Monday, August 31, 2009
Together with him, Rolando SCHIAVI (of Newell's and loaned to Estudiantes when they won the Copa Libertadores) and Rodrigo BRAÑA (Estudiantes) are called up too.
BRAÑA? A really hard-working midfielder who never gets tired. A hound dog, if you like. The type of player you would want on your team when the going gets tough.
SCHIAVI has experience playing in Brazil too. He was at Gremio for some time and he lost that Copa Libertadores 2007 final against Boca and against PALERMO.
Martín PALERMO scored on Sunday to give Boca the win against Lanús and he reached 207 goals in his career with the blue and gold. He is only 11 goals away from becoming the all-time scoring leader of Boca Juniors.
Do I expect any of these three players to start against Brazil?
No. SCHIAVI may have a bigger chance, with all the injury problems we've got at the back, but I'd think he would start on the bench. So will PALERMO and BRAÑA.
The most notable inclusion is Sebastian DOMINGUEZ who has been given his first call-up to the national squad. The defender who plays for champions Velez Sarsfield will be joined by club teammate Nicolas OTAMENDI and Emiliano PAPA.
The other names are midfielder Sebastian BATTAGLIA (Boca), Eduardo SALVIO (Lanus), playmaker Juan Sebastian VERON (Estudiantes) and Huracan midfielder Mario BOLATTI.
SALVIO made his national team debut in a friendly against Panama in May while
BOLATTI made his debut earlier this month, when Argentina defeated Russia 3-2 in a friendly match in Moscow.
VERON meanwhile, will join the squad even though he was substituted in the second half of the Apertura derby that Estudiantes won 3-0 over old enemies Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata with a minor leg injury.
Newcastle midfielder Jonas GUTIERREZ has already left the squad due to injury.
With the names of the full squad completed, in your own opinion; who do you think will Diego named in the starting line up come this weekend.
For sure we all remember that remarkable run by Juan Martin DEL POTRO in last years edition. It will be interesting to see whether he can repeat or improve his run in Flushing Meadows, as he will be facing huge obstacle in the form of Andy MURRAY and Rafael NADAL along the way.
For this campaign, DEL POTRO will start his first round encounter against another Albiceleste, Juan MONACO. With all due respect to El Pico, I’m sure DEL POTRO experience on hard court would ensure he wins this tie easily.
Other interesting first round tie will see the second episode of “El Clasico” (after the FIBA Americas and the upcoming World Cup Qualifying) with CASUSO will take on Brazillian Marcos DANIEL.
Here are the rest of the first round tie involving the Albiceleste
Juan Ignacio CHELA vs. Oscar HERNANDEZ (ESP)
Juan Pablo BRZEZICKI vs. Carsten BALL (AUST)
Maximo GONZALEZ vs. Karol BECK (SVK)
Leonardo MAYER vs. Andrey GOLUBEV (KAZ)
Martin Vassallo ARGUELLO vs. Robert KENDRICK (USA)
Horacio ZEBALLOS vs. Michael BERRER (GER)
Sunday, August 30, 2009
Luis SCOLA was again the top performer with 30 points, 8 rebounds & 5 assists. Paolo QUINTEROS posted 14 points and Pablo PRIGIONI had 11 points with 5 assists, 3 rebounds & a steal.
Argentina raced through to a comfortable lead at the start of the first quarter but only manage a 19-18 lead. Dominicans came back strongly in the second and led by Al HORFORD, They finished off with a 43-37 lead at halftime.
The third quarter was well fought by both teams and with 30.4 seconds Leo GUTIERREZ made an important three pointer to tie it at 59. At the end of the first quarter the Dominicans had a 60-59 lead after a free throw by Francisco GARCIA.
Argentina maintained their composure and the big baskets came, especially from long distance where Andres PELUSSI tied it at 74 with 43.6 seconds left. After a miss by Charlie VILLANUEVA, it could have been a win for Argentina if SCOLA had made his shot inside the paint. Next, it was overtime.
At one point, the Dominicans had an 81-76 lead after a three point play by Al HORFORD, but the Tall Albiceleste responded with a 7-0 run to take an 83-81 lead. In the end clutch free throws from PRIGIONI and Juan Pablo CANTERO ensured that Argentina will go into the quarter-final stage with 2-2 record.
Lazio were 0-1 down courtesy of a corner when Sergio PELLISSIER beat Stefan RADU in the air. The equalizer came four minutes from time when CRUZ was brought down in the penalty box and the referee points to the spot. He steps up and fires past SORRENINO cooly.
In the second half, the visitor were looking dangerous and not surprisingly took the lead in spectacular fashion with a counter attack. Started by Stefano MAURI and finished with a perfect combination from ZARATE towards CRUZ.
Further goals from Sunday came from lesser known leagues. In Russia, Alejandro DOMINGUEZ scored from the spot for FK Rubin in their 3-0 win over Spartak Moscow. Gustavo COLMAN scored for Trabzonspor in their 1-1 draw with Bursaspor.
In Greece, Ismael BLANCO was the hero for AEK Athens scoring in their 1-0 away win over Atromitos. Filomeno LUCIO was on target for PAOK in their 3-0 win over Levadiakos.
Saturday, August 29, 2009
Eventually the pick and roll combination of Luis SCOLA and Pablo PRIGIONI were just too much for them too handle. Argentina raced through the first quarter and kept them momentum going until the second with 48-30 lead at half time.
It was all too different in the third quarter as Panama bounced back and outscored us by 19-12 to bridge the gap to 60-49. As a result it did look like it was all to play for in the fourth quarter. However this is where Argentina showed their true class by scoring 20-6 to win the game 80-55.
SCOLA was again on fire with 20 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists & a steal. But the man of the night was definitely PRIGIONI as he posted 19 points, 8 rebounds, 8 assists plus 4 steals and a block shot. Also not to forget, the contribution from both Andres PELUSSI & Federico KAMMERICHS with 10 points respectively.
Next up for Argentina, is the tournament dark horse Dominican Republic who has a number of NBA stars on their roster. Only a win here will they be able to avoid playing Costa Rica in the quarter-finals. We’ll see how it goes. Finger crossed
Lisandro LOPEZ scored three in a mid-week Champions League qualifying match vs. Anderletch then adds another on Saturday for Lyon to beat Nancy 3-1. Lisandro's got 2 goals in 3 league matches and 4 goals in 2 UCL games. That's 6 goals in 5 matches in this very young European season.
Sergio AGÜERO was also on target for Atlético Madrid against Panathinaikos in the Champions League qualifyers and he'll play tomorrow Málaga. He had also scored in the first leg in Greece.
Diego MILITO provides two assists and scores from the penalty spot for Inter in a 4-0 derby win over AC Milan.
Lio MESSI will skip Barcelona's opening league match, but he provided the assist for Pedro to score the only goal against Shaktar in the European Supercup and the Flea also scored two against Athletic Bilbao to help Barcelona secure the Spanish Supercup.
Carlos TEVEZ will play tomorrow for City against Portsmouth, but he comes from a good Carling Cup display with a headed goal in a 2-0 win over Crystal Palace on Thursday -which was Carlitos' first official goal for Man City-.
We'll see what Ezequiel LAVEZZI does on Sunday for Napoli.
But the question I want to ask you is:
If this free-scoring period from all our Argentine forwards a good or a bad thing ahead of our match against Brazil?
Will these goals give only mean our forwards will grow in confidence?
Or will they become a source of pressure on them and they will try to do too much in Rosario? I'm talking about the old argument of 'you perform well for your club but you can't cut it with our national team'.
What are your thoughts then?
Friday, August 28, 2009
Playing against them was expected to be a big task for Sergio HERNANDEZ side, considering the depth they had and the present of their NBA players. It wasn’t a one way traffic throughout the match but the lack of points from the entire team besides Luis SCOLA was just not enough for them to make amend after the surprise defeat from Day 1 against Venezuela.
Anderson VAREJAO and Leandro BARBOSA were a lethal couple for the our defense as they scored every time that they tried to make a comeback. Both of them scored the first ten points and VAREJAO netted a three pointer at the end of the first quarter to leave 21-13.
Argentina came back thanks to Juan Pablo CANTERO who scored a three pointer to be down 23-21 with 2:57 in the second quarter after an 8-0 run. Brazil recovered quickly and made an 11-0 run to lead at halftime 37-23.
In the third quarter Argentina had problems with the referees and Brazil took advantage of it to make another run and finish up 60-46 after a three pointer by Guilherme GIOVANNONI. Leo GUTIRREZ scored a three pointer with 3:31 left to give Argentina some hope, but BARBOSA scored five straight points to seal the game in their favor.
Luis SCOLA led Argentina in the box score once again with 19 points, 3 rebounds & 3 assists and followed by Roman GONZALEZ with 8 points, 4 rebounds & an assist. Pablo PRIGIONI also had 7 points, 8 assists, 2 rebounds, & 2 steals while Federico KAMMERICHS posted 6 points, 10 rebounds & 2 steals.
With this result, the Tall Albiceleste are now in a desperate situation as they need regroup and they must win their next match against Panama or else it just could tht end of the road for them in the competition. All hope is not lost.
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Bayern Munich - Martin DEMICHELIS, Jose Ernesto SOSA
Girondins Bordeaux - Fernando CAVENAGHI, Diego PLACENTE
Besiktas Istanbul - Matias DELGADO
Real Madrid - Gonzalo HIGUAIN, Fernando GAGO, Ezequiel GARAY
Olympique Marseille - Lucho GONZALEZ, Gabriel HEINZE
FC Porto - Fernando BELLUSCHI, Diego VALERI, Mariano GONZALEZ, Ernesto FARIAS, Tomas COSTA, Sebastian PREDIGUER
Atletico Madrid - Kun AGUERO, Maxi RODRIGUEZ
Liverpool - Javier MASCHERANO, Emiliano INSUA
Lyon - Lisandro LOPEZ, Cesar DELGADO
Fiorentina - Jose Ignacio CASTILLO, Mario SANTANA
Barcelona - Lionel MESSI, Gabriel MILITO
Internazionale - Javier ZANETTI, Esteban CAMBIASSO, Walter SAMUEL, Diego MILITO
FC Rubin Kazan - Alejandro DOMINGUEZ, Cristian ANSALDI
Sevilla FC - Federico FAZIO, Aldo DUSCHER, Lautaro ACOSTA, Diego PEROTTI
AZ Alkmaar - Sergio ROMERO
Olympiakos - Luciano GALETTI, Christian LEDESMA
By far FC Porto has the most Argentine players with 6 players on the team. Some key battles will be DEMICHELIS trying to stop CAVENAGHI from scoring, HEINZE facing his old team in Real Madrid, MAXI's Atletico Madrid will take on the team that eliminated them last season in FC Porto. As well as Argentina's captain, Javier MASCHERANO trying to stop Lyon's Lisandro LOPEZ. On a personal note, I'm looking to see how UEFA Player of the Year Lionel MESSI does against Il Capitano, Javier ZANETTI and company. U-20 World Cup and 2008 Olympic Gold Medalist Sergio ROMERO will get tested against the best Europe has to offer. Who knows, maybe playing in the Champions League will further his chances of starting with the National Team?
Minutes after being named UEFA Best Forward of 2008/2009 award, Lionel MESSI was named UEFA Player of the Year.
Edwin VAN DER SAR won best Goalkeeper, John TERRY won best Defender and Xavi HERNANDEZ was chosen as best midfielder.
MESSI's team, FC Barcelona, will start defending their title from Group F. They will face Samuel ETO'O's new team, Inter, as well as Dynamo Kyiv (Ukraine) and Rubin Kazan (RUS) where Argentine forward and Youth World Champion in 2001, Alejandro DOMINGUEZ, plays these days.
The other groups are:
Group A - Bayern Munich, Juventus, Bordeaux and Maccabi Haifa
Group B - Manchester United, CSKA, Besiktas and Wolfsburg
Group C - AC Milan, Real Madrid, Olympique Marseille and FC Zurich
Group D - Chelsea, Porto, Atl. Madrid and Apoel Nicosia
Group E - Liverpool, Olympique Lyonnais, Fiorentina and Debreceni
Group G - Sevilla, Rangers, Stuttgart and Unirea Urziceni
Group H - Arsenal, AZ Alkmaar, Olympiacos and Standard Liege
Then Diego says: "Against Brazil, it will be MESSI, MASCHERANO and Jonas GUTIERREZ plus eight other players".
The latest I hear (on TV -Tyc Sports-) is that Newcastle United's midfielder, Jonás GUTIERREZ, has picked up an injury and he is a major doubt for the World Cup Qualifying double-header against Brazil and Paraguay.
What now for Diego?
Is it Jesús DÁTOLO on the left and Maxi RODRIGUEZ on the right?
Esteban CAMBIASSO recently had surgery on one of his knees and he will never know whether MARADONA would have thought of calling him up or not.
With Angel DI MARÍA still suspended. What other options do we have?
Like it or not, Jonás is an engine on the left and he would have been really handy to have around to chase MAICON in case he decides to run forward and attack us and his heart and determination are true assets for our team.
More news to follow as soon as I find confirmation of this situation.
Until then...lets hear from you and lets see if you can think of solutions for our midfield against Brazil and Paraguay.
Venezuela lead the first quarter 18-16 and at halftime the lead was 39-30 with a great start by center Richard LUGO and Oscar TORRES. In the third quarter the Argentineans lost it as Pablo PRIGIONI was issued a technical foul with 7:51 left and the Venezuelans continued their attack. At the end of the third quarter the lead was 63-51.
Argentina tried to come back but baskets didn't come easy inside so they continued to shoot from three point range and fell short for the fourth straight time in Puerto Rico (this including defeats from II Marchland Continental Championship Cup.
Luis SCOLA led the scoring for us with 25 points including 7 rebounds. The second double digit scorer was Pablo PRIGIONI with 10 points and 6 assists. Roman GONZALEZ and Paolo QUINTEROS had an off day offensively with 8 points each.
Next up is going to be real huge test for SCOLA & Co as they face pre-tournament favourites Brazil!
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
His first; pounced on a misplaced pass by Anderlecht defender Ondrej MAZUCH, controlling the ball before scoring with a lob over Davy SCHOLLEN. Six minutes later, LOPEZ grabbed another, latching onto a right-wing cross by Michel BASTOS and touching the ball past a defender, before dispatching it into the bottom right corner from eight yards.
He completed his hat-trick four minutes before the break with a 20-yard effort which he expertly curled into the corner. As a consolation for Anderlecht, Matias SUAREZ pulled one back from the penalty spot in the second half but just as good as over the for this tie.
Well certainly a performance like this from him is what we need as this could be a real motivator booster ahead of next month’s World Cup clash.
Atlético Madrid also booked their place in the group stage in a 2-0 win over Panathinaikos at home with another hot performing Kun AGUERO among the scorer. With the Greek side already down to 10 men, he fired through the legs of Mario GALINOVIC to seal the win seven minutes from time.
More Champions League coming ahead tonight that will several more Albiceleste.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Originally to be held in Mexico, the competition has since been moved to Puerto Rico. The most important aspect about this competition is that it will also act as the Qualifying round for North, Central & South American region for next years World Championship to be held in Turkey.
Last Hurrah of the Golden Generation?
When the curtain was brought down in Beijing last year, it was clear that the time for the team of this decade is coming to a closure. These next few years might just be the final chapter in what has been glorious career for them (gold in Athens’04 being the pinnacle). But still I wouldn’t say that our NT is a spend force as there is still some unfinished business left in what we must look forward too.
Some Familiar Faces, Some New Faces
As expected coach Sergio FERNANDEZ was bound to take a team without the big names. Manu GINOBILI, Andres NOCIONI., Carlos DELFINO & Fabricio OBERTO for some reason have opted out for this campaign.
Here are the final squad details.
Juan Pablo CANTERO (Atenas)
Pablo PRIGIONI (Real Madrid)
Paolo QUINTEROS (CAI Zaragoza)
Diego GARCIA (Burgos)
Sebastián Matías SANDES (Fuenlabrada)
Federico KAMMERICHS (Regatas)
Luis SCOLA (Houston Rocktets)
Leonardo GUTIERREZ (Penarol)
Leonardo MAINOLDI (Fuenlabrada)
Andrés PELUSSI, (Libertad)
Román GONZALEZ (Quimsa)
Juan Pedro GUTIERREZ (CB Granada)
On paper, it is quite a formidable team that is capable of completing the task. SCOLA and PRIGIONI are the best name in their respective position in the entire competition. Remember both of them played together with Tau Ceramica in Spain. Their pick-n-roll combination was a huge success there.
QUNITEROS will be starting shooting guard in the absence of Manu. I remember him being outstanding against USA and Lithuania in Beijing. The Big Guy, GONZALEZ will start at center while KAMMERICHS looks likely to take up the small forward role. With this line up, SCOLA will once again lead the offense as he did tremendously two years in Las Vegas.
Among the new names in my opinion are CANTERO and PELUSSI. While the rest of the squad have featured for the NT in the past.
Is It All Bad News?
No I wouldn’t say that.
One of the good news is that there is NO team USA. They have earned an automatic spot by virtue of winning gold in Beijing and decided not to take part in this campaign. Meaning the competition is all open for the rest to play for.
On top of that, FIBA Americas will have four slot available for next years World Championship. This means as long as our boys make it to the semis, they’re there already.
Our fierce rival Brazil is most likely to be the favourite to captured the crown as they do have their big names from the NBA available. Then again so it was two years yet they still choke when it matter the most. So you’ll never know what might happen.
As for the rest; the host, Canada, Dominican Republic could be the tough proposition to play against with. Besides them, I don’t see that much of threat from the rest of the pack. We will follow the entire the tournament from here.
Monday, August 24, 2009
Sebastian LETO was on target twice for Panathinaikos in their 3-0 win over Ergotelis in the Greek Super League. Then in Ligue 1, Alberto COSTA scored for Montpiller in their 2-0 win over Sochaux. In Russia, Alejandro DOMINGUEZ also scored twice for FK Rubin in their 3-0 win over Dinamo Moscow.
Then I supposed the best thing to happen over the weekend has to be seeing Carlos TEVEZ appearing in his first start for Manchester City against Wolves. The fact that some of us argued that he will make a better partner for Emanuel ADEBAYOR up front was proven to be the right thing.
From the moment the referee blew the kick off whistle, it was non stop attack from the host team. You had to think if there was going to be a goal, it had to come from one of them. And it was! Courtesy of one delicate and graceful pass from Carlitos to Manu and that saw a fierce finish from the Togolese international.
Its pity that despite of all the effort the Citizen had to settle with one goal but still overall I have to say it was nice seeing TEVEZ enjoying himself on the pitch and returning back to his usual self. With the arrival of Joleon LESCOTT, more great things are bound to happen for the blue half on Manchester.
Friday, August 21, 2009
We shall for wait Seba to give us his confirmation but in the meantime I thought I just share this with the rest of you. As of now the list only includes the names of overseas based players.
Juan Pablo CARIZZO (Real Zaragoza)
Mariano ANDUJAR (Catania)
Sergio ROMERO (AZ Alkmaar)
Javier ZANETTI (Inter Milan)
Nicolas PAREJA (Espanyol)
Fabricio COLOCCINI (Newcastle)
Gabriel HEINZE (Marseille)
Nicolas BURDISSO (Inter Milan)
Fernando GAGO (Real Madrid)
Javier MASCHERANO (Liverpool)
Maxi RODRIGUEZ (Atletico Madrid)
Jesus DATOLO (Napoli)
Jonas GUTIERREZ (Newcastle)
Carlos TEVEZ (Manchester City)
Lionel MESSI (Barcelona)
Sergio AGUERO (Atletico Madrid)
Diego MILITO (Inter Milan)
Lisandro LOPEZ (Lyon)
Ezequiel LAVEZZI (Napoli)
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Benfica have put one foot in the Group stage with a convincing performance against Vorskla Poltova of Ukraine. Angel DI MARIA open the score when he sent his shot over goalkeeper DOLGANSKYI. Also in the score sheet is Javier SAVIOLA and he was superb all night. After having being denied a few times he finally manage to put the ball in the net in the in the 57th minute.
Genoa on other hand also put up brilliant performance in the first leg encounter against Danish side Odense. The Grifoni earner a precious 3-1 victory despite playing in the absence of Hernan CRESPO. The combination of Luciano FIGUEROA and Rodrigo PALACIO prove to be much for the Danes. FIGUEROA first was a brilliant header and the second was a strike after a couple of saves from goalkeeper Roy CARROLL.
Another Italian side, Lazio also opted to start with an All-Albiceleste partnership up front in their encounter with Elfsborg of Sweden. Summer signing Julio CRUZ played alongside Mauro ZARATE. CRUZ had a goal ruled out because of offside but ZARATE added Lazio’s second with 20 meter shot in the 35th minute.
The Yellow Submarine of Villareal also had a great night with a 3-1 away win to NAC Breda. Ariel IBAGAZA scored from a cheeky free kick in the 49th minute. The goal stood despite the protest from the Dutch side claiming that they were not ready when the kick was taken.
On a lesser known player, Greek League prolific scorer Ismael BLANCO was on target of AEK Athens but his side went down 1-2 to FC Vaslui.
DUNGA announced the Brazil squad list for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Argentina and Chile and ADRIANO features.
The image of the Emperor punishing the Albicelestes in the Copa América in Perú (scoring that last minute goal to send the final to penalties) and in the Confederations Cup 2005 final match when Brazil destroyed us 4-1 are still very fresh in my mind, so you can believe me when I say I'm not happy to see the current Flamengo striker coming to Rosario in September.
The full squad list for Brazil will be as follows:
Meanwhile, Diego MARADONA is expected to name the Albiceleste squad on Friday. Rumours of Rolando SCHIAVI being considered to play in central defense are getting stronger and stronger.
Atlético Madrid took advantage over their encoutner with Greek side Panathinaikos with 3-2 away win. Much of the focus on the game was on Kun AGUERO after he has being speculated for a big money move to England. Instead Atlético named him in starting line up meaning that he will be cup tied in Europe should any move go through.
Maxi RODRIGUEZ gave the Spanish side a half time lead. While the Albiceleste of the moment, Kun helped to strectch that lead to 3-1 in the 70th minute after turning Bryce MOON and Nikos SPYROPOULOS inside out down the right before firing across Mario GALINOVIC.
Four minutes later, SPYROPOULOS slipped Sebastian LETO in down the left channel and he rifled the ball past Andres ASENJO to make it 3-2, but it was Atletico who left the Greek capital with the upper hand.
Meanwhile in another match, Lisandro LOPEZ scored from the spot for Lyon in their 5-1 hammering against Belgian side Anderletch, who had both Lucas BIGLIA and Martin SUAREZ in their starting line up.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Yes! Today on the 18th of August, we celebrate the birthday of one of Albiceleste unsung football hero, Esteban CAMBIASSO. For the record he just turned 29, the same age as with me! Haha!!!
Unfortunately, he will miss the first few months of the 2009-10 campaign, which is set to get underway this weekend, after undergoing knee surgery to repair the meniscus he damaged against Juventus in the Trofeo Tim last week.
My first foray into CAMBIASSO began almost 12 years ago right behind my own backyard. He was part of that amazing youth team that won the World Youth Championship and captured the imagination of many young Malaysian fans on the beauty of our National Team. Though he was just a mere 17 years old teenager (already on the books of Real Madrid!), he did more than enough to convince me that we will see more of him in the future.
He did achieve some moderate success with the Los Merengues, however his best years came when he joined Internazionale in 2004. It was during this time that his talent flourished on the field. Some critics even argued that he is one of the greatest player to ever pulled an Inter shirt.
As a result, he became a key figure under both Jose PEKERMAN (the same man that molded him into a mighty force that he is during his youth days) and Coco BASILE. Why you may ask? Because of his determination and hard running performance. His intelligence and capacity to change the shape of the game. So far he has made for than 43 appearance for the National side and scored four goals.
I’m sure I will (or might) have everyone agreement on this. That his most memorable moment on the field came on the 16th of June, when the Albiceleste took on Serbia & Montenegro in the 2006 World Cup. Do I need to say anything more as I’m sure everyone knows to what am I referring to.
Since Diego MARADONA took over as Argentina coach, CAMBIASSO has not been called-up to the national team, despite continuing to play a vital role for Inter and affirming his status as one of Europe's best central midfielders.
Its hard to understand just how come such a player can be ignored but here’s hoping that one of his birthday wishes will be to get a recall from Diego and the possibility of playing in South Africa next year. I believe he has still a lot more to offer.
But for now, let us enjoy the following video in what has to be one of the greatest moment in Argentina football history.
From everyone at Mundo Albiceleste, happy birthday to Esteban Matías CAMBIASSO!
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Another edition of Mundo Albiceleste's podcast is ready for you to enjoy!
This time, we are once again joined by our friend and colleague Joel RICHARDS and by Johnny, our crazy American living in Buenos Aires.
We discuss the most important aspects from the friendly win over Russia and we start having a look at the upcoming clásico against Brazil, although there'll be more podcast dedicated to that one I'm afraid.
We also try to understand what was that celebration between DATOLO and Diego about, but not even the woodpecker at Johnny's place helped us in that difficult task...
If you want, you can simply click the audio player above or right-click on the following link and save it as an MP3 file or listen to it in your computer: download.
Enjoy! And don't forget to send us your views to firstname.lastname@example.org or right here in the comments' box.
Here's the situation:
FC Barcelona will host Sporting Gijón in the start of another La Liga campaign. The match is scheduled for the weekend of 28-29 August.
Provided he is ready to play, Lionel MESSI will be busy with the Catalan giants even before La Liga starts. Barcelona have to play in the Spanish Supercup (at Bilbao against Athletic on 18 August and at the Camp Nou on 23 August) and they also have to take part in the European Supercup (against Shaktar Donetsk on 28 August).
MESSI's statement was: "I want to feel good and play as many matches as I possibly can before 28 August".
That means Lio plans to skip that home match against Sporting Gijón in order to be ready, fit and rested to play a few days later in Rosario against Brazil.
Is that why Lio didn't play at all in Russia?
Was that some sort of 'I scratch your back and you scratch mine' kind of situation between the AFA and FC Barcelona. Between MARADONA and GUARDIOLA?
I tend to think it was.
Yes, Barcelona wants to win 6 titles this year: Spanish Supercup, European Supercup, UEFA Champions League, La Liga, Copa del Rey and the FIFA Club World Cup in Abu-Dhabi.
Lio wants that too. That's why he is willing to play those matches against Athletic Bilbao and Shaktar Donetsk. Matches that could mean trophies.
But MESSI is showing he cares even more about our match against Brazil. He is speaking now. He is taking the opportunity to tell the world what he really wants to do.
He didn't feel able to express himself when last year he was in the middle of another political battle in order to play in the Olympics with Argentina. He always wanted to go to Beijing with BATISTA, but he never quite made it public until it happened.
I, for one, am really pleased to read this kind of statement from MESSI. He is showing he cares. He clearly loves FC Barcelona, but this really is a no-brainer. There's every chance that Barça will still defeat Sporting Gijón without MESSI and GUARDIOLA is clever enough to grant his favourite player his wish, because he knows what Lio can do when he is happy.
After all...MESSI can call Barcelona his home, but Rosario will forever be his birth-place and I can't imagine how much he wants to shine there against Brazil.
Well done, Lio.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Diego summed it up by saying: "I was getting near the grass and he came at full speed and floored me! Hey...if he wants, we can throw me to the floor 100 times! If he does that every 20 minutes in every match, we'll do fine!".
Check out this sequence from the Italian TV where you can see exactly the moment in which DATOLO comes on from Maxi RODRIGUEZ to appreciate how just a few seconds went by before he scored.
Then...you just need to enjoy that celebration! The Italian commentator couldn't help but laughing!
That's one of the possible readings from the friendly in which Argentina defeated Russia 3-2 in Moscow.
The truth is, this result is pretty much irrelevant. I would have said the same if the result was negative, but in that case I would have probably been criticized for supporting Diego or something like that.
Watching Brazil play in Estonia, I noticed they played their Confederations Cup-winning side almost entirely. The only exception was that KLEBERSON started in place of ELANO/RAMIRES. The rest were all there.
It means that DUNGA has found his preferred lineup and only wants to give them more time to play together.
Diego, on the other hand, is still looking for the best tactic to use with the ideal lineup.
This time around, because of a very long list of injured players, we saw new players and we saw a combination of a strong forward (MILITO) with a small, more skilful kind of striker (AGÜERO) and it worked. It could have worked better -and you'll hear all about it in our next podcast-, but it worked and that's a great sign. Of course it'd be a better sign when AGÜERO decides that Diego MILITO is a team-mate and pass the ball to him too. It was very evident that he was not passing it to him.
After a shaky start and an error from HEINZE who was cheap on the ball, Russia scored the opening goal inside the first 15 minutes.
We feared for the worst. Russia are a very well organised team, typical of those teams coached by HIDDINK and Argentina looked out of their game.
Russia enjoyed some moments in which they managed to make almost (if not more than) 20 consecutive passes and Argentina would just run around, unable to intercept or even get near the Russian players.
Argentina started creating some chances and began to enjoy more possession. BURDISSO almost scored using the back of his head after a good cross from Maxi. RODRIGUEZ himself had another header from a HEINZE's cross but it was easy for their GK.
Kun wasted a couple of chances from MILITO's passes. One of them was deflected by AKINFEEV but the referee didn't give us the corner kick. The other was a move in which MILITO was wide open but Kun decided to shoot straight at the keeper.
When the first time was dying, HEINZE sent a horrible cross. The ball was roughly knee-high and then the defender got it all wrong, tried to clear the ball but left it bouncing for Kun, who was just outside the box and the Atletico Madrid fired it home in off the post for a great goal.
For the second half, MARADONA introduced Cata DIAZ to replaced the injured BURDISSO (he's got a minor knock, should be available for Brazil), Emiliano PAPA took over from HEINZE as a left-back and the former Manchester United and Real Madrid (how did he get to play for both of those teams???) moved from LB to CB. OTAMENDI was the one replaced by PAPA.
The midfield stayed the same and Lisandro LOPEZ replaced Diego MILITO upfront (in a move that was anticipated by MARADONA way before the game).
It only took a few seconds for Licha to find the back of the net. He scored on Sunday to rescue a point for Lyon in his League 1 debut and this time he sent it home after a pass from PAPA and a good move to get rid of a defender before his low left-footed strike put Argentina up 2-1.
Jesus DATOLO replaced Maxi on 57 minutes and again, it only took him a few seconds to leave a mark. Only this time we are talking about his absolute international debut. He received from Kun just outside the area and then he rifled it with his left foot to make it 3-1.
Roman PAVLYUCHENKO scored from a deflected free-kick for Russia to get a late consolation goal.
MARADONA said after the game: "We are alive and we will give our people reasons to be happy"
Hope you can get to watch it!
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
"I wanted to cancel this friendly in Russia, but I couldn't. It's too risky and I'm afraid of injuries."
"MESSI suffered a set back in training and therefore I won't risk him at all. Not even a single minute".
"On 5 September, against Brazil, Argentina will have the qualification to the World Cup at stake. If we win it, we'll be taking a huge step towards South Africa"
"I'm happy we were granted the players' and coaching staff's wish to play in Rosario vs. Brazil".
"I haven't seen the pictures of how the River Plate stadium is looking, but if they are working to improve it, I'm happy".
What they say is that MESSI could play and to put it this way...if it was the World Cup final or even a World Cup Qualifier, he would play. But our coaching staff doesn't want to risk him with the match against Brazil being just around the corner.
We'll be paying attention to how this situation develops, but don't be surprised is Lio doesn't even sit on the bench for the friendly v. Russia.
How will our lineup look without MESSI?
ZANETTI, BURDISSO, OTAMENDI, HEINZE.
Maxi RODRIGUEZ, MASCHERANO, BOLATTI, GUTIERREZ.
Lisandro LOPEZ or Sergio AGÜERO to join Diego MILITO up front.
Monday, August 10, 2009
These names are purely based on speculation and some hints given by MARADONA in recent interviews.
ZANETTI, BURDISSO, OTAMENDI, HEINZE
Maxi RODRIGUEZ, MASCHERANO, BOLATTI, Jonas GUTIERREZ
MESSI and Diego MILITO
The confirmation of OTAMENDI should be an indicator of how highly the manager trusts him and the fact that he could play alongside BURDISSO in Russia can also tell us that the two of them could repeat in September against Brazil and Paraguay.
Mario BOLATTI looks set to make his first international appearance and I hope he can show with Argentina what he did with Huracán last season. Great passing skills, excellent shot from distance and a great reader of the game who can also interrupt the opposition as they start making their attacking moves from midfield.
Jonas and Maxi are in. Look for them to pay special attention to their duties off the ball.
MESSI to be partnered by Diego MILITO for the first time in an attacking line of two forwards (MILITO played the first 45 minutes together with Lio and Kun in Chile when BASILE was in charge for the last time).
We'll be updating this information as soon as we find out more about it.
Saturday, August 08, 2009
At least that was what the club told us and who knows what was what the player said to MARADONA to get a 'day-off' in his international duty with Argentina.
Apparently, TEVEZ was going to be a doubt for City's debut in the Premier League next week and that was why he was in no conditions to play for Argentina against Russia in Moscow on Wednesday.
Why did he play today when it wasn't even an official match?
I'm so angry right now. I hate to be lied to and I thought I was going to be happy to see TEVEZ making his debut for City. Just not like this.
I would like to think Carlos is a victim and that he was pressured a lot, but I guess I'll never know.
I couldn't even wait until the match was over. I needed to rant about this.
I'm not happy...and I imagine Diego is feeling the same way...
Friday, August 07, 2009
Little Argentina are grouped together with the host nation, Germany and Honduras in Group A. Nigeria as we know are the defending champion and did knocked us out in the quarter-finals two years ago while Germany are the current European holders.
Here are the respective groups after the draw was conducted on August 7.
Group A - Nigeria, Germany, Argentina, Honduras
Group B - Brazil, Japan, Mexico, Switzerland
Group C - Iran, Gambia, Colombia, Netherlands
Group D - Turkey, Burkina Faso, Costa Rica, New Zealand
Group E - UAE, Malawi, Spain, USA
Group F - Uruguay, South Korea, Algeria, Italy
As for the fixture, our boys will take on Honduras on the opening day at the Abuja Stadium in the capital city. Three days later they will take on Germany at the same venue. On August 30, they will travel to the city of Bauchi, where they will face the host.
Only the winner, runners up from each group plus four of the best third place team will progress to the second round. Will this be the year that we finally win the only title that is missing from our trophy cabinet?
Thursday, August 06, 2009
Some time ago he said: "MASCHERANO + 10". Then he added: "MESSI is my MARADONA and I can also say MESSI + 10".
Today, in an interview with FOX Sports and Radio Del Plata he added that "ANDUJAR will start against Brazil".
He also referred to the series of injuries that are marring our national team.
"I can't believe what's happening to us. First it was TEVEZ, now DEMICHELIS. We are in the middle of one of those streaks that leave you in a bad position. I spoke to DEMICHELIS yesterday and I noticed he was sad. The truth is he will be sidelined for quite some time, he even cried on the phone".
"The priority to replace DEMICHELIS belongs to Nicolás BURDISSO. He has been with us from the beginning and that's why he's first on the list to replace Micho".
Wednesday, August 05, 2009
An Olympic champion in Beijing 2008, PAREJA, a former Argentinos Juniors and Anderletch (Belgium) defender, who currently plays for Espanyol de Barcelona, looks set to make his full international debut with Argentina.
A quick central defender with great set-piece ability and with a solid aerial game, PAREJA scored three goals for the Catalan side in last season's La Liga campaign.
The Real Madrid midfielder suffered a micro-rupture in his abductor muscle (and please forgive me if I'm not writing the name of the injury and the muscles in good English!) and he will also leave his seat vacant on the plane that will take Diego MARADONA's team to Moscow to face Russia next Wednesday.
Now we've got a definite chance of seeing Mario BOLATTI in action for Argentina in his first call-up, although he still needs to beat competition from Boca Juniors' Sebastián BATTAGLIA.
We hope no more players get injured. My worry in GAGO's case is that his injury sounds like an important one (or at least one that takes long to recover). Real Madrid, apart from signing Xabi ALONSO from Liverpool to make him play in GAGO's position, has announced the Argentine midfielder will not make the trip to Toronto, Canada, where the white team has some commitments.
Check it out!
His injury could also complicate his presence in the crucial World Cup Qualifying match against Brazil.
To Mundo Albiceleste's knowledge, those three players will not be replaced and the squad will consists on 20 players instead of the original 23.
Tuesday, August 04, 2009
One of Manchester City's recent signings is still injured and has called Diego MARADONA to tell him that he suffered a set back from a recurrent injury and informed the manager that he is in no conditions to play.
MARADONA agreed for El Apache to stay in Manchester and continue with his recovery.
Another key player in MARADONA's plans, Juan Sebastián VERÓN, also called MARADONA and told him that he is still not 100% and he thinks it'd be better if he stays and recover to avoid risking a bigger injury in a friendly match.
He is still with a sore abductor muscle in his right leg and therefore he won't be on the plane next week.
With this, the question remains as to which player will join Lionel MESSI on the attack. Will it be Sergio AGÜERO? Will this friendly against Russia finally mean a start for Diego MILITO? Or will it be Lisandro LOPEZ?
In midfield, VERON's absence opens the door for first-timer Mario BOLATTI, who will face competition from Sebastián BATTAGLIA and Fernando GAGO -who seems favourite to resume his central midfield partnership with Javier MASCHERANO-.
Speaking to Radio Mitre in Argentina, MARADONA said that he plans to call up Ariel ORTEGA, Argentina's talented creative midfielder in the 1994, 1998 and 2002 World Cups, for the friendly that our national team will play against New Zealand or Mexico (rival to be confirmed) at the end of September in Cordoba, Argentina.
We all know Ariel ORTEGA has been struggling with alcohol problems in the past few years, but he has returned to River Plate now and he scored a great goal against Everton in a friendly match recently.
This doesn't mean that El Burrito will be making a definite comeback to Argentina and that he will be on Diego's plans for South Africa 2010. The way I see it, Diego wants to help Ariel to keep his mind in the right place and to keep him motivated.
The experiment of playing with a domestic national team (or an 'Argentina B' if you like), gives MARADONA some room for this kind of call-up. ORTEGA will surely help draw a bigger crowd in Cordoba and the fact that Diego already said he'll also name Martín PALERMO for that friendly, is another indication that MARADONA wants a combination of promising young prospects (like DEFEDERICO or OTAMENDI, with very popular figures such as ORTEGA and PALERMO).
MARADONA will also give River Plate fans something to keep them off his back and perhaps ORTEGA will have some sort of testimonial for all the exciting times and amazing memories he gave every Argentina fan over the years. Like some of these...