Let's see which were Sunday's most important Argie goals (and this time we'll include non-European leagues as well because it was a Super Sunday!):


Gabriel HEINZE and Gonzalo HIGUAIN helped Real Madrid to victory (3-1 over Sevilla) and to keep the top spot in La Liga. (Photo - Copyright - REUTERS)


Same thing with Lisandro LOPEZ and Luis GONZALEZ (Licha & Lucho, as they are known). (Photo- Copyright REUTERS) They scored one each in Porto's win at Belenenses. The Dragon now extend their lead in the Portuguese Superliga and they are going for the third title in a row. They need just one more win to clinch the title!


The MLS started off their new campaign and Claudio "PIOJO" LOPEZ wasted no time to score in his official debut for Kansas City Wizards. They won 2-0 against Chicago Fire. (Photo - Copyright - AP)

Christian GOMEZ (former MLS MVP) made his debut for Colorado Rapids and scored from the penalty spot to help his team sink BECKHAM's LA GALAXY with a heavy 4-0 result.


On Saturday, Claudio GRAF, a prolific striker that was a constant threat when he played in Argentina (for Lanús, Colón and many other teams), scored a hat-trick for Veracruz against America.

Former River Plate, Racing Club and San Lorenzo's striker Gastón FERNANDEZ scored for Tigres against Pumas (this was also on Saturday) and ex-Quilmes and Estudiantes de La Plata's defender, Pablo QUATTROCHI gave Necaxa the win against Chivas, while Matías VUOSO scored one of Santos' 4 goals against Tecos.

In total, between the leagues of England, France, Italy, Spain, USA and Mexico, there were 21 goals scored by 14 different players! Please! Save some for the Olympics and for South Africa 2010!

Not bad! Not bad at all! I imagine BATISTA and BASILE as two very happy men!

Please, if you find out about other Argie goals around the World, give us your comment and help us improve our blog!

Zarate's Brace Lifts Birmingham

I returned home just in time to catch some live EPL matches. Only thing was I had to decide whether to watch the Bolton/Arsenal game or the Birmingham/Man City. Of course I had to choose the latter, much more so after realizing that Mauro ZARATE was in the starting line up.
What a game it was for him. Not only that he manages to prove that he can play in the Premiership but also his brace against the blue half of Manchester helps his club to move further away from the relegation zone.
The first from he calmly lobbed the ball over into the corner of the nest and second was a drilled low short from 15 yards out. With this double strike, ZARATE has taken his tally to three goals in the last two games.

While at the top of the league, the OTHER Manchester, United has strengthened its lead to six points after a 4-0 demolishing of the OTHER team from Birmingham, Aston Villa that is. (what a coincident!!!)

Carlos TEVEZ put United 2-0 up in the 33rd minute with a beautiful header after receiving a cross from RONALDO.

On the saddest part of Saturday was despite two goals from Emanuel VILLA against Fulahm, it is confirm that Derby will be relegated back into Division One.

VILLA was the real fighter here for the Rams but it was to little to late even when he first arrived at Pride Park. His first was in the 10th minute to give Derby in the lead while his second was an equalizer in the 80th minute.

Meanwhile in Italy, Inter maintain their lead at the top of the table despite drawing 1-1 with Lazio, as Roma drew 1-1 with Cagliari.
Hernan CRESPO scored in the 11th minute. Javier ZANETTI and Nicolas BURDISSO were also starters.
Fernando CAVENAGHI also had his own brace when Bordeaux came from behind to defeat Nancy 2-1. His first goal was a header in the 53rd minute and the second from the penalty spot in the 83rd minute.

Friday, March 28, 2008

NBA News - The WolfMANu, Minnesota Jinx

San Antonio Spurs 99 Minnesota Timberwolves 84

Spurs routed the Wolves in all four meetings during the regular season and the very much large reason for that is just simple. Manu GINOBILI.

Manu has made a habit this season of playing well against Minnesota. In previous three games against the Timberwolves, he scored 31, 22, and most recently 44 points—two shy of his season high.

"He’s explosive. He can score in multiple says,” said Minnesota coach Randy WITTMAN. “It’s not like he’s just a shooter. He gets to the line, he gets in the lane, he can make 3s. So he’s probably as good as there is. For a guy off the bench who played 25 minutes and scored 26 points, that’s a pretty good sixth man.”

Spurs super sub scored a game high 26 points, to help them win after squandering a 20 points lead at one point during the game. He also posted 1 rebound & 3 assists.

Fabricio OBERTO also had decent game posting 2 points, 4 rebounds & 1 steal in the process.

"I started being more aggressive,” said Manu, who was 5-of-5 from the field in the fourth. “So it’s like a snowball. You feel more and more confident and every shot I took, it went in.”

Before this win, Spurs were at fifth place in the Western Conference standings. Now they will move into the second spot and became the first team to win 50 games in that conference. Many would find this a comfortable situation but there are who those who how much things can change between now and the final day of the regular season.

“It worries me a little bit. I don’t think we are yet in playoff shape,” Manu said. “So we’ve really got to step up in these last nine games … because if not we are not going to go that far.”

Atlanta Hawks 106 Chicago Bulls 103

It really gets me frustrated to know that I wont being a lot Andres NOCIONI once the regular season is over. What a shame that would be? I'm really feeling sorry for some our friends here who are Bulls fan such as Seba & Azrael.

After all there are many occasions that the troubled Bulls owe it to him for keeping them alive for a play-off spot. But with another defeat in the bag, I guess its best we just forget about the whole thing once and for all.

Chapu did have an average game tonight, coming from the bench to post 13 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist & block shots.

Toronto Raptors 103 New York Knicks 95

The Raptors are pushing themselves hard to ensure that they can finish with a home court advantage during the play-offs. Bare in mind, they are behind the Cavaliers (by 3) and the Wizards (by ½) in sixth place.

Carlos DELFINO could almost finish the game with a double-double as he posted 9 points & 10 rebounds.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

NBA News - A D-Double For Scola

Toronto Raptors 89 Detroit Pistons 82

Good to see Carlos DELFINO contributing from the bench once again after a few low-key performances. Tonight, though it was not something compare to his usual standard, he was instrumental in helping his team defeating one of the best in the Eastern Conference. DELFINO posted 10 points, 2 rebounds & 1 assist.

In contrast to Walter HERRMANN, who was sitting on the bench and did not see any action. This is the first game where Walter’s name was on the team list after he was placed as an in-active member.

Philadelphia 76ers 121 Chicago Bulls 99

It seems like the odds for the Bulls for making it into the play-off is getting wider and wider. But after tonight’s game, there is some positive aspect that I would take from this game.

Chapu NOCIONI was pretty much back to his usual self after enduring on what has been tough 7 days in his NBA career. Tonight he manages to post 16 points, 3 rebounds, 1 steal & 2 block shots.

Now I’m glad to say that coach Jim BOYLAN has renewed in his faith in him.

San Antonio Spurs 97 Los Angeles Clippers 88

In the previous game I regarded him as the Magic Man but in this one, I’ve learned that he is regarded as Spurs resident sparkplug. Interesting!!!
Now posting 13 points in nothing compare to what Manu GINOBILI does normally. However you must not argue that he is one hell of hustler in dishing out 2 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals & 2 block shots.

OBERTO was also fabulous tonight, as he was 100% from the field goal posting 6 points (3-3), 4 rebounds & 1 assist in the process.

Houston Rockets 97 Minnesota Timberwolves 86

For the Rockets the race to finish as the best team in Western Conference will be tested in their next 10 matches (7 of which are on the road).

But before that happens, tonight’s game was huge one for Luis SCOLA. I can’t remember if there was any game before he manages to post double-double digits. He posted 18 points & 18 rebounds and not to forget the 3 steals he made along the way.

“We weren’t playing very good,” said SCOLA. “Every possession, everything counts. You’re not playing very good, you’re not getting easy baskets, you need to play hard. It creates more possessions for you and it gives you more chances to score.”
The Rockets open a five-game road trip against Manu & Fabio’s San Antonio on Sunday. The teams had identical records (49-23) after wins on Wednesday and both were one game behind New Orleans in the race for the No. 1 seed in the West.

“Every game is important,” SCOLA said. “You win one game, you go up to the 2 spot. You lose one game, you go down to 7. That’s the way it is and that’s the way it’s going to be from now on, until the regular season is over. We’ve got to be ready for that and we’ve got to know that’s the way it is.”

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Argentina beat Egypt 2-0 in a dull contest

I have experienced problems to log in here at Blogger but the problem seem to be sorted out now.

I don't have much time to write a full report now (and honestly, the match was not worth it!), but I will say a few things that left me happy and unhappy. Let's start with the happy things:

  • It's always good to get a win. Beating the African champions in their own backyard surely means something.
  • AGÜERO got another goal with the Albiceleste and is proving to be a great striking option.
  • We didn't concede a goal (though it was more due to Egypt's inability to score rather than Argentina playing good defense)
  • GAGO looked like he has 50 or 70 international matches under his belt.
  • Maxi RODRIGUEZ is Argentine!
  • We won plenty of headers in the opposite box.
  • CRUZ and HEINZE should never be called up again. Unfortunately, HEINZE will get more calls and CRUZ could still be around in the future.
  • BASILE: Why do you take a friendly match with the approach of a serious and competitive match in the sense that you made only 3 substitutions (all of them coming in the last 15 minutes -with two of them taking place in the last 5-)?
  • We didn't test more players. Why we didn't see Lisandro more than 5 minutes? Why? What's the point of playing friendlies if you keep your 11 players for 90% of the match?
  • We played boring, boring, boring football for most of the match.
  • We failed to send any of the many headers we won in the Egyptian box on target.

Did you watch the match?
What made you happy or unhappy?

Here's the link to both goals:

Match Coverage: Argentina v. Egypt

All set, my friends.





Great atmosphere in the stadium, pathetic commentators in TyC Sports (Argentine Cable-TV channel).

Who's out there following? Here's a link with a lot of options to watch it online!

NBA News - The Magic MANu

Orlando Magic 97 San Antonio Spurs 107

I couldn’t think of any better title than this, especially since I’ve been listening to plenty of stuffs from the rock band Heart (Magic Man that is!!!).
Certainly this is the truth and nothing but the truth, that when GINOBILI is on fire, he is nothing but magical in everything he does.

Manu turned it on in the fourth quarter posting 13 points, and when on to finish with a game high of 28 points. Not to forget his other stats of the night, 2 rebounds & 5 assists.

Fabricio OBERTO, despite having four personal fouls, played longer than Spurs other center man, Kurt THOMAS. He had 2 points, 2 rebounds & an assist to his credit.

Chicago Bulls 103 Atlanta Hawks 94

It was a well deserves turn around for the Bulls after they have endured during past week. A victory against the Hawks, who happen to be one of few teams chasing for the 8th post in the Eastern Conference, would have been a huge morale boasting.

From the looks of it, both Chapu & Jim BOYLAN have buried the hatchet for this game. But still there are some other things that worry me.

Chapu stats for the past few games have been really depressing considering what kind a player he is when he is at his best.

Tonight he had no points but just 4 rebounds & 1 assist. From what I’ve been hearing, the Bulls might go for a total revamp on their roster next season. The last thing I would want to see is Chapu given the exit.

I just hope by the time play off starts he rediscovers his true again.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Argentina ready to face the champions of Africa

They don't have a very high profile as a team. But as BASILE himself has said in the past "everybody speak of Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Nigeria and Ghana but Egypt beat them all. They beat them all the time".

That's why they are African champions again and I believe they are one of the biggest names we'll face in the near future. Before the addition of the friendlies against USA and Mexico in June, we had a very weak schedule in terms of our rivals' relevance: Guatemala, Catalunya and Hungary among others.

But back to this Wednesday's friendly in Cairo, BASILE seem to have very few doubts about the Albiceleste's starting lineup.

Here's what we'll probably see from the start:




AGÜERO and the only doubt is between CAVENAGHI and CRUZ.

So...get your Sopcast ready and click on this link a few minutes before the match. Hopefully you'll get to watch it:


Monday, March 24, 2008

My e-mail to The Sun, "the dumbest newspaper"

I can't help it. I'm a Latin. I've got my temper too, you know.

I was enjoying a quiet evening and I was very relaxed until I saw this:

An article about Javier MASCHERANO that was way out of order.

Not the article itself. One that I understand because it's published in the most sensationalist newspaper in the world. But there's a detail there that really made me really angry. They say MASCHERANO is "THE MAN WHO'S SHAMED FOOTBALL" and that pushed me to do something that surprised even myself: I wrote an e-mail to The Sun.

Here's the text:

Mr. David Facey,

I'm writing this e-mail regarding your articles on Javier Mascherano.

Being a journalist myself, I understand the approach The Sun has on every matter so I don't tend to react strongly to none of the articles published there (or should I say uploaded there. Because living in Argentina I only get to read the online stories). Therefore, and considering it's The Sun, I can live with "the dumbest man on the planet" or whatever you feel like tagging him.

But reading your latest article on Mascherano, I feel I should, at the very least, let you know how angry and upset I am for the treatment you are giving him.

I understand that the way English people live and watch football is very different to that we have here in South America. You allow horrible tackles week in, week out and you cry out loud when there is someone diving or talking to a referee, while we consider the former to be way worse than the latter.

But I think you went too far when you say that Mascherano is "THE MAN THAT SHAMED FOOTBALL"! For crying out loud! What can you say about Martin Taylor, then? I guess you agree with a suspension of only 3 matches, while poor Eduardo has his career on the line and may never be the same player again.

I agree Mascherano was over the line when he kept talking to the referee after being shown a yellow card. But rather than shaming football, what was happening was simply that he was very upset and he lost it. That's all there is to it. I can think of a million candidates for the title "The Man That Shamed Football" and they will surely be very different to those you have in mind.

I won't change your mind and I won't get The Sun to treat Mascherano in a fair and honest way, but I thought I'd drop you a line to let you know how I feel and how many Argentines feel about this harsh and unfair treatment of one of the best young players in the World that, this episode aside, is doing nothing but raising the level of the English Premier League every weekend.

Hope you still follow football during the Olympics in Beijing and in the next World Cup so you can see "the man that shamed football" at his very best. Mark my words.


Sebastián García
Buenos Aires, Argentina

Now...I don't know if they will ever reply to that, but at least it's off my chest.

If you feel like joining my cause, here's the closest e-mail address I found to The Sun's Sports Desk: and the name of the journalist that wrote that article is David Facey. Feel free to send them an e-mail.

I'll keep you posted if the dumbest newspaper in the planet sends me an e-mail.

Javier: You made a mistake, but you are far from shaming football and you'll show this journalist and all your critics what you are capable of!


NBA News - Manu On Fire But Chapu Was Off

Dallas Mavericks 81 San Antonio Spurs 88

After having a couple of low outings, Manu GINOBILI was back to his very best. Not even getting in the face from the Mav’s Jerry STACKHOUSE could stop him from a tremendous game.

“It’s not a big deal,” Manu said. “We were both competing.”

Manu led San Antonio with 26 points. He started the game-breaking rally with a layup and a 3-pointer, then hit a 3 to cap it. He also was 11-of-11 from the foul line.
“When we were losing, we were flat. We had no emotion,” Manu said. “We needed a game like this. It’s good to see us react like this.”

He also dished out 8 rebounds, a game high 6 assists, 1 block shot & 1 steal in the process.

Fabricio OBERTO, being a starter, also had a good game 4 points, 5 rebounds & 1 block shot.

Toronto Raptors 100 Denver Nuggets 109

I’m a little bit concern here as I’ve realized that Carlos DELFINO’s has been reducing in recent games. Not so sure whether he was having off form situation.

In the defeat he had little contribution, playing only for 6 plus minutes and posting just one assist.

Chapu Rages At Coach Boylan

It wasn’t a happy ending night for the Bulls in their last match against the Indiana Pacers. Not only they blew a 13-point lead to loose the game but also heated argument took place on the Bulls bench between Andres NOCIONI & coach Jim BOYLAN.

Chapu was furious for being sent to the bench after only 2 minutes and 44 seconds of time playing.

When NOCIONI continued to vent loudly while sitting on the bench, BOYLAN stepped in and kicked him off the bench. The 6-7 forward spent the rest of the game in the locker room.

BOYLAN refused to discuss the matter after the game, saying only that it will be handled internally.

Chapu didn't answer questions, but he did make a statement in the locker room afterward:
''First of all, I want to apologize to my coach. I did a really bad thing tonight. My attitude was terrible. I'd also like to apologize to the entire organization and [general manager] John PAXSON. I'd like to apologize to my teammates. My actions tonight were really bad.''

I really do hope the both Chapu & the Bulls will put this unwanted episode behind them and move on from here. They still have an outside chance of making it to the play-off.

Javier Shown The Red & Others

In England....

As Mentioned By Seba

Character is something you have to have to succeed in the world of football.

A player without it is a forgettable player. He can have good games, bad games or excellent games, but people will eventually forget about them.

But there are a lot of ways to have character. To ask for the ball a zillion times after you've been kicked all over the park and keep going at defenders without complaining takes a lot of character, even many think that to have character a player must come in with a crunching sliding tackle or talk to the ref or fire up the supporters.

Well...if you have that kind of character, you are liable of living on the edge all the time.

That's MASCHERANO's case. He goes for everything all the time. He doesn't save anything for later and he gives his all in every ball he plays.

And on Sunday, against Manchester United, he went over the line. No doubt about it. He looked nervous and he had that look in his eye every time he went to have a word with the referee.

In a derby as crucial as it was (I believe that Liverpool is completely out of contention after this result), you are supposed to be able to control your temper and use it to your advantage. Masche did just the opposite. He lost it.

In one of the earliest actions in the match, after a strong foul that the referee signaled but wasn't going to give him a yellow for that, Javier clearly gestured and told the referee to "Fxxk off".

I believe MASCHERANO doesn't have a complete control of the English language and everybody knows that the first words you learn are: "the book is on the table" and "fxxk off". Right? But he shouldn't be saying those things to the referee under no circumstances.
It doesn't matter if your pulse is beating over 300. There are no excuses. He is a professional athlete and he should behave better.

What happened after his yellow? He continued gesturing and talking to the ref. After Fernando TORRES was booked for a hard challenge, MASCHERANO, who had no business doing there, said something else to the man in black and he was sent for an early shower. Leaving Liverpool with 10 men and doomed.

Xabi ALONSO, Steven GERRARD and I would think the entire KOP were trying to stop a crazy Masche that wanted to continue arguing with the referee.

Even Rafa BENITEZ had to leave his comfy seat to stop the Argentina midfielder and said a few words in his own language.

It was very sad to see a quality player like MASCHERANO losing his temper like that and not making the most of his unique character. He still has all it takes to become a legend at Anfield Road and I'm sure he'll continue with his great career there.

Hopefully it was a lesson that Masche has learned now. Because I wouldn't like to see something like this when he plays for Argentina.

I’ve also almost forgot that Mauro ZARATE scored for Birmingham City during the weekend.

Apart from this, the rest of the goals from the Albiceleste camp came from some of the second tier leagues in Europe.

In Greece…

Javier wasn’t the only player that got the boot from the referee. The story of Mauro MILANO was even more ironic when you think about it.

After scoring a consolation goal for Asteras Tripoli in the 69th minute against Panionios, only to receive his marching order in just three minutes later. The final score was a 4-1 loss for Asteras.

Luciano GALLETTI and Fernando BELLUSCHI inspired Olympiacos in the 3-1 comeback win over Levadiakos.

Facundo PARRA was the hero for Larissa after scoring the equalizer in the 84th minute in their 1-1 draw against Aris Salonika.

In Belgium…

Nicolas FRUTOS scored a penalty in the 63rd minute to give visiting side Anderlecht a 3-0 lead against KAA Gent, but not before the home side pull two goals in last three minutes.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Maxi & Kun, The Heroes For Atlético

Sevilla - Atlético de Madrid
Video sent by ComedLov

Though the biggest highlight from Saturday's fixtures was taking place in Italy which turned out to be disappointing, at least I've got some good news coming from Spain.

Atletico Madrid maintained their position at fourth place in the league with a fine performance to beat Sevilla 2-1 at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan on Saturday night.

In the 19th minute, Maxi RODRIGUEZ received a cross from Simao SABROSA, which initially went pass Kun AGUERO, and slotted in the lead with a little help from a deflection.

However the home team levelled the score in the 48th minute through Diego CAPEL. But Atletico soon hit back when Kun restored the visitors' lead with a close-range finish in the 57th minute.

And after that, there was time to witness a horrible thing that shouldn't have a place in football.

Sevilla's Italian midfielder, Enzo MARESCA, deliberately head-butted Sergio AGÜERO and left him with a bloody nose. In these pictures (Copyright of the Spanish newspaper: MARCA) you can see the brutality of MARESCA's horrible reaction.

As I was saying earlier, the bad news from the Super Clasico of Italy where Inter Milan (playing without CAMBIASSO) were beaten at home 2-1 by Juventus. Just for your information, both goals for Juve came from Argentinean born, Mauro CAMORANESI & David TREZEGUET.

Elsewhere, Luciano FIGUEROA scored a goal in Genoa 3-2 away win over Palermo. While Roberto SOSA scored for Napoli in their away trip to Reggina, but the home snatched an equalizer in the last minute through Franco BRIENZE.

In the Swiss Super League, Ezequiel SCARIONE was among the scorer for FC Thun, in their 4-2 defeat to Young Boys of Berne.

Now can't wait for the other Super Clasico of the weekend from Old Trafford!!!

Friday, March 21, 2008

NBA News - Oberto Back In The Starting 5

Chicago Bulls 80 San Antonio Spurs 102

On one end, its a team that is doing whatever is could and fighting for its survival of a play off spot. While the other is also determined to end a four game losing streak. What kind situation are we having here my friend?

Its hard to believe this but this is reality. But if there are moments to revive some great hope and that moment is non other than NOW.

Spurs coach Gregg POPOVICH did brought in some new names to strength the dept of his rosters, did some change here and there but the results have been pretty mixed. So what do you do?

You go back to your tried and trusted formula, absolutely. And it did work!!!

Spurs have manage to avoid a five game losing streak and for me, most importantly is the of Fabricio OBERTO back into the starting line up.

But it was a low night from an Albiceleste point of view.
OBERTO did brought some positive aspect into tonights game despite suffering from six personal fouls as he posted 4 points, 7 rebounds & 2 assists.

Manu GINOBILI had a very quite night by his own standard, posting just 6 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists & 2 steals.

On the Bulls side things are not so good as their chances of a spot in the post season pretty much hangs in the balance after this defeat.

Despite being their best performer from the bench, Chapu NOCIONI's effort wasn't enough to avoid this defeat. He manage to post 10 points, 7 rebounds & 1 assist.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

BATISTA goes extra-large: pre-selects 56 players!

We had to wait a little bit longer than expected and after playing some games here at Mundo Albiceleste, we fell very short in our attempt to predict the list of what, we thought, were going to be 36 players.

We got all of those names right, but Checho shortlisted 21 additional players and his main reason behind his decision was simple: "I want to keep them all motivated!".

It looks amazingly big for a shortlist that will be eventually reduced to a squad of only 18 players.

What really surprises me (apart from the huge number of players) is the presence of Federico INSUA. At 28, he is the 7th over-23 player on this list.

Here's Mundo Albiceleste’s predicted list of 36 players:

1. Martín DEMICHELIS (Bayern Munich, Germany)
2. Javier MASCHERANO (Liverpool, England)
3. Juan Román RIQUELME (Boca Juniors, Argentina)
4. Gabriel MILITO (FC Barcelona, Spain)
5. Esteban CAMBIASSO (Internazionale, Italy)
6. Julio CRUZ (Internazionale, Italy)
7. Oscar USTARI, (GK) (Getafe, Spain)
8. Sergio ROMERO, (GK) (AZ Alkmaar, Holland)
9. Federico FAZIO, (Sevilla, Spain)
10. Jonatan MAIDANA, (Boca Juniors, Argentina)
11. Pablo ZABALETA, (Espanyol, Spain)
12. Cristian ANSALDI, (ex-Newell's Old Boys, now at Rubin Kazan, Russia)
13. Ever BANEGA, (Valencia, Spain)
14. José SOSA, (Bayern Munich, Germany)
15. Damián ESCUDERO, (Vélez Sársfield, Argentina)
16. Augusto FERNANDEZ, (River Plate, Argentina)
17. Angel DI MARIA, (Benfica, Portugal)
18. Ezequiel LAVEZZI, (Napoli, Italia)
19. Gonzalo HIGUAIN, (Real Madrid, Spain)
20. Marco RUBEN, (Recreativo de Huelva, Spain)
21. Nicolás NAVARRO, (GK) (ex-Argentinos Juniors, now at Napoli, Italy)
22. Fabián ASSMANN, (GK) (Independiente, Argentina)
23. Gabriel PALETTA, (Boca Juniors, Argentina)
24. Ezequiel GARAY, (Racing Santander, Spain)
25. Emiliano INSUA, (Liverpool, England)
26. Claudio YACOB, (Racing Club, Argentina)
27. Matías SANCHEZ, (Racing Club, Argentina)
28. Maximiliano MORALEZ, (Racing Club, Argentina)
29. Alejandro GOMEZ, (Arsenal, Argentina)
30. Franco DI SANTO, (Chelsea, England)
31. Gastón DIAZ, (Vélez Sársfield, Spain)
32. Diego VALERI, (Lanús, Argentina)
33. Lautaro ACOSTA, (Lanús, Argentina)
34. Fernando GAGO (Real Madrid, Spain)
35. Lionel MESSI (FC Barcelona, Spain)
36. Sergio AGÜERO (Atletico de Madrid, Spain)

These are the additional 21 names Sergio BATISTA had in store for us:

37. Matías ABELAIRAS (River Plate, Argentina)
38. Rodrigo ARCHUBI (River Plate, Argentina)
39. Lucas BIGLIA (Anderlecht, Belgium)
40. Mauro BOSELLI (Boca Juniors)
41. Diego BUONANOTTE (River Plate, Argentina)
42. Alejandro CABRAL (Vélez Sársfield, Argentina)
43. Gustavo CABRAL (River Plate, Argentina)
44. Matías CAHAIS (FC Groningen, Holland)
45. Neri CARDOZO (Boca Juniors, Argentina)
46. Mauro ZÁRATE (Birmingham City, England)
47. Federico INSÚA (América, México)
48. Sebastián LETO (Liverpool, England)
49. Gabriel MERCADO (Racing Club, Argentina)
50. Gastón MONZÓN (GK) (Huracán, Argentina)
51. Luciano MONZÓN (Boca Juniors, Argentina)
52. Pablo MOUCHE (Boca Juniors, Argentina)
53. Pablo PIATTI (Estudiantes de La Plata, Argentina)
54. Leonardo SIGALI (Lanús, Argentina)
55. Juan Manuel TORRES (San Lorenzo, Argentina)
56. Oscar TREJO (Mallorca, Spain)

I guess we'll have to play more games in the future and see if Mundo Albiceleste can predict the 18 members of the squad that will go to Beijing. It won't be an easy task, but we'll have some fun and keep you informed at the same time.

Double strike by Pocho sinks Fiorentina

Ezequiel LAVEZZI showed his value once again in his first season at the San Paolo. With two goals from the former San Lorenzo's forward, Napoli defeated high-flying Fiorentina and beat them 2-0.

While we still wait for that preliminary list of 40 players (from which the 18 that will represent Argentina in Beijing 2008 will come), Pocho LAVEZZI thrilled the city that still belongs to Diego and gave all their fans more than one reason to be happy. Apart from scoring Napoli's two goals on Wednesday night, sources at the club have announced that he signed a contract extension that will keep him at the San Paolo Stadium until the 2013 season.

Here are LAVEZZI's goals in low quality in a video that someone filmed while watching the TV. The best I could get so far. Will try and post a better one if I find one.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

I feel like watching some BATISTUTA!

I watched a very good interview with Gabriel BATISTUTA on ESPN+ here in Buenos Aires and I felt kind of sad because Mundo Albiceleste wasn't even born when he was playing and burning every net in the World in his way to become the top goal-scorer in the history of our National Team (56 in 78 appearances).

That's why I feel like sharing with you, some of the magic and fantastic goals that Bati gave Newell's, River Plate, Boca, Fiorentina, Roma, Inter and Al Arabi's fans, not to mention all the Albicelestes worldwide throughout his career.

Oh...and a little bonus track: an advertisement he did for TIM (a mobile phones company from Italy).


The first 1:44 minutes of this video are great examples of what BATISTUTA did for Argentina. The rest are goals from other players such as VERON, ORTEGA, CRESPO and even SORIN. But it's the best YouTube video I could find of Batigol with the Albiceleste:

Here are some samples of what he did with Fiorentina:

Being top-scorer in AS Roma's scudetto's season (2000/2001):

Great pictures in a tribute by a Turkish fan:

And this is the "bonus track" I mentioned. Batisister! haha!

Monday, March 17, 2008

From Santana To Delgado, Just Another Weekend

Fresh from their UEFA triumph over Everton, Fiorentina kept up their good form and are still in contention for a place in next season’s Champions League, after defeating Genoa 3-1.
Mario SANTANA, who scored the winning penalty in their mid-week shoot-out, opens the score for La Viola in the 19th minute before further goals from Adrian MUTU & Giampaolo PAZZINI seal the victory. Luciano FIGUEROA was on the bench for the visitors but did not see any action.

Meanwhile in France, Bordeaux kept up the pressure on league leader Lyon with 3-0 win over Strasbourg. Fernando CAVENAGHI continues his good form by scoring their third goal in the 75th minute.
In Belgium, Anderlecht has put their UEFA Cup exit aside by thrashing relegation candidate Roeselare 5-0. Lucas BIGLIA scored the third goal in that match in the 36th minute.

In Turkey, Besiktas maintain their position as join league leader in the Turkish Super League with Sivasspor with 3-0 win over Trabzonspor with Matias DELGADO netting in the second goal in the 45th minute.

Have I forgotten anything? Oh yes, Gabriel MILITO was sent off in Barcelona 2-2 draw away to Almeria.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Historic Moment For Javier

Though it seems like we don't get too many goals from the Albiceleste Army around Europe, but those who have scored have always been somewhat memorable.

I couldn't be too bothered about Real Madrid suffering another shocking defeat, this time against Deportive La Coruna. Or about Fernando TORRES goal scoring streak for Liverpool (which turns out to be the first topic that I would like to touch in this article).

Fresh from their Champions League win over Inter, the Reds were determined to continue their dominant run in recent weeks against Reading on Saturday. But when an unmarked Marek MATEJOVSKY smashed an unstoppable volley past Pepe REINA, it looks like the bad days are back again.

Liverpool needed something special to get back into the game, which is exactly what they've got only this time it wasn't from the likes of Steven GERRARD or TORRES but non other than Javier MASHERANO.

Masche gained possession 40 yards out and surged forward to lash the ball high past HAHNEMANN into the top right-hand corner. He could have almost inspired Liverpool to take the lead when his sweeping ball out to Ryan BABEL, set the Dutchman moving and he cut in before lashing an angled drive that HAHNEMANN beat away.

Liverpool however did went on to win the game through TORRES header in the 48th minute.

But the main thing that I would like highlight is that about all the negative argument that some of the Red quarters had on MASCHERANO's arrival in Anfield. Well I hope after this, they might wan to take back their words. And where did all this inspiration came from? From the man who had trust in his abilities in the first place, Rafa BENITEZ.

"We have been encouraging him to shoot more, and he has started doing that" Rafa said.

Other highlight from Saturday....

In Italy, Cristian LEDESMA could have almost gave the blue half of Rome a happy weekend when he scored in the 80th minute to give Lazio 2-1 lead over Udinese, only to see an equalizer from Antonio DI NATALE four minutes from time.

While in Portugal, Lisandro LOPEZ keeps his good run going with another goal for FC Porto, this time against Leixoes. This will boost his motivation after knowing that he will be involved in Argentina's next assignment. Alongside him, Lucho GONZALEZ and Ernesto FARIAS were both starters.

Friday, March 14, 2008

NBA News - High For Scola But Not For Others

Detroit Pistons 84 San Antonio Spurs 80

They can only be one reason why the Spurs lost. My answer is simply because they're best man had a terrible night by his own standard.

Manu GINOBILI only had 9 points throughout the whole game!!! When was the last time he posted below 10? He also had 5 reboudns, 2 assists, 1 steal & 1 block shot.

Fabricio OBERTO wasn't able to provide the much spark needed from the bench as he only had 2 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist & 1 block shot.

Things don't look good for the defending champion these days and it wasn't too long ago that they were the best team in the Western Conference. Chances are they might loose their home court advantage in the post season.

Anyway I've got another question, where the hell is Walter HERRMANN?

Philadelphia 76ers 110 Chicago Bulls 106

The Bulls blew their best ever chance to jump into the play-off spot and chances are tha Andres NOCIONI and teammates might just miss the post season. Another poor night for Chapu as he only manages 7 points, 2 rebounds & 2 assists.

Denver Nuggets 137 Toronto Raptors 105

Despite having one of the best night in his first year at Toronto, Carlos DELFNO's 16 points from the bench was still not good enough to win this game.

On top of that he also manage post 7 rebounds, 4 assists & 1 block shot and his team is fast getting the recognition for being among the best in the East.

Houston Rockets 89 Charlotte Bobcats 80

21 wins in a row and still counting? Okay maybe I've just said a bit too much here but you can't deny this is magnificent run for the Rockets.

And now they share the top spot of the Western Conference ad could perhaps be the best when the post season's starts.

Luis SCOLA was again producing the goods that he was brought here for. Tonight he was outstanding, posting 13 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal & 1 block shot.

Vamos Scola!!! Vamos Rockets!!!

Mundo Albiceleste reveals preview of Olympic list

Every olympic national team manager will have to submit a provisional list of 35-40 players to the IOC (International Olympic Committee).

In an interview with Argentine cable-TV channel, TyC Sports, Sergio BATISTA revealed this Friday afternoon a number of names that will be on that list.

Let's see them all here.

First of all, the senior players (over 23). To the names of Martín DEMICHELIS (SEE IMPORTANT INFO BELOW), Javier MASCHERANO and Juan Román RIQUELME, BATISTA said that he will add 3 other senior players to this list, in case an injury or any other problem sideline the original trio. Those three "backups" are Gabriel MILITO, Esteban CAMBIASSO and Julio CRUZ.

BATISTA said all of the players that went to Los Angeles to play Guatemala are on that list.

That leaves us with the following names confirmed:

Oscar USTARI, (Getafe, Spain)
Sergio ROMERO, (AZ Alkmaar, Holland)
Federico FAZIO, (Sevilla, Spain)
Jonatan MAIDANA, (Boca Juniors, Argentina)
Pablo ZABALETA, (Espanyol, Spain)
Cristian ANSALDI, (Newell's Old Boys, Argentina)
Ever BANEGA, (Valencia, Spain)
José SOSA, (Bayern Munich, Germany)
Damián ESCUDERO, (Vélez Sársfield, Argentina)
Augusto FERNANDEZ, (River Plate, Argentina)
Angel DI MARIA, (Benfica, Portugal)
Ezequiel LAVEZZI, (Napoli, Italia)
Gonzalo HIGUAIN, (Real Madrid, Spain)
Marco RUBEN, (Recreativo de Huelva, Spain)

So...let's recap here:

We've got the 3 seniors, the 3 senior back-ups and the list of players that went to Los Angeles to face Guatemala, for a total of 20 players.

The manager threw a few other names to the table, so we need to add the following names to our list:

Nicolás NAVARRO, (goalkeeper, ex-Argentinos Juniors, now at Napoli, Italy)
Fabián ASSMANN, (goalkeeper, Independiente, Argentina)
Gabriel PALETTA, (Boca Juniors, Argentina)
Ezequiel GARAY, (Racing Santander, Spain)
Emiliano INSUA, (Liverpool, England)
Claudio YACOB, (Racing Club, Argentina)
Matías SANCHEZ, (Racing Club, Argentina)
Maximiliano MORALEZ, (Racing Club, Argentina)
Alejandro GOMEZ, (Arsenal, Argentina)
Franco DI SANTO, (Chelsea, England)
Gastón DIAZ, (Vélez Sársfield, Spain)
Diego VALERI, (Lanús, Argentina)
Lautaro ACOSTA, (Lanús, Argentina) -he couldn't be out of this list! He is the hero that scored in injury time to defeat Uruguay and get us a ticket for Beijing-

So we've got 33 out of the 35-40 that BATISTA will write down on a piece of paper (well...probably not on a piece of paper!) and hand out to the IOC next Tuesday.

Did I say 33? Make it 34. Fernando GAGO (Real Madrid, Spain) will also be on that list. He was originally in the list to face Guatemala and had to miss out through injury.

WAIT! What's wrong with me????

Am I stupid or what?

Add Lionel MESSI and Sergio AGÜERO to that list, por favor! 35 and 36.

I'm sure I'm missing at least one great U23 player here. Apologies in advance and your help is welcome.

My thoughts?

First of all, I think BATISTA is doing a great job. Everytime I hear him, he sounds like he is on top of things. Following everything very closely.

I believe by doing this and by revealing these names, he'll give extra motivation to everyone of these players and nothing bad can come out of that.

An interesting choice for the senior back-up trio. I like CAMBIASSO because he can play in a number of different positions. Gabriel MILITO is a solid central defender who can do, with his vast experience, a great job facing U23 teams. But I'm not a fan of Julio CRUZ. I love his work-rate and all, but I don't think he'll be my choice as a senior striker. BATISTA named 6 seniors in total and CRUZ is his choice for striker. Do we all think CRUZ is our best over-23 striker?

I'm glad Franco DI SANTO is on this list as I'm very keen on watching him with the Albiceleste. He is not having many chances at Chelsea but he's got what it takes and he can be a very welcomed addition to a team that has a lot of things up front but height!

All in all, a very strong list of names that will translate in a prestigious team and a proper defending champion.

What are your thoughts?


In other news, Lionel MESSI arrived in Argentina to follow the recovery from his latest injury (sustained against Celtic in the UEFA Champions League eight-finals). He will go to his home-town in Rosario, but before that, he gave a press conference in which he said:

"This injury happened because it had to happen. There were a lot of people saying outstanding things about it (Note: He is referring to some journalists saying he is injured more than other because of the medical treatment he did when he had problems to grow)."

Here's to a recovery as good and as fast as him!


I was strike by this news. Bayern Munich manager, Ottmar Hitzfeld, have decided to suspend Argentine Martín DEMICHELIS because the player publicly expressed his desire to play as a central defender rather than being employed in midfield.

What were Hitzfeld reasons behind this action taken against Micho?

“I was left with no other choice but to leave Martin out of the Cottbus squad and suspend him until further notice from training”.

“A player cannot dictate which position he plays in. We are not a request show”.

“It is not a problem for Bayern Munich, it is a problem between Martin Demichelis and me”

Here's what the former River Plate defender said:

“My heart beats for Bayern Munich and I feel like a son of the club. I would like to apologise to my fans for this action and I do not wish to criticise Ottmar Hitzfeld”

“But I am a first-choice with the Argentine national team and I want to play in my preferred position here.”

So that's how it's going to be. I'm shocked! No freedom at all. DEMICHELIS is not entitled to express his desire as to which is his favorite position. I'm speechless.

This is coming from a club that have openly said: "We will not release our players for the Olympics".

DEMICHELIS is on the right track. Not so long ago he said: "If Bayern doesn't free me for the Olympics, I'll runaway! I'll do anything to play for Argentina"

Mundo Albiceleste supports Martín DEMICHELIS and José SOSA in their quest to get their freedom to play for Argentina in the Olympics. A chance that will come just once in their life-time.


HITZFELD, you are PERSONA NON-GRATA for Mundo Albiceleste. Do I have the liberty to say it? Come and suspend me if you can!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

NBA News - 20th Straight Win For Scola & Rockets

Golden State Warrior 117 Toronto Raptors 106

It’s never been easy to play against the Warriors at the Oracle Arena. Just ask the Mavs what happened to them last season.

The Raptors did everything they could to pull comeback but Baron DAVIS and his entertaining Warriors held them off to clinch this win.

Carlos DELFINO had a below average performance and only manage to post 10 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal & 1 block shot.

New Orleans Hornets 100 San Antonio Spurs 75

The rules are very simple to win a game that is you have make your shots happen. You can’t find anything better don’t you?

That was simply the case when Spurs paid a visit against the much improve Hornets. They were outclassed and outstretched throughout the game. And this is not the first time this has happen.

“They were making every kind of shot,” Manu said. “It’s really hard to win like that. I don’t think we played horrible. We’ve played worse before. They just executed great.”

It was a poor night Manu, only managing 11 points, 3 rebounds, 4 assists & 3 steals.

Fabricio OBERTO was given more minutes this time, posted no points but had 3 rebounds, 2 assists & 1 steal.

Atlanta Hawks 75 Houston Rockets 83

Muchas Gracias, Los Cohetes!!!! 20 straight wins!!!!

For what you might be asking, well for making that my beloved Andres NOCIONI and the Bulls chances of making into the play-off is still wide open.

With Spurs defeat, the Rockets have now moved into the 2nd position of the Western Conference and could perhaps challenge for top spot.

Luis SCOLA suffered much in the early part of the game with foul troubles but came back strongly towards the later stage. He manages to post 7 points & 12 rebounds.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

COCO with a plan to survive fixture congestion

It's a situation that really puzzles me and many Albiceleste supporters. As much as we love to watch Argentina play, the tour of the USA, schedule for June, will come just a few days before the double WC Qualifiers' fixtures with Ecuador and (non other than) Brazil and we are caught between our desire to watch our team play and the rational fear of getting our players tired (or even injured) just days before facing the old enemy.

The agenda looks like this:

Mexico (June 4 in San Diego, USA)

USA (June 8 in New York, USA)

Ecuador (June 14 in Buenos Aires, Argentina)

Brazil (June 17 in Belo Horizonte, Brazil)

So what's COCO's plan, then?

He'll take between 24-26 players to the USA Tour and he said he'll use completely different starting XI in both matches.

He said he'd never would have schedule a tour to the USA so close to those crucial WCQ matches, but he has to respect what the AFA tells him to do.

One really important thing to consider is that of those 24-26 players that will tour the USA, non will come from the domestic league. All of them will be European-based because at that time, the Torneo Clausura will be coming to the final stages and he won't weaken no Argentine club.


In other news, Sergio AGÜERO is the center of many critics these days in Spain. After a curious stat revealed that Kun is the player who received more fouls than anybody in La Liga this season (73, two more than fellow Argentine Diego MILITO), the former Independiente striker complained about the treatment he is receiving and since then, he is being harshly criticized by managers, players and members of the press.

The best of those comments came from PAREDES (Real Zaragoza defender) who said: "Being Kun, everything he says takes center stage. But I think I didn't kick him too much. If he doesn't get it, I'll swap my salary for his and I'll gladly take three times as many kicks"

Classic quote! I loved it! hahaha!

The other focus of this AGÜERO-gate has to do with the comments Kun made after Roma knocked out Real Madrid from the Champions League (AGÜERO said: "Every Atletico Madrid fan is happy. So am I!").

Real Madrid defender, PEPE, said: "It was a sad thing what he said. We know Real Madrid rivals gave their everything, but it's not pretty when somebody is happy when we lose, to see a colleague talking like that...but we should use this to get extra motivation". And then he said: "Every player receive fouls here and there. It happened to us with ROBBEN and we never complained".


In another edition of the FIFA World Ranking and Argentina are top again...

Here's the Top20:

1º Argentina - 1.556 points
2º Brazil - 1.514
3º Italy - 1.505
4º Spain - 1.355
5º Germany - 1.294
6º Czech Republic - 1.253
7º France - 1.234
8º Portugal - 1.206
9º Holland - 1.179
10º Greece - 1.160
11º England - 1.142
12º Croatia - 1.101
13º Romania - 1.060
14º Scotland - 1.020
15º Ghana - 1.003
16º Mexico - 990
17º Cameroon - 967
18º Turkey - 924
19º Bulgaria - 922
20º Colombia - 909

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The squad vs. Egypt: CAVENAGHI & LICHA confirmed

Fernando CAVENAGHI and Lisandro LOPEZ are back in the National Team after Coco BASILE confirmed the squad list that will play against Egypt on March 26th at Cairo. Julio CRUZ also gets his chance by being picked over Diego MILITO.

It remains to be seen who will take RIQUELME's role in this match or whether if Coco will have to change the tactics.

Goalkeepers: Roberto ABBONDANZIERI, Oscar USTARI and Sergio ROMERO.

Defenders: Javier ZANETTI, Martín DEMICHELIS, Gabriel MILITO, Gabriel HEINZE, Nicolás BURDISSO, Fabricio COLOCCINI and Pablo ZABALETA.

Midfielders: Javier MASCHERANO, Fernando GAGO, Esteban CAMBIASSO, Maximiliano RODRIGUEZ and Luis "Lucho" GONZÁLEZ.

Forwards: Lisandro LÓPEZ, Sergio AGÜERO, Julio CRUZ, Ezequiel LAVEZZI and Fernando CAVENAGHI.

NBA News - Scola, The Rocketman

Houston Rockets 91 New Jersey Nets 73

It seems like everyone has forgotten in Houston that star center YAO Ming is out injured. The Rockets have now won their 13th game in a row and for the past 10 games; they’ve been winning by double digits.

Now they are only one game away from Los Angeles Lakers and San Antonio Spurs from finishing the top of the Western Conference. And they will play the Lakers on Sunday but all that can wait.
Luis SCOLA has been instrumental all along this streak and for me it comes to no surprise that he is producing the goods despite having a poor start to his NBA career. A lot was mentioned about him before the season started and those who doubt it, may need to feel sorry for themselves.

For his reward, he was chosen as
Western Conference T-Mobile Rookie of the Month for February 2008 (11 months ago it was Walter HERRMANN while he was playing for the Charlotte Bobcats).

In the absence of YAO, he has combined well with Dikembe MUTAMBO around the perimeter and most certainly his game complements the likes of Tracy McGRADY, Rafer ALSTON and Shane BATTIER.

Tonight he helped the team in offense with 12 points & 1 assist and also in defense with 5 rebounds & 1 steal.

Way to go SCOLA!!!

San Antonio Spurs 107 Denver Nuggets 104

It was just four days ago that the Nuggets defeated Spurs in Denver. Today’s neck and neck encounter until the very end, the Nuggets must have felt good about their chances of doing it again, only this time in Texas.

Spurs were pretty much under pressure to avoid a third defeat in a row and they did just that but it was all around effort this time.
Manu GINOBILI may have only posted 13 points but it was a giving an extra hand for others to score was the highlight of this game. He had career high 14 assists alongside 2 steals in the process.

“Manu stepped up and was passing the ball great—finding people left and right,” Tim DUNCAN said. “So we had good efforts all the way around.”

Fabricio OBERTO also saw action from he posted 2 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist & 1 steal.

Monday, March 10, 2008

CAVENAGHI and Lisandro to play for Argentina

Tomorrow (Tuesday) will be the day when Coco BASILE will name the squad that will face Egypt by the end of this month.

What I've been reading and listening around in the media these days seem to indicate that Fernando CAVENAGHI's good form for Bordeaux this season and Lisandro LOPEZ's top-scoring present in the Portuguese Super Liga will be rewarded with a return to Argentina.

AGÜERO appears to be the other forward to be called up surely while there is a group of other players competing for 2 other spots: Julio CRUZ, Diego MILITO, Carlos TEVEZ and Hernán CRESPO.

More news to come as soon as I find out about interesting stuff regarding our national team.

NBA News - Manu's Scores 22 But Suns Still Shine

Detroit Pistons 116 Chicago Bulls 109

The Bulls suffered their second consecutive defeat and this time it is again to another Eastern Conference contender. Certainly this result will push them back in 10th place in the standing. Andres NOCIONI had a low performance tonight posting 10 points, 1 rebound & 2 steals.

Toronto Raptors 114 Seattle Supersonics 106

A victory from what I feel must credited to the whole team for each and everyone’s effort, especially from the likes Rasho NESTEROVIC.

The bench was not disappointing as well as Carlos DELFINO had 15 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists & 1 steal to his credit.

Phoenix Suns 94 San Antonio Spurs 87

I just what is it going to be like when these two will meet at the play offs. I do believe that today it has to be the rivalry between these two that is the best in the league.

Among the most notable attendees of the afternoon was Muhammad ALI (he received a standing ovation when introduced to the crowd) and Republican presidential candidate John McCAIN with his wife.

Again it was nothing but pure intense and drama all the way only this time, Spurs have crumble despite having a 85-80 lead with only 5:12 left to play.

Most certainly the night was a big one for a big men, someone it the mould of Shaq O’NEAL. Shaq was brought to help the Suns to win game like these.

“O’NEAL does change things greatly for the opposition,” Manu GINOBILI said. “It’s a big body to bother us every time we penetrate.”

Manu came from the bench to post a team high performance 22 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists & 1 steal. While Fabricio OBERTO was on the bench, only manages to post 4 points & 5 rebounds to his credit.

Aldo & Garay Racing Their Way To Europe

Internazionale are going trough a rough patch since their defeat to Liverpool in the Champions League. They have not won any match and have since seen their supremacy at the top of Serie A now just cut to 6 points.

On Saturday, they have managed to find their confidence after securing 2-0 win over Reggina.

Hernan CRESPO was brought in to partner Zlatan IBRAHIMOVIC while Javier ZANETTI, Nicolas BURDISSO & Esteban CAMBIASSO were all starters.

It was CAMBIASSO that gave Inter their much-needed breakthrough in the 14th minute when he was foul by Carlos VALDES in the penalty box. Zlatan stepped up to drill the ball down the middle and the festivities began.

Twenty minutes later, BURDISSO headed in for Inter’s second courtesy of a cross from Luis JIMENEZ.

Despite of Reggina’s spirited effort to make a comeback in the game, Inter stood well this time to ensure that victory was in their hands and increase the gap at the top back to 9 points.

However it was back to six again when the following day Roma defeated Napoli away 2-0.

Aldo DUSCHER alongside Ezequiel GARAY continues to inspire Racing Santander towards a place in Europe with 3-0 win over Real Betis. This is their third consecutive victory and the win allows them to jump into 5th place in the standings, level on points with Atletico Madrid.

DUSCHER, who scored last week’s winner against Valladolid, broke the deadlock in the 50th minute. He took the opportunity courtesy of Betis goalkeeper Ricardo PAREIRA, who parried a free kick from Racing’s Jorge LOPEZ.

LOPEZ was deadly from set pieces and was again instrumental in the 59th when he picked out GARAY at the near post, which he side footed for the second goal. Mohamed TCHITE completed Racing’s victorious night in the 88th minute.

Betis who had Mariano PAVONE leading their attack, wasn’t able to capitalized on the numerous chances they had. On their bench, they had Leandro SAMOZA who did not see any action.

In France it was the top at the table clash between defending champion Lyon and their challenger Bordeaux at the Stade de Gerland. Fernando CAVENAGHI converted a penalty in the 60th minute to bring score line to 3-2 in favour Lyon. However it was all over in the dying minutes when Abdul KEITA scored to seal the win for the defending champion.

Finally perhaps the saddest note of the week, Mariano GONZALEZ being sent off in FC Porto 1-0 win over Académica de Coimbra.

Friday, March 07, 2008

NBA News - Manu Drops 28 & Bulls Move Closer

Chicago Bulls 107 Cleveland Cavaliers 96

Despite another strong effort from Le Bron JAMES, the Bulls manage to get it right this time, securing their first back-to-back win since December.
With this result, they will now move a step closer, just behind New Jersey Nets and will remain as a strong contender for the lucrative eighth play off spot in the Eastern Conference.

Andres NOCIONI had a slow start but eventually found his rhythm in the latter stage of the game posting 11 points & 4 rebounds.

San Antonio Spurs 108 Indiana Pacers 97

Despite having a game high performance, Manu GINOBILI will likely be most remembered for his effort in blocking out his angry coach, Gregg POPOVICH who was heading straight to an official.

"I tried to box him out," Manu said of his unsuccessful attempt to block coach POPOVICH, who was ejected. "I could have done better."

Manu posted 28 points to lead the San Antonio Spurs to their 11th straight win thus preserving their status as the No.1 team in the Western Conference. He also had 5 rebounds & 3 assists.

Fabricio OBERTO despite the less time play he receive tonight also had productive effort in posting 6 points, 3 rebounds & 2 assists.

Houston Rockets 113 Dallas Mavericks 98

The Rockets took advantage against a Dallas team playing without their maverick, Dirk NOWITZKI to stretch their winning streak to 17 games.
Luis SCOLA was instrumental in both ends of the court as he posted 12 points, a game high of 9 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals & 2 block shot.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Dark Night In Europe

It was a real disappointing night in Europe for our entire Albiceleste representative in the second night of the last 16 Champions League Round.

Both Gabriel HEINZE and Fernando GAGO were starters for Real Madrid but they could capitalize on playing in their home ground against Roma. The Italian side won 2-1 (4-2 on aggregate) to progress further. Gonzalo HIGUAIN was on the bench but did not see any action.

As expected, playing against Chelsea in Stamford Bridge must have tall order for Greek side Olympiacos. Cristian Raúl LEDESMA was in the starting line up but was replace in favour of Fernando BELLUSCHI in the 54th minute.

Perhaps the most disappointing result for me came happened in Portugal as I did some expectation on seeing Porto progressing further. Despite putting plenty of pressure against Schalke from the start of the match, it took the home side almost 86th minute to score the all important equalizer in this match.

A neat pass from Lucho GONZALEZ saw Porto’s talisman Lisandro LOPEZ who turned around and
fired an unstoppable shot into the roof of the net to level the score line 1-1 on aggregate.
Both Mariano GONZALEZ (54th minute) and Ernesto FARIAS (58th minute) came as a second half substitutions.

After playing for an extra 30 minutes the match was finally decided on penalty from which Lisandro LOPEZ missed his shot while earlier Lucho scored first and the German side won
4-1 in the shootout.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

NBA News - 20 Points From Chapu In Bulls Win

Orlando Magic 102 Toronto Raptors 87

Despite being given a 27:24 time play from the bench, Carlos DELFINO wasn’t able to contribute and execute on his offensive play. He only manages 4 points plus 9 rebounds & 3 assists.

Chicago Bulls 112 Memphis Grizzlies 97

Finally a win for the Bulls to re-ignite their fight for a place in the play-offs, after New Jersey Nets (currently occupying the 8th position in the Eastern Conference) also lost today.

Andres NOCIONI has been relegated to the bench in favour of British superstar Luol DENG but certainly came up with the most sparks to help the Bulls win this game.

He posted 20 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists & 1 block shot.

San Antonio Spurs 81 New Jersey Nets 70

A low-key performance from both sides but none of that is going to stop the defending champions from preserving its longest winning streak of the season.

With the most of the offense duty was handled by Tim DUNCAN, Manu GINOBILI only manages 12 points but contributed plenty at the back end to ensure this win. He had 7 rebounds, 3 assists, a game high of 4 steals & 1 block shot.

The battle for the center position is also heating up. Despite being placed on the bench Fabricio OBERTO will relish every moment that was given to him when called upon.

It was tight affair between him and Kurt THOMAS but OBERTO falling just a bit short of contribution compare to THOMAS. He only posted 4 rebounds and 1 assist.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Another injury makes MESSI break down in tears

I hate to see when things like these happen.

It's just so unfair that a number of mediocre players (I could make a very long list, believe me!) never get injured and yet, Lionel MESSI, one of the finest in this planet suffers a good share of knocks that keep him out of the field for more than we'd like.

My theory is that Lionel's game is based on explosion. That bursting first step that leaves opponents on the wrong foot and then gives him the space to do what he wants.

Being a really small guy, Lionel can fool you with his incredible toughness when it comes to resist the foul play used by his rivals in a desperate intent to stop him. In fact, I don't remember an injury he suffered after receiving a kick by a defender or after being hit by somebody.

His injury on Tuesday had nothing to do with foul play by the Celtic players. He was a victim, his muscle was a victim, of his flashy speed and his desire to go for the dribble like if it was his last.

Seeing him stopping inmediately and sending his hands to his head was a really painful thing to watch. He couldn't help the tears and I'm sure more than one Barcelona and Argentina fan did the same.

The first news are suggesting MESSI will be out of action for around a month. He'll surely miss Argentina's friendly against Egypt and he'll also miss the Copa del Rey semifinal match against Valencia (2nd leg).

Here's hoping one of our true Mundo Albiceleste's heroes recovers completely and as fast as he can.


Argentina to tour the USA in June?

It's not exactly a long tour and it's not confirmed yet, but RENOVA, the Russian company that manages Argentina's agenda of friendly matches is reportedly working on booking a couple of matches in the USA in June.

The rivals?

Mexico in San Diego, USA. (June 4)

USA in New York, USA. (June 8)

My first impression is a good one. With a number of low-profile rivals coming up (and after playing Guatemala, for example), I'd welcome a clash with the always dangerous Mexicans and the interesting team that is the USA.

In other news, Alfio BASILE will name next Tuesday the squad of players that will face African champions, Egypt on March 26.

There could be a chance for in-form strikers such as Lisandro LOPEZ (Porto), Julio CRUZ (Inter) and Fernando CAVENAGHI (Bordeaux).

Monday, March 03, 2008

EVER drinking in Valencia

Bad news for Ever BANEGA. After Valencia lost 2-0 against Espanyol -with BANEGA making a crucial mistake in one of the Catalans' goals-, the Argentine midfielder was stopped by the local police in Turia (near Valencia) and he failed to pass a breath test and had a high blood alcohol level.

It's still unknown if Ever will be suspended or fined by the club, which released a statement aknowleging the fact that Ever got stopped by the police.

This is worrying because Ever is now building up a reputation of being fond to the nightlife.

Before moving to Valencia, Ever was separated from the Boca Juniors squad by former manager Miguel Angel RUSSO after the Youth World Champion in Canada 2007 was seeing going out the night Boca lost 2-0 against River in a match when BANEGA saw the red card.

Let's hope this is only a one-off and he keeps his promising career moving forward.

Duscher Helps Santander & Others

In Football....

Spanish La Liga

A goal by Aldo DUSCHER with four minutes remaining was enough to give visiting Racing Santander a 1-0 win over Real Valladolid. The win was vital as Racing moved into the UEFA Cup places after leapfrogging Sevilla, who lost to Deportive La Coruna on Saturday.

Meanwhile Real Betis climbed away from the relagation zone after trashing fellow struggler Real Murcia 4-0. Among the scorer for them is Mariano PAVONE. The goal came in the 57th minute when PAVONE's right-footed shot found the top-right corner following Mark GONZALEZ's headed pass from Garcia ARZU's cross.


NBA News...

Houston Rockets 103 Denver Nuggets 89

What is life without YAO form the Rockets? Difficult? Nope I dont think so. Another vintage performance from T-Mac & Co. as they have stretch their winning streak to 15 matches.

Luis SCOLA was sensantional in both offense and defense as he posted 18 points, 14 rebounds & 2 assists.

Cleveland Cavaliers 95 Chicago Bulls 86

Another defeat for the Bulls with Andres NOCIONI himself also having a poor night. He only manage to post 2 points & 1 assist.

Charlotte Bobcats 110 Toronto Raptors 98

The Raptors bench which consists of Carlos DELFINO, TJ Ford & Jason KAPONO among others were not able to provide the much needed support to win this game.

DELFINO only manages 9 rebounds, 5 rebounds & 1 steal.

New Jersey Nets 83 San Antonio Spurs 93

After posting 30 against the Bucks in the previous game, Manu GINOBILI was started bench this time. Perhaps after all the game high performance he had over the last few weeks, he needed some rest for this game. But still again he was not about to slow down his engine as he posted 17 points, 4 rebounds & 3 assists.

Fabricio OBERTO was also relegated to the bench this time in favour of new signing Kurt THOMAS but he wasn't going to go out without a fight. He had more minutes than THOMAS and posted 4 points & 7 reboounds.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

KUN sinks Barcelona and gives Real a big hand

Just a couple of days after stating that "I'll never join Real Madrid", Sergio Kun AGÜERO helped the White Empire to restore their lead at the top of La Liga standings with a terrific display in Atletico Madrid win over FC Barcelona.

Kun was unstoppable for Barça. A couple of minutes after Ronaldinho scored a magic goal for the Catalans, the former Independiente striker completely fooled another ex-Independiente, Gabriel MILITO and sent the ball off Carles PUYOL's back heel and into the net.

But he had more in store. A clever run on the right was finished with a lovely assist for fellow Argentine Maxi RODRIGUEZ and La Fiera sent a low drive to the far post to give Aleti the lead with which they closed the firt half.

It looked like a costly mistake when AGÜERO shot wide when he had only the keeper to beat and a wide-open team-mate in front of an empty net, but he more than made up for that mistake. He forced PUYOL to foul him inside the penalty area and another former Independiente, Diego FORLAN made no mistake from the spot. 3-1.

Was Kun satisfied after that? Not nearly! He saved the best for 75th minute when he started a frantic run on the left and curled the ball to the far post before seeing the yellow card for taking his shirt off. It didn't matter for Kun. He took part in all 4 of Atletico Madrid's goals and placed his team on Champions League zone.

Samuel Eto'o scored Barça's second goal soon after AGÜERO's goal and with just a few seconds to the final whistle, Kun was replaced and received a standing ovation that said volumes of what he did.

Even if with his wonderful display he helped city rivals Real Madrid, which won 3-2 at Recreativo de Huelva, opened up a 5-point gap over Barcelona again. Fernando GAGO had a sensational assist for ROBINHO to score his second goal coming on from the bench. Gabriel HEINZE and Gonzalo HIGUAIN also played for Real Madrid.

But today it was all about Kun in a match in which Lionel MESSI played only a few minutes in the second half and saw how his friend took center stage this time.

Watch Atletico 4-2 Barcelona highlights here:

Albiceleste News

Football News...

Cavegol For Argentina?

Lately we have notice his goal scoring exploits in the French League for Bordeaux and now it looks like the news is fast spreading across the Atlantic Ocean. Thanks Jack for sharing with us this news. Just click here for more.

Masche Is A Red For 4 Years

After all the trouble that he had to go through looks like finally Javier MASCHERANO has permanently made his move to Liverpool a confirmed deal. Lets hope that this could also help to turn things around the club fortune for the rest of the season.

Argentina To Play Catalunya

I've just found this news from Goal.Com that Argentina will face Catalunya in an exhibition match in late May at the Camp Nou in Barcelona. Argentina have been looking for friendly match opponents with a Spanish-style of football in their game, and feel that the clash with Catalunya will serve them in preparation for their upcoming World Cup qualifiers.

Tennis News...

David NALBANDIAN will play in the Acapulco Final after defeating Luis HORNA from Peru, 7-5 & 6-1. The chance to see an All-Argentinean final was dashed after Jose ACASUSO lost to Spaniard Nicolas ALMAGRO 6-4, 3-6 & 7-5.

NBA News...

Houston Rockets 116 Memphis Grizzlies 95

Luis SCOLA posted 15 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist and a game high of 5 steals as the Rockets win their 14th straight games.

Chicago Bulls 91 Washington Wizards 97

Another for the loss for the Bulls despite having Andres NOCIONI posting 19 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal & 2 block shot.

Toronto Raptors 111 Indiana Pacers 122

Carlos DELFINO only had 6 points, 8 rebounds, 1 assist & 1 steal.

Have a nice weekend everyone!!!