Monday, March 30, 2009

Argentina Vs Bolivia: High elevation will be a factor

Argentina will soon take on Bolivia in Bolivia's high altitude capital city of La Paz at nearly 12,000 feet of altitude. Most International teams never have to subject their teams to these extreme conditions which can cause hypoxia (lack of oxygen) and a multitude of related ailments. FIFA even tried to ban international games from being played in ultra-high altitude stadiums located in Bolivia, Peru, & Colombia in 2007 but eventually retracted due to public outcry from these nations.
In my last trip to Argentina, I took an excursion to the Andian region of Mendoza at an elevation of 10,000 ft. I remember feeling short of breath and extremely lethargic just by walking.

Given all we know about the effects of high altitude, I think Maradona should've given his team more time to acclimate to the high elevation before Wednesday's game which is only 2 days away. The team is actually flying to Santa Cruz de la Sierra tomorrow which is in the low-land area of Bolivia (1,365 ft). The team will not get to La Paz (12,000 ft) until the day of the game. These conditions will definitely slow the pace of the game and will be a key factor on the formation and players Maradona will choose.

Argentina's Record in La Paz, Bolivia:

Won 3 games - Lost 3 games - Tied 1 game

1957 (Qualifiers for Sweden 1958) - Lost 2-0
1965 (Qualifiers for England 1966)- Won 2-1
1969 (Qualifiers for Mexico 1970) - Lost 3-1
1973 (Qualifiers for Germany 1974 - Won 1-0
1997 (Qualifiers for France 1998) - Lost 1-2
2001 (Qualifiers for Japan/Korea 2002) - Tied 3-3
2005 (Qualifiers for Germany 2006) - Won 2-1

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Maradona's Ultra Offensive Strategy Produced Goals

Yesterday's game against Venezuela produced four 1st class goals from Messi, Tevez, Maxi, & Aguero. The line-up that I posted the day before only had one change which was to have Zanetti on Defence. This change demonstrates how determined Maradona was to make this a purely attacking team since Zanetti is known for his ability to hold the ball and switch to an attacking role when necessary. Messi wore the number 10 and made it proud by scoring and setting up goals. The important thing is that a new team has been officially consecrated in this new era which I have full confidence in. Thanks again Maradona.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Maradona's Line-up Against Venezuela

According to the Argentine media, it appears Maradona is preparing an all-front assault on Venezuela by placing his biggest guns (Messi, Aguero, & Tevez) on the front line. Most practice sessions have included a 3-4-3 formation (see below). Mascherano & Gago will be in charge of circulating the ball & controlling the mid-field which is a crucial element to the Argentine formula. If this formation does play on Saturday it will be a true test as to whether this super trio can jive together and produce goals.

Probable Team Against Venezuela (Click player for Stats)

Tevez ---------- Aguero ---------- Messi

Guiterrez - Mascherano - Gago - Rodriguez

Heinze ---------- Diaz ---------- Angeleri


Sunday, March 22, 2009

Argentina's National Team Statistics

Here are some interesting team statistics that I have compiled from primary club sites and notable news sources.

Average Height Metric (U.S.)
Entire Team: 179 cm (5ft 9in)
Midfielders: 179 cm (5ft 9in)
Forwards: 173.5 cm (5 ft 7in)
Defenders: 180 cm (5ft 9in)
Goalies: 187 cm (6ft 1in)

Average Age of Team
Entire Team: 26 yrs

Youngest Players
Juan Forlin: 20 yrs
Sergio Aguero: 20 yrs

Oldest Players
Javier Zanetti: 35 yrs
Juan Sebastian Veron: 34 yrs

Birth Place (by Province)
Buenos Aires: 50%
Santa Fe: 40%
Other (Catamarca, Cordoba, Entre Rios): 10%

Current Clubs (by Country)
Argentina: 27%
Italy: 20%
Portugal: 12%
Spain: 23%
UK: 12%
Other (Germany, Mexico): 6%

Current Clubs (by Region)
America: 30%
Europe: 70%

Most Common Zodiac Signs
Aries & Gemini: 42%

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Argentina's National Team list for World Cup Qualifiers

Maradona submitted his much anticipated sqaud list for the next two qualifing games with Venezuela & Bolivia. Two brand new faces on Maradona's list are Federico Vilar, goalie for Atlante of Mexico (32 yrs. old) & Juan Forlín, defender for Boca Juniors.

I hope to have Information profiles for all of these players by next week - So stay tuned.

The Official Squad list for Argentina (AFA's Website)

Lionel Messi (Barcelona, ESP), Sergio Aguero (Atletico Madrid, ESP), Carlos Tevez (Manchester United, GBR), Ezequiel Lavezzi (Napoli, ITA), Lisandro Lopez (Porto, POR), Diego Milito (Genoa, ITA).

Fernando Gago (Real Madrid, ESP), Javier Mascherano (Liverpool, GBR), Maxi Rodriguez (Atletico Madrid, ESP), Luis Gonzalez (Porto, POR), Jonas Gutierrez (Newcastle United, GBR), Angel Di María (Benfica, POR), Sebastian Battaglia (Boca Juniors), Juan Sebastian Veron (Estudiantes), Daniel Montenegro (Independiente)

Martín Demichelis (Bayern Munich, GER), Gabrel Heinze (Real Madrid, ESP), Javier Zanetti, Walter Samuel (Inter, ITA), Daniel Diaz (Getafe, ESP), Juan Forlin (Boca Juniors), Emiliano Papa (Velez Sarsfield), Marcos Angeleri (Estudiantes)

Juan Pablo Carrizo (Lazio, ITA), Mariano Andujar (Estudiantes), Federico Vilar (Atlante, MEX)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Riquelme Says No to Maradona - Drops out of the National Team

Today Juan Roman Riquelme, the quintessential #10 (play-maker) for Argentina's national team decided to drop out of the national team for the second time due to irreconcilable differences with Maradona. It appears that Riquelme heard critical comments from Maradona about his current playing form and what he expected from him for a successful team. Riquelme most likely saw the writing on the wall and felt Maradona was not going to be very supportive of him. Like all great fighters he decided to go on his own terms. This doesn't come as a surprise for me since Maradona has consistently told all prospective players that they need to be on top of their game, as well as, in excellent physical condition to be called up and/or make the first team. Riquleme doesn't seem to fit Maradona's vision of a younger, faster, and hungrier team that can capitalize on its flair and creativity with Messi taking on a more important role. It will be sad to see Riquelme gone because he still is an exceptional player with unique skills and style - Till this day no one can hold on to a ball like Riquelme.

See a compilation of Riquelme in action on Youtube

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Apache Tevez Finally Gets to Play a Full Game

Tevez finally gets the call from Fergie and boy did he make the best of it. He scored two crucial first half goals which facilited Manu's 4-0 win over Fulham. Tevez with this performance said to all future prospective teams that he is the real deal capable making club dreams come true. I don't think Fergie wanted Tevez to shine so brigthly today since it is going to make Tevez's departure from Manu much more difficult to explain to the Manu fans. One thing is certain, Tevez's stock price soared today.

Manchester United 4- Fulham 0 (See Video Highlights on Youtube)

Sunday, March 1, 2009

"El Kun" Aguero & Messi Show Off Their Ball Magic

"El Kun" Aguero (Atletico de Madrid) & Messi (Barcelona) battled it out in today's Sunday duel. Both had a brilliant game with Aguero's team sneaking in a victory with an unusual Messi style left footed kick. I'm sure Maradona was watching this game real close since Atletico had not yet won a game in 2009. This performance has locked in El Kun's role on the national team which he rightly deserves. It also doesn't hurt to have Maradona as your son's grandfather. In any case, after today's performance any doubts I had of him have been completely erased.