Tuesday, July 10, 2007


More Odious Comparisons - update

In the last of the recent Copa America quarter-finals, there was another of those fine goals which demand a split-screen comparison.

Juan Roman Riquelme’s opener against Peru was an absolute joy to behold. A crisp ball inside from an overlapping Javier Zanetti, a sumptuous double one-two between Riquelme and the substitute Carlos Tevez, and then Riquelme manages to subtly hold off the last defender before firing a precise left-footed shot into the corner.

Remind anyone of this?

OK, there was an extra man involved in Brazil’s gem from the 1986 World Cup (the prolific Careca, on the end of the move), but the similarities are obvious.

And, once again, other parallels can be drawn. Brazil’s 1986 side, under the late Tele Santana, was perhaps the last of their World Cup cohorts to play what could be termed jogo bonito of the old-fashioned variety. Interestingly enough, it is in lesser tournaments, such as the 1999 Copa America and the 2005 Confederations Cup, that Brazil have produced their most stylish performances since then.

Argentina's current coach Alfio Basile, happily, appears to have remained faithful to the footballing principles of José Pekerman. The latter always professed his belief in thoughtful, positive, attractive football, and his charges emphatically produced at last year's World Cup.

It’s extremely heartening, too, to see the marvellously gifted Riquelme back in international football after his supposed retirement.

The semis of the Copa (Argentina against Mexico, Brazil against Uruguay) should be cracking games – each of the contestants put at least four goals past their respective opponents in the quarter-finals.

What a pity the Copa is not being broadcast over here.

Yeah, not readily available over here on tv either (maybe if it were fans in this part of the world would realise how utterly inferior the Asia Cup threatens to be)

Venezuelan k.o. times are hardly convenient admittedly.

I was surprised to learn that Univision in the States are webcasting their tv feed of the matches for free - supposedly only to US & Puerto Rico residents - I watched live in perfect quality the Argentina v Peru QF via this link


Tokyo Pom
The goal reminded me not just of Careca's 1986 effort but a bit of one of Riquelme's own previous Argentina goals...No one-two, but play comes in from the right and Riquelme does much the same (and beats a man) as he otherwise did against Peru:


This Copa seems to have been the best for awhile...Hopefully it sticks to being played once every WC cycle and not in the middle of WCQs.
They were cracking games one and all (forza pirated streams!). But at the same time, some of the defending was shambolic...players not pressing, getting caught square, atrocious communication between defenders so the offside trap became an invitation to score. Ludicrous. Defending is an art too.
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