Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Argentina v Mexico

Now, that's what I'm talking about! Both Argentina and Mexico seemed evenly matched last Saturday night--the final game stats confirmed it--and there were some absolutely brilliant moments sprinkled throughout a game that was always exciting, tense, and laced with passion. Rafael Marquez's pulse-quickening goal in the 6th minute startled the Argentinian side and showed that Mexico meant business. And when Albicelestes' striker Hernan Crespo answered back a few minutes later, you knew this wasn't going to be just an ordinary game. But has anything been ordinary in this World Cup? Strike that. There's plenty of business as usual, I guess, e.g. England's poor showings and Spain's disintigration after so much promise, to name just a couple of unfortunate patterns.

Mexico consistently troubled Argentina's defense and El Tri managed to play with a zeal I hadn't seen since their opening match against Iran. Jared Borgetti, the team's star striker and his country's leading scorer, failed to astonish like he had in last summer's Confederations Cup, and I'm blaming Big Sam Allardyce, manager of Bolton Wanderers, the English club where Borgetti spent the last season and was utterly wasted, for his lack of form (Lynda thinks Big Sam is to blame for the entire loss, not just Borgetti's failure to work magic). And where was Omar Bravo? Ah well, luckily Mexico played fast and looked good. And Marquez, like Lisa, I now forgive you for the handball.

I should note that I was more than a little conflicted about this match. Mexico is deep in my heart, but I have to confess that I've been falling fast for this particular Argentinian team and their seductive style of exquisite passing, control, and tempo dominance. No matter how hard I tried, I just couldn't see Mexico beating Germany in the quarter finals. But Argentina? Oh yeah, this is a team that can take down Jurgen Klinsmann's Teutonic robots . . . and then Brazil!

As you can probably tell, I'm not sad that Mexico lost. Well, a little perhaps. If they'd lost to anyone else I would've been crushed. But El Tri can hold their heads up high and know they went down like heroes of the pitch. The match could've gone either way numerous times. But when the crazily good Maxi Rodriguez from Argentina bounced that ball off his chest then aimed and fired it into the upper corner of the net, I realized that it was only going to go their way from that moment. Superb.

An unfortunate result for a Mexican team that should've had it. Why they are unable to move beyond the round of sixteen since 1994 is one of football's biggest mysteries. Maybe they need to host the festivities again, then they can make it to the quarter finals before they blow it. Adios, my south of the border friends! There's always the Gold Cup! And Argentina, may you unleash your nimble-footed soldiers of grace upon Germany and then beyond. The velvet victory is indeed yours!


Idler said...

My sentiments exactly. Too bad Mexico's out. Though their chants of "Osama, Osama" made me yearn for their defeat, you have to appreciate their awesome performance against Argentina.

I'll be wearing my albiceleste jersey somewhere in Portland as Argentina takes on the hosts.

Saw Mexico/Arg at Kells. Good atmosphere. Someone recommended the Thirsty Lion across the street. Lisa mentions the Rose & Thistle (which seems perfect for me, having been born in England to Scottish parents). How is the R&T? I've driven past it often enough but never seen the inside.

Lisa said...

Good place. Dark, with two smallish rooms, one big-screen and one with regular TV. Good people working there. Both Lynda and I have been there for games, and it was not crowded either time...I'd heartily recommend it.

Idler said...

Thanks for the reply. Good beer on tap?