Monday, July 23, 2007

Curiously Unemotional

So, then, a thoroughly-deserved sixth triumph for Argentina at the U-20 level in Toronto yesterday as they beat the Czech Republic 2-1. The Czechs - an excellent side on the counter-attack and well-organized defensively but for one horrendous gaffe in the 62nd minute - did themselves proud but were no match for the Argentines, whose captain and tournament golden boot Sergio Aguero really needs to be playing somewhere better than Atletico Madrid.

(Question: how is it that Argentina can continually win at this age and continually choke at higher levels? Is bottling not taught at the U-20 level? When the Czechs scored yesterday, Argentina went charging back into battle - at the Copa America last week, once Brazil scored, that was more or less it for the Argentines. Curious.)

And yet despite the fact that it was a decent game and a close-run contest, this was a notably unemotional final. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that there were virtually no Czech supporters in the stands (or, rather, that those cheering for the Czechs were actually simply anti-Argentines - in this case a primarily Chilean group, making it possibly the most Hispanic group of fans the Czechs will ever get). Or maybe it was the winning goal itself, a quick shot from a short corner that caught the fans as well as the Czech keeper napping, and hence robbed the decisive moment of any emotional build-up.

Or maybe, like me, the crowd appreciated the great spectacle of the tournament and the artistry of the Argentines, but fundamentally can't stand the interruption in what Nick Hornby once called "the relentless responsibility and pain of club football".

It's been a great three weeks. But we want our TFC.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I invite you to read my post. I am willing to argue that the reason that Argentina does not excel at the senior level is that their talent gets sabotaged by their emotional underdevelopment. The team I watched yesterday had everything other than respect for their opponents. They have peaked. I am willing to bet the house that five years from now that same game would go to the Czechs because todays losers will develop, learn and find new ways to protect themselves in the game. The Czechs know they faltered, the Argentinians are both blessed with talent and are cursed with a lack of humility- when they go forth and think it will always be like this, the football gods will smite them. Remember the end of Argentina - Germany at the last World Cup ? And so it goes.....

6:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Go ahead and read my blog to get my take on the U20 WC win for Argentina.
I think that the excessive emotion of the young Argentinians in victory contains the reason for their lack of success at the next level.
The Czech players were not honoured by their opponents on Sunday, they were ignored in post game revelry.
Next time they meet at the Senior level, I would bet the house the European sides have developed, grown and adjusted and are ready. Where was the coach to say to the victors, at the end of the day the difference between you and the Czechs was one shot on net ?

11:03 PM  

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