Monday, July 16, 2007

Adios Mexico

The game that was hyped as “the game of the tournament” as the FIFA Under-20 World Championship turned out to be decidedly less. Argentina bid “Adios Mexico” yesterday with a 1-0 win here in Ottawa, on a Maximilion Moralez goal seconds before half-time.

Many thought that this would be the game that would really showcase the talent level at the tournament, with two of the more talented and offensive minded teams squaring off – as is often the case, the result was a tentatively played game where both teams worried more about conceding the first goal as opposed to scoring it. As mentioned, Argentina scored the game’s only goal with less than 30 seconds to go in the first half – they came out in the second determined not to let the Mexicans score the equalizer.

The fascinating part about the second half was that both teams looked like they were at a loss as to how to play in a game where the referee decided that he wasn’t going to be involved in determining the outcome of the game. The official in charge of yesterday’s game wasn’t having any of the theatrics and kept his whistle in his pocket – save for a few rough challenges that were punished with yellow cards. The Mexicans started to unravel in the second half – on more than one occasion Giovanni Dos Santos (dubbed “little Ronaldinho) fell like he had been shot, only to pop up three seconds later screaming at the referee for not calling a foul. After realizing that they weren’t going to trick the referee into making a cheap call, Mexico pretty much mailed it in after the 75th minute. They couldn’t overcome their frustration over Argentina’s close marking, and then resorted to some pretty cheap fouls (again by “little Ronaldinho).

In the end, the game was anything but a showcasing of talent, and ended up being what the tournament has become – a defensive, “don’t lose” kind of game where the deciding goals are a result of a lucky bounce or a questionable call.

In what has to be considered a shocker – Brazil beat Argentina 3-0 in the Copa America Final in Venezuela yesterday – Brazil opened the scoring on Julio “The Beast” Baptista’s goal in the third minute and closed it in the 69th minute on a goal by Daniel Alves. Argentina drove the nail into their own coffin by scoring an own goal in the 40th minute – they came into the game heavily favoured to beat a Brazilian team minus the likes of Ronaldinho and Kaka…gotta love our Portuguese cousins from South America.

Do we “congratulate” the Philadelphia Phillies on becoming the first professional sports team to lose 10,000 games? On one hand, it is a dubious honour that we think no team would want to have – on another hand, it does speak to the longevity and history of a team and its to persevere for so long in the face of futility. Do you think the stiffs that used to play the Harlem Globetrotter might take issue with the Phillies’ achievement? Certainly they can lay claim to worst winning percentage…right?

We’re pretty sure that Red Sox Nation is nowhere near ready to push the panic button – but we have to ask. As good as the Red Sox are, is there a team in the majors whose talent level between the starter and bench player as stark as Boston’s? The starting nine is among the best in the majors, without question; however, in watching yesterday’s game, we wondered if the Red Sox could be considered a legit World Series contender with depth chart that is paper-thin after Alex Cora. Could Red Sox Nation really count on the likes of Eric Hinske, Wily Mo Pena and Doug Mirabelli to step up if one of the regulars went down?

We say that knowing full well that our beloved “Red Sox West” have their own issues in marching towards the playoffs – winning anything with 2B Jeff Kent as your cleanup hitter is going to be an uphill challenge to say the least; never mind his woefully inadequate defense. No, we aren’t banking on the arrival of Arod in 2008 as a solution to our problem – he’s going to be Red Sox Nation’s headache if Larry Lucchino has anything to say about it.

Florida Marlins 3B Miguel Cabrera hit two solo home runs in a five to three win over the Nationals yesterday. Oh yeah, he’s a member of the Maeple Leafs in the Yahoo Pool.

St. Louis Cardinals 1B Albert Pujols continues to make manager Tony LaRussa look like a doofus for not getting him into the All-Star Game last week. Pujols hit two home runs and drove in three runs to etch the Phillies name into the record books with a 10-2 loss. Pujols’ big day didn’t help “The Chiarellis” hold on to third place in the other Yahoo Pool.

Texas Rangers 1B Mark Texeira hit a game winning home run in the eleventh yesterday against the Los Angeles Angels – you know the rule hear about Portuguese guys like Texeira…they get play here.

We ended the week off on a rough note – going 2-2 and taking a hit on the total. We finished last week at + $670, bringing the total for the year down to - $800. We’ll get things in the black in the next couple of weeks – we’re on a roll now.

Chicago over San Francisco – the Cubs have been on fire lately while the Giants have been awful. We’re expecting Rich Hill, pitching for his spot in the Maeple Leafs rotation, to have a big game against a Giants team that can’t seem to get a hit when it matters. Lay $100 on the Cubs - $160.

Los Angeles over Philadelphia – haters of Big Blue will point to the second half woes of Brad Penny as a reason to doubt the Dodgers; we’re not buying it. Penny had his scheduled start Saturday pushed back to today and we think the extra couple days will do wonders for the blister problem he has been having. Lay $100 on the Dodgers - $150.

The rest of the schedule looks ugly – so we’ll leave it alone tonight. Before you ask, while we would normally love the thought of the Yankees going against Josh Towers – Key Igawa’s presence on the mound has us a little gun-shy. Don’t be surprised if the Jays win – though Towers might not make it to the fifth.

That’s it for today gang – thanks for taking the time to check in. Have a great one peeps.

Hazel, we hope things are groovy in your world.

We’re Out.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would have love to see the U-20 match between Argentina and Mexico match on TV, but I missed it. I'm one of the growing US fans who's tired of Mexico's theatrics, the dives, the cheap shots, etc. I'm glad to hear a referee is finally doing the right thing by ignoring the dives. Just wondering if the two teams shook hands and exchanged jerseys.

3:44 PM  
Blogger Pogue said...

thank you for leaving a comment. There were a few players that shook hands - and I didn't see exchanging of jerseys. It was a pretty chippy affair so it didn't look like they were going to chum around.

The Mexicans were bad - the tricks they used to draw penalties vs. Portugal didn't work yesterday. Argentina was just better.

Thanks again

5:21 PM  

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