No I’m not relaxed, OK? This is the biggest match my Nacional Team has to play in a World Cup in the last 16 years!
Do you know how many things happened to me in those 16 years????
I’ve finished elementary school. High school and University. My parents got divorced. Had three long-term relationship and got married to my beautiful wife Diana. Started dreaming of becoming a professional footballer. Was convinced by the manager at one club that I better study journalism. My father died. Got a job in a big newspaper. Then resigned. Got a job in a TV channel. Then again, resigned. Went to live in England and Italy. Worked there for a while. Lost a lot of hair. Earned a lot of kilos above my belt. Came back to Buenos Aires. And still, after all those 16 years, there is one thing that’s still the same: GERMANY!
Because the Germans where our rivals in the horrible night of the 8th of July in 1990. Italy ’90. World Cup final. When the Mexican referee (CODESAL) thought it was a foul by SENSINI and decided to give Germany a penalty kick. BREHME was the scorer and we lost the World Cup. Yes, I accept our team in that tournament was rubbish. We got very lucky beating Yugoslavia and Italy on penalties…but we’re right to think we were robbed that night.
Four years before that (as The Beatles said: “It was 20 years ago today!”), again DEUTSCHLAND!
That was the first big contest between our two countries. A World Cup final! BROWN-VALDANO-BURRUCHAGA, DIEGO’s magic and a lot of suffering, before we were crowned for our second time in history.
Enough with all this time-travelling. Let’s come back to today. Because we have another final coming up. No one can deny this is like a World Cup final for us. Probably more so for Germany.
Both teams are taking it that way.
But my job is to tell you how things are taking shape in the eyes of an Argentina fan.
That’s what I’ll try to do, being totally honest:
I’M TERRIBLY SCARED! Hahahaha!
Well, not TERRIBLY, but a little bit yes. It’s normal. Don’t look at me that way. In a way, if you’re reading this, you’re feeling something similar. Don’t you?
It’s such a difficult thing to try and think how can this match be played. Two very different, yet similar teams in terms of ‘productivity’ (if you allow me the expression).
10 goals scored. 2 goals against. Group winners. The numbers suggest the two are very similar sides. Yet if you saw the way they played so far, you’ll notice Germany play a more pacy, speedy kind of football. With a lot of ‘vertigo’ and shooting from outside the area at the first chance they have.
Argentina, in contrast, play a more paused, rhythmical type of game. Passing is a commandment. Hoofing the ball is a sin. Never risk a golden chance by taking a low-percentage-shot from long range.
So I think the key for today’s match will be pretty simple: KEEP THE BALL!
If Germany can’t find the ball, they simply can’t harm Argentina.
Again, RIQUELME steps under the spot light and he looks (more than ever before) as the key figure for Argentina. He has a bad game and Argentina goes home. Quite simple. He has a good game, we might advance. He has a great game, we’re through to the semifinals. Period.
He’s the one who can slow down the whole German team and start working as a master puppeteer for Argentina.
Will he move METZELDER, MERTESACKER, LAHM, FRIEDRICH, FRINGS and company around?
Will we dance to BALLACK-SCHWENSTEIGER-SCHNEIDER-KLOSE-PODOLSKI’s music?
Whatever happens, I just hope I don’t have to sit here in 16 years time, talking about a rubbish referee or a wasted chance for our beloved team.