Sunday, August 31, 2008
Not many action from any of the Albiceleste on Saturday's fixtures. Lucho GONZALEZ scored from the penalty spot for FC Porto in their big game against Benfica. The match ended 1-1.
However there are some interesting transfer news
Mariano PAVONE has brushed off recent speculations about him moving to Boca. He has made it clear that he wants to remain at Real Betis. Boca were looking at PAVONE as a replacement for the injured Martin PALERMO.
Joining him at Betis from Boca is Olympic gold medallist Luciano MONZON. Betis have muscled out German side Hamburg SV to win the race for his signature. The deal is said to worth 9 million euros.
Arguably the biggest transfer news involving an Argentine was from the English Premiership. Manchester City have confirmed that they have sign another Olympic gold medalist, in the form of Pablo ZABALETA on a five year deal.
For me, this has to be a good move for ZABALETA as I feel playing in the Premiership will help to improve his football, considering he is right back. With him on the blue half Manchester and Carlos TEVEZ playing for the Red Devils, it will definitely be one hell of a derby to watch.
Tennis – US Open
Juan Martin DEL POTRO remains the Albiceleste sole survivor after the elimination of David NALBANDIAN in the Men's Single Third Round.
DEL POTRO defeated Frenchmen Gilles SIMON in five set 6-4, 6-7, 6-1, 3-6 & 6-3. His latest win, continues his unbeaten stretch to 22 games. His opponent in Round 4 will be Japanese giant killer Kei NISHIKORI, who knows a thing or two about playing against an Argentine player. (he defeated Juan MONACO in the first round).
NABANDIAN fell disappointingly again at the Grand Slam, this time to another French player, Gael MOFLIS in straight sets 3-6, 4-6 & 2-6.
NFL – Gramatica Will Kick for the Saints
New Orleans Saints have named Martin GRAMATICA on their roster for the NFL season. GRAMATICA will take on the place kickers role after the Saints have decided to drop Taylor MEHLHAFF, a sixth round draft pick. In the pre-season, GRAMATICA was prefect from 4 out of 4 kicks.
Friday, August 29, 2008
Despite going down in the first set against Brazilian Thomaz BELLUCCI 4-6, DEL POTRO came back to win the game 6-1, 7-5 & 6-3.
Not much of luck for Jose ACASUSO as he was knocked out by Gilles SIMON from France 4-6, 1-6 & 4-6.
Both DEL POTRO and SIMON will face off each other in the third round.
Still with the chance to join NALBANDIAN and DEL POTRO is Agustin CALLERI as he will take on Nikolay DAVYDENKO from Russia later.
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Yeah, its time now for everyone's favourite club competition in the world. I keep thinking as if it was only yesterday that Carlos TEVEZ lifted the Champions League trophy after that final in Moscow. What a great moment it was to witness such a thing.
Yesterday after viewing the group stage draw, I felt there was a need for me to write a preview on this competition. Looking at some of those groups, there is definitely going to be plenty of excitement during the coming months.
Here is my preview on each of the group
Group A – Chelsea, AS Roma, Bordeaux & CFR Cluj
If what Coco BASILE said was true, that Fernando CAVENAGHI will have a hard time getting into the National Team because he plays in the French league, well now's the time for him to prove him wrong. Don't forget that Diego PLACENTE is also on the French club's roster
Hopefully Franco DI SANTO well get some first team action. On the other hand, the Romanian side CFR will have a total 6 Albiceleste players on their squad (Sebastian DUBARIER, Sixto PERALTA, Cristian Sanchez PRETTE, Emmanuel CULIO, Gustavo OBERMAN & Diego RUIZ)
Group B – Inter Milan, Anorthosis Famagusta, Panathinaikos & Werder Bremen
With Jose MOURINHO on board and boosting the likes of Javier ZANETTI, Nicolas BURDISSO, Walter SAMUEL, Esteban CAMBIASSO, Hernan CRESPO & Julio CRUZ, I do hope to see Inter going far this season.
Apart from Bremen, I don't see much problem for them in this group. Not sure what plan does the so-called Special One had in mind with our players (remember CRESPO never enjoyed his company at Chelsea).
Group C- Sporting Lisbon, FC Basel, Shaktar Donetsk, FC Barcelona
What a relief, Barca finally made it through!!! (After all the fuss they had to do with Lionel MESSI). With a gold medalist, Gabriel MILITO, a new coach and a new look team; they should have no problem topping this group.
There could face some tough challenge from Sporting Lisbon who has Leandro GRIMI and Leandro ROMAGNOLI. FC Basel has four Albiceleste on their side with Franco COSTANZO, Marcos GELABERT, Federico ALMERARES and David ABRAHAM.
Group D – Liverpool, PSV Eindhoven, Atletico Madrid, Olympique Marseille
The main topic in this group must be Fernando TORRES making a return to the Vicente Calderon, as a Liverpool player.
It will be interesting to see Javier MASCHERANO & Emiliano INSUA facing Kun AGUERO, Maxi RODRIGUEZ, Leo FRANCO and Atletico latest acquisition, Ever BANEGA (he joined the club on loan from Valencia).
Another player that will featured in this group is Renato CIVELLI of Marseille
Group E – Aalborg, Manchester United, Villareal & Glasgow Celtic
Most certainly the highlight from this group must be "The Battle of Britain" between United and Celtic.
The last time when both Man Utd and Villareal were group together, it was the Red Devils that got knocked out of Europe while the Yellow Submarine (Roman was playing back then) when all the way to the semi-final.
Gonzalo RODRIGUEZ will likely be given the task to mark Carlos TEVEZ when both sides play each other. Don't forget the other two players from Villareal, Ariel IBAGAZA and Fabricio FUENTES
Group F – Fiorentina, Steaua Bucharest, Bayern Munich & Lyon
I'm happy to see both Bayern and Fiorentina back in the competition.
The Florence club will have Mario SANTANA on the wings and in central midfield Sergio ALMIRON, on loan from Juventus.
Martin DEMICHELIS will be the cornerstone of Bayern's defense and hopefully new coach Jurgen KLINSMANN will give Jose SOSA more first team appearance.
Not to forget, 2004 Athens gold medalist winner Cesar DELGADO will appear from Lyon.
Group G – Arsenal, FC Porto, Fenerbahce & Dynamo Kyiv
Forca Forca FC Porto!!! If there is one thing that the Dragons have learned is that they can only be one way and that is the Albiceleste way.
Porto has the most number of Albiceleste in their squad, seven players to be exact. This season they've brought in Nelson BENITEZ and Tomas COSTA to play alongside Lucho GONZAKEZ, Lisandro LOPEZ, Mariano GONZALEZ, Mario BOLATTI and Ernesto FARIAS.
Alongside Arsenal, they should progress to the next round though the other two can be unpredictable.
Group H – BATE Borisov, Juventus, Zenit St. Petersburg & Real Madrid
As the UEFA Cup winner, Alejandro DOMINGUEZ and his teammate will have mountain to climb if they were to survive in this group.
In past I have always supported Juve whenever they played against those El Galaticos of Madrid. Now with the likes of GAGO, SAVIOLA, HEINZE & HIGUAIN on board, I might need to use the white paint to cover those black stripe.
BATE might be making up the numbers here but I wouldn't want to underestimate anything that has to do with Belarus after our recent goalless draw against them.
Overall, there is total of 51 players from 18 different clubs that will be involved in this season Champions League. I'm sure the numbers will change as time to come.
Though it is still a very long way from now and Rome, which of these players, do you think that will lift the trophy come the 27th May 2009?
And don't forget tonight's European Super Cup between Manchester United and Zenit St. Petersburg.
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Winning the gold medal would have been the biggest motivation for him to help them overcome their 1-0 loss. This is exactly what he did.
In return, Kun inspired them with a Man of the Match performance against the German side to seal their place in the Champions League group stage. First he scored in 22nd minute to level the score on aggregate.In the second half, he provides an assist for both Diego FORLAN and Luis GARCIA to increase Atletico's lead. A penalty from Maxi RODRIGUEZ in the 87th minute sealed the game for Atletico to win 4-0 (4-1 on aggregate).Fernando BELLUSCHI was the other Argentine player to score in the same round, in Olympiacos 1-0 win over Cypriot side Anorthosis Famagusta. However the result was enough for the Greek side as Anorthosis won 3-1 on aggregate.Javier MASCHERANO's Liverpool also made it through courtesy of an extra time goal from Dirk KUYT against Belgian side Standard Liege.
Mario SANTANA & Fiorentina are also through despite the goalless draw with Slavia Prague as they have won the first leg 2-0.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Well today in their Carling Cup 2nd round match, Ian DOWIE's side produced a scintillating 4-0 performance against League One side Carlisle United. To cap off a brilliant night, Emmanuel LEDESMA (currently on loan from Genoa) scored a hat-trick and was the star for the Hoops.
I'll see if I can find any video on the match highlights or goals and I will upload them later but for now, enjoy this great moment Seba.
We've barely got over from the excitement of our Under-23 side in Beijing and now let's start talking about our upcoming World Cup qualifiers. National Team coach Alfio "Coco" BASILE has named an initial squad of 19 players for next months double header. The team will play Paraguay first on the 6th of September at home and then travel to Lima to face Peru four days later.
Roberto ABBOBDANZIERI (Getafe)
Juan Pablo CARIZZO (Lazio)
Sergio ROMERO (AZ Aalkmar)
Javier ZANETTI (Inter Milan)
Pablo ZABALETA (Espanyol)
Nicolás BURDISSO (Inter Milan)
Gonzalo RODRIGUEZ (Villarreal)
Martín DEMICHELIS (Bayern Munich)
Fabricio COLOCCINI (Newcastle)
Gabriel HEINZE (Real Madrid)
Javier MASCHERANO (Liverpool)
Fernando GAGO (Real Madrid)
Esteban CAMBIASSO (Inter Milan)
Angel DI MARIA (Benfica)
Andrés D'ALESSANDRO (Internacional)
Lionel MESSI (Barcelona)
Carlos TEVEZ (Manchester United)
Sergio Kun AGUERO (Atlético Madrid)
Lisandro LOPEZ (Porto)
Obviously, the most surprise name in that list is D'ALESSANDRO. My assumption was that previously Coco had some problem and just to ignore him. I feel happy about his recall and I hope to see the same El Cabezon that I remember watching in Athens 2004.
It is also interesting to see that Coco is using Sergio BATISTA's gold medal winning team as his platform. A total of seven players (ROMERO, ZABALETA, MASCHERANO, GAGO, DI MARIA, MESSI and KUN) were from our Under-23 squad.
The big question here is where on earth in Juan Roman RIQUELME? Well my guess is that he could be one of the others name that will be included in the next few days.
Another two notable absentee from this list that I hope would also make it into the team is Maxi RODRIGUEZ and Fernando CAVENAGHI though I'm not ruling out the likes of LAVEZZI or HIGUAIN.
What about Gabriel MILITO? Currently Coco already has seven defenders in this list so I'm not sure whether is he going to add another one.
That's said, it is never going to be to select just 23 from a pool of 30-40 players. This is what makes our team such an adorable team to support. Now I leave the floor to you guys to give us your input on this list.
Who should start? What sort of formation should Coco employ? And which players (that was left out) deserve to be in this list?
Sunday, August 24, 2008
With no less than 24 hours after the conclusion of Beijing 2008, its time now for the fourth and final Grand Slam of the year, the US Open.
2008 has been perhaps the wildest year in tennis for a long time. Rafael NADAL has become the new World No.1 after winning the last two Grand Slams (not to forget gold in Beijing). Roger FEDERER has never regained his self confidence since that epic final in Wimbledon and now looks very vulnerable.
Because of this, his first round opponent Maximo GONZALEZ will want to relish this opportunity. Is their going to be an upset here?
One player's progress that I'm looking forward to see is Juan Martin DEL POTRO. He has won the last 4 tournament that he has participated (19 matches in total!) and in my opinion our best hope on hard court.
For his amazing feet, he is seeded at No.17 and his first round opponent is non-other than fellow countrymen Guillermo CANAS.
Our best player, David NALBANDIAN (7th seeded) will take on Brazilian Marcos DANIEL. If you take into account the nations these players represent, it should be an interesting encounter.
29th seeded Juan MONACO first round match will be against Japanese Kei NISHIKORI.
Other highlights from the first round will see Sergio ROITMAN taking on Britain's Andy MURRAY (6th seeded). While Eduardo SCHWANK will have 29th seeded Dimitry TURSUNOV from Russia as his opponent.
Here are the rest of the Men's Singles first round matches involving the Albiceleste:
Martin Vassallo ARGUELLO vs. David FERRER (ESP)
Jose ACASUSO vs. Michael BERRER (GER)
Agustin CALLERI vs. Austin KRAJICEK (USA)
After their courageous performance against team USA, our tall guys must have every reason to be highly motivated to ensure they won't go home empty handed. To me this was the main factor in their bronze medal win over Lithuania by 87-75.
There is saying when one is out, others must step in. Not having Manu GINOBILI available because of his injury by any means is a huge blow. But there was Carlos DELFINO and the likes of Leonardo GUTIERREZ and Paolo QUINTEROS coming from the bench to fill in.
DELFINO was simply excellent with 20 points, 10 rebounds & 3 assists. Luis SCOLA had 16 points & 3 rebounds. Andres NOCIONI posted 14 points while both GUTIERREZ and QUINTEROS had 11 points respectively.
"To have won gold and bronze at the Olympic with the same team means a lot for a nation that has not a strong basketball tradition. We are not disappointed by this bronze medal but proud of what we have achieved." Coach Sergio HERNANDEZ said.
Well done to them. Most certainly congratulations to all the other medal winners as well. This means Argentina will equal the medal tally as of what they did in 2004 with 2 gold and 4 bronze medals.
And now, its time to turn our attention to the upcoming (in some case already underway) European season.
Defending La Liga champion Real Madrid made a dramatic comeback to beat Valencia 4-2 at home to claim Spanish Super Cup (6-5 on aggregate). Gonzalo HIGUAIN was among the scorer for them.
In France, Bordeaux kept their pressure on Lyon and Marseille after their 2-0 win over Nantes. Fernando CAVENAGHI gave them the lead from the penalty spot in the 6th minute.While in Portugal, FC Porto kicks off their title defense with 2-0 win over Belenenses. Mariano GONZALEZ scored the opening for them in the 14th minute.
Saturday, August 23, 2008
Despite feeling disappointed on their semi-final defeat to the Netherlands, Las Leonas came back strongly to beat Germany 3-1 for the bronze medal in the Women's Field Hockey Event.
Rosario LUCHETTI, Carla REBECCHI & Noel BARRIONUEVO were the scorer of that match. The results means Argentina will maintain themselves in the podium at the Games since 2002.
The Not So Good News
First they had to play without their Manu and then suffered a total blow out in the first quarter. I kept wondering what would have the outcome been if it wasn't for these two factors.
But in the end the strong character showed by our players were truly amazing, especially in the second quarter. We did gave the Americas some frightening moment, that's a fact even they won't deny.
Yes! Argentina did loose the game (81-101) but we went out with our heads held high (unlikely the type of arrogant sportsmanship as portrayed by Carmelo ANTHONY). Luis SCOLA carried the team proudly with 28 points & 11 rebounds. Carlos DELFINO who took on the mantle from GINOBILI, did great too with 17 points & 8 rebounds.
Tommorow they will play for the bronze medal with Lithuania.
The GREAT News
The stadium was at full capacity, the heat was on and the atmosphere around was sizzling. But in the end, it was determination and the high flying spirit of Checho and his boys that won the day.
As expected, Nigeria was not something that we want to underestimate and they had gave us some scary moment during the game. Their defense was so solid and did not gave any room for our attacking players.
Whoever is going to win this game has to come up with something magical.
And there can only be ONE, Lionel MESSI that is. A brilliant and well timed pass from him to Angel DI MARIA in the 58th minute. DI MARIA lobbed the ball pass the Nigerian keeper and that was enough to ensure that football's gold medal will stay in Argentina for another four years.
I'm sure our buddy Seba will share more from his great experience there sometimes later. Did I forget anything?
Oh yes! He was there to!
It was a FANTASTIC day to be an Albiceleste supporter.
VAMOS VAMOS ARGENTINA!!!
Friday, August 22, 2008
Furthermore with time not on my side, I supposed I should just post this article now so that we can all kick start our countdown for tomorrow’s game.
The Bird’s Nest Stadium has already seen many great moments throughout these games but a stadium is not BAPTISED until a football match is played there. More importantly it must be Argentina and with the blessing of the greatest of them all, Diego MARADONA.
I’m happy to see Diego making his presence felt here as it only adds more colour in what could be the best ever Summer Games.
So far I’ve got no news on the team’s line up but I do believe Checho will maintain the same starting eleven that played against Brazil. Please do update the rest of us here incase if I’m wrong.
Angel DI MARIA
Juan Roman RIQUELME
About the match, I guess it could be close one. Nigeria too is no pushovers judging by their semi-final result. Like us, they too will be looking for revenge after losing in the 2005 World Youth Championship in Holland.
I still remember the last final between us and Nigeria. Unfortunately for me I could not watch the game as Malaysia was hit by a nationwide blackout back then. And I’ll never forget that goal from Emmanuel AMUNIKE.
As for the prediction, mine is a 2-0 win with goals from Lionel and Kun. So what’s you outcome of the game? Enjoy!
Thursday, August 21, 2008
September 4, 2002 in Indianapolis; it was the day when basketball will never be the same again. It was the day for the first time a USA team with NBA players was beaten, by non other than Argentina.
Almost two years later both sides met again in the Athens Olympic semi-final match. This time the Americans brought the likes of Tim DUNCAN, Allen IVERSON, Stephan MARBURY and future stars Le Bron JAMES and Carmelo ANTHONY. But the result was still the same and Argentina went on to create sporting history by winning the gold medal.
Now both sides will meet again today. From what I've read this is what the Americans really wanted.
The Americans have learned their lesson and they have accepted that this is no longer their game. They are on a mission to restore their pride and dignity. Judging by the results they have been getting, they are clearly on their way.
I'm not throwing the towel just yet because surprises do happen in life. Clearly our boys will have to be at their very best against the "Redeem Team". On paper the possibility is there, at least.
Manu GINOBILI and Luis SCOLA are wreaking havoc on opponents, Andres NOCIONI providing his usual toughness on both ends of the floor and Pablo PRIGIONI distributing the ball, coming up with the occasional steal and hitting the odd three-pointer. They've also got a lift from Carlos DELFINO from the bench.
But having the personnel may not be enough. Argentina must avoid making unnecessary turnovers that will USA to get some easy basket. The defense and offense has to be tightened up. Perhaps some luck on their side a well.
It will be match fill with high emotions and intensity. Logics aside, my heart is with Segio HERNANDEZ and his boys to play the game of their life.
Tip off time will start at local hours 2215 hours. Vamos La Selección!!! VAMOS ARGENTINA!!!
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Sorry, I needed to get that shout off my chest!
I lived the game wearing my official uniform and surrounded by an estimate of 200 Brazilian journalists (of which 150 knew me from my time in Rio).
They were there ready for a repeat of the Copa America final. In fact, I think they are still calling me to laugh at me after that 3-0 massacre of Maracaibo.
Only this time I couldn't celebrate, or shout, or even smile at them! I was in 'danger'. So, under the table at the press tribune, I grabbed Francis' shorts (such is the English name of one of the volunteers who work with me) and I almost ripped them apart everytime Argentina scored.
That match meant the world to me. I have always lived the rivalry against Brazil with an absolute passion and after I spent almost a year there, that passion increased and the importance of the result too.
It was revenge. It was the chance to make them wait for another four years to try and win the only major football tournament they have never won. The opportunity to extend our unbeaten run at the Olympics to 12 matches. And most importantly, the chance to go to the beautiful Bird's Nest to watch my team going for their second consecutive gold medal.
I don't think I could have asked for a better result and for a better performance. All our players were immense and we reduced Brazil to have them look as an average side.
Nigeria won't be easy. OBASI, that speedy number 7, could be a nightmare for us, but I bet they have more players to be worried about than we do.
I've read all your comments in previous posts and I'm glad you've chosen Mundo Albiceleste once again to follow yet another Argentina match.
I believe it's only 5 minutes before kickoff for Argentina v Belarus and I'm not going to be able to watch it. I rely on John and your comments here to find out what happens.
And wait for John's take on the great Tall Albiceleste's qualification to the semis of the basketball tournament where the USA will be waiting.
A shame about Las Leonas. I watched the game on TV and they played terribly. Nothing happened for them and Netherlands took them apart, but I believe John is going to post more about it.
By for now.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Coco has named the following as the starting eleven:
I’m looking forward to see how German DENIS will link with TEVEZ up front though I know this might be something temporary. As I did predicted earlier Lucho will be the playmaker. I do hope Coco will allow the rest of team some minutes on the field as well.
By the way, apparently the entire team was watching the ARG-BRA match via internet as they were no direct telecast in Belarus (what!). After the match the celebration continued as it was also Pato’s birthday. A day earlier it was CAMBIASSO’s birthday.
On behalf of Mundo, Happy birthday to both of them
What is there for me to say? Yes! I had my doubt before the game and still was even during the first 45 minutes. After the game, the pain, the relief, the emotions and the glory is something you just can’t express with words. It took me a while to put my feet back on to the ground.
Brazil have themselves to blame. Yes, they were unlucky to hit the post twice or converting their chances. But when they ran out of patience, it was then that they drew the line between a championship pedigree team and a lack of discipline side.
Our boys showed plenty of determination and they never stop going forward even when they were two goals up. The presents of Diego MARADONA in the VIP seat, only adds colour in what turns out to be one of the most famous nights during these Games.
To become a hero, one must be able to seize the moment of opportunities. And Kun AGUERO after below par performance in previous games did just that. Most importantly he did in front of his soon to be father in law.
So now Nigeria awaits us in the Final. We will talk about that later.
If you think that was the only big news of the day, then you’re absolutely wrong my friends.
Our first gold in Beijing was won at the Laoshan Velodrome when Juan CURUCHET together with Walter PEREZ won the Madison event in the Olympic cycling tournament.
After six Olympics and 24 years, it was all worth it for CURUCHET. He covered his face with his hands and cried as he received the medal he had sought for so long.
“This is the most beautiful moment in my life, a real dream,” he said after lapping the track on his bike waving a white-and-blue Argentina flag.
“Before getting here I told God, ‘if you really exist, give me a proof,’ and he gave it to me, I’ve got everything I’ve wanted in my life. What else can I ask for? Thanks to life that has given so much,” CURUCHET added.
It’s true my friends. On the 19th of August, God must have been an Albiceleste fan. I hope he still is tonight when Las Leonas and our basketball team will progress further as well.
Monday, August 18, 2008
Brazil wants the gold badly and our boys will not want to let them have it that easily. So this match will go down as one of the game best ever. But with Brazil still to concede a goal in the tournament and Argentina having put together ten consecutive Olympic wins, something has to give on today.
As far as team news is concern, only Oscar USTARI will not be available after his injury in the match against Netherlands. Sergio ROMERO will be deployed as the replacement. Coach Sergio BATISTA has confirmed the starting eleven for the match will be: -
Angel DI MARIA
Juan Roman RIQUELME
Right now, I do have a mixed of emotions about this game judging by the recent results that we have been getting from the Boys in Yellow. And I’m sure that I’m not alone here. However if there is time to see the tide change, then maybe that time is now.
The match will kick off at 2100 local hours at the Beijing Worker’s Stadium.
Last Saturday was without a doubt a great day for the Argentinean contingent. I’ll cheer to that but the road towards a podium finish is never going to be easy. Trust me that I want to see our teams grabbing gold above anything else but there is a slight possibility (on a worst case scenario) that we could even end up empty handed.
Our first road block will come this Wednesday, when Sergio BATISTA and his team take on Brazil in the semis. An Argentina/Brazil football match in any level is a sure classic encounter. The stake can’t even get any better, a chance to win gold in the final (the one thing Brazil have never won and we all know just how much they hate us for that!).
I hate to admit this but the Boys in Yellow have been in great form. Of course if there is one thing that we have and they don’t is Lionel MESSI. On his best, there is no stopping this little flea but against our big rival, it is obvious that we need the whole team to play the match of their lives.
Why I’m saying this? The last thing I want to see is RONALDHINO & Co up there on the podium collecting their gold medals at our expenses.
Next up is basketball; Manu & Gang are back to their very best after notching their third consecutive victory last Saturday against Iran. However the defeat against Lithuania may prove to be too costly indeed.
Having sealed our place as the runner’s up from Group A, most likely our opponent in the quarter final could be either Greece or China. Either one, we should have enough fire power to win but the worst has yet to come.
From the way it looks like, it is the United State that will stand in our way in the semis. The Redeem Team has been amazing throughout the competition so far. It is very unlikely that they will want go back without the gold medal.
So far, NO team has managed to match or even compete with them. It will take a gallant effort from our basketball team to repeat their great achievement from 2004.
Finally our other medal hopeful, the ladies from Las Leonas. It’s good to see that they are in good form after their win over Germany. However there is a price to pay from the two draws they suffered at the hands of USA & Great Britain.
Currently, Germany leads the standing in Pool B (9 points from 3 defeats and a defeat) while Las Leonas occupies the second spot (8 points from 2 wins and 2 draws).
Unless if Germany fails to win its final group game to Japan and our ladies beat New Zealand, we will finish on top of our group. Or Germany loose to Japan, and we draw with New Zealand. Anything else, we could end up as Pool B runners up.
Should that happens; we could face the prospect of meeting the World Champion Netherlands in the semi-final. Not that I fear the Oranje Ladies but I would rather meet them in the final.
Indeed, tough road on the way but all hope is not lost just yet. So now here is my question, what do you think about the Albiceleste chances?
Sunday, August 17, 2008
First was the Men's basketball team when they took on Iran. The Iranian's showed plenty of character in their game and for this I have to respect them. But once our guys got their grip on the game, there was no turning back.
They outclassed their opponent in every aspect to win the game 97-82. Manu GINOBILI lead the way with 32 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal and 1 block shot. Luis SCOLA also contributed big with 20 points, 7 rebounds & 2 steals.
Next up the women's hockey team face Germany in their pool match. Luciana AYMAR showed just why she is the world’s best player as Las Leonas overcame the Germans 4-0, putting themselves firmly within reach of a semi final spot. Goals from Claudia BURKART, Alejandra GULLA (2) and a terrific strike from La Maga AYMAR gave them the victory, and now need to beat bottom side New Zealand to seal their progress into the medal matches.
And then the Under-23 football team took the Netherlands in their quarter-final clash. Watched by non other than the Great Diego MARADONA, Lionel MESSI echoed every single move of the great one to inspire the Albiceleste to victory.
The 56,000 people in the Shanghai Stadium could never be wrong. They came to see our stars despite knowing the 100m Final (what a race and congratulation Usain “Lightning” BOLT!) was going on in between of the match. It was money all worth it for them as MESSI scored one fantastic goal and set up the another for Angel DI MARIA to sent the Dutch packing.
By the way, I kept wondering who is that “Anonymous” (thanks for the results on Sailing) that often posts comment on all the latest results on our blog. Please don't by shy, introduce yourself to us.
Friday, August 15, 2008
But will that tomorrow and focus on today's action.
Basketball – Argentina vs. Iran
A match from which Sergio HERNANDEZ and his team are expected to win easily. The Iranian are playing in their first games since 1948 and so far have lost all three previous games.
With that said, HERNANDEZ may want to give more quality time playing for his bench players and allowed Manu, Chapu and the main figures to get some rest. They do have a crunch tie in their next match against Russia.
The game will tip off at 1645 hours local time.
Women's Field Hockey – Argentina vs. Germany
After their win against Japan, Las Leonas will now have some breathing space but today they will face tougher test against defending gold medalist Germany.
The Germans have been in hot form winning all their previous games (scoring 11 and conceding 4 in the process). This is a match where the our girls cannot afford to give any room for them or make any mistake.
Furthermore, a win today will also be crucial to ensure that we have some chance of furnishing in top of the Pool.
The match will start at 1800 hours local time.
Football – Argentina vs. Netherlands
The one that we all have been waiting for. One thing is for sure, every match between the Albiceleste and Oranje will provides plenty of drama and thrills.
Sergio BATISTA can now call upon MESSI, KUN & RIQUELME whom he rested in their last group game against Serbia. At the moment he has not announced yet the starting eleven.
Checho and his boys should be aware of the danger that this Dutch team can post especially from the likes of Ryan BABEL and Roy MAKAAY. Javier MASCHERANO might be ask to keep a close eye on BABEL, his club teammate at Liverpool.
Expect a sea of blue and white at the Shanghai stadium. The match will kick off at 2100 hours local time.
Plenty of action from Sailing.
Santiago LANCE & Carlos ESPINOLA - Tornado Opening Series
Cecilia CARRANZA – Laser Radial Opening Series
Julio ALSOGARAY – Laser Opening Series
Javier CONTE & Juan Maria De La FUENTE – 470 Men Opening Series
Fernanda SESTO & Consuelo MONSEGUR – 470 Women Opening Series
Daniel REUTEMANN – RS:X Men Opening Series
Florencia GUTIERREZ – RS:X Women Opening Series
Keep all the information and whatever latest news that you might coming in. Let's hope this is a Saturday that we might plenty of things to smile about.
VAMOS VAMOS ARGENTINA!!!
The Japanese team took a lot of lesson from USA and GBR on how to take on our ladies. They took a very defensive approach from the start of the game.
This approach proves to be very frustrating for La Maga AYMAR and the rest. They are not happy with the way things are going. After their Champions Trophy triumph in June, they were dubbed one of the favorites, but so far none of the brilliance they showed in Mönchengladbach has come through.
They had to wait after the second half the break the deadlock with a deflected shot by Alejandra GULLA in the 37th minute. Las Leonas double their lead in the 51st minute through Claudia BURKART.
Now the question is can they hold on? For one moment it did look like they might blew up everything they work hard for when Keiko MIURA pulled one back, with four minutes left.
But this time Las Leonas held on to collect their first three points of the tournament.
Whooping Performance from the Tall Albiceleste
To be honest with everyone, I was really nervous about this game. It became even worse when neither side were able to make their shots. It took almost three minutes to make the first basket and after that the floodgate started to open. In the end Sergio HERNANDEZ boys went on to win comfortably 77-53.
Despite of their impressive start of the tournament, the Croatian were no match against our boys. An interesting not is that not even one of their players had double digits in that game.
Andres NOCIONI without a doubt was the extreme hustler throughout the game. He posted a game high performance with 18 points and 8 rebounds. Manu GINOBILI had 14 points & 8 assist while Luis SCOLA posted 12 points. Super sub Carlos DELFINO also had a big game with 15 points & 6 rebounds from the bench.
Next up Argentina will take on Iran, an opponent they are expected to win easily.
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Las Leonas Must Start Winning
What did our women field hockey team had in common from their first two games? They dominated, pile on the pressure, secured a comfortable lead and switch off. Then trouble starts.
Something they must not repeat when they take on the Japanese side today. Their opponent is also unbeaten from their previous game against New Zealand (2-1) and USA (1-1).
They know that they MUST win today and only that can help to lift the team’s morale and confidence.
Team captain Magdelena AICEGA said “We are not going to talk about luck or anything like that. I believe in this group and I think we are going to win the three matches and we will qualify”.
The match will start at 1830 hours local time.
Argentina Awaits Croatia
After a convincing win against the Boomers, the Tall Albiceleste will take on Croatian, another European heavyweight from their Group.
It has been along time since the days of Toni KUKOC, Drazen PETROVIC & Dino RADJA but this team looks to be very impressive so far. They have won their first two games including one over Eurobasket winner Russia. They do shoot very well. In players like Zoran PLANINIC, Marko POPOVIC & Nikola PRKACIN they have formidable side.
Manu & Co have managed found their usual rhythm and confidence in the team is definitely sky high. Of course, the Croats are not even close to what the Aussies can be. They should know what to expect judging by the match against Lithuania. This is a crucial test for them as this could determine the outcome on the classification in the group.
I have some cause for concern about SCOLA & OBERTO as I fear they could struggle against the Croats big men. It will be crucial for Manu & Chapu to step and shoot well.
The game will tip off time at 2215 local time.
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
If I can offer something for you guys, please browse through http://justin.tv/ as they might show the game. Hopefully this could be helpful.
Now back to our main discussion. Though we have booked our place in the quarter-finals, this match could determine whether we finished on top of our group. Only a defeat and results from the CIV & Australia match will prevent that from happening.
On team selection, Sergio BATISTA has confirmed that the following will be the starting line up for match.
Angel DI MARA
These changes are to allow some key players to be rested and also to avoid any suspension for those with yellow cards (among them is RIQUELME and AGUERO) in the quarter-finals.
What concerns me is that PAREJA and FAZIO are the only central defenders in the team. Which means, MASCHERANO will be deployed as a make shift defender? I’ll leave that to you to tell us how the formation would look like.
Of course, I’m hoping for another big win on Serbia and the chance to watch BUONANOTTE as well. The match will kick of at 1945 local time at the Beijing’s Workers Stadium. Keep the comments coming in.
A classy performance from Manu GINOBILI and company inspired Argentina to their first win in the Games, defeating Australia 85-68. The Boomers had their moment during some point of the game but overall our boys were never threatened at all.Manu was sensational posting 21 points, 7 assists & 4 rebounds. Luis SCOLA was another big performer, posting 17 points, 7 rebounds & 2 assists. Andres NOCIONI had a game high of 8 rebounds.
Both SCOLA and Fabricio OBERTO combined well on the defense to reduce Andrew BOGUT’s contribution to just 7 points. The only bright spot for the Boomers was Patrick MILLS, who posted 22 points. This guy reminds me a lot of certain Chris PAUL.
Argentina’s next game will be against Croatia on the 14th of August.
David NALBANDIAN will carry the torch for Argentina in the men’s single after his won over defending champion Nicolas MASSU 7-6 & 6-1. He will now face Gael MONFLIS from France in the third round.
Agustin CALLERI was not so lucky, as he becomes the latest casualty in the hands giant killer LU Yen-hsun, losing 4-6 & 4-6.
In the women’s double, the Gisela DULKO/Betina JOZAMI pair progress into the next round with a 6-3 & 6-2 win over Tzipora OBLIZER/Shahar PEER from Israel. They will now face Elena VESNINA/Vera ZVONAREVA from Russia.
Football - Women
The ladies will leave Beijing without a point after losing to the host 0-2 in their last group game. In total we scored one goal and conceded five. I will take this as an improvement from the side which came to China about a year ago for the World Cup.
Coach Jose BORRELLO said “Tonight’s game was a dignified occasion. But it was also a physical game. We held our own for the first 45 minutes, but then China showed their greater physical strength and took advantage. Even though we are disappointed not to win, I evaluate this as a positive experience. We have changed the image we had from the Women's World Cup. We are a youthful team, so I am sure we will improve”.
The Boomers too would have probably learned their lesson from the recent defeat against us in the FIBA Diamond Ball. In that game, Manu & Co. needed to overcome a huge deficit before the winning 95-91.
Undoubtedly, we need to improve in many aspects, particularly in offense. Our defense worked very well for much of the game and was superior to the bigger players.
" We have to improve a lot and not to commit so many errors. The important thing is that you put your heart in the game and we have to succeed as a team. Australia in good measures knows exactly where we stand " Manu GINOBILI said.
Luis SCOLA echoed Manu " In the World Championships in Indianapolis and Japan, we had won all our games but lost in the finals and semifinals respectively. At the Olympic Games in Athens, we lost two matches and won the gold medal. Nothing is confirmed here, the only thing that we must do is to continue to improve. "
At present the availability of Carlos DELFINO, who was superb from the bench, is uncertain as he has not been training due to the injury on his Achilles.
I’m confident in our boys to win this game as they always showed their fighting spirit when it really matter. The game will tip off 2215 local time.
The only good news is that came from yesterday saw Agustin CALLERI marched into the second round. He had no problem overcoming Bahamas Devin MULLINGS 6-1 & 6-1.
Elsewhere it was all bad news….
Both of our pair in men’s double was knocked out in the first round. Guillermo CANAS & David NALBANDIAN lost to Belgian pair Steve DARCIS & Olivier ROCHUS 7-6, 6-7 & 3-6. While Agustin CALLERI & Juan MONACO were defeated by Australia’s Chris GUCCIONE & Lleyton HEWITT 4-6 & 6-7.
In the women’s single, our campaign has come to an end after Gisela DULKO was defeated by Casey DELLACQUA 3-6 & 4-6.
DULKO still has a chance to redeem herself in the women’s double where she will partner Betina JOZAMI. Their first opponent will be Tzipora OBZILER & Shahar PEER from Israel.
As of today, Guillermo CANAS became the latest Albiceleste to make an exit from Beijing after he was defeated by Frenchmen Gilles SIMON 5-7 & 1-6.
Two more fixtures will take place today.
David NALBANDIAN will face off in the second round against non-other 2004 Athens Games gold medalist winner, Chilean Nicolas MASSU. I do believe that NALBANDIAN is good enough to win this tie and progress further.
Meanwhile, Agustin CALLERI will face an unpredictable opponent in the form of LU Yen-hsun of Chinese Taipei. LU has made shockwave throughout the Games for his surprise upset on Andy MURRAY.
Women’s Field Hockey
Today morning (local time), Las Leonas took on to the field to play against Great Britain in their second match in Pool B.
Despite the earlier aggression from the British team, our ladies were awarded with a penalty corner in the 9th minute.
A fake from Noel BARRIONUEVO followed by a hit to the left by Claudia BURKART but the ball hits the post. On the rebound from the far left side, Soledad GARCIA hits the ball in behind GBR keeper Beth STORRY.
Las Leonas continue to dominate were again awarded with a penalty corner in the 27th minute. Again the combination of BARRIONUEVO and BURKART worked well from deflected shot by Alejandro GULLA made the score line 2-0 to Argentina.
But the second half was different story as GBR manage to bring the score to 2-2 after quick penalty corners courtesy of Helen RICHARDSON and Mel CLEWLOW.
Despite the constant pressure to regain the lead, both Carla REBECCHI and Luciana AYMAR were not able to break in a resilience GBR defense.
In the end it was another draw for the ladies despite dominating for most part of the game.
Sunday, August 10, 2008
Once again, we were far more superior compared to our opponent. The Olyroos didn’t show any sign of taking the game to us (except for one or two occasions), instead they packed their own half.
Despite of all the possession and chances we had, the finishing touch was left to be desired. MESSI was mesmerizing with the ball, ROMAN showed flashes or brilliant and KUN/LAVEZZI did had their moments.
In the end, it was another substitution decision that came to the Albiceleste rescue. Angel DI MARIA sublime cross found LAVEZZI to volley winner in the 76th minute.
During the same time, the Tall Albiceleste took center stage on their quest to defend gold against Lithuania. Our boy’s stage a dramatic comeback late in the fourth quarter but a 3-point shot from Linas KLEIZA gave the Baltic nation a 79-75 win.
Not the kind of start that I would like to think of so the question is where did we go wrong? We were poor from the 3-point line, shooting just 5/22. Some costly turnovers didn’t help our cost along the process.
Not to panic just yet considering that we did loose two games four years ago. We must improve in every aspect when we take on the Boomers.
Multiple of opportunities, lacked of efficiency on front of goal and costly error forced the Las Leonas to settle for a 2-2 draw in their opening game against the American.
An unfortunate moment for our ladies considering we had an amazing 12 penalty corners. Luciana AYMAR did everything she could but the stubborn American defense stood firm on every occasions.
Carla REBECCHI scored both goals to give Argentina a 2-0 lead. Keli SMITH and Angela LOY pulled back for the Americans.
Guillermo CANAS progressed to the next stage after his opponent Frederic NIEMEYER retired midway through the second set from which CANAS was leading 4-2. A lucky moment for CANAS as the Canadian took the first set 4-6.
…..and the rest
Another medal in the bag for Carlos TEVEZ, who was lucky not to get a red card, during the FA Community Shield against Portsmouth. He had a terrific game but was not able to convert the many chances he had.
United repeated their heroic moment in Moscow winning 3-1 in the shootout to kick start their season.
A day earlier in France, Ligue 1 kicked off with opening round matches. Fernando CAVENAGHI continued from where he left off last season. He scored the winning goal for Bordeaux in their 2-1 win over Caen.
Saturday, August 09, 2008
Basketball – Argentina vs. Lithuania
Just about the same time, Manu GINOBILI and his band of brothers will kick off their campaign against European heavyweight Lithuania. Not an easy game in my opinion but I believe Sergio HERNANDEZ has all the ingredients on his team that he can muster for this game.
I would not question about the Tall Albiceleste offensive but the defense will be put through to stern test. They must be able to contained Linas KLEIZA (Denver Nuggets), Sarunas JASIKEVICIUS and Ramunas SISKAUSKAS.
Overall, it would be close encounter but my faith is in our boys to come with a win. As you all know, our buddy Seba will be there reporting at the Wukesong Arena.
Field Hockey – Argentina vs. USA
The best possible chance for any of our ladies to win gold in this Summer Game. Winning the Champions trophy in Germany just a few months ago might prove to a huge morale boost for Gabriel MINADEO and his girls.
The Olyroos did manage to steal a point from Serbia but man to man we should come out on top in style.
As of now I believe that coach Sergio BATISTA will maintained the same starting eleven that took on Ivory Coast. Honestly in my opinion, I don't see that as a problem against the Aussie. Okay we all would prefer to have MESSI partnering KUN up front instead of LAVEZZI.
Expect the Shanghai Stadium to be packed with the sea of blue and white. Just for everyone's info the match will kick of 1700 hours local time. You can catch the game online through NBA Olympics.
Looking forward to see all you commenting before, during and after the game. Enjoy!