Friday, February 29, 2008

NBA News - Spurs Win Texas Derby

San Antonio Spurs 97 Dallas Mavericks 94

There was a lot on going talk about this game. I’m going to move away from the historic part of it as you all know many years back Spurs were trying to lure Jason KIDD to come to the State of Texas.

But certainly from what I see in tonight’s game, there was a huge significant element about the game that I feel others should have probably realized by now. This is true after all the trading and player movement that took place over the last few weeks.

One team had a new and improving look to its front court line up. While the other have just decided to settle for the tried and tested. So in the end, it was the Spurs backbone that came away as winner in today’s highly anticipated Texas thriller.
Manu GINOBILI was still maintain as a starter and gave all the support that captain Tim DUNCAN could ask for by posting 17 points, team high 5 assists & 5 rebounds.

"The effort was huge for both sides," Manu said. "When you play a game like this, you know the effort is going to be there."

If effort is the key word than there is no way the contribution from Fabricio OBERTO must be ignored from the game. He was expected to receive lesser time play due to arrival of Spurs recent signing Kurt THOMAS.
But tonight he once again gave it all by throwing and putting himself in the lifeline when it really matters. Though he may have only posted 4 points but never ignore his 1 rebound, 1 assist & 2 steals. Every little contribution is important in a game as tight as this.

Whether he will be Spurs starting center come during the post season? Only time will tell.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Il Grande Capitano saves Inter's undefeated run

He doesn't score very often. But boy his goals are always important!

Off the top of my head the most important of Javier ZANETTI's goals I would say was that against England in France 98. It was a set play. He stood by the wall in a free kick and got the ball. Turned and shot with his left foot to give Argentina a lifeline and the team eventually won on penalties.

Yesterday it was different. But the drama was there. Inter played host to Roma. The Nerazzurri were 9 points ahead of the team from the Eternal City and they needed to extend their fantastic run of 24 matches without defeat.

Francesco TOTTI gave Roma the lead and with only 2 minutes to go, it seemed like Inter were face to face with their nemesis. But Javier ZANETTI didn't accept that fate. He got a rebound outside the area and with 3 Roma players trying to stop him from kicking, Pupi sent a tricky shot towards DONI's right post and rescued Inter from a sure lose, while preserving the 9-point lead with 13 matches to go.

His celebration was up to the ocassion and he even had time to do one of his trademark runs in the 94th minute. After running for easily 50 or 60 metres, he was stopped by Simone PERROTA's elbow and generated a dangerous free-kick that ended up in nothing. It didn't matter for the Inter fans. They are over the moon with their captain and their comfortable lead that will most likely take them to their third Scudetto in a row.

Enjoy ZANETTI's wonderful strike with Italian commentary:



"MESSENTENARY"

Barcelona played Valencia in the Copa del Rey and even if he wasn't in the scoresheet, Lionel MESSI made the headlines by successfully playing his 100th match for the Catalan giants.

It was 1-1 with Xavi scoring for Barcelona in the dying minutes after David VILLA drew first blood.

Ever BANEGA played for Valencia and it's all to play for in the second leg to be played in Mestalla.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Some News From Icardi, Scola & Los Pumas

Icardi Says Yes To Argentina

Messi is My Idol.

That was the message sent out by this young prodigy to all those poachers out there that he wants to follow the footstep of his illustrious Barcelona teammate.

That also includes playing for Argentina rather than Spain!!!

You can check out more about him on his interview from goal.com

Big thanks to Jack for sharing this great news with all of us.

NBA News….

Houston Rockets 94 Washington Wizards 69

Prior to the game, the Rockets were dealt with a very bad news that star center YAO Ming will miss the rest of the season with an injury.

We at Mundo hope that he will recover just in time to represent his country at the Olympic Games.

As a result of his absence, other players need to step a gear or two and help the Rockets quest on being the contender in the Western Conference.

Which is exactly what Luis SCOLA had to do in tonight’s game, as he was 7 on 7 with 14 points plus 2 rebounds & 1 assist.

Pumas To Play For Madiba

The Union of Argentina Rugby (UAR) are currently in talks with their South African counterpart to organized a test match in August, in conjunction with the birthday of the country’s former president Nelson MANDELA.

This match will mark one of several initiatives taken by the UAR, as it is looking to begin a proposed transition towards professional rugby so the Pumas can play in a major annual international competition, most likely the Tri-nations.

The UAR has contacted European club authorities to ask for the release of their international players for the test in Johannesburg.
The majority of the Pumas squad who helped Argentina finish third in last year's World Cup in France are based at French and English clubs and will be involved in pre-season training when the test is scheduled to be played between Aug. 2 and 9.

"Once this matter has been settled in the coming days the UAR will confirm its participation in the match," the union said in a statement on Monday.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

NBA News - Carlos Raps High In Indy

Indianapolis Pacers 98 Toronto Raptors 102

In perhaps one of the odd situation of the night, Carlos DELFINO stole the show in his performance, as he became the Albiceleste of the night. However much of the credit goes to Raptors coach Sam MITCHELL for creating perhaps the best bench line up in the entire league.

DELFINO posted 23 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist & 1 block shot but did not take the credit all by him self.

“With our guys getting healthy, I think we now have a second-team punch with T.J. getting into shape and into rhythm,” DELFINO said. “It opens things up for us offensively, and it sure can change our game.”


The Pacers said DELFINO was the difference.

“He didn’t miss,” Indianapolis forward Danny GRANGER said. “We let him get open a few too many times. Anybody in the NBA can make those shots when you’re that far open. He put the dagger in us.”

Bosh said the performance by DELFINO wasn’t surprising as he ranks in the top 20 in the league in 3-point percentage.

“When he gets hot, he’s going to let it go,” BOSH said. “He’s done a great job all year. He also does a great job on the defensive end. He also got to the free-throw line again tonight. He just helped us out a lot.”


San Antonio Spurs 89 Atlanta Hawks 74

Spurs continue their winning their winning streak but it wasn’t the kind of night that both of the Tall Albiceleste had enjoyed in recent games.

Manu GINOBILI only had 13 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists & 3 steals, a far cry from his usual self.

Fabricio OBERTO did not have much action tonight as he played for only 5 plus minutes and had 2 rebounds only.

By the way, our friend Halley from Built From Scratch has just posted a great article, paying tribute to our great hero from Bahia Blanca. I would certainly encourage all of us here to check it out.

Dallas Mavericks 102 Chicago Bulls 94

Andres NOCIONI was relegated to the bench, as the Bulls loss their second straight game. Chapu only manage to post 5 points, 1 rebound & 1 assist.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Elsewhere Around The Globe

In Tennis…

David NALBANDIAN earned his eighth career title, rallying to defeat Jose ACASUSO 3-6, 7-6 (5), 6-4 Sunday at the Copa Telmex final.
“I’m very happy to win at home,” said the 11th-ranked NALBANDIAN. “It’s beautiful to pull off something I could never do before here.”

Former Argentina soccer captain Diego MARADONA was in the crowd at the Buenos Aires Lawn Tennis Club.

“I played some breaks badly and made mistakes,” NALBANDIAN said. “But luckily I won the second set, and that was the key.”

In NBA…

Phoenix Suns 86 Detroit Pistons 116


The Pistons were more than just ready to face Shaq and the Suns in Arizona. Most certainly the big man could not do much to save his new team from a complete humiliation in front of their crowd.
Walter HERRMANN was thrown in towards the end of the fourth quarter (from which at one time, the Pistons were leading 102-70) and played for around 3 minutes play.

He posted 5 points and 3 rebounds in the process.

Toronto Raptors 115 New York Knicks 92

A quick revenge from the Raptors after receiving a battering defeat at Madison Square Garden just a few nights ago.
It wasn’t one of his best performance coming off from the bench but Carlos DELFINO did had a hand in the win with 8 points, 6 rebounds & 1 assist to his credit.

Houston Rockets 110 Chicago Bulls 97

Luis SCOLA had the chance to meet up with an old friend in the form of Chicago Bull’s Andres NOCIONI.

Both players had a productive night but it was the rookie who had it better in the end. Things would have been even better if it wasn’t for the foul trouble that he suffered throughout the game.
SCOLA step it up when YAO Ming was unable to produce as he posted 17 points, 4 rebounds & 3 assists to become Rockets second best performer after Tracy McGRADY.

Like SCOLA, Chapu NOCIONI was also starter for the Bulls despite the arrival of some new faces in both camps. He posted 12 points, 2 rebounds & 1 block shot.

Weekend Round-Up - Some Bad & Good News

Another exciting weekend has just past by but there are a couple of things that I would like to mentioned before that.

First and foremost, from Mundo Albiceleste, our prayers and thoughts goes out to Eduardo of Arsenal after that horrific injury he suffered in that match against Birmingham City. Personally I hope that he will be all right and will recover soon.

Secondly let me congratulate Juande RAMOS for wining the Carling Cup with Tottenham Hotspurs.


In Portugal…

FC Porto maintains their supremacy at the top of the Portuguese Liga with a 3-0 win over Paços de Ferreira.

The goals came from a double strike from Lisandro LOPEZ and plus anther one from Mariano GONZALEZ. Both Lucho GONZALEZ and Ernesto FARIAS were in the starting line up.

In Italy…

Internazionale lead at the top of Serie A has been cut to nine points after Nerazzurri were held to a 1-1 draw against Sampdoria.

It seems like Roberto MANCINI are not enjoying the good times these last few days (after the Champions League encounter with Liverpool) and were perhaps lucky enough to have Hernan CRESPO scoring in the 76th minute for the equalizer.

Inter had Javier ZANETTI, Esteban CAMBIASSO (both starters), Nicolas BURDISSO and Santiago SOLARI (both on the bench) for this game as well.


In Spain…

With Pato ABBONDANZIERI in goal and the defense lynchpin Cata DIAZ inspiring Getafe to a shocking 1-0 win over Real Madrid, Barcelona must know that there is no better chance than this to catch up on the league leaders.

Before that thanks to Jack for sharing with us on the news, as Barca trashed Levante 5-1 with most of the damage coming from Lionel MESSI.

With score line at 1-1, he restored Barca lead with typical solo effort and then became the provider for Samuel ETO’O next two goal before the Cameroonian bagged his hat trick.

Another scorer in La Liga, shall I say an unexpected one is from Fabricio COLOCCINI in Deportivo La Coruna 2-0 win over Espanyol.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

NBA News - It's Super-MANu Ginobili!!!

Minnesota Timberwolves 99 San Antonio Spurs 100

For Manu GINOBILI, it has always been in his nature to bring in 110% of effort and determination to every game he plays. Tonight, it was the same as always, as Spurs needed all that positive vibe from him to beat the Wolves.

He outclassed everyone on the court to post a game high 44 points, barely a week his 46 points exploit against the Cavaliers.

GINOBILI hit a jumper from the top of the key with 6.2 seconds left for his final points, leading the Spurs to their fourth straight win with a 100-99 victory over Minnesota on Thursday night.

“Manu is a top caliber player, he’s an All-Star caliber player,” Spurs coach Greg POPOVICH said. “He’s been on fire for a while now.”

GINOBILI dribbled behind his back and rose up over Randy FOYE on the winning shot.

“I always try to get to the rim, but FOYE took over my left pretty good and my counter move is always step back right,” GINOBILI said. “I got lucky there, took a good shot and it went in.”

He also had 3 rebounds, 4 assists & 1 steal to his credit and his tremendous contribution helped to carry the Spurs to their eight win in the last nine games.

“ I just felt like I wanted to take every shot because they were going in,” Manu said. “I made five in a row I think, and most of them weren’t just wide open. I wanted the ball in my hands because I was feeling confident.”

Manu performance may have overshadowed Fabricio OBERTO but every little thing that OBERTO does must never be ignored, especially in a game as tight as this. He posted 3 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist & 1 steal.

Houston Rockets 112 Miami Heat 100

The Rockets notched their 10th straight win after pounding the worst ever team in the entire league.

The mood behind the scene was a bit different after the sudden trade of Mike JAMES, Bonzi WELLS & Kirk SNYDER.

All of the Rockets starters were in double figures including Luis SCOLA who posted 11 points, a game high of 10 rebounds, 3 assists & 2 steals.

Ave Maria!!!

It was the end of the road in the UEFA Cup for two of its top strikers after the completion of Round of 32.

Atlético Madrid deeply felt the absence of Kun AGUERO in their match against Bolton Wanderers. Kun was handed a two-match ban by UEFA on Wednesday following his sending-off in the first leg.

The English side won the first leg 1-0 and it was up to the likes of Maxi RODRIGUEZ & Co. that needed to fill in the gap left by Kun. Unfortunately Atlético could only manage goalless draw and were out of the competition.

Another high profile Albiceleste exit was Fernando CAVENAGHI. His club Bordeaux could only manage a 1-1 draw with Anderletch, who were leading 2-1 from the first leg. But it was the Belgian side that took the lead in the 34th minute and further pressure from them was evident as Nicolas PAREJA had his free kick saved by the host goalkeeper Ulrich RAME.

Then in the 71st minute, a cross by Johan MICOUD found CAVENAGHI, who scored to give the French side some glimmer hope, only to see it fadding away as two of their players were sent off in the final 20 minutes. Lucas BIGLIA also started for the visiting team.

But the toast of the night in the UEFA Cup will go to Angel DI MARIA and his club Benfica in their match against Nurmberg. Javier PINOLA’s side were trailing the Portuguese side 1-0 and look almost certain to go though as they 2-0 up already with only injury time left.
Then the most unthinkable happen as Benfica pulled one back through Oscar CARDOZO in the 90th minute. Then two minute into injury time, CARDOZO won the ball in midfield and sent a looping pass to DI MARIA, who after a long run circled Jaromir BLAZEK and fired home to break the Germans' hearts.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Brilliant MESSI, too much for Celts. TEVEZ: a "lyon"

I watched the game at my grandfather's. He is 88 and some of you may remember when I wrote an entry about him when he was in a delicate state. It was some months ago, probably a year or so.

Now he is OK and he never stopped enjoying his football. And today I said to him: "Manolo, you are an incredibly lucky guy! You saw PELE, MARADONA and now MESSI!". He smiled and say: "You're right, Seba. This kid is really something!".

I saw Manolo smile a few times today and I've got to thank Lionel MESSI for that! "Es un fenómeno!" was Manolo's phrase when he saw how MESSI scored the third for Barcelona (his second of the night) by embarrasing Gary CALDWELL and sending the ball past Artur BORUC.

I've got to admit that I liked Thierry HENRY's goal better and when the former Arsenal striker scored, I saw something that I don't like and that I have seen in MESSI before. If you see the footage, you'll see HENRY joining in to celebrate with MESSI after Leo scored his two goals. But when the Frenchman scored, MESSI stood still in the middle of the Celtic box like if nothing happened.

Now, we've talked about those aspects of his personality in this blog before and I've got to say that it keeps on worrying me. I don't know. I would just prefer him to look as thrilled when his team-mates score. Perhaps I'm being too hard, or I'm talking about something that has nothing to do with his ability play the game. But I don't know...it just bothers me.

Carlos TEVEZ is not like that (at least in that sense), but tonight, he was just as effective for his team. While MESSI practically secured Barcelona's ticket to the quarter-finals, substitute TEVEZ (played the last 25 minutes) rescued Manchester United in France and scored the vital away goal for the Red Devils against Lyon. And when he did, he celebrated with all his team-mate and it was a great thing to see Carlitos so happy!

Don't get me wrong, I'm not slagging MESSI off or using TEVEZ to give MESSI a bad name. I'm just pointing out this situation. Something that caught my eye.

In any case, it's good news for us, Albiceleste fans, to see these two stars taking Europe by storm.

MESSI's goals (part of extended highlights):



TEVEZ's score:

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

NBA News - Manu's All Star Aftermath

Detroit Pistons 85 Orlando Magic 103

This is an extremely rare situation that took place at The Palace of Auburn Hills. The Pistons getting the smack in front of their own back yard.

However on a lesser note, Walter HERRMANN posted 5 points & 3 rebounds to his credit.

Cleveland Cavaliers 85 Houston Rockets 93

These days it looks like that Luis SCOLA as sealed his place as the starting power forward for good.

Fresh from coming back after his involvement in the All-Star weekend in New Orleans, he was among the four starters to post double-digit performance. He had 15 points, 8 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal & 1 block shot.

San Antonio Spurs 85 Charlotte Bobcats 65

Spurs returned home after almost three weeks, which included a 9 road trip games. For one particular man in this team, he showed that Las Vegas was a better trip than New Orleans.

Clearly there is no sign where Manu GINOBILI is going to slow down as tonight he was still in good form (must have made a lot money in Sin City!!!)


He finished off with a team high of 18 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists & 1 block shot. The only setback for him was the 6 turnovers that he had committed.

Fabricio OBERTO also showed no slowing down of form as he posted 4 points, 8 rebounds & 1 assist.

Amazing Night For Javier & Reds

Javier MASCHERANO and Liverpool was perhaps the darling of the night after their 2-0 win over Inter Milan. Goals from Dirk KUYT and captain Steven GERRARD in the last five minutes help to seal this victory.

It was a busy night for him, as he had to play host to a list of friends who were bound to face him and his colleague. Julio CRUZ started alongside Esteban CAMBIASSO and Javier ZANETTI. Nicolas BURDISSO was brought in the second half, as a replacement for the injured Ivan CORDOBA. Hernan CRESPO was on the bench.

As for the Italian side what can I say, after being known as the sleeping giant of world football, I guess they are still sleeping? Well maybe only on the continental front at least.

The dismissal of Marco MATERAZZI maybe was a bit helpful in the Reds cause, but still there were plenty of quality all around Inter to turns things around.

As for the rest of the Albiceleste who saw action, it was all not so good news.

FC Porto started their attacking trio of Lucho GONZALEZ, Lisandro LOPEZ and Ernesto FARIAS but it was a Kevin KURANYI strike that gave Schalke a 1-0 win against the visiting side. Mariano GONZALEZ only played in the last minutes.

Fernando GAGO was given a starting role due to the injury problems in Real but they went down against AS Roma 2-1 in Rome. Gonzalo HIGUAIN was on the bench but did not play.

Olympiaskos only manage to settle for a goalless draw against Chelsea with Luciano GALLETTI and Cristian Raúl LEDESMA in the starting line up. Fernando BELLUSCHI came in the second half and played for the last seven minutes.

Friday, February 15, 2008

A new argie wonderkid goes to Barça at 14!

Gabriel MILITO, of course Lionel MESSI, probably Ezequiel GARAY (deal almost done) and now...Mauro ICARDI.

Who is Mauro ICARDI? That's exactly what I asked myself when I heard of this news.

Mauro ICARDI, like many Argentines, have had to leave the country to go with his family to Europe. In his case, they move to the Canary Islands even though Mauro holds an Italian passport and not a Spanish one.

A number of clubs were after him but despite interest from Real Madrid, Sevilla, Arsenal, Liverpool, Valencia, Espanyol and Deportivo La Coruña, Mauro ICARDI, who will turn 15 on Tuesday, move to FC Barcelona.

Here's a video in which you'll get the chance to see him.



My first impressions were of a very talented forward with one ingredient in particular which could make him a very valuable asset for Argentine youth national teams (if he turns out to be very good) which is his physical presence.

Granted, he is still very young, but he's got an important size and good skills for a boy that tall. He is not coming in the mould of MESSI, AGÜERO, SAVIOLA, AIMAR or TEVEZ, to name a few.

He is more of a CRESPO type of player with better control and dribbling skills, even if it's still very early to be comparing him with those kind of established stars.

One thing is for sure...we've got to keep the Italians away from him! If he goes on to play international football, he must do it wearing an albiceleste shirt! I'm sure we all agree in that!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

NBA News - G I N O B I L I ! ! !

Cleveland Cavaliers 105 San Antonio Spurs 112

Spurs are returning to same arena that crowned them the 2007 NBA champions and the feeling must be very good in their camp after the last game.

Leaving Toronto with one of his all time classic performance, Manu GINOBILI just added another one into his long list of famous nights.

He had a career high of 8 3-pointers, shooting and hustling in every corner on the court and eventually finishing of the night with whopping 46 points!!! This was his best performance of the season and his was just 2 points shy of equaling his career high.

Not only that, he also had a team high of 8 assists and a game high of 3 steals to go together with 5 rebounds & 1 block shot.

"It was a special game," Manu said. "I was feeling good from the beginning. I felt like every shot was going to go in, and it did."

In the same playground where it has always been about Le Bron JAMES, even the King himself had to concede after such majestic performance.

"It was unbelievable," JAMES said. "There's nothing you can do when a guy get hot like that. He shot step-back 3s. He shot pull-up 3s. It was a great performance by Manu."

In some ways Fabricio OBERTO contributions could have also made this possible as he defensive duty helps to push Spurs offense even further. OBERTO posted 4 points & 5 rebounds.

Oh yes!!! The talk about him never just stops there...

"I'm just happy he's on my team. He's unbelievable when he gets rolling like that. The funny part is, I've seen him do it before”
- Tim DUNCAN

"Manu Ginobili's a bad boy"
- Mike BROWN

"Manu is Manu. He's one of the most unbelievable competitors I've been around. That's why he has NBA championships and Olympic championships and European championships. He's a pretty special guy."
- Gregg POPOVICH

Toronto Raptors 109 New Jersey Nets 91

Carlos DELFINO, despite posting just 7 points tonight, still had a game high 9 rebounds (together with teammate Chris BOSH), 6 assists & 1 steal to his credit.

Indiana Pacers 80 Detroit Pistons 96

Does anyone what happen when these two met like three seasons ago? Well let’s not get it into that.

Walter HERRMANN had 8:26 time play from which he only manages just 2 rebounds.

Sacramento Kings 87 Houston Rockets 89

The Rockets continued their winning streak but Luis SCOLA wasn’t able to produce like what he does in previous game.

He was suffering from foul trouble from which he eventually finished the game with 6 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist & 1 block shot.

Mundo Albiceleste feels for RONALDO

Yes, he plays for the "enemy". Yes, he often scores against Argentina. But in times like this, all of those things are put into perspective. RONALDO sustained a terrible knee injury today playing for AC Milan against Livorno and the first diagnosis are suggesting it will take at least 9 months for him to recover.

That's a really long time for someone with the history of nasty injuries he has and the first thing that comes to my mind is that his dream of playing in the Olympics and giving Brazil their first ever gold medal will never come true.

Many think this could be the end of his career and I'm one of those who will want him to make another miraculous comeback and retire on a high note. His greatness deserves nothing less.

RONALDO is one of the greatest players of my generation (I was born only 1 year after him) and he is the kind of star that makes you forget which shirt he's wearing and he is an example of resilience and toughness to overcome whatever injury have come his way.

All of these reasons are enough for me to write the first ever non-Argentine related post in the history of Mundo Albiceleste. This is how I feel right now. This is what I want everybody to read about.

Vamos RONALDO!

UEFA Cup Action Resumes

Just before I head back home from work, I though of writing a few notes on matches from the Round of 32 and certainly there are number of interesting clashes.

The one that is on the top of my list will have to be Atlético Madrid visiting Bolton Wanderers. As of now, it looks like that Kun AGUERO will not be available, as I believe he has not return from injury.

This is definitely a big blow for Los Colchoneros as Kun is their top scorer with 5 goals in this tournament. Both Maxi RODRIGUEZ and Leo FRANCO will most likely start for Atlético.

Another match that caught my attention after plenty of surfing down the Internet is the Anderlecht/Bordeaux encounter. Nicolas PAREJA will likely be given the most enduring task of the game, which is to mark Fernando CAVENAGHI.

Both players in some ways have taken the spotlight in this match, with the press labeling this match as the
PAREJA vs. CAVENAGHI game. When will these mind games ever stop?

CAVENAGHI has been impressive in the UEFA Cup as he is Bordeaux top scorer with 5 goals and is highly motivated to win it. Other players that could see action are Lucas BIGLIA, Nicolás FRUTOS (both with Anderlecht), Alejandro ALONSO, Juan Pablo FRANCIA and Christian PERUCHINI (all with Bordeaux).

Rodolfo ARRUABARRENA could have the chance to meet up with an old friend in the form of ex-Boca teammate Pato ABBONDANZIERI, when AEK Athens take on Getafe at home. Not trying to go against him but I would prefer if we could see Oscar USTARI in action instead.

Others that could perhaps see action are Daniel DIAZ & Lucas LICHT (both with Getafe) and Federico AZCARATE & Ismael BLANCO (both for AEK Athens).

Other notable names that will be in action are Martin DEMICHELIS and José Ernesto SOSA, when Bayern Munich travels to Aberdeen.

The following are the list names that could see some action in this round for their respective clubs: -

Alejandro DOMINGUEZ (Zenit St. Petersburg)
Gonzalo RODRIGUEZ (Villarreal)
Fabricio FUENTES (Villarreal)
Marcelo Adrian CARRUSCA (Galatasaray)
Sebastian ROMERO (Panathinaikos)
Ezequiel GONZALEZ (Panathinaikos)
Mario Alberto SANTANA (Fiorentina)
Leandro GRIMI (Sporting Lisbon)
Leandro ROMAGNOLI (Sporting Lisbon)
Franco COSTANZO (FC Basel)
Andrés MADRID (Sporting Braga)
Ángel Di MARIA (Benfica)
Gonzalo BERGESSIO (Benfica)
Javier Horacio PINOLA (Nuremberg)
Juan Ángel KRUPOVIESA (Olympique Marseille)
Cristian MAIDANA (Spartak Moscow)
Lets hope that some these names will be on the score sheet. Vamos Argentina!!!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Monday, February 11, 2008

NBA News – A BIG Hit From Manu

Toronto Raptors 88 San Antonio Spurs 93

Tonight’s game had more significant than just another regular season match, especially with the All-Star weekend fast approaching. For both Manu GINOBILI and Raptor’s Jose CALDERON it was a time to prove just how much they are going to be missed during that weekend. Well the Spaniard had his fair share of the last laugh with career high 27 points.

Now back to Manu, for me this game will go down as one of the highlight in his 6 years NBA career. He started the first two-quarter with a bang, 21 points in a space of 19 minutes. Then added a further 13 points in the next two to finish off with a game high 34 points.

“I always try to play like this, but sometimes you can't -- it doesn't happen," Manu said. "You don't make shots, you don't feel as good. Today the shot was feeling great, so I tried to use it."

"The second day of a back-to-back is always tough," Manu said. "(Sunday) we had a loss that hurt, so it was very important for us to get this win."
Not only that he also posted a career high of 15 rebounds as well. His biggest rebound came in the final 20 seconds when he rebounded his own miss and was fouled with the Spurs clinging to a three-point lead. He was also had the team highest assist (6) and steals (2) to his credit.

"It's the first time, probably in my life, that I got 15 boards" he said. "But it's not anything to be so proud of. They just bounced my way, that's it."

His performance tonight earned him high praises from both the Raptors and Spurs.

"When somebody is on like Manu, there's almost nothing you can do," Spurs coach Gregg POPOVITCH said. "He played an all-around game."

"Manu stepped up and carried us over the hump," Tim DUNCAN, who posted 22 points, said. "His rebounds were an absolute bonus for us. He was great on the boards tonight."

"He can do everything," Toronto's Carlos DELFINO said. "He can drive, he can rebound and he makes passes. They know how to use him and he has responded."

Fabricio OBERTO too had a pretty good night with 6 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists and a steal.
On the opposite end, DELFINO was reunited with his international colleague and would have been eager to show his own worth. From the way I look at it, he is turning out to be the Raptors best sixth men.

He did it once again with 11 points, team high 8 rebounds (alongside BOSH & MOON) and 2 assists.

Houston Rockets 95 Portland Trail Blazers 83

The Rockets recorded their seven straight game with a win with all of heir starting five posting double digit.

Luis SCOLA could have had more to his 11 points tally if it wasn’t for his foul trouble. He also had a team high of 7 rebounds (alongside YAO Ming), 2 assists & 1 steal as well.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

NBA News - Manu & Spurs Meet The Celtics

Boston Celtics 98 San Antonio Spurs 90

In what could possibly be an NBA final series in 2008, Spurs suffered their first defeat in five games. Despite of this, there was still some room for improvement for a killer match, especially with the absence of Tony PARKER & Kevin GARNETT.

Manu GINOBILI had some trouble shooting the three points in the final minute as he was heavily guard and his two shots were not even close.

Still Manu did his best to carry a team that is depleted in the absence of PARKER & Brent BARRY as he manage to post 21 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals & 1 block shot. But still I must say, he should have done better in his turnovers.

Fabricio OBERTO on other hand had 4 points, 4 rebounds & 3 assists.

Minnesota Timberwolves 82 Toronto Raptors 105

The versatility of Carlos DELFINO can be seen in many ways. If his scoring rate is down, his defensive quality will come into the picture.

Tonight despite only posting 7 points, he had a game high of 9 rebounds (together with teammate Chris BOSH & Wolves Al JAFFERSON) plus an assist & a steal.

Detroit Pistons 113 Charlotte Bobcats 87
Walter HERRMANN did not post any points just 3 rebounds and an assist. Certainly for me this is really depressing considering the fact if there was a game for him show what he is worth, it had to be this one.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

No Ticket To Beijing For Hockey

New Zealand grabbed the coveted ticket to Beijing while all Sergio VIGIL and his men could do is watch in despair.

Argentina did control much in the beginning and took the lead when Lucas VILA deflected a penalty corner hit from brother Matias VILA up into the roof of the goal. Then the Black Sticks came back strongly and took the equalizer through Dave KOSOOF in the 49th minute.

That only lasted for three minutes as a quick response Argentina took the lead again, this time through Matias VILA. With the pace of the game increasing, Argentina could no longer hold on as the host equalized through Hayden SHAW with just four minutes left.

The match went into sudden extra time from which disaster strike with only less them a minute left when New Zealand got the winner trough Brad SHAW.

This was a big disappointment indeed as we have always qualified since 1968 but there were still other good news elsewhere.

Davis Cup...

Despite being put to tough fight in the second set, Britain's pair of Jamie MURRAY/Ross HUTCHINS could not still stop Argentina from sealing this tie in Day 2 of the round.

Jose ACASUSO and David NALBANDIAN were too strong for the inexperience pair as they won 6-2, 7-6 & 6-0 to book Argentina's place in the quarter-finals.

Argentina captain Alberto MANCINI said: "We had a pretty good first set and had the control of the second and then they got a little distracted I think. The British team rose their level a bit but the first set was very good for us. They [Britain] went down emotionally after losing the second set."

"Our goal is to win Davis Cup. Our hope is to get to the final and win it but we now have to see who wins between Sweden and Israel. We hope Sweden wins because we would face them at home," continued MANCINI.

He also revealed that Agustin CALLERI and Jose ACASUSO will play the dead rubbers with Alex BOGDANOVIC and Jamie BAKER expected to play for Britain.

NBA News...

Utah Jazz 97 Chicago Bulls 87

Another defeat for the Bulls that could effect their chances of a play-off birth. Andres NOCIONI was a starter, posted 14 points, 4 rebounds & 1 assist.

Houston Rockets 108 Atlanta Hawks 89

A sixth straight won for the Rockets from which Luis SCOLA, now a regular starter, had 8 points in the opening quarter to help Houston built a 30-16 lead.

Late in the third quarter, he appeared to jam a finger on his left hand when Josh CHILDRESS swatted the ball out of his hands. SCOLA went to the bench, grimacing in pain and did not return.

He eventually posted 14 points, 9 rebounds & 1 steal.

Football - French Ligue 1...

A double strike from Fernando CAVENAGHI, ensured Bordeaux close the gap on Lyon to four points after 3-0 win over Metz.

His first was from a penalty in the 25th minute and the second was from a superb combination with Brazilian WENDELL in the 73rd minute.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Elsewhere...

With Argentina already 2-0 up in their Davis Cup encounter with Great Britain, lets see how the rest was doing in other parts of the world.

NBA News...

New York Knicks 93 San Antonio Spurs 99

Spurs won this match after surviving a near defeat situation at the very last seconds. Down by 3 with 8 seconds left, a pass by Manu GINOBILI to Michael FINLEY saw him converting the 3-pointer shot to send this tie into overtime.

GINOBILI posted 20 points, 7 rebounds, a game high 9 assists & 5 steals. Fabricio OBERTO on the other hand posted 8 points, 8 rebounds & 1 assist.

Toronto Raptors 98 Los Angeles Clippers 102

Carlos DELFINO was the top performer for the Raptors from the bench, posting 14 points & 3 rebounds.

Hockey Olympic Qualifier...

Argentina almost saw their chances of an Olympic berth wiped out at the very end, when Ireland pulled of a surprise 1-0 win.

Despite dominating for the most of the game, Ireland were pretty much dangerous in some occasion and defended well.

In the 56th minute the boys in green were gifted a penalty corner from which Ronan GORMLEY scored.

With this result Argentina will play the final play off tomorrow, after finishing with a better goal difference. As expected their opponent will be the host New Zealand after they've defeated France 2-0.

GARAY: Another Argentine blaugrana?

The raise of Ezequiel GARAY seems to continue on the up. FC Barcelona will reportedly sign him from Racing de Santander for 17 million euros.

The central defender, who missed the U23's friendly against Guatemala because of gastroenteritis, will join Lionel MESSI and Gabriel MILITO as the Argentine legion at the Camp Nou.

In times when Argentina desperately searches for the ideal replacement for legendary Roberto AYALA, GARAY seems to be regarded highly in club football while he is not getting too many opportunities to pull the Albiceleste.

I'm sure that will change and I'm sure he'll go to Beijing to defend our gold.

Check out this story about him joining Barcelona:

http://goal.com/en-us/Articolo.aspx?ContenutoId=575662

Or search Google News for more (the link is too wide for me to post it here and make sense).

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Argentina Ready For Team GBR

It's a brand new year and another occassion for our racquet kings to start their conquest towards Davis Cup glory. Certainly last year early exit was pretty much painful after almost capturing the crown in 2006.

So once again, Alberto MANCINI and his boys will start all over again only this time with the backing of home crowd beckons in the first round. And who is our opponent? Well it's non other than Great Britain. But the real question here is that will 2008 be kind to us? Only time will tell.

Argentina will most certainly start as favourite for this tie considering the fact we have some of our best names available. While Great Britain have been weakend by the absence of their top player, Andy MURRAY because of injury. The only setback for MANCINI was the withdrawal of Juan MONACO after he picked up an ankle injury in the recent Movistar Open in Chile. His replacement will be Sebastian PRIETO.

The true gulf between these two sides is illustrated by the current ranking list which shows there are 19 Argentines rated higher than Britain’s number one.

"I think that’s what makes our team so strong,” said MANCINI, Argentina’s captain, referring to his nation’s strength in depth. “We had a few injuries at the start of the year but we still have a very good team. We have a good record and I hope that can continue.”

For the record, Great Britain only win against Argentina goes all the way back in 1928. The most recent meeting was in 1989, with Argentina triumphing 3-2 on grass in Eastbourne.

The full draw unfolds as follows:

Friday
David NALBANDIAN v Jamie BAKER
Agustin CALLERI v Alex BOGDANOVIC

Saturday
Jose ACASUSO/David NALBANDIAN v Ross HUTCHINS/Jamie MURRAY

Sunday
David NALBANDIAN v Alex BOGDANOVIC
Agustin CALLERI v Jamie BAKER

Argentina 5-0 Guatemala: the goals

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Argentina won. Not much more to add

Until we play a team that can really give us a contest. I'm not being arrogant here or disrespectful towards Guatemala. I'm just stating facts.

This match (they made us watch at 1:30 AM) was a fluke. No parity. Not a contest. It was played to see how many goals could Argentina scored. It's not the kind of test we need, if we want to prepare accordingly to the importance of the Olympic tournament we will play in a few months.

Guatemala had nothing to stop Argentina or to compromise our defense.

They did have a nice try through a header by CABRERA that USTARI did well to smother near his left post with 7 minutes gone.

But 7 minutes after that, BANEGA tried to shoot and the ball found Gonzalo HIGUAIN. The Real Madrid striker took only 14 minutes to score his first goal for Argentina.

With 33 minutes gone, Argentina hit on the counter-attack and after Roman fed LAVEZZI on the left, the Napoli forward fooled the Guatemalan keeper and sent a cannon-ball with his left foot, when everybody expected him to cross the ball from a rather tight angle.

I was good to see ESCUDERO doing a good job at left-back (since we don't have many options in that position). HIGUAIN's debut was promising but he needs to be tested against a better team.

MASCHERANO was his usual self and won a lot of challenges playing alongside BANEGA. The two made a good holding midfield combo as FAZIO and DEMICHELIS made a solid and very physical pair of central defenders.

In the second half, it was more of the same. Guatemala just couldn't stop any of our players when they decided to go for it. Like Ezequiel LAVEZZI did when he ran from the left, all the way to the goal line and send a back pass to HIGUAIN, who twisted, turned and scored in a 1-2-3 move to score his second of the game and give Argentina a 3-0 lead with 68 minutes gone.

Cristian ANSALDI (another option at left back) and Jonathan MAIDANA played a few minutes in the second half but they didn't have much to do to be honest. ANSALDI replaced SOSA, pushing ESCUDERO to a left midfielder role, while MAIDANA took ZABALETA's place as right back. Marco RUBEN took LAVEZZI's place in attack. Augusto FERNANDEZ also made an appereance. And to be honest...I lost track on the substitutions. I'm really tired and I don't know what am I doing awake!

I said MAIDANA didn't have much to do. Well, he didn't. So he decided to join in the attack and boy he did it right! MAIDANA received from HIGUAIN and fired a rocket towards the left top corner of the goal to put the match 4-0 to the Albicelestes.

A few moments later, Marco RUBEN combined with Ever BANEGA before sending a low shot under the keeper's body to put it 5-0.

Man of the Match: If it wasn't because HIGUAIN scored two goals, this prize was going to MASCHE's hands. The Liverpool midfielder played such a great game that it is still hard not to give him the MOM award. But "goles son amores" ("goals are love") is an old saying in Argentina and Pipita gets the edge because of that.

Argentina-Guatemala: Live stream

For those of you who'll be awake by kick-off time and don't have a TV broadcast of Sergio BATISTA's first match in charge of Argentina Olympic Team against Guatemala, you can check the several options you have to watch it live on your computer and totally free!

http://myp2p.eu/broadcast.php?matchid=5767&part=sports

Enjoy!

Futsalbiceleste Was In Town

Yes!!! Our futsal team was down in Kuala Lumpur recently for the KL World 5-futsal tournament. Me and all of my friends, have waited for this moment for almost five years.

Back in 2003 Malaysia hosted a futsal tournament that brought the best teams in the 5-a-side game from all over the world. Thank God!!! Argentina was among those teams that took the invitation. There were plenty of great memories back then.

In our group game, we trashed Indonesia (20-1) and Japan (5-1) to progress towards the semi-finals where we were given a real scare by Iran. At half time, Iran were leading 1-0 but in the second half, two powerful strikes from outside the D-box by Marcelo GIMENEZ and Carlos SANCHEZ ensured our place in the final. And whom exactly did we play then? Well its non other than the Brazil.

I still remember that final as if it only happened yesterday. With the majority of the people in the arena supporting Brazil; we made our presence felt by bringing our own banner (one is an Argentina flag with the word “Vamos Argentina” and the other is a banner with the word ‘Gracias Por Venir”). The players and coaches did notice us and in return they applauded us for the support we have given them.

At that point of time, we knew it was going to be very hard to play against Brazil and to no surprise they took the lead through RIBEIRO. Then they were stunned when Diego GIUSTOZZI and Carlos SANCHEZ scored to give Argentina a 2-1 lead at half time. Suddenly the majority of the arena was left in silent while Argentina supporters were clearly the loudest.

When the second half started, NETO equalized for Brazil to make it 2-2, which is how the match ended in regular time. So it was sudden death extra time. All of us were really nervous and our hearts were pumping faster.

It was then when the most unthinkable happen as the Brazilian goalkeeper (can’t remember his name) was clearing the ball away from his area; saw his shot taking a deflection on Esteban GONZALEZ from which the ball swing back into the Brazilian’s goal and it was a blue & white celebration all the way.

The players brought the trophy and lifted it in front of us just to show their appreciation for our support. Some of them even did sign autographs on our banner.

It was a historical moment for our futsal team, as prior to that we have never beaten Brazil and it sounds sweeter to say that we were there on that day to witness that great moment.

Now we are in 2008, the second edition of the tournament is back (please don’t ask me why did it took so long) and Argentina was back in town again.

For more information you can check out on the tournament’s official website: -

http://www.klworld5s.com/

Argentina was drawn in Group A alongside the host Malaysia (of all teams!!!), Australia, England & Indonesia. Group B had Brazil, Thailand, Iran, China & Holland.

Unfortunately for me, I could not attend any of the group games because all matches were played during my working hours. But I can tell you that we beat England (12-1), Malaysia (7-1) and Indonesia (6-0) before surprisingly being held by Australia (3-3). For your information, we were down 2-3 with just a minute left to play, before goalkeeper Daniel ELIAS slammed home the equalizer. The result was indeed a significant one as we manage to avoid Brazil in the semis.

After missing all the drama and action from the group stage, I knew I had to be there this time.

Saturday, February 2nd

It was the semi-final and Argentina was up against an unpredictable Thailand. We arrived at the arena around 3.00 pm and since the match only started at 5, my friends and I decided to go and have something to eat.

When we came back, we realized we were the only Argentina supporter at that time, but slowly others (consisting of both local & expatriate) were joining us and the number started to increase. Just before the match started, we had the chance to shake hands with the players, as they’ve just completed their warm up session.
video
It was a nail-biting encounter; on which eventually we did defeated the Thais 5-3 to progress to the final with goals from Christian BORRUTO, Pablo BASILE, José GODOY (twice) and Ignacio CAVIGLA. There was a feeling of ecstasy around us as soon as the game was over.
video
After the game finished, we decided to head home straight away rather than staying to watch the other semi-final between Brazil and Australia. I must say we have no regrets about this as while we walking towards our car, we realized that the Argentina’s team bus was parked just right next to the car park.

From our jerseys and banners, the players did notice our presence and they acknowledged us while the coach said “Gracias” for our support.


Sunday, February 3rd

As expected we were bound to meet Brazil again in the final. We knew this time it was never going to be easy as Brazil brought their best team including FALCAO (the World's best player) and they have yet to concede a goal in the tournament.

The match was due to kick off at 7.00 pm and we arrived at the arena about 6.30 pm. While we were looking around for a strategic place to sit, we realized that the large numbers of Brazilian supporters were gathering behind one of the goals. So immediately we have decided to sit at the other end as a response towards the Brazilian supporter.

As kick-off time was just minutes away, Argentina supporters were beginning to create a sea of blue and white behind one of the goals and it was great feeling seeing all of them mingling around at one common cause.

Brazil supporters had their samba drums while at our end we had two sets of Chinese drums to give some beat and cutting edge into our chant. Wow!!! We were really loud and that’s all just good because it was then when everyone knew that Argentina supporters were around.

As the players and coaches were walking into the arena for the national anthems ceremony, they did notice our presence and after that they came to our end to acknowledge us with the coach Fernando LARRAÑAGA saying, at the top of his voice, Gracias!!! Gracias!!!
video
Once the game started, Brazil was pressuring us from left to right and viceversa but we still held on firmly. At times we were dangerous on the counter attack but could not capitalized on the chances that we had. Then, disaster strike with less than a minute left for half time, Brazil scored through Joao CARVALHO.
video
In the second half we had no answers against them, as three more goals from Lenisio JUNIOR, FALCAO and William MORAIS made the scoreline 4-0. Our boys tried their very best and never gave up as I could tell that they really wanted to score and crack Brazil’s perfect defense. In the end, Brazil finally managed to bury the ghost that has haunted them for the pat five years.

Despite of this painful defeat, our boys led by captain GODOY (in an interview with a local newspaper, he mentioned that he was born in the same hospital than Diego MARADONA!!!), showed some class by coming towards us again and applauding our support. I still remember in 2003 when Brazil lost, their players did not have the decency to do the same to their supporters.
video
After that, I’ve decided to take some pictures with other Argentina supporters which all of them were nice, friendly and passionate people. Result aside, I would have not changed a single moment on that day as it was a great feeling to be surrounded by many people who live and die by the blue & white code.

It makes me wonder what it would have been like if the real football team would make the trip one day. I just can’t imagine how crazy would that be.

I apologize in case you find this article too lengthy to read as I didn’t want leave a single key moment that I’ve experienced during those times.

Special thanks to Bala & Ganesh making this trip possible. Unfortunately, Alwin could not make the trip as he was on duty outstation.

Once again, muchas gracias to the futsal team for coming and giving us some great moment to cherish.

VAMOS ARGENTINA!!!

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

The Manning's, Manu & Hockey

NBA News...

Indiana Pacers 89 San Antonio Spurs 116

Among the most notable attendees in the crowd tonight was Indianapolis Colt coach Tony DUNGY and Archie MANNING. If the latter name sounded familiar, well he is the father of Peyton and Eli MANNING, the last two Super Bowl’s MVP.

After the first half, Spurs turn into defensive to help their cause in routing the Pacers.

"We played with more energy, more aggressively," Manu GINOBILI said. "Then, we started switching some pick and rolls, trying to send people to the basket. We made a couple adjustments that really worked."

Manu had another productive night posting 15 points, game high 7 assists & 3 rebounds. While at the same time, he was sharing some of the duty at point, in the absence of injured Tony PARKER.

Fabricio OBERTO also had double-digit performance, posting 10 points, 8 rebounds & 1 assist.

Hockey Olympic Qualifier...

Argentina played New Zealand in their fourth qualifying match, it what could also be a pre-top two play off clash. The Black Stick had the backing of a strong home crowd so Argentina could have expected a tough encounter.

Nevertheless the hockey boys showed plenty of determination and character to nail their fourth straight win and with almost assured the No.1 position of the standing.

Lucas CAMMARERI struck first from a deflection shot courtesy of Juan GARRETA. Another deflection shot from Rodrigo VILA courtesy of Matias PAREDES made it 2-0 to Argentina at half time.

In the second half, Rodrigo combined well with his brother Lucas VILA to put Argentina 3-0 ahead. New Zealand reduced the deficit from Ben COLLIER but it was too late already.

A well deserves 3-1 win for Argentina who will play Ireland in their next match.

The road to Beijing starts in Los Angeles

I don't know if it's just me but everytime I think of our Olympic football national team I've got only one image. One memory. The memory of one of the goals I celebrated the most in recent years.

We were playing Uruguay. It was 0-0. Boring. Really boring match. With that result, we had enough to make it to the U20 World Cup in Canada (which we eventually won thanks to KUN, Maxi MORALEZ and company). But we were falling short of our biggest goal. We were seconds away from not being able to defend our Athens gold medal near the Great Wall.

So Lautaro ACOSTA (U20 World Cup Champion and Torneo Apertura champion with Lanús) jumped higher than everyone else to send it home with that head full of curly hair and to send me into a state of complete madness! Remember I was living in Brazil! I surely woke up the entire building and I just couldn't stop. I'll thank Lautaro forever and I'll never forget that moment.

You can say that was when the Road to Beijing really started. With a ticket won by U20's for a tournament that will eventually be played by U23's (with three over-aged players). But this Wednesday's friendly match against Guatemala in LA is certainly going to be played by a team that will look pretty much like the one Sergio BATISTA will bring to Beijing in August.

BATISTA himself had no idea he was going to manage these players by the time ACOSTA scored that goal.

One thing we know for sure is that he is a motivated man. "This match against Guatemala will be like the World Cup final of 86 against Germany for me", exagerated Mr. Checho but he made his point.

Three over-aged players. Three regular first-team players for Coco's big boys. Martín DEMICHELIS, Javier MASCHERANO and Juan Roman RIQUELME. It'll be their duty to lead their younger team-mates and to teach them a trick or two in the process.

There's no secret that U23's are no longer what they used to be. I remember when growing up, the majority of the footballers taking part of the Olympic tournament were complete and absolute unknown people. They were there to gain some experience and hopefully attract the attention of big clubs willing to bring them over.

Now even the U17's have signed professional contracts and some of them are first team regulars with at least 50 matches under their belts.

So the Olympic tournament is more competitive than ever and you need to bring your best men to the party.

A HAPPY CHECHO

This time around, BATISTA wanted to have all the stars he could possibly call. He knew from the start he was not going to have MESSI (understanding he is just coming back from injury and knowing that calling him was probably not the best thing to do). But, like a little boy who knows he's behave superbly during the year, he wrote Santa a letter asking for all the other top toys he knows.

And when the album was almost complete, he found out that Kun AGÜERO, Fernando GAGO, Ezequiel GARAY where the elusive figures and he had to make do without them.

Still, BATISTA looks to be very happy with what he got out of the letter he wrote. On paper, the team to face Guatemala looks promising (to say the least).

Solid in every line. But let's take a look at how the team will probably start the match:

Oscar USTARI will be the goalkeeper (Sergio ROMERO -U20 WC in Canada- will wait in the bench)

ZABALETA (right) and ESCUDERO (left) will be the full-backs, while Martín DEMICHELIS and Federico FAZIO (Sevilla) will play in the centre of the back four.

There's be a pair of holding midfielders in Ever BANEGA and Javier MASCHERANO (I'm thinking how many team will present a stronger pair in the Olympics -and you have to have in mind that BANEGA will play only because GAGO is injured-).

RIQUELME will have a free role and will move mostly in the centre while José SOSA (former Estudiantes de La Plata, now at Bayern Munich) and Gonzalo HIGUAIN will move on the flanks, feeding up Napoli's Ezequiel LAVEZZI who will play up front.

What do you think of that? Pretty strong, I must admit!

BATISTA tried to call up Maxi MORALEZ and Claudio YACOB (both of Racing Club, now that MORALEZ will officially return to Avellaneda -much to my incredible joy!-), but he failed to bring them to LA because the pair didn't have a visa to enter the USA.

HOW CAN I FOLLOW THE MATCH? STREAMING? COMMENTARY?

At the beginning it was for research. Then communications took over and all you wanted to do was to chat and to read and write e-mails. Then porn became king (some might say it still is! haha!) and e-business and online gaming and plenty of other things. But I dare to say we are officially living in the era of football (and sports in general) broadcast through the internet.

How cool is to watch virtually every match from every country from anywhere like you can do these days?

Well...I may have to eat my words here as there is no confirmation (to my knowledge) of an online broadcast of Guatemala v Argentina.

My source for online football broadcastings (and highly recommendable) still has no link to the match but it promises they will. So here's hoping we'll be able to get it.

Here's the link to their site (make sure you download the software you need -SopCast, TVU, TVAnts, etc.-): http://myp2p.eu/broadcast.php?matchid=5767&part=sports

Another good source for live football has it listed, but still no information on the link. You may want to check here: http://rojadirecta.com/foros/viewtopic.php?t=34684

I will of course post here if I find a link to that commentary and I kindly ask all readers to feel free to post in the comments section if you happen to find one.

Vamos Argentina!

Monday, February 04, 2008

Argentina Survive French Scare

Argentina took on France in their third match of the qualifier. Much to everyone surprise it was the French who took the game to our boys as they were pressuring our defense. For the reward, France took the lead in the 4th minute, courtesy of a roof top scoop from Nicolas GAILLARD.

That scary moment was just temporary as Argentina found their rhythm and got the equalizer in the 15th minute through Lucas VILA. Three minutes later, Rodrigo VILA put us in the lead. Juan GARERTA made it 3-1 for Argentina towards the end of the first half.
When the second half started, again our boys have seemed to lose their rhythm and the French started to attack again. The score line became 3-2 when Frederic SOYEZ pushes the ball over the line in the 58th minute. But a minute later, Lucas CAMMERERI slotted the ball into an empty goal to restore Argentina’s two-goal lead.

The final score Argentina 4 France 2

NBA News - Great News For Scola

Miami Heat 82 Toronto Raptors 114

A fantastic start from the first quarter, enable the Raptors to rout the Heat to they’re 19th defeat in the last 20 games.

Carlos DELFINO posted 7 points, 1 rebound, 3 assists & 1 steal.

Minnesota Timberwolves 86 Houston Rockets 92

Luis SCOLA continued his double scoring spree as a starter, this time he posted 11 points, a team high 8 rebounds & 1 assist.
The big news is that SCOLA has been selected to take part in the upcoming All-Star Rookie Challenge event, alongside other rookies such as Milwaukee Bucks YI Jianlian from China, Memphis Grizzlies Spaniard Juan Carlos NAVARRO and Kevin DURANT from the Seattle Supersonics.

This is also a great news for myself after realizing how stupid can some people get for leaving Manu GINOBILI from the All-Star despite having a spectacular season.

Seattle Supersonics 108 Chicago Bulls 118

The Bulls are improving on their quest for a play off spot in the Eastern Conference. Andres NOCIONI posted a double-digit performance with 14 points, 4 rebounds & 1 assist.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

The Weekend Roundup

Spanish Primera Liga...

Aldo DUSCHER scored a 75th minute penalty to secure a 1-1 draw for Racing Santander against Levante. DUSCHER was fouled in the penalty area by David CASTEDO, then took the spot kick himself and firing high into the net.

Italian Serie A...

Maximiliano PELLEGRINO scored first for Atalanta in their 3-2 away win over Parma.

Hockey Olympic Qualifier...

Argentina overtook host New Zealand at the top of the standing after trashing Trinidad & Tobago 7-1in Day 2 of the qualifier.

Matias VILA (2), Lucas VILA (2), Rodrigo VILA, Lucas ROSSI & Fernando ZYLBERBERG were the scorers.

NBA News...

Walter HERRMANN had 5 points in a space of 3:22 time play in Detroit Pistons 90-67 win over the Dallas Mavericks.

Tennis Fed Cup...

Argentina move into the World Group play off after defeating Austria 4-1 in Buenos Aires.
Jorgelina CRAVERO struck first for Argentina with a 7-6 & 6-3 win over Yvonne MEUSBUGER.

The tie was level at 1-1 after Maria-Ernilia SALERINI lost her game to Melanie KLAFFNER.
But she redeemed herself in the next match against Patricia MAYR 7-5, 3-6 & 6-2. CRAVERO then went to seal the win with a 6-4 & 6-4 win over KLAFFNER.

To complete the fixture, the pairing of Maria IRIGOYEN & Betina JOZAMI made it 4-1 for Argentina with a 6-1, 4-6 & 6-3 win against Yvonne MEUSBUGER & Barbara SCHWARTZ.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Double Strikes From FARIAS & LAVEZZI

Forget about Almeria surprise victory over the Real Madrid as they were other great news during smashing Saturday.

In Portugal...

FC Porto trounced Uniao Leiria 4-0 to remain on top of the Portuguese Liga with two goals from Ernesto FARIAS and one from Lisandro LOPEZ. Jose BOSINGWA strike first in he 16th minute.

Lucho GONZALEZ was in the starting line up and played until the 62nd minute when he was substitute for Mariano GONZALEZ.

In Italy...

Napoli got back to winning ways after defeating Udinese 3-1 in a game which saw both teams were reduced to 10 men. The man that ensure this win for them is non other than Ezequiel LAVEZZI, scoring twice in one minute.
The first, on which he controlled the ball deftly before firing in a thunderbolt of a shot from 30 yards into the bottom corner.

Just moments later, an unfortunate knocked by by Udinese's Christian ZAPATA saw the ball going towards LAVEZZI from which he slotted his effort from 15 yards out.

Hockey Olympic Qualifier - Argentina Trash USA

From the beginning of the match clearly they were the strongest side. When the match ended, Argentina did what had to do, wrap up a big win over USA and keep pace with New Zealand at the same time.
Mario ALMADA and his men capitalized on every moment and weakness from the Americans to beat them 9-1 in Day 1 of the qualifiers.

Two goals by ALMADA & Lucas VILLA and a goal each from Juan GARRETA, Matias VILLA, Lucas ROSSI & Fernando ZYLBERBERG help Argentina to secure the win. Nate COOLIDGE got the only consolation for USA.

Today they will take on Trinidad & Tobago.

Heroic Apache rescues point for Red Devils

I was watching Portsmouth-Chelsea on FOX Sports Latin America (odd choice of live coverage when they had Spurs-Man. Utd. at the same time).

They had Pompey-Blues live, followed by Tottenham-Manchester United (taped), while they could have had the match at White Hart Lane LIVE, followed by Liverpool-Sunderland LIVE. Anyway...

The thing is...the public in Argentina missed one more Carlitos TEVEZ's heroics!

I was following the entire Premiership action (paying special attention to my team -QPR- in the Championship -we won 3-0 against high-flying Bristol City, by the way-) and when all the matches were about to finish, I said: "OK, I'll give it a try and I'll watch the final minutes on SopCast".

As the software was loading I said to myself: "I doubt I'll tune in on time, it's surely over".

But the ref gave 3 added minutes and United won a corner kick on the right and Carlitos decided to write another page in his book of heroics.

He went to the first post and got there before everybody else to simply touch it and send it to the back of the net to equalize a match that looked pretty much in the bag for unlucky Spurs.

Considering Arsenal had defeated Manchester City earlier and knowing this TEVEZ goal now keeps them 2 points away from the Gunners...how much will this goal be worth by the end of the season?

Pancho VILLA, the rebel County needed

He doesn't have the large mustache and he surely doesn't fire revolvers or wear big sombreros, like the legendary Mexican Pancho VILLA, but Emanuel, born in Argentina and a former player of Huracán and Rosario Central, arrived to Derby County from Mexico and today he fired home to give them a point away at St. Andrew's against Birmingham.

County are favourites to be relegated as the have gathered only 9 points in the entire campaign, but it's a good thing for VILLA to score and hopefully start making a name for himself.

Mauro ZARATE also played in that match, but he only came in as a sub with roughly 15 minutes to go. He is surely pushing to get his first start with the Blues. We'll see how it goes.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Hockey Olympic Qualifier Underway

The national men’s hockey team are currently in the midst are preparing for the Olympic Qualifier to be held in down under New Zealand.

Argentina apart from the host will also have France, Ireland, USA and Trinidad & Tobago in company. Just for the info, only the top team will book a ticket to Beijing.

It hasn’t been an ideal situation for them, after having qualified for every Olympics since 1968; to play in this tournament. However this is the reality for coach Sergio VIGIL and his players after suffering a surprise defeat at the hands of Canada in last year Pan-Am Games in Rio.

On paper, the New Zealand Black Sticks will provide to toughest opposition for our boys, as they are highly motivated to erase the bad memories in last years Champions Challenge Tournament.

Further note to this, inspirational play maker Jorge LOMBI’s name has been omitted for some unknown reason. Almost certainly this is going to leave a huge gap in the team. Bare in mind it was his heroic performance in Brussels that won Argentina the Champions Challenge Tournament.

The following are the names that have been selected by coach VIGIL.

1. Juan Manuel VIVALDI (GK)
3. Juan Martin LOPEZ
4. Matias VILA
5. Pedro IBARRA
7. Mario ALMADA (C)
8. Lucas REY
9. Rodrigo VILA
10. Matias PAREDES
11. Lucas CAMMARERI
12. Lucas VILA
14. Fernando ZYLBERBERG
18. Juan GARRETA
22. Matias REY
23. Juan ESPINOSA (GK)
24. Lucas ARGENTO
27. Lucas ROSSI
29. Agustin CORRADINI
31. Ignacio BERGNER

Argentina will kick off their campaign against the United State on the 2nd of February.

GAGO out of Guatemala friendly. FERNANDEZ in

Fernando GAGO is injured and he will miss the trip to Los Angeles where Argentina will face Guatemala on February 6th.

River Plate's Augusto FERNANDEZ was called up by Sergio BATISTA to cover for GAGO.

This is the second substitution BATISTA is forced to make after Ezequiel GARAY (suffering from a kind of stomach flu) was replaced by Boca Juniors' Jonathan MAIDANA.

NBA News - Suns Can't Stop Manu, Again

Phoenix Suns 81 San Antonio Spurs 84

I was skeptical about this before the game but now I’ve just realized this wasn’t something new as it did happen before.

Lets go back to the 17th May 2007; the Spurs visited the Suns in Game 5 of the Western Conference semi-finals. At one point, Spurs were down by 16 points and it looked like the Suns were about to force the series to Game 7.

Then this is where, someone needs to rise to the occasion to deliver and that man posted a game high 26 points to help Spurs win that match, subsequently the series as well.

Now fast forward to 31st January 2008, this story was more or less the same.

Playing at the US Airways Center in front of raucous capacity plus with some sport celebrity appearance from the National Football League and PGA circle to spice up the atmosphere.

Coming from a three game losing streak, Spurs were desperate for a win but it was never going to be easy. The Suns fans were there to give them a hard long night with chant and insult being hurled everywhere.

At half time, Manu GINOBILI was pointless but finished off with a team high 19 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists & 3 steals.

GINOBILI said that despite trailing all of the first half and most of the game, the Spurs were confident.
"At the half, I was scoreless, Tim (DUNCAN) had only six points and they (the Suns) had 15 points off turnovers, but we were only down six points," he said. "So we were optimistic that we could get the win."

Fabricio OBERTO, together with Manu was a starter tonight, posted 2 points, 7 rebounds & 1 assist.