Saturday, June 10, 2006

Two times Champions, Argentina get ready to show what their made of. Ready to raise the country's soccer to the times of Diego Maradonna. Coach Jose Peterman hopes to continue the success he had with the team, even beating the mighty Brazilians.
For me Argentina will always be the country to who the Dutch lost the 1978 fifa World Cup final. This, plus Argentina being favorite to win our group, have me rooting for the Ivory Coasters like a native. Keep in mind that the winners of our group do not have to meet the Brazilians until the finals, runners up will see them in the semi-final.
The drama in this group will be spectacular, creamed with real life story as that of Kalou. A talented immigrant of the Ivory Coast playing for the Dutch league with Feynoord, but has been refused citizenship because he cannot pass the Dutch written integration test. One spark of relief, he will not play for the Ivory Coast either.
Coach Michel Henri of the Ivory Coast will have to make his own magic to beat the 100 to one odds. Ivory Coast is ironically playing in orange. With Argentina wearing the traditional blue white striped jerseys, it looks like the 1978 Argentina-Holland final.
After seven minutes of play I cannot tell who the better team is, both play cautious and seem a good match for each other. But this is Argentina playing Ivory Coast, Ivory Coast is making another world cup upset.
"Pretty open start here," says the commentator. It said it all.
The attacks get fiercer from both sides, Ivory Coast is holding their grounds, and more.
Argentina takes a corner in the fifteenth minute where the ball ends up bouncing from the keeper, to the post, and back to the keeper. He literally plucked the ball from the goal, in a freak save.

Argentina breaks through first with a free kick from forty meters. The ball passes the wall and is extended in it's path by a striker from Argentina.


However, the Ivory Coast stays dangerous and remains in the game. The Ivory Coast is still giving the keeper of Argentina a good workout, he even has to catch the ball in between his legs.
The brother of Kalou, who I mentioned above, gets some dangerous touches. At least he is making their mother proud.
Three very inventive attacks in a row from Ivory Coast, but Argentina keep bouncing back. In the 32nd minute, I learn a new term, 'passive offside'.
"If the player is standing offside but is not involved in the play, you have passive offside, which is allowed."
This is new to me. Argentina gets three players forward in the box, two offside that do not receive the ball, one who is not and scores. New rules, I guess.


"We now see the Argentina we know," says the commentator.
I disagree, it just as well could have been 0-2 in favor of the Ivory Coast. Their attacks equal the level of danger as in the ones of Argentina.
"Ivory Coast still threatening in the 44th minute," says the surprised commentator
Argentina is the first team in the second half with a shot on goal, but the Ivory Coast continues with dangerous counter attacks. Argentina knows what it needs to do and keeps ball possession by circling the ball amongst them.
"Playing keep-away." The commentator calls it, while the Ivory Coast falls into shock.
In the sixty ninth minute they regained confidence as they were in a little ball-scuffle in the penalty box. The ball disappears over while the commentator shouts, "Penalty."
The persistence of Ivory Coast is awarded as in the 69 minute. With a little 'keep- away' play of their own in the Argentinean penalty box, and the ball ends bouncing in the net.

"It's a new game," shouts the commentator.
Argentina puts the ball in the net one more time, but this time it is offside, active offside. The Ivory Coast plays like a true contender until the end, but Argentina played the 'keep-away' to perfection. This is the Dutch group, the group of death.