World Cup moments : Argentina 0 Cameroon 1

As far as shocks go it couldn’t have been bigger or better. On paper the holders had little to fear against the Africans especially when the Indomitable Lions lost Andre Biyik to a straight red in the 61st minute. Luckily little brother Oman managed save Andres blushes by rising to meet a deflected cross. Pumpido made a rickets of a save and Cameroon held on to win an historic victory.

Roger Milla didn’t even get on.

Maradona by Kusturica

Maradona by Kusturica

Just watched this documentary about the great man. It was filmed by the Serbian film-maker/artist/musician, Emir Kusturica.

It gives a valuable insight into Maradona. Especially his political beliefs and his thoughts after battling cocaine addiction.

There is more than a bit of George bashing, and Prince Charles and Tony Blair get the treatment too. Which is no bad thing.

Kustarica follows Diego around Buenos Aires (his home and the the Bombanera) and also to Napoli and the former Yugoslavia.

The best South Americans in the EPL

The continent has produced some of the most skillful players of our time yet it is only recently that they have succeeded in the English top division.

In previous decades players like Ricky Villa and Ossie Ardiles were a rarity while others such as Austin Delgado were cult, fan favourites rather than roaring success stories.

The first South American to really set the heather alight was Juninho in 1995 who swapped Sao Paulo for the north of England and Middlesborough. At the time Bryan Robson was creating a mini-revolution and recruited Juninho along with countryman Emerson and the Italian striker Ravenelli.

Although the experiment was ultimately a failure leading to Borough’s relegation Juninho was a shining light. His marauding runs and intricate skill reminded of Peter Beardsley in his pomp.

Since then the fortunes of South America have been mixed. With as many impressing as fading into the shadows.

At present the South American footballers are excelling like never before and more and more clubs and managers are putting their faith them.

 

Current top 11 South Americans in England:

 

Dream Team 4-1-3-2 football formation

GOALKEEPER

Despite being roundly criticized in his first few games (anything to do with replacing England’s Robert Green?) Julio Cesar has gone on to become arguably the best goal keeper in the division. After Inter Milan many thought his career was dwindling into obscurity but his transfer to QPR is looking like a success. So much so that he has been re-called to the Brazilian national team and attracting attention form bigger EPL teams.

 

DEFENCE

At left back I have Ecuador’s Antonio Valencia. Last year Valencia was named Man United’s player of the year and inherited the historical No.7 jersey. He is a versatile and useful player down the left hand side popping up with the odd goal but creating more for his team-mates for club and country.

On the right hand side I have Argentinean, Pablo Zabaleta who plays for Man City in England. Zabaleta is a main stay for Man City and was an instrumental figure in City’s title win last year garnering much praise for his committed attitude and lung bursting runs down the wing.

In the centre of defence I have opted for David Luiz and Fabio Colloccini. Both players are prone to the odd mistake, especially when to they try and out smart midfielders and end up fooling themselves. However, both are adept defenders and would compliment each with Luiz being more attacking minded and a link to midfield.

MIDFIELD

Lucas has only recently returned to Liverpool’s midfield but already his influence is telling. Despite not having the attacking instincts of other Brazilians he is an excellent central-defensive midfielder.

On the left wing I have chosen Jonas Gutierrez of Newcastle and Argentina. A firm fans favourite at St James since arriving in 2008 the silky winger has racked up near to 200 appearances in 4 years creating bucket loads of chances for his attackers.

In the middle is Ramires of Chelsea and Brazil. The tough tackling little midfielder is comfortable as defensive cover or in attack. He is known  for his acceleration, dribbling and ability to open up the tightest of defences.

Since is record move to Southampton Ramirez has impressed all in difficult circumstances. He could play as a second striker but seems better as a right hand sided midfielder. I would not be surprised if the Uruguayan was pinched by a bigger team at this seasons end.

 

ATTACK

Although not the tallest nor biggest both Kun Arguero and Luis Suarez would be a match for any defence. What they lack in height they more than make up for in speed, guile and tenacity. The English press have been fairly unfair to Uruguayan, Suarez since his move from Ajax to Anfield. Although his comments to Evra were unsavoury the assorted hacks have been quick to pounce on any little mistake or error while absolving their own of same indiscretions. He is an amazing player with the ball at his feet and starting to match his Ajax goal form

Arguero wrote his name into history with his last day, last second title clinching goal. The little Uruguayan has been a revelation in the EPL and a integral cog in the Sky Blues machine. His goals are often acrobatic, impressive and vital.

Pele or MARADONA?

It’s less than two years to the next World Cup in Brazil. Although many (mainly English journalists) like to lay claim to England being the home of football not many will argue with the belief that Brazil is the spiritual home of football and the World Cup.

Scotland will not be there that is almost certain.

One man who definitely be there is Edison Arantes do Nascimento aka Pele and he will no doubt be selling some sort of product, shamelessly

Every World Cup he is selling something new. Visa cards, Coca-Cola, Insurance even Viagra. You name it, he’ll probably be hawking it.

For many Pele is the greatest player ever but for me it has to be Maradona. This may be because I never watched Pele live and i have a rose-tinted view of Diego in Mexico 1986 but it also has to do with the apparent character of both men.

Diego is a flawed genius and while he isn’t low on opinions he isn’t constantly blowing his own trumpet or so obsessed by his own public persona like Pele.

There is no doubt that Pele is one of the greatest ever but his personality and inflated ego sometimes annoys in the extreme.

I suppose I prefer my heroes to be a little bit more human and humble.

“For 20 years they have asked me the same question, who is the greatest? Pele or Maradona? I replay that all you have to do is look at the facts – how many goals did he score with his right foot or with his head?” Pele

Top ten goalscorers in CONMEBOL qualification

With Lionel Messi and Gonzolo Higuain with 6 goals a piece it’s easy to see why Argentina are top of the CONMEBOL qualification table. 

Although Luis Suarez is notoriously profligate for Liverpool for his national team he is on fire.

While Falcao rattles them in for club and country alike is price tag rises and rises. A buy out clause of £54 million looks like a bargain in contrast to Fernando Torres.

Of all the players on the list Felilpe Caicedo, once of Manchester City is the man with the top form. His return to Ecuador’s first team has been integral to their rise up the table with 4 goals in 3 matches.

 

 

1. G. Higuain (Argentina) 6
2. L. Messi (Argentina) 6
3. L. Suarez (Uruguay) 6
4. Falcao García R. (Colombia) 5
5. F. Caicedo (Ecuador) 4
6. S. Agüero (Argentina) 3
7. Benitez C. (Ecuador) 3
8. Farfán J. (Peru) 3
9. M. Fernández (Chile) 3
10. P. Guerrero (Peru) 3