Archive for July, 2007|Monthly archive page

Argentina = Losers

Argentina are losers. Not much else I can say.

You have the best team to enter a Copa America in years and you again come up short.
You enter every tournament as one of the favorites and never win.
You haven’t won in 14 years and that drought will now be extended to at least 17 years – and that assumes they win the next World Cup!

Here is the Diario Ole corrected for accuracy.

Diario Ole from Argentina from today

And say goodbye to these players who you won’t see wearing the Albiceleste again:  Abbondanzieri, Ayala, Zanetti, Veron, Crespo.

DungaCampeão

What a turnaround for Dunga! What a turnaround for Brazil!

A team with little star power achieved what Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, Kaka and Adriano could not do in Germany. Raise a trophy.

Dunga goes home with a trophy after 4 wins, 1 loss and 1 tie (that they won in PKs).

If you didn’t watch a single minute of Brazil’s games let me give you a quick summary:

  • Horrible start
  • Robinho-dependence to advance out of the group
  • Robinho again owns Chile
  • Extremely lucky to beat Uruguay in the penalties
  • Crush their archrival in the finals

Robinho dancing it up

Brazil Champions! Brasil Campeão!

Brazil 3 – 0 Argentina. Brazil wins the cup!

There is was.
Argentina choked when it was least expected. They crumbled, playing scared like little girls when faced with the yellow and blue. A pitiful game by Ayala, a Messi that did little to nothing, a Tevez that went unnoticed. All important factors in yet the latest Argentine failure.

Riquelme was the only one to play to what was expected of him. The player of the tournament without a doubt. He was denied by the post and again by an amazing save by Doni. But he can’t win it all the time by himself. And he definitely had an amazing supporting cast, but they didn’t get it done.

Argentina fails. Brazil wins.
Lamenting a stupid own goal to go down 2-0.

Few expected Dunga to get the gold so early on, with an young and relatively unexperienced team. Contrast that to an experienced coach in Coco Basile and a team Argentina put together to win without excuses. Well, where is the excuse now? They never came close to winning this game.

It was Brazil’s from the beginning after a majestic play by Julio Baptista to put his up after just 3 minutes of play. It was the ideal start for a defensive Dunga, although its hard to call a coach defensive when his team knocked in 3 against Argentina. Maybe thats not entirely true, after all Brazil only scored two. A pathetic Ayala scored an own goal for the 2-0 to the dismay of the entire team. He played Baptista really soft in the first goal and then knocked in the second one for good measure. Wow… if it wasn’t for what Lugano did for Uruguay, you would be the number 1 candidate for a suicide watch.

Maicon played awesome, yet again, carving up the right side as if it were a Thanksgiving turkey. Elano left the first half injured but Brazil weren’t worried, they would go to the half up 2-0.

The second half didn’t go any better for Argentina. They continued to get bulldozed by the Brazilian defense who were very impressive today and Messi and his talents were nowhere to be found. Another historic final is presence to another historic collapse by Argentina. Winners know how to win. And Brazil is a winner.

Champions 2007

The Star

Julio Baptista. M, Brazil.
Out of nowhere he came to score not only a beautiful goal, but one that defined the championship. Baptista returns to Real Madrid with his personal stock at a all time high and putting his team and his coach on top of South America, yet again.

The Ugly Duckling

Roberto Ayala. D, Argentina.
No surprises here. The captain crippled his team twice. A horrible game for El Raton in what is surely his last game with the national team. Perhaps that is the best news for Argentina.

Copa America 2007 Final: Brazil 2 – 0 Argentina at Halftime

Wow…

some thoughts

  • Maicon – why isn’t anybody else praising this guy? Better than Cafu in his prime.
  • Julio Baptista, golazo
  • “O Messi, where art thou?”
  • Riquelme – still the only danger the team poses. two great shots on goal
  • Doni – won’t have it from Argentina
  • Ayala – stunk on both goals

Uruguay 1 – 3 Mexico

El Tri finishes third in the Copa America, for the third time after a controversial penalty and some good play from its young guns.

Hugo wins the bronze

It started off slow until Uruguay got another goal from El Loco Abreu. Abreu didn’t play too many minutes during Copa America, but he made the most of the ones he did play.

The fun for Uruguay wouldn’t last too long because the game changed after a great free kick by Mexico smashed against the crossbar and somewhere in the scrum the Uruguayan captain Diego Lugano shoved his forearm into the face of Torrado. At least thats what it looked like to me. The ref saw something more violent because he sent off Lugano with a red card and awarded a penalty to Mexico. Nery Castillo looked ready to take the kick but Blanco claimed the shot and the young star wouldn’t deny the Mexican legend in what might very well be his last international match. Cuauh ran for about 20 yards and struck in an unstoppable shot to tie the game.

Playing a man down Uruguay gave Mexico a lot more space to move and that gave Omar Bravo and Andres Guardado a goal each to claim the bronze medal in the tournament. A feel good win for Mexico that will give Hugo momentum as his team thinks about 2010. Uruguay leave a lot of doubts with Alvaro Recoba announcing his retirement from the national team and not as bright of a future as their fans would like.

The Star

Gerardo Torrado. M, Mexico.
I spotted a trend. Torrado plays – Mexico plays well and gets results. Torrado is out – Mexico goes backwards. Not a flashy player by any means, but crucial to the Mexican national team.

The Ugly Duckling

Diego Lugano. D, Uruguay
The only player to get the distinction in back to back games, the team captain misses the last penalty shot against Brazil and then gives away the bronze to Mexico after a foolish foul.

Why Argentina will win the Copa America

Argentina vs Brazil

  1. Juan Roman Riquelme
  2. Lionel Messi
  3. Crespo/Tevez/Milito
  4. Because they are playing much better than anybody else
  5. Having the ability to bring Aimar off the bench
  6. Mascherano controlling the midfield
  7. Coco Basile > Dunga
  8. Maradona will be watching

Why Brazil will win the Copa America

Brasilera

  1. Brazil raised the last cupThey are Brazil
  2. Robinho
  3. Maicon’s runs
  4. Argentina has a history of losing in penalties
  5. They have an extra day to rest
  6. Elano and Julio Baptista
  7. Fan support. Venezuelans love Brazil
  8. Because they are the reigning champions –>
  9. Because they upset Argentina last time
  10. Because Argentina hasn’t won anything in 14 years

 

 

Top Goal Scorer Copa America 2007

There is no trophy that I know of for this achievement, but being the top goal scorer in any competitions is always the secondary objective of a striker (the first being winning it all!). It is a bit of a surprise to see Riquelme this high but he really has been the life of Argentina and their key player in Copa America. I think that if Crespo starts tomorrow then it will be unlikely to see Riquelme take the top goal scorer title from Brazil’s Robinho.

As you can see in the top goal scorers table Robinho has a one goal advantage over Riquelme and while Robinho still is Brazil’s main threat on attack, Juan Roman will be primarily looking for assists and not shots on goal, except for anything from a free kick. However if Riquelme can score one more goal than Robinho in the final, they will share the trophy. If he scores two goals more than Robinho, then its his for keeps. But I would expect that regardless of the outcome of the final, Brazil and Real Madrid forward Robinho will be the top goal scorer for Copa America Venezuela.

Of course, watch out for Nery Castillo who might come and ruin the party by knocking in a hat trick today! Actually I don’t even know if Nery is fit and will play but you never know…

Crespo is ready

SURPRISE! Hernan Crespo is back!

Previously ruled out for the tournament after an injury sustained while scoring a penalty kick, Hernan was now ruled physically fit to play the final against Brazil. This is great news for Argentina because neither Diego Milito nor Carlos Tevez successfully filled his shoes during his absence. Yes, both Carlos and Diego played well, but the goals didn’t flow like when Hernan was on the pitch.

What do you suppose Coco is telling Hernan here, “You’re my man, don’t let  me down!”?

Coco Crespo
Coco-Crispies chatting 

Mexico and Uruguay Playing for Pride

In a game that means little on paper, both Mexico and Uruguay are coming out today to leave Copa America 2007 on a high note and start their campaigns for the 2010 World Cup with some momentum.

Mexico has had an excellent tournament so far. After a bad Gold Cup, the press and the fans were very critical of their coach Hugo Sanchez. It seemed possible that Hugo wouldn’t be around to see them into South Africa after yet another loss against the United States in the final. Their first game in Copa America changed all that. After beating Brazil and going on to winning their group, people started gaining confidence in Hugo and a team without all their stars. Having a super talented Nery Castillo in the team didn’t hurt in the least either. In the semifinals, they were rightfully beaten by a superior Argentina, however to that point they displayed great football and great results. Hugo Sanchez is now here to stay.

The Uruguayans path to this game was completely the opposite. They were horrible for practically all tournament. Sleepwalking through the group stages without Alvaro Recoba in the lineup. Forlan was awful missing practically everything his way and the team never was in sync. They only advanced into the second round of play because they were placed in the weakest group of the bunch and even so, they barely made it. If that wasn’t enough, their first match against Venezuela was easily the worst game of the tournament and perhaps of Copa America history. When everyone had written them off, the Uruguayans came through in the quarter finals with a 4-1 win over Venezuela that saw more scoring than in their previous 3 games. Then they gave Brazil its run for the money in the semifinals, a game where they had the win in several occasions but never came through. Credit Recoba and Abreu for delivering for their team when it mattered and the always well dressed coach, Oscar Washington Tabarez, for tinkering around with this tactics until he found one that worked. They are a team getting better, not worse, but still have to get rid of that inconsistency that they are known for.

Two teams that came to Venezuela with question marks will leave feeling more optimistic about the next World Cup, but which one will go home feeling more satisfied and with the consolation of being the bronze squad? That is what they play for today.