Tag Archives: Argentina

Red’s World Cup Update

Red’s pre-tournament  favorites Mexico, Spain, Portugal and Argentina seem to be headed in different directions.

Spain and Portugal are likely moving on with 4 points each and playing Morocco and Iran respectively in the third game of group play.  But neither side has impressed so far.  Red calls Spain and Portugal mediocre in action to date.  Each side needs a three goal outburst against the lesser competition.  Red views Portugal as more likely to come up with a big game.

Any time you beat the reigning world champion, things are looking up.  Mexico is certainly looking that way and a win over Sweden (make that S. Korea)  tomorrow (not a given by any means) would all but assure an entry into the Round of 16 for El Tri and add to the swagger that comes with beating Deutschland.   Look for more fireworks from Mexico’s powerful frontline and rising star Hirving Lozano and more solid keeping from Memo Ochoa.

And alas, Los Albicelestes are wondering where the bus came from that has run them over and drug them a kilometer down the road in this WC.  A total ass-whomping by Croatia has put Argentina in a serious bind.  There is a narrow path to the knock-out rounds but Messi and Co. no longer control their own fate.   SB Nation has the scoop on Argentina’s chances.

  1. Iceland ties or loses to Nigeria tomorrow.

  2. Croatia then needs to beat or tie Iceland.

  3. Argentina needs to beat Nigeria.

All three of those things happening will allow Argentina to advance.

If Iceland beats Nigeria tomorrow, there is still an outside chance that Argentina could sneak in, but for that to happen it would rely on them beating Nigeria and then Iceland losing to Croatia, and then it would come down to a tiebreaker, since both teams would be on four points.

Goal difference would decide it at that point, and if goal difference is the same, then it will go to yellow cards, of which Argentina has more than a few.  If none of the above happens, Argentina is eliminated.

This looks like the end for Argentina as a serious world power for at least a couple of years.  Maybe they come back in Copa America next year – but maybe not.

Other teams to watch (besides the obvious favorites to move on) include – Croatia, Senegal, Japan and Denmark.  Meanwhile, Red is sort of wishing he had gotten on the Uruguay bandwagon – but he just doesn’t like Suarez or Cavani (the Robbins of South America).

Red Calls the Copa America Centenario Final

Red’s original call for the Copa America Centenario final was Argentina over Mexico.  But then Chile gave Mexico an incredible ass-whomping in the quarter-finals and will now face Argentina on Sunday in New Jersey.  So we are left with a rematch of last year’s Copa America final which Chile won on penalties on its home turf in Santiago.

Red thinks that Argentina breaks through this year and brings home its first major trophy since it won the CA in 1993.  After being ever so close in the 2014 World Cup Finals, La Albiceleste takes this one.  Red expects a close and high scoring game this time instead of the 0-0 draw in regulation that led to a shoot-out.  The U.S. soccer crowd needs that kind of excitement.  Plus, both teams have their scorers performing at top level in this tournament.  Messi and Higuain for Argentina and Vargas and Sanchez for Chile have scored a total of 18 goals between them.  Losing Lavezzi for the final will hurt, but  Angel DiMaria is back so Argentina will not miss a beat.  The only possible hitch for Argentina is if it comes down to a big play for Higuain who has choked away opportunities in the last two big finals for La Albiceleste.

Argentina 4, Chile 3

And for the third place game, well who really cares other than the players who might not get another chance to play in the CAC.

USA 2, Columbia 1

The Biggest Sporting Event in Houston Since . . .

Tonight’s semi-final match between World No. 1 Argentina and 31st ranked USA (tucked neatly between the Czech Republic and Algeria) will be the biggest sporting event in Houston since the World Series in 2005.  Sure there have been a couple of NFL Wildcard Playoff games and the occasional playoff appearance by the Rockets.  But this is the world’s most popular sport in a match featuring the highest ranked team in the world in a tournament that is clearly vying for the second most important soccer event behind only the World Cup Finals.  The 16 team Copa America Centenario features 3 of the top 5 teams in the world (Argentina, Columbia and Chile) and 5 of the top 10 (add in Brazil and Uruguay).  The  24 team UEFA European Championship also features 5 of the top 10 and more teams in the top 50, but it’s contests have not been particularly compelling match-ups so far.  And it will be hard to top the semi-final group of the CAC with Argentina, Columbia and Chile making up a world-class field.  Only the US seemingly doesn’t belong and was helped along by the poor showings of Brazil and Uruguay in not making the knock-out rounds.  We will see how it shakes out in Europe and if those final rounds will feature the same quality of competition.

Red Calls the Semi-Finals:

Argentina 4, USA 1   Red has been a big Argentina fan ever since Mexico 86 when Diego Maradona led El Albiceleste to its second World Cup title.  But he is also loyal to his national squad – so this one will be interesting as Red really can’t lose no matter who wins.  If Argentina moves on they have a chance at their first major trophy in an incredible 23 years – an eon for Argentinian fans.  It the USA wins, it is a huge boost for soccer in this country and a chance for the USA to claim its biggest tournament win ever.  All that said, it seems unlikely that the USA can keep up with the dynamic and versatile attack of El Albiceleste.  Even without DiMaria, the Argentines have world best player Leo Messi and Italy Serie A superstar Higuain along with an entire team of players that can put the ball in the net (Otamendi even!).  And while the Argentine center defense is somewhat suspect, the US is missing its best pure striker in Bobby Wood and will be somewhat hobbled in midfield with the absence of Bedoya.  Look for the USA to make a game of it until about 70 minutes in and then the superiority of the Argentinian squad will put the game out of reach.

Chile 3, Columbia 1   The only possible problem for Chile is an emotional let down after their complete annihilation of Mexico in the quarter-final. Columbia did not play like the No. 3 team in the world in having to go to penalties to defeat a game Peruvian team.  And Costa Rica beat them rather convincingly in group play.  Meanwhile, Chile has rounded to form after an opening loss to the powerful Argentines.  Look for the top scoring duo of Vargas (6 goals) and Sanchez (3 goals) to handle a Columbian squad that has had trouble getting balls on target all tournament.  Vidal sitting out is a problem, but look for Chile to press, press, press and control the action throughout the match.

 

 

Copa America Centenario Update

Red did fairly well in his picks coming out of group play.  Red correctly called 6 of the 8 teams heading to the quarter-finals – missing out on Brazil and Uruguay.  Brazil got bumped on a bad call when the referee missed a handball allowing Peru to beat Brazil for the first time in 31 years and Uruguay just plain sucked without Luis Suarez in the lineup.

The surprises of the tournament are Venezuela and Peru neither of whom figured to factor into the knockout rounds.  So Red’s up-to-date revised picks for the quarter-finals are:

USA 3 Ecuador 1

Argentina 4 Venezuela 1

Mexico 2 Chile 1

Columbia 2 Peru 0

And if all goes right, Red y familia will be watching the US and Argentina next Tuesday before a packed house at NRG.

 

 

Copa America Centenario Matches in Houston

Sunday night’s group draw for the upcoming Copa America Centenario has established what matches will be played in Houston.

On June 11, Columbia and Costa Rica will face off.  Columbia is a highly talented squad featuring stars James Rodriguez of Real Madrid and Juan Cuadrado of Juventus.  Costa Rica is an up and coming squad having qualified for the 2014 World Cup Finals and having won the Central American championship.  CR may feature the best keeper in the tournament with Real Madrid’s Keylor Navas.

On June 13, Mexico will take on Venezuela.  Expect NRG Stadium to be rocking with a rabidly pro-Mexico crowd.  Mexico features a strong attack with Javier Hernandez of Bayer Leverkusen (finally getting to play after riding the pine with Man U).  Chicharito has now scored 21 goals while winning 3 Bundesliga player of the month awards.  Giovani Dos Santos of the LA Galaxy also knows how to find the net as an attacking midfielder.  And Mexico is strong in goal with Memo Ochoa.  Venezuela will have a tough time on hostile ground.  They do have a strong defense led by center back Oswaldo Vizcarrondo Araujo of Nantes.

Red is predicting that the semi-final match to be played in Houston on June 23 will feature Argentina and – wait for it – the United States.  That match would likely shatter TV viewing records in the US for any non-World Cup Final match.  Hopefully, Red will finally have a chance to see Lionel Messi in action.