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Posts Tagged ‘argentina’

Copa Libertadores Quarter Finals First Legs

The first legs of the quarter final fixtures in the Copa Libertadores were completed last night and three of the ties remain very delicately poised ahead of the return matches next week.

In the all Argentinian clash, Boca Juniors were held to a goalless draw in their Bombonera stadium by Newell’s Old Boys and they will be without Guillermo Burdisso for the trip to Rosario as he received his marching orders in the third minute of injury time at the end of the second half. Newell’s Old Boys will now be favourites to progress to the semi finals as they are currently flying high at the top of the Primera Division whereas Boca are having a terrible domestic season and languish down in 18th place. However, Newell’s Old Boys will have to end their current five game winless run against Boca.

Meanwhile in northern Mexico, Xolos de Tijuana continued their good run in the competition by taking a 2-0 lead against strongly fancied Atletico Mineiro of Brazil. Striker Dubier Riascos gave the Mexicans a half time lead and Fidel Francisco Martínez Tenorio doubled their advantage early in the second half to rattle the Brazilians. However, they struck back through Diego Tardelli and salvaged a last minute equaliser from substitute Luan to put themselves in a strong position with two away goals. Nevertheless, they will be aware that Tijuana went away to Palmeiras in the last round having drawn the home leg and won 2-1 in Sao Paolo.

The other tie that rests on a knife edge is the clash between Brazilian champions Fluminense and Olimpia of Paraguay, which finished 0-0 on Wednesday night in Rio. Olimpia will be buoyed by that result and the chance to take on Abel Braga’s team on equal terms back in Asuncion next week, but they will be without midfielder Eduardo Lorenzo Aranda, who was sent off late on.

The first quarter final was a much more one sided affair and looks to be done and dusted as Santa Fe of Bogota recorded a 3-1 away win against Real Garcilaso at their Andean stronghold in Cusco. Two goals in three first half minutes from Francisco Meza and Wilder Medina gave the Colombians a dream start and Jefferson Cuero made it three early in the second half before Alfredo Ramua struck back to salvage some pride for the Peruvians, who had missed a golden opportunity to pull a goal back in the first half when Paraguayan midfielder Fabio Ramon Ramos missed a penalty. Real Garcilaso now face an uphill struggle in Bogota next week.

World Cup 2010: Germany 4-0 Argentina

World Cup 2010 Quarter Final (Saturday 3rd July 2010, K.O. 15:00 BST)
Venue: Green Point Stadium
Conditions: Dry and sunny. Temp: 16c, Wind 4.0m/s

Germany: 4 (Mueller 3, Klose 68, Friedrich 74, Klose 89)
Argentina: 0

TEAMS
Germany: Neuer, Friedrich, Lahm (C), Mertesacker, Boateng (Jansen 72), Khedira (Kroos 78), Schweinsteiger, Oezil, Mueller (Trochowski 84), Podolski, Klose.
Argentina: Romero, Demichelis, Burdisso, Heinze, Otamendi (Pastore 70), Mascherano (C), Di Maria (Aguero 75), M Rodriguez, Messi, Tevez, Higuain

Referee: Ravshan Urmatov (Uzbekistan)

Germany stormed into the semi finals of the World Cup in South Africa with a stunning four nil win against Diego Maradona’s Argentina. The Germans took the lead early on through Mueller and never looked back with Klose twice and Friedrich adding further goals in the second half. Argentina didn’t create a single clear cut chance in whole game and were outclassed in every department.

The opening game came in the third minute when Nicolas Otamendi fouled Lukas Podolski on the German left wing. Bastian Schweinsteiger curled in a free kick towards near post where Thomas Muller got ahead of his marker Otamendi to head past Romero and into the net.

Otamendi’s nightmare start to the game continued when he was booked in the 11th minute for a late tackle on Friedrich at the other end of the field, by which point Diego Maradona must surely have been regretting his decision to choose the Velez Sarsfield defender ahead of Newcastle’s Jonas Gutierrez. The best chance in open play of the first half came in the 24th minute when Muller broke into the Argentine box and squared it for Klose, but the striker’s snapshot flew over he bar. At the very least he should have forced the ‘keeper to make a save.

In the 36th minute, Argentina were awarded a free kick in a dangerous position as Thomas Mueller was harshly booked for a handball. Messi’s shot hit the German wall but Heinze played the rebound back in to the box to Tevez, who was in behind the German defence and squared it to Higuain, who put the ball into the net but it was rightly disallowed for offside. By this point Argentina were putting a lot of pressure on the German defence but Germany still looked just as likely to score the next goal on the break, just as they had twice done against England.

Argentina had obviously had a bit of a talking to from Maradona at half time and they started the second period at a high tempo, threatening an equaliser early on and coming close with a long range effort from Di Maria that flew just wide of Neuer’s right-hand post. However, Germany weathered the storm well and their well-organised defence proved impossible to break down, with Argentina restricted to nothing more than half chances for the next twenty minutes. In contrast, Argentina’s defence never looked comfortable when under pressure and, as many people suspected before the tournament, it proved to be their undoing.

In the 68th minute, Mueller slipped the ball through to Podolski inside the Argentinian box and he drew the ‘keeper towards him before centering to Klose for the simplest possible finish inside the six yard box. Diego Maradona responded by bringing on an extra forward in Javier Pastore for the hapless Otamendi, who had again been partially at fault for the second goal. However, before Pastore could influence proceedings the deficit had been increased further through Arne Friedrich with his first ever goal for Germany. He was the beneficiary of an excellent run and pass from Schweinsteiger and slipped the ball just inside the near post with a first time shot.

Aguero replaced the ineffective Angel Di Maria in the 75th minute as Argentina went all out for a goal to bring them back into the game but by now the Germans were well in control and regularly outnumbering their opponents on their frequent counter attacking moves. There wasn’t a poor performance to be seen amongst any of Germany’s starting eleven or substitutes whereas Argentina’s stars simply failed to turn up. The rout was completed in the 89th minute when the Germans broke once more through Podolski, who played the ball wide to Mesut Oezil. The diminutive playmaker crossed for the unmarked Klose execute a simple volley into the net and claim his 14th goal in World Cup finals history. The final scoreline of 4-0 was by no means flattering to Joachim Loew’s team.

Maradona and the 2010 World Cup – Jimmy Burns

Few individuals hold the key to making the World Cup one of the most exhilarating  there has ever been and the most controversial than Diego Maradona,  a flawed genius whose drug-fuelled helter-skelter life had produced some of the best football in the history of the game. It will be fascinating to watch whether Maradona can inspire his talented squad to greatness, or be brought down to earth, in tears.

In his native Argentina, Maradona remains a legend, the country’s most famous export far surpassing any writer, artist, or politician in his ability to fuel mass interest across frontiers. The nation’s identity with Maradona has been fuelled by the populist centre-left  Peronist government which has spent most of a decade encouraging his return to a prominent role in football after his last descent into drug-induced collapse.

In January 2000 Maradona stared death in the face again after proving himself, over the years remarkably resilient to self-abuse. Grossly overweight and suffering from a heart condition that he had inherited from his father, he collapsed while on vacation in the Uruguayan resort of Punta Del Este. Maradona’s friend, the Argentine president at the time Carlos Menem put it all down to a ‘stress attack.’ Later the Uruguayan police revealed that analysis of Maradona’s blood and urine showed ‘excessive consumption of cocaine.’

Within days, he was residing in Havana, Cuba, courtesy of another friend Fidel Castro. Photographs of that time show Maradona, with a shock of died orange hair, a tattoo of Che Guevara on his flabby arm and a heart monitor round his ample girth, looking like an inflated Harpo Marx. In his early days in Havana Maradona punched the windscreen of a reporter’s car. None of this seemed to worry Castro who found ways of making political capital out of Maradona’s presence on the island. The local media portrayed him as the good leader of the people, in contrast to the Goliath of the North (the United States) who had refused to give Maradona a visa since his expulsion from the 1994 World Cup.

His subsequent thirty-episode chat show, called La Noche del Diez (The Night of the Number 10)  Maradona enticed a range of international sports stars, musicians, and his favourite politician Castro to participate as guests.   In the opening programme, Maradona and Pele exchanged personally autographed national shirts, headed a ball to each other for nearly a minute, and sang a tango together. The performance pushed the TV show to the top of the ratings list.

And yet ratings for the final ‘The Night of the Number Ten’ –an interview with Castro- dipped suggesting that Maradona’s popularity remained, as it always had been,  based more on football than politics . Viewers were getting tired of a programme that was such a blatant exercise in self-promotion and seemed to get Maradona no nearer to another sporting come-back.

Argentina qualified for this summer’s tournament after beating Uruguay 1-0. The victory was overshadowed by Maradona’s globally televised and You-tubed sexually explicit, foul-mouthed rant at his growing army of media critics.

“There were those who did not believe in this team and who treated me as less than nothing”, a wild eyed Maradona declared, clutching his crotch before the cameras, “Today we are in the World Cup finals with help from nobody but honor. To all of you who did not believe in us, and I apologize to all the women here, you can suck my dick and keep sucking it. I am black or white, I’ll never be grey in my life. You can take it up your ass.”

Victim, knight, defiant rebel, foul-mouthed sexist thug-only Diego Maradona could claim to be all four in one statement, and get away with it.

Maradona’s Argentina now enters the tournament in South Africa with a squad that includes some of the world’s most gifted players – the undisputed star among them FC Barcelona’s  Lionel Messi,already voted  the best player in the world, at the age of  22, four years younger than Maradona in hisprime when in Mexico 1986 , he invoked the Hand of God in his controversial goal against England. Maradona in that match went to score one of the best goals ever seen in the history of football. The genius of Messi’s performance with FC Barcelona reached new heights in the quarter final match of the Champions  league earlier this season when he scored four sublime goals against Arsenal and provoked glowing headlines around the world.

The jury is out whether Messi has already surpassed Maradona’s brilliance but in Argentina it is still Maradona who remains the more popular of the two. Whereas Messi has spent his teenage years forming himself as an international player outside Argentina, Maradona first made his name with BocaJuniors, the club of the working classes in Buenos Aires. It is in Boca’s home, the southern Buenos Aires neighbourhood of La Boca, where the myth of Maradona as the people’s idol has endured the longestand where local shopkeepers still manage a brisk trade in shirts surviving from his days as a player.

Which of the  two will endure as a living legend will be put to the test in South Africa, as will Messi’s ability to express his genius under Maradona ’s tutelage. There appears little evidence to back up the somewhat irrational theory that Maradona wants to deliberately undermine Messi in order to preserve his own place in history. On the contrary, Maradona  has never displayed  any  paranoia in the presence of his his alleged successor while Messi considers Maradona his footballing idol.“I’ve seen the guy who will inherit my place in Argentine football,” Maradona said of Messi in 2005. More recently he declared: “Messi needs to lead the national team and the he knows it. We have high expectations.”

So determined is Maradona to ensure that  the young star plays to the best of his abilities in South Africa  and inspires a whole team, that he recently flew to Barcelona and spent an emotional session with Messi in which each promised the other to do everything in  their gift to bring the World Cup back to Buenos Aires in July. “The Argentine players  are growing in confidence with every day under Diego, “ Maradona’s childhood friend and one-time agent  Jorge Cyterszpiler told me.

As for Messi, he remains self-effacing about his achievements despite a growing tendency to show a public display of gratitude to God for his goals with the sign of the Cross.  “Even if I play for a million  years, I will never be near to what Maradona  was as a footballer. I don’t compare myself to Maradona. I want to make my own history and do something important with my career, before adding. “To be a  legend one needs to win a World Cup.’

The fact that both Maradona and Messi have declared a common ambition of winning the Cup in South Africa may explain why an increasing number of Argentine football fans are sporting their national colours these days and why a popular chant has begun to resonate beyond La Bombonera. “We will once again be champions, just like in 86,” it goes.

  • Jimmy Burns’ revised and updated best-selling biography of Diego Maradona: ‘Maradona: The Hand of God” has just been pubished by Bloomsbury.
  • For more information on the author and his books and an amazon bookshop

Exclusive: Sir Geoff Hurst on the 2010 World Cup

picture by Todd Halfpenny

A couple of days ago Aboutaball had the opportunity to meet-up with Sir Geoff Hurst for a chat; you can hear the full podcast here Geoff Hurst Interview podcast. We couldn’t pass up the chance to talk to a Football legend who is still heavily involved in the English game to get his take on World Cup’s past, present and future. In the first of three posts we discuss the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, England, Brazil and Messi.

Firstly we asked the obvious, who is his World Cup pick?

“Brazil, they’re never far away, it’s a huge country, great support, great pedigree and still producing players. We (England) don’t produce as many so don’t have the depth.”

How can you argue with that, bookies have Brazil down as 5/1 second favorites. When asked who he’d punt for next?

“Spain had a good Euro’s so they up there”

Spain are the 9/2 favorites for the World Cup, however Geoff agreed Spain will probably suffer from key players being tired/injured after a hard season in England.

“Foreign players in our league are now subject to the same stresses we have, players in Spain have a winter break and maybe don’t play at such a high tempo”

It’ll be interesting to see how the top Premier League star do compared to their counterparts in Spain. A less demanding schedule may need to be looked into if England want any hope of winning future World Cups.

We then asked something he knows a lot about, scoring goals, who’s most likely to get the Golden Boot?

“Messi I would think.”

Chance of a Messi World Cup final Hattrick?

“No. There’s a chance but records show in 44 years nobody’s done it.”

On Argentina and Messi…

“I’ve spoken to Ossie Ardiles, he’s not hopeful about the Argentine side. They don’t provide the unit to give Messi the platform that Barcelona does. Even the Great Messi isn’t a one man band”

So Messi is already a Great, this is high praise from someone who was a great player himself

“He’s a World Class player one of the greats.”

Asked to go for a Dark Horse?

“An African side maybe”

And on England’s chances?

“I believe we’ll do well. I’d be
disappointed in Capello’s management and discipline if we didn’t make the Semi finals. The draw has been kind to us.’

On us having no fighting fit centre backs…

“It’s a concern, you rarely pick players not 100% fit, Ledley King only plays every other game but under the circumstances there’s a case to take him. Especially as Capello has mentioned he may play with 3 centre backs, 2 attacking full backs and flood the midfield due to a lack of a holding player”

and surprisingly…

“Martin Peters made the point he’s played more games than Rio. Twice the number of games and it’s better to have someone to play the odd game than someone not good enough. Spurs players have been noticed because the club has done so well in the run in”

On Carragher…

“Maybe he’s matured and thinks that England are better places under the current management. It’s always disappointing when people don’t want to play for England. He should be in the squad, he’s a great character and can fill in at full back.”

Geoff is off to South Africa for the opening ceremony, opening game and England’s first match, thanks to McDonalds.

We’d like to thank the Royal mint for making the interview possible,  Geoff Hurst is currently working with them to raise awareness of the 150,000 limited edition World Cup Medal giveaway. To show your support for the England team and claim your free (+ £1 p&p) World Cup Medal visit www.itsenglandstime.com and get your Medal while stocks last.

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