Emotional Maradona and the last chance saloon
The above picture was the defining image of Argentina’s dramatic 2-1 victory over Peru in the rain on Saturday, and perhaps Diego Maradona’s tenure as national team coach to date.
For many in Argentina, Maradona’s reactions are indicative of an approach to the job that is too emotional.
Whatever he is really thinking, he often looks slightly bemused on the touchline when his team are not in control. He has been criticised for being unable to make the right substitutions, though he did pull a rabbit out of the hat with the introduction of mircale maker Martin Palermo, a striker who has been dubbed “the goal optimist”.
When Maradona celebrates he is like any fan and while his dive on to the sodden pitch after Palermo’s winner made for great pictures, the sports talk shows have been asking whether it was the image the national team manager should be giving.
The always elegant Cesar Luis Menotti, the coach who wrought a sea change in how Argentina’s national team is run when he took charge in 1974 and set the tone for two World Cup victories, is probably having nightmares watching the present side.
Yet here they are, one win away form clinching a place at the World Cup finals.
Might emotional Maradona yet have the last laugh?
PHOTO: Diego Maradona celebrates Argentineas winning goal in their World Cup qualifier against Peru in Buenos Aires, October 10, 2009. REUTERS/Marcos Brindicci