Reuters Soccer Blog
World Soccer views and news
Argentina have not suddenly become world champions after beating Spain 4-1 nor have the Spanish lost the sheen of their World Cup victory.
For Argentine fans, though, the performance more than the result gives them hope for a fresh start, possibly with Sergio Batista at the helm right through to Brazil 2014.
So forgotten was Diego Maradona on that sunny late Tuesday afternoon in Buenos Aires that there were no chants of “Maradoooooo, Maradoooooo”.
Whenever things went wrong with the national team, that was the chant that rang out at the Monumental. Until they went wrong with Maradona himself in charge.
Even Diego Maradona’s harshest critics, including Cesar Luis Menotti, recognised that they saw an improvement in Argentina’s defence in last week’s 1-0 win over Germany and some sort of shape to the team.
But Menotti, the coach who steered Argentina to their first World Cup title in 1978, does not like what he sees with Maradona at the helm for this year’s finals in South Africa.
Imagine the scenario. FIFA decides to use post-match video evidence at the 1986 World Cup. After Diego Maradona’s ‘Hand of God’ goal against England in the quarter-final, the Argentinian is banned for two matches and the course of football history changes.
Belgium beat West Germany in the final in Mexico City.
A two-game ban is exactly what Alberto Gilardino has received for deliberately scoring the opener with his arm in Fiorentina’s 3-1 win at Palermo on Sunday.
Having seen replays of Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s remarkable backheel goal for Inter Milan on Saturday, I reckon it’s one of those rare moments when football reaches the realm of art.
I realise you risk sounding like a wally by comparing something frivolous like football to such a serious business. (more…)