Friday, June 16, 2006
Finally, there was one team in this world cup which lived up to the cliches of playing with flair and style. Argentina put on an exhibition today and demolished Serbia and Montenegro and it was a joy to watch them. The first world cup that I followed was in 1986 and Maradona's brilliance meant Argentina was always one of my favourite teams (Brazil and Holland come close). The great man was in the stands himself, cheering like a schoolboy and this might be their year. There were moments in the game where they passed the ball 30 consecutive times with no long balls or crosses, just short passes, trying to build up a move and even that was riveting to watch. Messi, the 18 yr old heir apparent to Maradona, came on as a substitute and showed why he's regarded so highly. A pass through the legs of 3 defenders for a Crespo goal, a few quick turns like Maradona in his prime to run the Serbian defense ragged and finally, a clinical strike for a goal on a pass from Tevez. All this was in a space of 17 minutes and if he's fully fit for the next game against Holland it should be the game of the tournament.