The Demise Of Argentina

The memories, the jinking runs of Maradona or Messi, a world cup winning pedigree, the greats of the game.

This list could go on but the past is to be admired and the present for the blue and white of Argentina paints a completely different picture. How the Argentine fans long for yester year!

I recently took in arguably the biggest game in world football, the eagerly anticipated game between Argentina versus Brazil and fought off sleep to stay up until 2am and I must say I am glad I did, for all the wrong reasons.

Two teams, who I had witnessed during Italia ’90 compete so closely in the second round fixture in Turin (Argentina won 1-0), have grown apart dramatically during the intervening years.

Brazil have become compact, defensively sound yet remain skillfully elegant whilst Argentina are showing nothing but major cracks right across the pitch.

The blame surely has to lay at the feet of the football association in Argentina but also at their choice of coach, none other than Diego Armando Maradona. Whom despite been a great of the game is a untried coach, especially at such a demanding and stressful level.

He took over in a blaze of publicity and during his first fixture against Scotland in November 2008 the signs looked ominous. The team looked disorganised, disinterested and low on confidence, yet Maradona was loving the media attention focused purely on him.

His well documented health problems have recently surfaced again as Diego has visited Italy to have an operation to help with his escalating waistline whilst at the same time having the Italian authorities after him for a reported $37 million tax fraud.

By the way he refuses to pay them and he would only give them his ear rings worth a reported $5,000 due to a ruling allowing them to take anything in visual sight of notable value.

Anyway I digress. Whilst this is happening Carlos Bilardo (former Argentina legend and once national coach) has taken temporary charge of the upcoming friendly international against Ghana including selecting the squad and team.

Bizarre! Would Fabio Capello do this? I think not!

El Diego will return in time for the crunch World Cup qualifying double header in October against Peru and Uruguay respectively. The truth of the situation is that they need to win both games to guarantee at least a play-off place in the qualifying group.

Lose one or draw one and it could lead to one of the greatest team names in world sport missing out on the upcoming World Cup in South Africa with the games current greatest player, Lionel Messi, not entertaining on the stage we want to see him perform on.

Why has this happened I hear you ask. Many reasons can contribute and it could be coincidence that Maradona has purely taken over at a low point in Argentine football and the quality of player chosen.

Though many factors can add to the argument that he is to blame. His decisions to not select certain players is at the detriment of the team including Gonzalo Higuain and Juan Roman Riquelme, with the latter omission resulting in a fall out between Maradona and his beloved Boca Juniors supporters.

His adamant approach to include players deemed to be beyond their best or untested players for the big name games has left many a fan scratching their heads in amazement.

Ill preparations have also been blamed, namely for the 6-1 reversal against Bolivia, a match played at altitude without the preparations for such conditions.

Finally it was reported the light-hearted Lionel Messi returned from the recent international fixtures feeling depressed. This shows that all is not well in the camp and I wonder when it will end.

I hope they do qualify. I hope Diego can transform the fortunes of this ailing team. The question remains can he do it?

The signs aren’t good but it is said that a team shows its true colours when their backs are against the walls, I hope we see the true genius of the blue and whites in World Cup 2010.

Thanks for reading.

Cheers.

Gaffers

P.s. I want to say a huge well done to Wigan Athletic for defeating Chelsea in the Premier League this weekend. I t shows that the big teams can be defeated you just need to get amongst them and hope for a little bit of luck.

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