Sunday, November 30, 2008
Saturday, November 29, 2008
First one has to be the return of Javier SAVIOLA back into action after lengthy of time. With the likes of Ruud Van NISTELROOY and Gonzalo HIGUAIN injured, coach Bernd SCHUSTER had no choice but called upon the Little Rabbit back into the starting line up. After going 2-0 down, SAVIOLA pull one back after Guti laid a pass for him in the 55th minute.
Second good point from this game must be the good defense in the Getafe side, which had Roberto ABBONDANZIERI, Daniel DIAZ and Lucas LICHT. However that doesn’t mean, I want Pato back into our national team set up.
Barcelona on the other hand has every reason to thank Lionel MESSI for their 3-0 win over Sevilla. He had a part in all three goals. The first goal, from which he has inevitably involved, was scored by Samuel ETO’O after a loose possession by Lionel in the 20th minute.
After that goal, the home side kept up the pressure on Barca for an equalizer. But it was Lionel who ensured that Barca will take the three points after saving the best towards the latter part of the game.
He doubled Barca lead in the 78th minute with an unstoppable left foot drive past the Sevilla keeper Andres PALOP. Then into injury time, he scored another after he ran onto Aleksander HLEB pass, rounded PALOP and slotted into the empty net.
Friday, November 28, 2008
Thursday, November 27, 2008
The Houston Rockets lost to the Indiana Pacers by 91-90. They were playing without their star Tracy McGRADY and lost courtesy of Danny GRANGER, who tipped in his own miss with 13 seconds left. This must has to hurt them the most as they also threw away a 10 point lead down in the fourth quarter.
Luis SCOLA had a massive game tonight as he combined well with his low post partner YAO Ming to help lift their team in the absence of T-Mac. He posted 5 points and equaling his career high of 18 rebounds. He also had 4 assists and one steals to his credit.
Last there was Manu GINOBILI who had another terrific game since returning from injury. He was sensation from the bench again as the San Antonio Spurs defeated the Chicago Bulls 98-88.
Manu played for about 17 plus minutes and had 15 points, 3 rebounds, 4 rebounds plus a block shot and a steal. Fabricio OBERTO who was the starting center, posted 5 points plus a rebound, assists and steal each.
On the opposite, Andres NOCIONI only manages 5 points, 1 rebound and 1 block shot from the bench.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
We asked which Argentine players would score goals in this week's Champions League action and the one who gathered more votes, Lionel MESSI, was actually on the scoresheet for Barcelona as they guaranteed first place in Group C with a 5-2 win over Sporting Lisbon. MESSI also had an assist in Barcelona's first goal, scored by Thierry HENRY.
He only received 8 votes in our poll, but Maxi RODRIGUEZ, Diego MARADONA's only scorer in the national team, also wrote his name to help Atletico de Madrid qualify for the next round.
So...Maxi and Mini were the only Argentine scorers of Wednesday after Lisandro LOPEZ shone on Tuesday with a double for Porto.
I'm sure John will upload MESSI and Maxi's goals later on.
Alberto MANCINI has stood down as captain of the Argentina Davis Cup team following defeat in the final against Spain at the weekend.
The Spaniards overcame the loss of world number one Rafael NADAL to a knee injury to prevail 3-1 in Mar del Plata and secure a third Davis Cup title and a first on foreign soil. Argentina's loss was made all the more painful as it was their first on home soil since 1998, and MANCINI, who took over as coach in 2005, has decided now is the right time to go.
He told Argentinian news station Todo Noticias: "This is a decision I made before the final match this weekend, no matter the result. Unfortunately, we failed to win the title."
He added: "Anyway, I think we've had four wonderful years. There were very good victories and some other bad moments. Four years are enough. We've lived a number of situations together and it's time to step aside."
MANCINI guided Argentina to the Davis Cup final in 2006 and the semi-finals 12 months earlier but failed to deliver the biggest prize during his tenure.
"This is a passion for me, but I know this is the right time to step aside. I want to," he continued. I am quite sad. Everybody is sad because we wanted to win the final. Losing the final at home is even more painful. However, sport makes you live difficult moments sometimes. You have to face it and lose with dignity."
MANCINI also said the Argentines should keep their heads up despite the disappointing home loss.
"You would have to be foolish to talk about failure," he said after Spain clinched the title 3-1 with Fernando VERDASCO's five-set win over Jose ACASUSO in the reverse singles.
"After reaching the final, I don't understand how that can go through someone's mind. It shows a lack of respect not only to me, but to the players too."
MANCINI said that one of the main reasons Argentina came up short in its bid to win its first Davis Cup title.
"There are several reasons why we couldn't win it, and Spain certainly was a factor. Without a doubt it was a tough opponent."
He also said the pressure of playing at home may have played a role.
"It's not easy to play like this, with all these expectations," he said. "But still, we were close, ACASUSO left everything he had on the court and had chances to win."
Nearly 10,000 fans packed the Islas Malvinas Stadium each day for the matches in the coastal city of Mar del Plata.
MANCINI praised the 48th-ranked ACASUSO for his efforts, but said that the injury to Juan Martin DEL POTRO that forced his withdrawal from the reverse singles was also key.
DEL POTRO had to be replaced by ACASUSO in Sunday's reverse singles after injuring his right thigh in a four-set loss to Feliciano LOPEZ on Friday.
"When you lose such an important player like Juan Martin, it opens a big hole in the team," MANCINI said. "After that, things got complicated for us."
The loss gave Argentina its third runner-up finish in as many Davis Cup finals. It had lost to the United States in 1981 and to Russia in 2006, both times away. It became only the third nation, along with Romania and India, to fail to win a title in its first three final appearances.
"We still have a lot to learn in order to win one of these finals," MANCINI said.
The loss to Spain snapped Argentina's 10-year unbeaten streak at home. It last lost in front of its fans in 1998 to Slovakia.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
In 2011, 24 years after that 1987 edition, Argentina will receive the Copa America and will look to FINALLY win back that trophy.
After consecutive defeats to Brazil in the final of the tournaments played in Peru and Venezuela, Argentina will be trying to become the most successful nation in the history of the Copa America. So far, the Albicelestes and Uruguay both have 14 titles, while Brazil is third with 8 (but have won four of the last five -the exception being Colombia 2001 when the host won their only Copa America).
Argentina has hosted the Copa America in 8 ocassions and only failed to win two (1916 and 1987, both won by Uruguay).
The Albicelestes won the title at home in 1921, 1925, 1929, 1937, 1946, 1959 y 1987.
More news regarding dates, draw and all the information we can gather, will follow.
Monday, November 24, 2008
He started from the bench, played for 11 plus minutes posting 12 points, 4 rebounds and an assist along the process. Just too add more good news for all the Spurs supporters out there is that tonight they defeated the Memphis Grizzlies 94-81.
Though he is still a long way from reaching his usual, the least we can say that he is getting there. His return came at the right time, as without Tony Parker, the Spurs could use a lot help from him to get their season back on track.
We at Mundo will look forward to see him going out at another shot towards the NBA championship. Fabricio OBERTO who played as a starter, posted 2 points, 3 rebounds & 3 assists.
Luis SCOLA played an important role to help the Houston Rockets towards victory over the Miami HEAT, 107-98. He had another big night for the Rockets, posting double-double of 11 points, game high 13 rebounds plus 3 assists.
Champions League returns with Round 5 of the Group Stage. This could be a crucial week as the faith of some of the teams of making it into the next stage could be determined.
After suffering back to back defeats against Juventus, Gonzalo HIGUAIN will look to spearhead Real Madrid back into the groove with a visit to Belarus to face BATE. FC Porto will look to the inspiration of Lucho GONZALEZ and the goals from Lisandro LOPEZ in their visit to Fenerbache.
Though both sides are through to the next stage, Carlos TEVEZ's Manchester United and Gonzalo RODRIGUEZ's Villareal will play to determined which team will finish first or second in Group E.
Lionel MESSI and Barcelona will travel to Lisbon to face Sporting, a win which will ensure they finish on top of Group C. Fernando CAVENAGHI and Bordeaux will play host Chelsea in a must win situation for them.
The Albiceleste of Inter will also look to book their place in the next stage when they entertain Greek side Panathinaikos at home.
Here are the other matches: -
Day 1 - 25th November 2008
Day 2 - 26th November 2008
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Beijing gold medalist, Luciano MONZON was in target for Real Betis against Sporting Gijon.
Diego MILITO scored for Genoa in their 1-1 draw with Lazio
And Pocho LAVEZZI was also on target in Napoli’s 2-2 draw with Cagliari
Just how much more unlucky we can get? The injury bug just had to hit Juan Martin DEL POTRO at the wrong time and it was BIG lost for us. Then we just had no answer in the double’s match.
Today all eye was Jose ACASUSO as was chosen to face Fernando VERDASCO for the fourth rubber. He had to deliver the most crucial point to keep Argentina’s hope alive in this Final.
The first set was a cruiser for the Spaniard as he got the first break to win the match 6-3. You could just sense that trouble was on the way for us.
But Chucho did not give up instead he fought back really hard to win the next two set. The first in a tie breaker 7-6. The second he twice broke VERDASCO to win 6-4. Suddenly the arena was alive and kicking with hope for something miracle to happen.
But this is where this thing called L.U.C.K was not on our side. The Spaniard got himself a break to win the set 6-3. It was then that Chucho’s tired legs was beginning to reveal itself. There was no turning back for VERDASCO as he won the fifth set comfortably 6-1 to spark a wild celebration among the Spanish crowd.
Well it has been a sad weekend for me to witness this but in the end kudos to Spain for proving that there is more to their team than Rafael NADAL. As for our boys, better luck next time I guess.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
It looks like Luciano BECCHIO of Leeds United has scored again. This time he scored the clubs third goal in their 4-1 win over Hartlepool in the English League One Championship. This will be his ninth goal of the season.
Roberto AYALA scored a stunning header for Real Zaragoza in their 3-0 over Eibar in the Spanish Segunda Division.
Then there is another header from Martin DEMICHELIS for Bayern Munich in their 4-1 win over Energie Cottbus.
In Russia, Maxi LOPEZ scored from the penalty spot in FC Moscow 3-0 win over Luch-Energia Vladivostok. Lucas BIGLIA also scored for Anderlecth in the 2-0 win over Westerlo in the Belgian Jupiter League.
While in Greece, Fernando BELLUSCHI scored Olympiacos second goal in their 3-0 win over Iraklis.
As usual, we got the better start winning the first set 7-5 but nothing prepared me for what was about to happen next. The Spanish pair broke serve to win the second 7-5. Then came the all dramatic third set.
Going down at 5-1, our pair rallied back to tie the score at 5-5. Later on it was 6-6 which means we’re heading into a tie breaker. This is where my worst nightmare became a reality. We were 5-1 up and then we let them back into the game from which the Spanish pair won the third set 7-6.
The fourth set just got worst as our pair has seem to lost the way in the game allowing Spain to break us twice. Eventually it all ended with 6-3 victory for the Matador as they take unprecedented 2-1 lead into Day 3.
Just like what happen in 2006, we need NALBANDIAN to give us some hope to take this series into Game 5. After that, it all depends on whether DEL POTRO has the legs to give us the title or whoever that is going to replace him can live up to the expectation.
Okay, there is no need to panic just yet. This is the Davis Cup Final, so as some of our readers had mentioned in our earlier post, anything can happen.
For live streaming, please check out the following link to see whichever channel is available for your viewing.
Good luck to both David/Gordo.
VAMOS VAMOS ARGENTINA!!!
Friday, November 21, 2008
Anyway, to summarize Argentina’s performance from Day 1; the perfect start, the woeful end.
The expectation was really high when David NALBANDIAN and David FERRER played in the first singles, as everyone would have wanted a tightly contested encounter. Instead it was a one sided affair as the Albiceleste David, outgunned, outplayed and outclassing the Espana David., winning in straight sets, 6-3, 6-2 & 6-3.
“I played well from start to finish, I was always in control of the situation and the public was incredible,” NALBANDIAN told reporters. “There were some moments of tension which I managed to keep under control. It was an almost perfect game.”
Just as when things were getting better, the Matadors pulls an unlikely results in the second single. Juan Martin DEL POTRO continued from where David left off, with overwhelming 6-4 win in the first set against Feliciano LOPEZ.
However the Spaniard took advantage out of the ailing DEL POTRO, who was already troubled by a toe injury, appeared to pull a muscle in his right leg in the sixth game of the fourth set and needed about 10 minutes of treatment.
LOPEZ, ranked 31st in the world, recovered and went on to win the next three sets, 7-6, 7-6 & 6-3, and to tie the series 1-1.
Of course I’m very disappointed with this outcome as I wanted us to have a 2-0 lead from Day 1. So now, just like in 2006, the double match might just determined the outcome of this final. Alberto MANCINI has confirmed that NALBANDIAN will team up Agustin CALLERI, instead of Jose ACASUSO.
Incase if you’re looking for any links to watch the match LIVE, Here’s one that I’ve found from Justin.tv.
As you can see from there, fans from both are already packing up the arena.
Later on, it will be the second single’s match between Juan Martin DEL POTRO and Feliciano LOPEZ. So what is there left to say….
VAMOS VAMOS ARGENTINA!!!
Thursday, November 20, 2008
6 - Years since Las Leonas won the Women's Hockey World Cup
22 - Years since the Great Diego lead the Albiceleste to their second World Cup glory in Mexico
51 - Years since the Maestro, Juan Manuel FANGIO won the last of his five Formula One world title
55 - Years since Roberto DeVICENZO and Antonio CERDA won the World Cup of Golf
58 - Years since Oscar FURLONG & the Tall Albiceleste won the FIBA World Championship
These are the few moments which I can remember (at senior level at least and not including the many boxers that have won world titles) that have crowned Argentina as World Champions. If there is anything that I might have missed, please do feel free to add in.
I remember watching the final two years ago in Moscow and how sad it was indeed. Especially after witnessing David NALBANDIAN heroic performance, carrying the team all the way into Day 3. In my opinion, that was so unlucky.
But right now, we have a great chance of doing something special by ending all these long awaited years of winning the Salad Bowl. The time has come to put those painful memories of 1981 and 2006 behind and write a new history, when Argentina takes on Spain in the final.
Mar del Plata The Place To Be
Just like us, The Spanish team are loaded with clay court specialists (one of them happens to be the World No.1 but we will talk about him a little bit later). No doubt that Argentina has the advantage of playing at home but Spain is no pushover when it comes to playing on clay.
To counterfeit this, rather than playing at our usual fortress, the Parque Roca in Buenos Aires, the final will be played at the hard court indoor surface Estadio Polideportivo in Mar del Plata (the birth place of tennis great, Guillermo VILAS). We can still expect the same carnival type of atmosphere from the football chanting crowd. Among the big names that are expected to attend this event, is non-other than our beloved Diego himself.
No Nadal, No Problem?
2008 has been a great year for Spain in sports (Euro 2008, Tour de France etc.) among which is Rafael NADAL winning Roland Garros, Wimbledon, gold in Beijing and climbing all the way to No.1 in the world ranking. Therefore they will be keen to keep that momentum going into this final.
As we all know by now due to injury, Spain will be without NADAL for the final. Surely this will increase our chances of dramatically. But let’s remember that nothing is completed until the final jigsaw fits into the puzzle.
The Matador still have plenty of talent in the form of David FERRER, Fernando VERDASCO and Feliciano LOPEZ to give a tough fight for our boys. Marcel GRANOLLERS may have been a surprise choice to replace NADAL, but I'm not going to take anything away from this youngster.
Despite having another rollercoaster year, NALBANDIAN will still be the main character for the Albiceleste in the final. Unlike in 2006, this time he will not have to carry the burden all by himself.
In Juan Martin DEL POTRO, Argentina will have another world class talent to help them deliver the goods. He is arguably tennis best discovery of 2008 and will also provide the much needed ammunition playing on hard court, a rarity in Argentina.
Both NALBANDIAN and DEL POTRO are expected to take up the singles challenge. In the doubles event, team captain Alberto MANCINI can count on the experience partnership of Jose ACASUSO and Agustin CALLERI.
Overall this is a strong line up, when you consider that even the likes of Juan MONACO has no place in this team.
Now for the million dollar question; has the time finally arrived for Argentina to capture the Davis Cup? Only time will tell. I will put up any links that available from the internet if you are unable to view live from your television. We will follow the tournament closely from here. Make sure you will join us, as this could be history in the making.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
I said it before the game. MARADONA didn't have a lot of time to work with the players. Argentina could have won it, could have lost it, and my opinion would have been the same.
The only aspect Diego could have an impact on was the psychological. There was no time for him to prepare set-plays, to train specific tactical exercises or to try and coordinate some movements. All he could do was to try and talk to the players and install some confidence in them.
It showed tonight. MARADONA said when he was announced as manager that: "Argentina doesn't play friendly matches. We play to win every match and that's the mentality I want my players to have".
I think is showed. Honestly.
With all those things said, I don't think we should judge the team as a whole very meticulously right now.
What we can do is to talk a little bit about each player.
Juan Pablo CARRIZO: Didn't have to work too much. I can't remember a single moment in which he was forced into action. Overall, he gave his team-mates confidence.
Javier ZANETTI: Endless. Surged forward, safe in his marking duties. I hope he can continue playing for Argentina.
Martín DEMICHELIS: A slight mistake in the first half but some crucial moves in which he deflected shots that looked dangerous. Had a header wide and showed a willingness to join the attack and did it well.
Gabriel HEINZE: Not my favourite player, but I think he played a great game and was very comfortable in the middle of defense. Shouldn't take any more free-kicks in the future, though! ;)
Emiliano PAPA: Good debut. The Scottish crowd decided to get on his nerves and booed him ever since he felt a knock in his ankle that was hard to see by the audience. But he never lost his composure, was safe in defense and showed good communication with Jonas GUTIERREZ on the left.
Fernando GAGO: He was his usual self and showed good distribution and a perfect understanding with his fellow central midfielder, Javier MASCHERANO.
Javier MASCHERANO: Didn't feel the burden of being the new captain. He almost opened the score with a lovely volley from outside the box that forced a save from McGREGOR. Controlled the midfield as always and participated in the attack too.
Maxi RODRIGUEZ: He will go down in history as the first goal-scorer of the MARADONA era when he capped a beautiful attacking move. Ran a lot (as always) and had a couple of not-so-clear chances in the second half. Good game.
Jonas GUTIERREZ: Started off very brightly and sent a perfect assist for Maxi for the only goal of the match. Faded out a little as the match progressed, but a good asset for Argentina on the left.
Carlos TEVEZ: Did the dirty work and couldn't shine. He was a little too selfish at times and that may be coming from his anxiety and the willingness to play and to show what he is capable of. Had a crucial part in our goal when he brough the ball to the middle after cutting inside from the right.
Ezequiel LAVEZZI: Hmmmm...probably the weakest link of today's match. Couldn't quite impose his pace and I'm not sure he worked well together with TEVEZ (maybe they are not compatible, but it's too early to judge).
Lucho GONZALEZ: Played 20 minutes and it was probably the worst I've seen from him in a long time. Lost the first three balls he touched and never got into the game. He'll surely rebound from an off match as the one he had tonight.
German DENIS: Replaced Napoli team-mate LAVEZZI with 15 minutes to go. Not enough to judge him and he only had one half-chance when his shot got blocked.
Cata DIAZ: Didn't play much when he replaced PAPA.
José SOSA: Came on with only 1 minute to go. Just to make the books.
Despite a growing hype around MARADONA and his visit to the most Argentina-friendly country in the United Kingdom, there are reports suggesting that Hampden Park will not present a sold-out crowd.
MARADONA looks set to field a lineup that, at least when it comes to the names, has a lot of similarities with what BASILE's been using, but the main differences are in the formation Diego will use and the position in which some of his footballers will play.
A 4-4-2 formation that has been forced by the absenses of Juan Roman RIQUELME and Lionel MESSI. Without them, Diego doesn't have a natural play-maker (RIQUELME) or someone who can play just a little bit behind the two strikers and eventually become a key to open up the opposing defense with through passes or with his dribbling ability (MESSI).
With this scenario, Maxi RODRIGUEZ and Jonas GUTIERREZ will be key to help the striking duo of TEVEZ and LAVEZZI. Carlitos and Pocho will need those two to be very active going forward and feed them regularely.
MASCHERANO will have the captain's armband and to me, the bit question mark will be upon Fernando GAGO's position. Will he run forward more than usual? Will he be asked to stay back all the time to help Mad Masch and cover for Maxi and Jonas' runs forward? Will he be doing a little bit of both?
At the back, CARRIZO is confirmed as Diego's first choice goalkeeper. A great choice, if you ask me. A goalkeeper with a lot of talent and youth on his side. He'll have 2/3 good European seasons under his belt when the next World Cup comes and he is arguably the best goalkeeper we have these days.
Javier ZANETTI will have 15 European seasons when South Africa 2010 comes! I was very happy to see him in Diego's first list as rumours were suggesting he was going to get the axe. I think his versatility and his experience are great assets for our team and he is still the best we've got on our right flank.
Martín DEMICHELIS gets the call at centre back and I think it's a good decision. His speed, his timing and his aerial game are second to none and he'll be as determined as nobody else after missing out on the last minute on both the Germany 2006 World Cup and the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.
He'll be joined by Gabriel HEINZE, who abandons his left-back duties (a good thing!) and will now try to show his worth in his original position. If you've been following Mundo Albiceleste for quite some time now, you'll know I don't like HEINZE. But I'm willing to give him a chance as a centre-back. Good luck to him.
Finally, there's Emiliano PAPA. A mystery for most of Mundo Albiceleste's readers. Well...this is Diego's first gamble and I think it is one that will pay off. For some reason we had Gabriel HEINZE playing as left-back when we have some proper left-backs waiting in the shadows. Emiliano PAPA is one of them and after having a great season with Velez, Diego felt for him and will give him the nod. Behind him for future tests are Real Betis' Luciano MONZON (Olympic champion in Beijing) and Emiliano INSUA (still a very young but interesting prospect at Liverpool).
Feel free to share your comments with us and enjoy the match.
The Falcons (Los Halcones), the Argentina football national team for visually impaired athletes, have advanced to the semifinals of the world championships by defeating England 5-3 in a match played today at the Centro Nacional de Alto Rendimiento Deportivo (C.E.N.A.R.D) of Buenos Aires.
With goals from David BASILE (2), Franco GONZALEZ (2) and Franco VILLALBA (who has 8 goals in the tournament and is the top-scorer), Argentina secured first place in Group A by winning all their three matches.
England and Ireland have 3 points (only Ireland have played their 3 matches and England will meet Spain next). The Spanish are rock bottom with no points.
Argentina will play on Saturday with the second-placed team from Group B. Belarus have secured their place in the semifinals with a perfect record of 9 points and Ukraine look set to be Argentina's rivals after getting 6 points in their first 2 matches. Russia and Italy have 3 points, while France completes Group B with no points.
For more information on this sport, you can visit the following link:
Everything clicks. Everything looks set.
MOURINHO is obviously not using CRESPO as much as the player wants.
CRESPO himself needs to be used in order to make his dream come true and get another chance to play for his national team.
And Real Madrid need a big striker in the wake of Ruud VAN NISTELROOY's season-ending injury.
Spanish sports newspaper Marca suggested Hernán CRESPO is the chosen one for Madrid, while their colleagues at As.com have indicated that Inter president, Massimo MORATTI, said: "If Real Madrid makes CRESPO happy, then we have to respect his wishes".
So...is there a Pipita+CRESPO combination in the making for Madrid the rest of this season?
Our girls were the clear underdogs in this Group B match which happened to open the tournament in the Nelson Oyarzún Stadium in Chillan, Chile.
The Albicelesterettes (if you allow me to nickname them) were drawn in a very difficult group which includes France and the USA, two teams that will face each other next in the same city.
Argentina presented the following lineup, which included a few players from the Olympic squad:
- Guadalupe CALELLO 1
- Gabriela CHAVEZ 2
- Noelia ESPINDOLA 3
- Yanina HERNANDEZ 4
- Emilia MENDIETA 5
- Florencia JAIMES 8
- Joanna BRACAMONTE 9
- Maria POTASSA 10
- (C) Florencia MANDRILE 11
- Virginia GOMEZ 14
- Carina NUNEZ 18
A good result to start the campaign. Now the girls will be looking to nick something out of the USA (very very difficult task) and then play all their chances to advance to the next round against France.
But with the many options the internet offers these days, you can try and follow the game live on video through a few websites that offer you that chance.
Here are a couple of useful links where you can try and watch it if no TV channel shows it in your country:
Good luck with those links and we hope you find a way to watch the match!
You can read the interview here:
But here are the most juicy things he said about the Argentina manager and I think he puts the game into perspective for everyone to understand what it means for this group of young Scotsmen to face one of his childhood heroes today:
“I watched that game with my dad and it was probably my earliest memory in terms of a big football tournament.
“I clearly recall watching the game against England. I was jumping about daft with my dad when MARADONA scored.
“I was eight at the time, yet I still remember everything about that game.
“The second MARADONA goal was incredible and it’s still probably the best goal I’ve ever seen.
“MARADONA was unbelievable in that tournament, he was the top man.
“You never think you’re going to meet the guy. But I’ll be standing pretty close to him at Hampden and it will be a good feeling."
“He’s a legend in Scotland, you know the reasons why, and it’s great to be involved in a game against MARADONA.”
“For me he was the greatest player ever.
“People talk about PELE and what he achieved, but I was too young, I can’t remember PELE."
“But I remember MARADONA and what he could do with a football. He was a very special player.
“In today’s terms probably Lionel MESSI is about the only thing that comes close to MARADONA and it’s a shame he won’t be involved against us."
“I’ve played against him a few times with Rangers against Barcelona and he’s a wonderful player.”
“The respect, to a certain extent, goes out the window. If we stand off these guys we’ll get hammered. We need to press them high up the pitch."
“Our friendly record at Hampden isn’t the best and this is another tough game."
“But we’re playing Holland at Hampden in March and this will be a really good test for us."
“It would be easy to take a friendly against a so-called lesser side, but what would we learn from that?"
“If you want to improve you need to play against the best and at the moment they don’t come much better than Argentina.
“I know people say it could go the other way and fear we could get humped, but I don’t think we will the way the team will be set out."
“This is the right game to take ahead of the Holland qualifier.”
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Apart from that, the big news is the inclusion of Gabriel HEINZE as a central defender and not a left back, a position he's been playing for Argentina for a long time as well as for Real Madrid and Manchester United. But HEINZE is a natural central defender. He played there for Newell's when he was a youngster and also in Portugal and France before he moved to England and before he started playing as a left back for Argentina.
When he played for BIELSA he was part of a back line of 3 men (all of them natural centre backs) and then he eventually became a left back when his team played 4 at the back.
In my opinion? I like him more as a central defender. We'll see how he plays today at Hampden Park.
Who's going to be the left back then? It's Emiliano PAPA. What can you expect from him? A short, speedy defender who's got good technique and is not afraid to join the attack.
The most probable lineup will consist in:
CARRIZO on goal. Diego has always said good things about the Lazio goalkeeper.
ZANETTI as a right back. Receiving Diego's confidence but conceding the captain's armband.
DEMICHELIS and HEINZE as the pair of central midfielders.
Emiliano PAPA making his full international debut as left-back and confirming what everyone has been saying about how Diego loves him.
Maxi RODRIGUEZ on the right and Jonas GUTIERREZ on the left. I'm guessing they will have a lot of liberties to join the attack and will be asked to do so by Diego.
Fernando GAGO and Javier MASCHERANO bossing around in midfield. These two seem to be sure of their status as key players in our midfield. Especially Javier as he will play his first match as our captain.
Carlos TEVEZ and Ezequiel LAVEZZI will form the striking partnership. Only because AGUERO had to go to Madrid and left a place for Pocho. TEVEZ will have to show he's good enough even when he has to sit on the bench for United more often than not. LAVEZZI has a great opportunity to confirm all the good things he's doing for Napoli.
Can't wait for the match to start!
Diego looks sad and worried as news from Spain were coming and his pregnant daughter Gianinna was being taken to hospital as a precautionary measure.
Gianinna's boyfriend, Sergio AGUERO, was leaving Scotland as Diego was addressing the world's media the day before his debut as Argentina national team manager.
The latest from Madrid is that Gianinna and her baby are fine.
Despite all this problem, you can see some great answers from MARADONA in this clip.
Giannina and his baby are fine now, but AGUERO took the decision to take the first plane out of Glasgow to be back in Madrid and stay with her.
It remains to be seen whether he'll return to Scotland just in time for the match or not.
Diego is believed to be ready to announce the starting lineup to the players at a training session later today.
The possible lineup for tomorrow could be:
ZANETTI, DEMICHELIS, BURDISSO, Emiliano PAPA (Velez Sarsfield).
Maxi RODRIGUEZ, GAGO, MASCHERANO, Jonas GUTIERREZ.
Carlos TEVEZ and one from the Napoli duo of Ezequiel LAVEZZI or German DENIS in the position that was originally reserved for AGUERO.
Thanks to Gabriel for the other link. I couldn't quite upload that one here (which was a great video with young Celtic players greeting Diego and giving him a Celtic shirt with the number 10 and the name MARADONA on the back).
So I'm uploading this one for now.
Scotland's assistant manager and one of the thousand England players to be left behind by Diego on his way to scoring the most beautiful goal in the history of the World Cup, Terry BUTCHER, has publicly said he will never forgive MARADONA for that "Hand of God" episode.
Here's the video.
Monday, November 17, 2008
For years, both Tracy McGRADY and YAO Ming combined so well that nothing could stop them when they were at their best. They made everyone in Houston believe that together, they can take the Rockets back to the glory days of the mid-90s.
However the only problem is that when one of them gets injured, everything else falls apart. It was crucial they needed players who are more than just a supporting cast.
Last season, they got Luis SCOLA (in a much unexpected circumstances) and this year they brought in Ron ARTEST. With this two joining the fray, it looks like the Rockets could be heading into the promise land.
This was the case for SCOLA, as tonight he produced another brilliant performance for the Rockets in their 100-89 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder. He contributed 23 points, 9 rebounds, 2 assists plus 1 steal.
The Rockets front court looks pretty strong with both YAO (19 points & 11 rebounds) and ARTEST (17 points) also contributing big.
Meanwhile, San Antonio Spurs continued their revival (despite playing without Manu GINOBILI and Tony PARKER) with an 86-83 win over the Los Angeles Clippers. Fabricio OBERTO did not see much action, with only one assist to his name.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Atletico Madrid hammered Deportivo La Coruna 4-1 with Maxi RODRIGUEZ scoring their third goal of the game.
Leandro CUFRE scored from the spot for Monaco in their 1-2 defeat Rennes
Bordeaux went down 1-2 to Lyon with Fernando CAVENAGHI on target
Three Albiceleste from Russia with Love. There was Hector BRACAMONTE who scored for FC Moscow against Lokomotiv Moscow. Christian MAIDANA scored the equalizer for Spartak Moscow against Luch-Energiya Vladivostok. The last one was Leandro FERNANDEZ for Dinamo Moscow against Zenit St Petersburg.
San Antonio Spurs continue their revival by winning their second consecutive game after defeating the Sacramento King 90-88. Fabricio OBERTO was heavily involved posting 2 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists & 1 block shot.
Detroit Pistons could not take advantage over the ejection of Shaquille O’NEAL as they went down against the Phoenix Suns 86-104. Walter HERRMANN could only manage to post just 2 points from the bench.
There is a long interview of Diego in Olé's Monday edition but it's really late right now and I don't have the time to translate it all.
I can give you the link to it (in Spanish) and I can translate the bit in which he talks about RIQUELME.
"I'll surely give Roman the number 10 shirt. Because of everything he represents, because of his team-work, the dead-ball situations and the influence he can have on our team. Because of everything that he shows in every match he plays."
"I would have loved to make my debut with RIQUELME and MESSI both playing, but Argentina can't stand there doing nothing if we don't have them. We need to find other options. We've got other options."
Here's the link to the full interview:
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Both Andres NOCIONI and Luis SCOLA produced a double-double performance tonight thus helping their respective teams to victory.
A huge performance from Chapu NOCIONI coming from the bench help the Chicago Bulls used a fourth quarter surge to beat the Indiana Pacers 104-91. It was their first back to back win of the season.
NOCIONI scored 20 points, grabbed 10 rebounds plus an assist and two steals.
Luis SCOLA had a big night performance for the Houston Rockets as they defeated Chris PAUL’s New Orleans Hornets 91-82. He posted 12 points plus a game high 10 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals.
Contepomi Kicks Pumas to Victory over Italy
Argentina defeated Italy 22-14 in Turin, their first win since June thus moving them back into the top four of the IRB rankings. The top four at the end of the month will lead the seedings for the 2011 World Cup in New Zealand.
Captain Felipe CONTEPOMI kicked five penalties plus one conversion after Rafael CARBALLO scored the only try for the Pumas. Los Pumas can secure the top four position with a win against Ireland in Dublin next weekend.
Licha & Ernesto Scores in Porto’s Win
FC Porto have recovered from two games losing streak to beat Guimaraes 2-0. Lisandro LOPEZ opned the scoring at the Estadio Dragao in the 66th minute. Ernesto FARIAS ensured victory in the 88th minute for the three time defending champions.
Lucio FILOMENA scored for Asteras Tripolis in their 1-1 draw with Aris Salonika in the Greek Super League.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Miguel Angel LEMME, a hard-tackling, defensive-minded footballer in his playing days and a former Carlos BILARDO's assistant manager at Estudiantes de La Plata and Alejandro MANCUSO, a technical central midfielder in the mould of Fernando REDONDO, and a very close friend of Diego MARADONA will be the assistant coaches at least for the friendly against Scotland (November 19 at Hampden Park in Glasgow).
LEMME had some unsuccessful spells as manager in a few lower league clubs in Argentina, such as Atlanta and San Telmo.
MANCUSO has no managerial experience but he has been one of Diego's closest friends during his miraculous road to recovery and MARADONA trusts him 100%.
You never know whether these two will stick with Diego all the way or if there will be changes in the next few weeks.
What's official at the time of writing is that LEMME and MANCUSO will both be sitting on the bench with Diego against Scotland.
Now...he just might have to win the most difficult title of his life: Assistant Manager of Argentina.
"I have no words to express what I feel after seeing what Diego is doing. I'm surprised."
"I think Diego doesn't have to let this moment go by."
"I think if the AFA selects a manager, they should give him the liberty to choose the people he wants to work with."
"GRONDONA was upset after I said a few things on the radio, but those things were not as terrible as they want to make them sound."
"I tried to talk with GRONDONA but couldn't reach because nobody answered".
"For him (GRONDONA) it's always "TODO PASA" (which means: All things must pass or something like that), except when it comes to me."
"MARADONA has a long list of friends he can take to the National team but instead he is taking risk to take someone like me with whom he didn't speak for a long time now. He knows how I feel about the national team and all those times we played there for free. After this signal by Diego, I'll continue to be next to him. Be it from the inside or from the outside. Wherever I can be."
RUGGERI also asked Diego not to quit:
"I came out to talk because I think Diego can't let this chance go by. He has to travel to Scotland and train our national team."
"I thought it was going to be difficult to convince GRONDONA but I didn't expect it to be this hard. I've never seen GRONDONA as nervous as he was yesterday".
Well...I don't think RUGGERI did himself any favours with those comments.
The soap opera continues...when will we have just FOOTBALL???
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
"I have spoken with him and told him to slow down a little bit. There are 500 possible collaborators. After four months when I was in charge, I had to change all my collaborators. Diego likes every candidate".
"I know the press want to know everything. There are a lot of assistant managers mentioned in the papers. What we are looking for is for someone to be with us all the time".
Emiliano PAPA (defender, Velez Sarsfield), Cristian VILLAGRA (defender, River Plate) and Daniel "Rolfi" MONTENEGRO (midfielder, Independiente) are all going to Scotland.
But seeing that Diego and GRONDONA are in the middle of an arm-wrestling contest, will MARADONA be on the bench to shout instructions at them?
Or will BATISTA become the interim manager?
There's been an ongoing argument between Diego MARADONA and Julio GRONDONA (AFA President) regarding who should be the assistant coach.
Today (Wednesday), there's been a meeting between MARADONA and GRONDONA and after Diego insisted he wanted Oscar RUGGERI at all costs, GRONDONA said "I don't want him".
Now there are rumours suggesting MARADONA could quit if he doesn't get his wish granted and apparently GRONDONA is adamant in not having RUGGERI joining the national team.
It seems to be a case of convincing Julio GRONDONA and there are some who are saying that GRONDONA's sons would probably be the only ones with a chance of changing the Godfather's mind.
Of course this is something we don't need at all. I hate when stuff like this happens and now I'm thinking: "Why didn't they talk about it before they made the official announcement of Diego becoming the national team manager? What was the hurry?".
Why do they put their egos before the national team interests?
In Diego's case, he could have a point and say: "I want to work with who I think will work with me better".
But in GRONDONA's case...what can he say? "I don't want to listen to the guy I've just appointed?"
What he said to the press tonight in Buenos Aires is: "I talk about what I want to talk".
And after they insisted asking about RUGGERI, he said: "Maybe I don't like his face. Who knows?".
This is not something I'm making up. This is published in the media (Olé) and, honestly, it doesn't surprised me at all.
When will he leave the AFA? Please!
Coming from the bench, Andres NOCIONI had a big night for the Chicago Bulls against the high flying Atlanta Hawks. Chapu posted 20 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists & 1 steal. However the Bulls could not stop the Hawks from winning their sixth game of the season (Atlanta is one of two teams still unbeaten, the other being the Lakers) as they went down 108-113.
Though they were without Manu GINOBILI (and Tony PARKER for that matter), San Antonio Spurs were still to much for the New York Knicks. Fabricio OBERTO was the starting center, played well to help the Spurs in defense, posting 6 points, team high 9 rebounds, 3 assists and 1 steal.
TEVEZ Sinks Rangers
I kept wondering how would Seba react to this? Carlos TEVEZ finally scores for Manchester United when he converted a 76th minute penalty in their 1-0 win over Queens Park Rangers. Sir Alex decideds to rest both BERBATOV and RONNEY for this game. TEVEZ was given the nod to lead United’s attack. This is his first goal since scoring against Liverpool back in September.
In other match Derby County defeated Leeds United 2-1. Emanuel VILLA scored to put Derby in the lead and then Nathan ELLINGTON double it for them. Leeds in form player, Luciano BECCHIO pull one back.
In the Coupe de la Ligue, Fernando CAVENAGHI scored for Bordeaux in their 4-2 win over Guingamp.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
DI MARIA has a fissure in his left fibula and Diego will have to think of other options instead of the Benfica offensive midfielder.
We wish DI MARIA a speedy recovery and we'll see who Diego calls up now.
Monday, November 10, 2008
Back in Argentina, Diego said:
"This tour was very positive because I felt the players were listening to me when I talked to them. Their eyes were wide open and their chests were wider. They want revenge. They know our people needs this team and they understand the moment we are living. They know they have to give a little bit more."
MARADONA has also hinted that he will call up Juan Roman RIQUELME (who scored a beauty of an injury-time game-winner free-kick for Boca against Arsenal de Sarandí on Sunday).
The new Argentina manager said in an interview with Radio La Red that: "Estudiantes de la Plata's players (Juan Sebastián VERON and Gastón ANGELERI) will not be called up (for the friendly against Scotland). We will meet on Tuesday with Carlos (BILARDO) and we will see who we call. I have to talk to Roman (RIQUELME). But you don't say "no" to the selección. It's either you want to be or you don't. There are no gray areas. It's black or it's white. We know Roman has played a lot of matches this season, but we will talk."
Diego also talked about who will finally become his assistant manager.
"I'm a little bit worried about not knowing who will come to work with me. Oscar RUGGERI is number 1 in my list. I don't think it's impossible. BILARDO is going to talk to GRONDONA. Anything can happen. We have candidates. There's BATISTA, BROWN...there's also Miguel BRINDISI and Humbertito (meaning Humberto GRONDONA, son of Julio)".
Diego did mention that there is no way he will be joined by either Gabriel BATISTUTA or Claudio CANIGGIA.
Diego also said a few things about the Albicelestes that are playing in Europe.
"I've noticed that Carlitos (TEVEZ) is a little anxious because he is not playing for Manchester United as a starter, but I saw him very committed to this new Argentina era."
"I have convinced MASCHERANO to become my captain. It's something I feel deep inside. I explained to him how the selección needs him to be the captain and he understood perfectly."
"I've been watching a lot of matches. Surely, as long as they keep playing like this for their clubs, Diego MILITO, Gonzalo HIGUAIN, Mauro ZARATE...will all have their opportunities with me."
Great news for DEL POTRO, NALBANDIAN and every tennis fan in our country, but a sad thing to see. Whether you like him or not, Rafael NADAL is, ranking-wise, the best player these days -with all due respect to Roger FEDERER and everything he has achieved- and not to have him in Mar del Plata for the final is a huge blow also for us, Argentines.
I'm not a hypocrite and I can see that the chances of finally winning that elusive trophy for the first time in history have been increased dramatically for our team, but really, I'm not over the moon with this news as I think it would have been a great thing to see Rafa playing here and to see our two top10 stars battling it out with him.
Sunday, November 09, 2008
To add to the "poker" by Gonzalo HIGUAIN against Malaga, this Sunday saw a lot of Albiceleste's hopefuls finding the back of the net at will.
The best of the lot has to be Diego MILITO. His hat-trick was instrumental for Genoa to defeat Reggina 4-0. The other goal? Since Diego couldn't score it, he decided to participate with an assist.
Sensational stuff from the former Racing Club and Zaragoza striker who now has 9 goals in the Serie A and is the topscorer of the tournament.
José MOURINHO was under a lot of pressure and it was Julio CRUZ who saved him from a massive booing from the Inter fans as The Gardener scored on the 92nd minute to give the defending champions the three points against Udinese in a dull 1-0 win.
Elsewhere, Mauro ZARATE opened up the score for Lazio in their home win against Siena.
The Napoli duo of DENIS and LAVEZZI were not on target but their team won 2-0 over Sampdoria and are still in contention in the title race.
Good to see so many of our strikers with such impressive performances. HIGUAIN (4 goals), MILITO (3), CAVENAGHI, CRUZ (please Diego, don't call him!) and ZARATE one each. Diego MARADONA must be a happy manager these days.
(Again...wait for John to work his magic and upload the videos here)
On Saturday, Both HIGUAIN and CAVENAGHI (players that are often overlooked by Coco in the past) scored for their respective clubs to earn Diego’s attention. Well what can I say? Just keep up the good work. However the weekend is far from over.
If Gonzalo HIGUAIN was the Albiceleste of the day on Saturday, then on Sunday that honour goes to Diego MILITO. So far at least. Like Pipita, MILITO scored a hat trick for Genoa in their 4-0 win over Reggina. Bravo!
But wait a minute, we still got more. Julio CRUZ became a last minute hero for Inter in their 1-0 win over Udinese. You still want more? Mauro ZARATE got himself in the score sheet in Lazio’s 3-0 Siena.
About Saturday, I’ve almost forgot. Nicolas FRUTOS did scored a goal for Anderletch in their 2-3 defeat to Lokeren.
As I’ve said, we’re far from finished. There is still plenty of action coming from the Spanish La Liga (and many other leagues). So please Albiceleste players (yes! I’m talking to you) keep this wonderful momentum going and put a smile on Diego’s face.
Videos will be uploaded later, in the meantime do keep the rest of us updated on the comment box.
Saturday, November 08, 2008
Pipita wasn’t the only player making noise on Saturday nights fixtures. Fernando CAVENAGHI has also send a message loud and clear to Diego by scoring for Bordeaux against Auxerre.
In Turkey, Gustavo COLMAN scored the winning goal for Trabzonspor against Genclerbirligi.
While Ismael BLANCO continues his scoring spree for AEK Athens in Greece, scoring the equalizer against FC Xanthi.
The former River Plate striker was on fire on Saturday as he scored 4 goals to help Real Madrid defeat Malaga 4-3.
The Whites were always trailing and they came from behind to equalise three times, before HIGUAIN added a fourth to give them the lead. That fourth goal proved to be the last in the game and Real Madrid are still very close from league-leaders FC Barcelona (by the way, the Catalan giants defeated Valladolid 6-0 with 4 goals from Samuel ETO'O -two of them coming from Lionel MESSI's assists-).
I'm sure within the next few hours, John will find the video with HIGUAIN's goals and we'll all be able to see them.
LOS PUMAS TOASTED BY THE FRENCH
The crowd at the Velodrome Stadium in Marseille were thrilled with the result. After all, France managed to defeat the team that knocked them off their feet TWICE in home soil during last year's Rugby World Cup. In fact, the Argentine rugby national team won six out of seven against the French since 2002.
For Los Pumas it was an important test match, especially because it marked day 1 of the After PICHOT era. It was also the international debut for Santiago PHELAN as head coach.
Some key players from the team that managed to finish the World Cup in 3rd place returned to action and were the back-bone of Los Pumas. Players such as Rodrigo RONCERO, Mario LEDESMA, Patricio ALBACETE, the excellent Juan Martín HERNANDEZ and new captain Felipe CONTEPOMI gave Los Pumas quality in every line and a decent chance to play mano-a-mano with almost any team in the world.
Against the French, it turned out to be tête à tête indeed. No tries were scored and Les Bleus ended up winning by a mere 6 points.
It was 12-6 to the home team with Los Pumas pushing until the very end for that try that never arrived.
A few interesting things were the great performances from prop Juan Pablo ORLANDI and 25-years-old scrum-half Nicolás VERGALLO, who had to fill in PICHOT's shoes and did a great job.
Felipe CONTEPOMI scored all of Los Pumas 6 points, while Benoit BABY (3) and David SKRELA (9 -product of 2 penalties and 1 drop-) scored for France.
Next stop in Los Pumas tour of Europe will come next weekend when the Argentines will face Italy in Turin, before they continue with a trip to Dublin to face Ireland in two weeks.
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
FC Porto knew that only a win in Kyiv can ensure their Champions League campaign will not end prematurely. But achieving that is most cases may not be that easy for any team in Europe for that matter. And they achieved the "Not- Easy-Task" by defeating Dynamo 2-1 away in dramatic circumstances.
Dynamo took the lead through Artem MILEVSKIY and was one foot away from the knockout stage. However the Portuguese side responded by increasing the pressure but could not find the equalizer before halftime.
Their effort was rewarded in the second half through ROLANDO's header in the 69th minute. Then two minutes into injury time, Lisandro LOPEZ held off two Dynamo defenders and made room for a low cross for Lucho GONZALEZ, who tapped in from close range to seal a vital win.
Some NBA News…..
The Detroit Pistons, still without Allen IVERSON, defeated the Toronto Raptors 100-93. Walter HERRMANN posted 4 points & 4 rebounds from the bench.
Andres NOCIONI posted 6 points, 5 rebounds & 1 assist as the Chicago Bulls lost 93-107 to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The San Antonio Spurs have finally won a game but they had to work extremely hard to defeat the Minnesota Timberwolves 129-125 in double over time. Fabricio OBERTO posted 2 points, 2 rebounds & 3 assists.