Copa America 2011: Who will you support?

In 2007, we had the last Copa America and, of course, I tuned in because it was conveniently on my TV and it sated my Messi obsession. The first full match I happened to watch was Argentina vs Mexico (I get the feeling that Mexicans must really hate meeting Argentina. They always seem to lose *dodges flying objects* I’m just sayin! Please don’t kill me! *runs away*) and I got to see this Messi golazo:

Although I actually like the Spanish commentary better (actually, I just love that commentator. I swear, he’s the Ray Hudson of Spanish commentary. “Welcome to the jungle!” 😆 ).

Anyway, the point of this is, Argentina will be looking to win the Copa (the only title Maradona didn’t win apparently) on home turf and I will be supporting Messi and therefore Argentina by default. The last time around they lost 3-0 to Brazil in a final that featured Dani who I knew fudge all about and who also happened to score. Funnily enough, the U-20 tournament I seem to mention every other day was also underway and Aguero’s Argies had won their semis. Brazilians took this time to blare their car horns downtown near Landsdown Park (the stadium that the games were played at). I’m not sure what I’m trying to say by telling you all this, so I’m going to move on.

Argentina are in Group A and, as hosts, play the first match tomorrow against Bolivia at 8:45pm EST under huge, huge pressure to perform. Sergio Batista took them to a Olympic gold in 2008, but there will be no Riquelme or…Riquelme this time around. Their squad features Aguero, Pastore, Mascherano, Milito and a whole host of names. I can imagine the pressure Messi must feel, considering the shaky relationship with Argentine fans, but he thrives under pressure. Vamos Leo!

Bitter rivals Brazil (or should I say, Brasil) have Dani and Adriano in the squad and they’ll be looking to rain on Argentina’s parade by defending their Copa title and traumatizing the poor Argentine supporters for life, especially the fans of Los Millonarios. They really will cry a River. (Sorry, couldn’t help it). The Next Robinho Big Thing out of Brazil Neymar, Santos teammate Ganso and Sao Paulo FC midfielder Lucas will have Robinho as a big brother to guide them though their first Copa.

“Ronaldo always gave me advice on and off the field. All that good advice given to me, I am passing on to young Neymar, Lucas and Ganso” said Robinho.

[Insert smart remark here].

God help the Brazilian team. They get their party started Sunday at 3:00pm EST against Lev’s Venezuela. 😛

A Marco Bielsa-less Chile will look to overcome the loss of the Argentine and wow the world like they did last summer with their vibrant, attacking football against a JDS-less* U-22 Mexico on Monday at 8:45pm EST. They have our transfer target Alexis Sanchez, Villarreal-reject Mati Fernandez (Matigol!) and Bayer Leverkusen’s Arturo Vidal to boost their chances at being the first Chilean team to win the Copa.

*If you don’t know JDS has been a bad boy and won’t be in the Mexico squad for the tournament. He and 7 other players have been dismissed from the squad and suspended for 6 months for allowing hookers into their rooms, who also stole their stuff. Sigh. Jona, you were supposed to be better than your brother by getting into the first team, not messing up your career faster.

The joint third best team in the world according to the last WC Uruguay start their quest to slap Argentina in the face by winning the Copa (which, I guess, is what everyone wants to do. Stop bullying los Albicelestes!) against Peru on Monday, while the-team-who-almost-knocked-out-Spain (Paraguay) take on Ecuador a day previous.

The Copa America 2011 kicks off tomorrow and in the words of Messi;

¡Aguante, Argentina, la c de tu madre!*

Full Schedule for Group Matches (all times in EST):

Group A

Argentina vs. Bolivia – July 1st – 20:45 – La Plata
Colombia vs. Costa Rica – July 2nd – 14:30 – San Salvador de Jujuy
Argentina vs. Colombia – July 6 – 20:45 – Santa Fe
Bolivia vs. Costa Rica – July 7 – 18:15 – San Salvador de Jujuy
Colombia vs. Bolivia – July 10 – 15:00 – Santa Fe
Argentina vs. Costa Rica – July 11 – 20:45 – Córdoba

Group B

Brazil vs. Venezuela – July 3 – 15:00 – La Plata
Paraguay vs. Ecuador – July 3 – 17:30 – Santa Fe
Brazil vs. Paraguay – July 9 – 15:00 – Córdoba
Venezuela vs. Ecuador – July 9 – 17:30 – Salta
Paraguay vs. Venezuela – July 13 – 18:15 – Salta
Brazil vs. Ecuador – July 13 – 20:45 – Córdoba

Group C

Uruguay vs. Peru – July 4 – 18:15 – San Juan
Chile vs. Mexico – July 4 – 20:45 – San Juan
Uruguay vs. Chile – July 8 – 18:15 – Mendoza
Peru vs. Mexico – July 8- 20:45 – Mendoza
Chile vs. Peru – July 12 – 18:15 – Mendoza
Uruguay vs. Mexico – July 12 – 20:45 – La Plata

Quarterfinals

1st Group A vs. Best 3rd S1 – July 16 – 15:00 – Córdoba
2nd Group A vs. 2nd Group C S2 – July 16 – 18:15 – Santa Fe

1st Group B vs. 2nd Best 3rd S3 – July 17 – 15:00 – La Plata
1st Group C vs. 2nd Group B S4 – July 17 – 18:15 – San Juan

Semi-final

Winner S1 vs. Winner S2 G1 – July 19 – 20:45 – La Plata
Winner S3 vs. Winner S4 G2 – July 20 – 20:45 – Mendoza

3rd Place Game

Loser G1 vs. Loser G2 – July 23 – 15:00 – La Plata

Final

Winner G1 vs. Winner G2 – July 24 – 15:00 – Buenos Aires

———————

*It sounds really derogatory if you take it literally (Spanish speakers can attest to that) but it should be taken as “Let’s go, Argentina, God damnit!”.

Also, I dunno if there will be a LiveBlog for the match. Or if we’re actually going to cover the Copa. I doubt it.

By Kari

Just your neighbourhood Barca fanatic

291 comments

  1. And to whoever was asking in the last thread, both Thiago and Fontas are included in the official 2011-2012 squad list on the FCB website. Although they haven’t bothered to update their bios yet. Still, that looks pretty official to me.

  2. Just want to point out that with the promotion of Thiago and Fontas, that makes twelve of our first team who have come from La Masia. (If you still count Bojan and Jeffren, and I do since they are still listed in the official squad list and nothing official has been announced.) Even if you take away those two, that is still 10 canteranos. Eleven if you count the likely addition of Fabregas.

    That is…astonishing. Unbelievable, even, in this modern age of international stars.

    Compare that to Madrid’s…one.

    1. That is pretty amazing.

      (But to be fair to RM, if we count Fabregas, do we not have to allow them to count Arbeloa and Granero?)

    2. And now Callejón.

      Essential point still stands though. 🙂

      Even more amazing than the number of youth products on the first team is the number in the starting XI, eight out of eleven, all but the full backs and one forward. Not only does Barça produce an inordinate number of their own players, they produce an even higher percentage of their best players. How many world-class teams have produced eight of their first-choice starters?

    3. Doh! Forgot Callejon too. Or as I will refer to him henceforth, Jedward Benchwarmer.

    4. Seriously, what is with the hair? Am also pleased that people in Canada have been subjected to Jedward. Perhaps if the suffering is widespread it will be diluted.

    5. No I actually had to google Jedward when Sid Lowe kept calling him that> I have been spared from actually listening to the music.

    6. According to statistics – it is huge abnormality – before 2004-5 FCB promoted rarely players and they were quickly forgotten.

      even now – only one player usually remains to mother team from yearly B team output:

      2004: Messi

      2007 Bojan and Pedro

      2008 Busquets

      2010 – Thiago (??)

    7. I knew I was forgetting someone! OK, I’ll give you Arbeloa…but I am pretty sure El Pirata is on the way out. So 3, conditionally.

    8. Do you reckon he’s on his way out? He did feature a bit more towards the end of the season (I think- I could easily be wrong), but I suppose with their purchases someone in the mid has to go.

      Are there squad limits for La Liga?

    9. He is competing with Ozil, Khedira and now Sahin for his position. And Altintop as well, once he recuperates. I don’t think Mou puts any faith in him and he will be sold.

    10. Could be correct there, Blitzen, but I reckon the main reason that Arbeloa will hang in there is that he’s one of the RM players in the Spanish Team – and I’m not sure that RM would be too happy about having one less NT player in the squad. Pride and all that!

  3. For us Canadians, The Score comes through! ….But they’re playing the game at 10pm EST rather than 8:45pm according to their schedule. 😕 Stupid WWE Friday Night Smackdown. 😡

    Rest of the days are on the normal schedule though. 8) YEAH.

    1. Kari has a secret twitter account! (just kidding)

      Fantastic piece by Graham. Really fascinating.

  4. The biggest question: stream the game live, or wait until 10pm to watch on TV? Decisions, decisions…

    (You can stream it here on YouTube or find a stream at myp2p.eu.livefootball)

    1. If your stream is smooth, keep it running. Otherwise, wait the hour and fifteen minutes.

    2. The YouTube feed is beYOOtiful!

      –Apparently during the Chile match, a supporter waved a Barca shirt at Sanchez, and he grinned and flashed an “OK” sign.

      –EE claiming to be ready to enter the Fabregas fray with a 50m bid is funny. If Fabregas would go to play there, then he wasn’t for us anyway.

  5. Argentinean national anthem is being sung.

    Crowd sings along the tune… no cheering, just singing.

    Ends on a high, crowd shouts in unison.

    Time to get Messi.

  6. I love me some Cuchu, but I’d like to see Pastore at some point in this game. And why no Aguero? Lavezzi es un barato.

  7. For all the folks who are in Cali..they’re showing the match on Telefutura. P.S. Someone give Tevez a shirt that fits!

    1. And what’s up with his hair?

      I actually like Hugo Sanchez’s commentary. Deal with it, cules.

    2. his hair looks strange no matter what style he sports! At least he isnt wearing those ridiculous headbands that he’s sported in the past. As far as Hugo Sanchez…mejor no digo nada 😀 lol

    1. His hair is similar to Banega’s. Not sure how I feel about that.

      Argentina needs to get a goal. Bad. Crowd’s getting angsty.

  8. his is weird, someone help lol. Regardless of which stream I use, both start great for 15 min, then start to lag. I switch over to the other stream, and its fine for 15 min??/

  9. Hopefully Batista will get a clue and play Pastore finally. Put him in for Cambiasso.

  10. Messi is really doing everything here. It is like the other offensive players are hinding behind his back

    1. But he did miss this glorious chance that Messi did give him on a plate: It just makes me sick that Messi is working his socks off for this teams, creates chances for others to miss and if Argentina will f** this up you can bet who they will blame for that one, surely not Tevez, the local hero, but Messi again who “does not give his all for his homecountry”

  11. Copa America available in India in NEO Sports tv channel. Watching the Argentina vs Bolivia now. Go Messi!!! Yaaay!!!

  12. LOL> Al Jazeera HT commentator just said RM is planning to lodge a 45M bid for Fabregas. As if he would agree to go there.

    1. Aguero’s trickery -as they say- should be enough to turn this game. Don’t know if we’ll see any Pastore, though.

  13. What an half. After all the hype, reality comes back to bite again. Bolivia have played well and in fact, i would not be surprised if they score first.

    As for argentina, they lack any identity. I would not mind the performance too much if this was stepping stone to something but it seems that Batista only speaks about Barcelona and does not follow it. Quite a few things are wrong with Argentina. The GK does not inspire any confidence. The defense is so aware of of its lack of pace that they prefer to stay back so there cannot be a pressing game.

    As for Messi, watching this match makes it clear how much work Pedro and Villa put in so that Messi can do his thing. Tevez and Lavezzi do not put in effort that is even comparable.

    In addition, the entire team seems too interested to play with ball. Nobody seems too bothered with space and getting in positions or making runs. Barcelona thrives on space and continuous movement. Argentina are simply not built that way and Batista is not going to change it in few days.

    When Messi has to come back to own half for meaningful possession, he is already so far removed from danger zone that he is no way as effective. He did have a few good runs and passes.

    I see three possibilities. If batista wants 4-3-3, he has to have conviction to just play that way. I already feel that in that formation, Argentina are not going to win anything in this copa. Maybe even will have trouble for next year or two. But having a philosophy was never easy.

    If Batista wants success, he has two options in my view. Either move Messi to midfield and use other attackers. Or go 4-5-1 with Messi as single striker and someone like Pastore to feed him. It will be much uglier but much more effective.

    What i am afraid is that Batista will not do anything and Argentina will lurch from one place to another. No wonder Messi is getting frustrated.

    1. For el Cuchu Cambiasso.

      What the fuck just happened there?

      Bolivia goal? Set piece?

    2. That is what I fear most, It is so convenient for everybody, they can just blame everything on Leo, it is so injust

  14. Problem is that their defence is so shaky that Batista needs 2 DM for at least a minimum of security therefore they have nobody with creativity in midfield apart from some sparks from Banega and therefore Messi has to drop deep all the time to least get anything going.

    Oh how I miss the days of Ayala

  15. omg… and of all people, Di Maria is coming on.

    Why does it always have to be so frustrating to watch Argentina in the big tournaments ???

    1. My only hope is that it’ll give the Argentines not named Messi a good kick in the arse

      DiveMaria Dive Count (DMDC): 2

  16. Hate to say it, but if Milito was faster that wouldn’t have happened. 🙁

    1. He’ll never be faster. After having knee injuries he’s never been and same
      And probably never will be IMO

  17. waaaah, i didn’t know it’s live on my tv…just in time to see that bolivia goal! that was crazyyyyy……waaaah

    1. Not with this excuse of a defence, Spain had at least Casillas and P&P

  18. Prediction time: DiveMaria will dive to get a crucial freekick or penalty depending on scoreline. Messi will do all the work, hit the post and Higuian one of Tevez or Lavezzi will tap it in.

  19. “Lionel Messi, so often an under performer for the national team, now’s his time to step up” — my commentator.

    Kindly shut the **** up. Are you even watching this game?

    GET ‘EM LEO.

    1. Problem 1 – The forwards are more interested in being the hero than making space for others to exploit.

      Problem 2 – The backline

      Problem 3 – Messi has to come too deep to get the ball

      Ohhhh, Argie fk. Give it to Messi!

    1. OK I just had a tequila shot. I don’t know if that will work for Argentina like it does for Barça, but I also ate a lot of BBQ meat today, and that should count for something.

  20. I’m pretty sure I called it first. 😉

    Argentina’s crowd finally getting into it.

  21. Di Maria should’ve been 2-1.

    Aguero HAS to start the next matches. And Dive Maria sucks, apart from the cross before the goal…

    1. I don’t say this often, especially when it’s the other team that does it but that play was just sexy. Should’ve scored.

Comments are closed.