Patriot games for Argentinian heroes

Post By

Yominame

Date Posted

10-Jul-2014

LOCATION

Mumbai

Patriot games for Argentinian heroes

For Argentina fans, the sight of their team celebrating qualifying for the Final of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ must have been incredibly moving. Yet via a closer look even greater significance can be found, with 9 July's dramatic semi-final win over the Netherlands taking place 198 years to the day after Argentina's declaration of independence. And La Albiceleste certainly played like a side with a common cause, battling for every ball and putting the good of the team before any individual glory.
 
You only have to look at the lung-bursting shift attacker Ezequiel Lavezzi put in down his flank; the way inspirational Javier Mascherano denied Arjen Robben an 89th-minute winner; how Sergio Romero saved two penalties in the shoot-out and let his actions, rather than any angry words, answer his critics; or even how Maxi Rodriguez – subbed off at half-time in Argentina's opening game here in Brazil – stepped up to fire the decisive spot-kick, triggering memories of his Round of 16 winner versus Mexico in 2006.
 
 
 
"We showed that we know what's at stake," said a tired but happy Mascherano, speaking to FIFA after the match. "This team put their heart where their lungs should be, but you need more than that to win. Each of us was intelligent enough to understand what was best for the team, which is why we played a very good game. We couldn't get a goal, that's true, but then Sergio did the business during the penalties," added El Jefecito (The Little Chief), who more than lived up to his nickname in Sao Paulo.
 
 
 
Goalkeeper Romero, meanwhile, with the shoot-out ball still tucked under his arm, remained humble despite his spot-kick heroics. "I'd just like to thank those who've had nice things to say about me today. I never let the criticism I had get me down, on the contrary, it made me work harder. All I'd say is that I'm doing my bit for my team-mates, which is what matters," said the custodian, who denied Ron Vlaar and Wesley Sneijder from the spot and boasts three clean sheets from three knockout-stage games, when speaking to FIFA.
 
 
 
"Even though it wasn't a brilliant game to watch, I think that overall we were the better side. Argentina were the ones who took the initiative and who attacked more, while the Netherlands barely troubled us," was the verdict of a beaming El Pocho Lavezzi, before outlining the key to Argentina's triumph. "It was down to the hard graft we all put in. We stuck together, did what we needed to do and even almost grabbed the winner late on."  
 
 
 
Next up to give his insight was former Liverpool wide-man Maxi, whose substitute appearance against the Oranje was his first since being withdrawn at half-time in the Group F opener versus Bosnia and Herzegovina. "I knew that at some point I'd get on the field again, and maybe even make an important contribution," he told FIFA. "How did I feel before taking the final penalty? When you're walking from the centre circle lots of things go through your mind, but now only one matters: we're going to be in the World Cup Final."
 
 
 
Dreaming big
 
"I've been dreaming about this since I was a kid, what more can I ask for?" continued Lavezzi, looking ahead to Sunday's Final. "This is priceless," chipped in Maxi. "When we were leaving [Argentina's training base in Buenos Aires] the Predio de Ezeiza, Leo [Messi], Masche and I spoke about how to get past the last eight, and how this would be the last World Cup for a lot of us. We've achieved what we came here to do, which was to reach the Final, but now we want to win it."
 
 
 
Nor is keeper Romero concerned about the firepower of the Germany team that destroyed Brazil in Tuesday's semi, and a nation who have eliminated Argentina from the past two World Cups: "It's going to be a different kind of game, a new chapter. You can't use that match as a yardstick." Continuing in a similar vein was Maxi: "Germany have their own style, they know what they're doing. But we've got to play our game too. Against the Dutch we played a brilliant tactical game and we're going to need to do that again."
 
 
 
 
Sharing, without realising, some of the ideals of those who declared his country's independence all the way back in 1816, Mascherano signed off in balanced though determined fashion. "We're going to be playing in the most important match of our lives, but we need to enjoy it too, because the road here has been very long and we've taken a lot of knocks along the way. Right now there's happiness, a sense of responsibility and expectation in the air. Let's hope we're up to the task."

Views: 548

Similar Posts

Supreme Court to resume hearing in IPL spot-fixing case today Mail Today Correspondent

The BCCI has refused to separate the IPL from the BCCI, insisting that it is a tournament owned and operated by the Board, and also turned down the recommendation to keep players away from employment by the parent companies of their IPL franchises. Read more at: http://indiatoday.intoday.in/section/84/sports

07-Mar-2014

Neymar fires Brazil; Spain, Germany, France win

Neymar’s hat-trick lit up a powerful Brazil performance as the 32 nations taking part in this year’s World Cup tested out their squads on a busy night of friendlies on Wednesday which also brought victories for Spain, Germany and France. Barcelona forward Neymar was unstoppable for tournament hosts Brazil as they demolished a poor South Africa side 5-0 in the Soweto Soccer City stadium which hosted the 2010 final between Spain and the Netherlands.

07-Mar-2014

Asia Cup 2014: India exit on the right note

At the innings break, Varun Aaron sought out Wasim Akram for some bowling advice. He might have been better off playing this game against Afghanistan instead. In fact, not only Aaron, it was inexplicable that India didn’t go with Cheteshwar Pujara and Ishwar Pandey today and named an unchanged squad for their first ever ODI against Afghanistan. It was a perfect opportunity to give the reserves some game time in a dead rubber.

07-Mar-2014

BCCI to push for home IPL matches in early May

Top officials of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) have decided to approach the home ministry with a request to allow IPL matches in first week of May. By the first week of May, seven of the nine phases of the polling will be over. “We will be requesting the home ministry again and will seek their approval to allow BCCI to hold matches in those states where elections are over in first week of May. We are mulling all options. Since this is a domestic tournament we want...

07-Mar-2014

Captain Nemanja Vidic abandons sinking ship at Manchester United

Manchester United captain Nemanja Vidic will join Inter Milan in the close season after eight years of success with the English champions, the Serie A side announced on Wednesday. The 32-year-old Serbia central defender said last month he would be leaving the Premier League club at the end of this term and was looking at moving to a team outside England.

07-Mar-2014

Afghanistan test for India in dead rubber

Big Picture Thanks to that man Shahid Afridi, yet again, but thanks mostly to their own inadequacies, India are out of the Asia Cup. The fact that they were banking on Bangladesh to pull off upsets in successive matches just to keep them alive showed India probably didn't merit a place in the final anyway. If Bangladesh had beaten Pakistan, India would have still needed to keep up their end of the equation. They would have had to beat Afghanistan and win with a bonus point. India will still...

07-Mar-2014

How did so many colleges miss on LB prospect Khalil Mack?

it was just another stop on just another recruiting sweep in talent-rich Florida. Robert Wimberly, assistant coach at Liberty University, visited Westwood High in Fort Pierce when the head coach there, Waides Ashmon, told him about a player who was injured during his junior year but playing again as a senior.

07-Mar-2014

Duncan Fletcher’s time as India coach is up, says Gavaskar

Sunil Gavaskar has trained his guns at India coach Duncan Fletcher and it isn't a pretty sight -- not for the India coach anyway. In a column that has appeared in the Times of India, the legendary Indian opener has called for a 'younger' coach; a coach who will not be looking to put his feet up at the first possible chance. The losses in South Africa and New Zealand have clearly disillusioned the former opener, who in recent times has also spoken against the Indian team's selection policy and...

10-Mar-2014

IPL 2014

The IPL 2014 has begun amidst much fanfare with Deepika Padukone and Shahrukh Khan dancing to the tunes of their songs. The first match between MI and KKR saw some new players and some old champs flicking their bats and running after the ball. It was an exciting match with KKR in control right from the beginning. Last year champions MI struggled to get near the winning score but finally gave away all its wickets 41 runs short of victory. Cheers to KKR for winning the first IPL 2014 match!

17-Apr-2014

Continental rivals shape up

The quarter-finals are set to begin at Brazil 2014 with a pair of mouth-watering ties on the menu, European heavyweights Germany and France locking horns before the hosts tackle fellow South Americans Colombia.Germany's vast array of titles might give them the air of favourites, but Die Nationalmannschaft have struggled against France in the past, recording just eight wins to 11 losses and six draws in 25 previous meetings. Despite their long rivalry, the two neighbours have met only...

04-Jul-2014
Mark My Deal