Tuesday, July 04, 2006
WORLD CUP 2006
A LATIN AMERICAN DISAPPOINTMENT
A DIFFICULT PILL TO SWALLOW!
Argentina and Brazil lost both their quarter final matches. The World Cup returns to Europe. Latin teams have always added spice to the game. They will be missed. Latin football, at its best, is set within intricate patterns and flows freely. Maradona and Pele embodied the very best of Latin American football. Can anyone forget Maradona dribbling through the English mid field and defense before scoring the goal that put Argentina through to the semi finals in 1986. He made it look so easy: he found space and the speed in the 54th minute from the centre of the pitch to weave his way past 5 english players before scoring a dynamite goal; Peter Shilton, the English keeper, looked bewildered. After such a sensational goal, it was hard to hold a grudge against Maradona for his infamous hand ball goal 3 minutes earlier. Argentina went on to beat Germany 3-2 in the final.
There was a real possibility of Brazil or Argentina winning the World Cup on European soil this time around; that would have been something to savor! Nothing of the sort happened. The Argentines had the Germans on the ropes after scoring the first goal. Why they went on the defensive is anybody's guess. Messi should have come on, to bury the Germans.
Give the Germans an inch and they will take a yard. They deserve credit however for their machine-like relentlessness. It was only a matter of time before they equalized. It is plain foolishness to slip into a defensive mode against a hungry German team. The Argentines were rattled by the German goal; they never regained their attacking composure. Would stronger Argentinian captain on the field have made a difference? Maybe but probably not. The Germans had home support and they were clearly playing the better football toward the end.
GO BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD LATIN AMERICA!
Brazil losing to France was painful but necessary. Brazilian soccer needs a shake up; maybe this early exit will force them to rediscover the open and free flowing style from the past. Some have observed the lack of classy attacking midfield playmakers with the ability to feed their forwards. Hope they find attacking mid-field players in the class of Socrates and Falcao and regain their soul. Remember Tele Santana's glorious Brazilian team in the 1986 World Cup? They were the most entertaining team in 1986 but were sadly knocked out by Paolo Rossi's Italy.
None of the semi finalists are from the Americas. Latin America normally rally around their representatives in the World Cup as regional rivalries take a back seat. Old hatchets are buried temporarily. Bolivia would have cheered on the Brazilians and the Argentines (in that order of preference!). We have no one to root for now. The Argentine team is young and possess great strength in their reserves. Watch out for them in 2010 in South Africa.