Articles are by Ariel Mazzarelli unless otherwise noted. July 7, 1995 Top 10 razones why Argentina will win Copa America July 7, 1995 Top 10 Excuses for Brasil in Copa America July 10, 1995 Diego Armando Zanetti July 12, 1995 Oh, oh July 12, 1995 Macroscopic effects of Argentina vs. Chile July 14, 1995 Copa America: Argentina vs. USA July 15, 1995 The better team won July 15, 1995 Top 10 razones for the US beating Argentina July 15, 1995 Neutral Comments on Argentina-USA (Loris Magnani) July 17, 1995 Fine Argentina? (Colin Morris, Ariel Mazzarelli) ======================================== From: email@example.com (Ariel Mazzarelli) Subject: Top 10 razones why Argentina will win Copa America Date: July 7, 1995 10. European FIFA officials cannot find Uruguay on the map. 9. The hair won't get in our eyes. 8. In Uruguay, they do not make little kids pick up the pieces of paper on the field. 7. No Italian referees. 6. We need to get ahead of Norway on the FIFA rankings. 5. Somebody told Passarella that Balbo, Caceres and Simeone were available. 4. No overtime games until the final--we go straight into penales in case of a draw. 3. Excellent tactical preparations--e.g. special mayonnaise for Peru, titanium shinguards for Uruguay, birth certificates for Brasil, Ecuador, Paraguay, Venezuela, Mexico and Chile, hairstylist for USA, coca tea for Bolivia, and an overdue bill for Colombia. 2. Alphabetically, we are already in first place. And the number 1 razon... 1. Tecnica, hijitos nuestros, tecnica. ======================================== From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Ariel Mazzarelli) Subject: Top 10 Excuses for Brasil in Copa America Date: July 7, 1995 Ordinarily, I make an effort to create each item on these lists. On this occasion, however, I will quote the original source as applicable. So... on to the list! 10. It is not fair that Argentina and Brasil have to meet in the semifinals while Uruguay only has to play the winner. [Zagalo] 9. Copa America is unimportant and my players should not have been called up from their crucial league matches for it. [Zico, aka Msr. Penal, coaching in Japan. In case you are wondering, he never won Copa America.] 8. Our practice field was full of rabbits and chickens. [newswire] 7. Ecuador did not let us use their practice field either. [idem] 6. We cannot play the tournament in Maracana. 5. Argentina is to blame, because otherwise Uruguay would be part of Brasil and then we could play the tournament in Maracana. 4. The third digit in "1995" is not a power of 2. 3. Our team is missing Didi, Pele, and Garrincha. 2. It's not fair, we don't get to play against European teams here. And the number 1 excuse is... 1. Papi Havelange is busy elsewhere. ======================================== From: email@example.com (Ariel Mazzarelli) Subject: Diego Armando Zanetti Date: July 10, 1995 [Argentina 2, Bolivia 1] I do not know what Inter payed for him, but it is not enough. We must take him back now, nationalize him or something. What a player. What a fucking awesome player. Unstoppable with the ball, impenetrable without, mature, cool-headed, he can pass it off or shoot as he finishes the play he started 60 meters earlier. 19 fucking year old. Against Bolivia, he did this time and time again. He has a big sign on his chest that says "I'm coming with the ball now" and all they can do is wave their hands and feet and hope he trips on a hole or a chicken or maybe a foot if they can get it in his way. In the first gol, he took the ball at the midfield line, slalomed past three defenders, tried to shoot at the goal from the medialuna but Balbo's foot got in the way, then Bati did a beautiful thing, scooped up the ball in mid-air with his right foot, and while it levitated he struck it with the same foot, all in one motion. It is moments like these that remind us that all hope is not lost. Futbol is alive and at least momentarily well. Bolivia played quite well, with intensive defensive pressure and Etcheverry playing like a 10 should. I hope they repeat it against other teams. But most of all, this game was about Zanetti. The title of this post says it all--if he can keep playing like this for a few years, we may be witnessing the birth of a new, decisive brand of player, because it is very hard to mark a defender when he is so far away from the goal. And once he starts running with the ball... ======================================== From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Ariel Mazzarelli) Subject: Oh oh Date: July 12, 1995 So is Lalas going to stop Batistuta? I don't know. I have my doubts after today. Although I did not see the game between the US and Bolivia, I did see the goal... ah, poor Alexi. Better stay away from your email if you're going to play that way, my boy. Then I saw Argentina 4 Chile 0. And it should have been more. Mind you, I'm not complaining. Borrelli (Horrelli) is inexplicable, and I am disturbed over the inclusion of Altamirano, but in all honesty, between Bati, Balbo, Simeone, Zanetti, and Orteguita... well I would suggest that the other team just stay home, say the tournament is not important, that the bus was late, that they had food poisoning, anything except subject themselves to the onslaught. Perhaps I should describe the goles. The first one came after one minute of play, when Bati received a pass about 20 meters outside of the penalty area whilst the Chile central defenders were still tucking their shirts in. He casually sprinted into the rectangle, looked at the external post and tock! right inside it, with combita. Of course, this is an old gol, its most famous version is Valdano vs. Germany 1986. The second was nice too. Many players are involved in bringing the ball to the left side of the area, where somebody whom I cannot remember stops, brings it back two steps and sends a pass to the opposite corner, where Simeone takes it gently, lays it down, and slams it low into the external post (without combita). The goalkeeper tries to stop it but fails, and it is 2-0 after seven minutes of play. Of course, these goals come in the midst of an overwhelming attacking display by Argentina, reminiscent of Mike Tyson. A free kick by Bati misses (I think the goalpost moved). Balbo takes a nice run into the right corner, spins his defender to and fro, glances up, and gives it to Bati wrapped up with a card and a ribbon, but he misheads it and leaves his face in the grass for a while. So the goles stop coming, and after 20 minutes, the script dictates that we must start to complain. Balbo keeps missing some real beauties, Horrelli begs the question 'whom did he sleep with...', and Ayala demonstrates that Caceres is an excellent libero. Still, 2-0 is 2-0. In the second half, things went a little better. The third was a golazo, Caceres takes a final pass, drags three defenders along and plays a taquito to Bati, who strolls in, causes the goalkeeper to commit, and gently flicks it over him. El gol de la copa. The last one, Balbo, finalmente, well Bati takes it on a 'counter' attack and very casually strolls 30 meters with the ball, three steps in the area and when the goalkeeper comes out he crosses it perfectly to Balbo who taps it in. It should be noted that Bati made the pass rather than take the shot. Balbo missed a mano a mano in the first half that was a real tearjerker (yes, it was just like that other mano a mano), so this was a nice shot in the arm for him. Near the end, Bati received another pass on the left side, strolled in, went through seven gears and the goalkeeper was eating the grass, but his final shot, from a tough angle and with some oncoming pressure, hit the crossbar. Chile tried to do some things, but they failed. There was one shot, but Crisante stopped it with some trepidation. A clear, satisfying game from the seleccion, and a very good game from Bati. It may be a bit much to expect the same thing against the US, but it is quite reasonable to do so. ======================================== From: email@example.com (Ariel Mazzarelli) Subject: Macroscopic effects of Argentina vs. Chile Date: July 12, 1995 1. The cigarette industry in Argentina took a hard hit yesterday during the game, as consumption during the 90 minutes that the game lasted was down by 98% from the norm. An industry official expressed concerns over future games and announced a cutback of 23% in the production of cigarettes for the remainder of the year. 2. Massive flooding was reported in various cities throughout Brasil, including Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, as millions of toilets flushed shortly after Argentina scored the second gol of the game in the eighth minute of play. 3. Kleenex stock rose by 23% following the game. Later on that day, the company decided to accelerate the completion of a major production facility in Sao Paulo. 4. In Santiago, the three largest cemeteries have offered their grounds as a training facility for the national squad, so as to reduce the time spent on commuting for most of the players. 5. In Buenos Aires, the mail service has declared a moratorium on transportation of personal correspondence directed to president Menem. Asked whether this was not a tacit form of censorship, Menem replied "Not at all, because I don't need to read the letters to know that they are asking me not to show up at any of the games in the Copa America." btw it is estimated that the resultant cutback of 40% of mail handled would permit an increase of 1.03% in speed and security of delivery for the remaining packages. 6. Due to an increase of demand, Chilean wine has gone up in price by 23%. 7. aol.com announced that messages addressed to Alexi Lalas with the subject "Oh my God what can we do now?" would no longer be received, as the current load is straining network resources. ======================================== From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Ariel Mazzarelli) Subject: Re: Copa America: Argentina vs. USA Date: July 14, 1995 email@example.com (Peleflinn) wrote: >[Even with their backups, Argentina will beat the US] >What makes this even more distressing is that it will give Ariel another >reason to spout about how great Argentina is. Oh don't let my posts get you down over that. When you watch the game, just accept that you are watching a fantastic team, play attention and learn some new tricks. That's what the US team is probably going to do. >Ariel has been quiet about the US second half against Bol. Maybe he knows >that his team could not be dominated like Bol was. Ah, yeah, maybe... ======================================== From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Ariel Mazzarelli) Subject: The better team won Date: July 15, 1995 [USA 3, Argentina 0] Futbol is a cruel game. You can approach the opposing goal all game long, and if you waste each and every one of your opportunities, it was all for naught. If the opponents approach far fewer times, but score on three of those chances, they are the better team. En el quinientos seis y en el dos mil tambien This game was not all that different from the Chile game, except in two key factors: a) Argentina did not take advantage of any of its many (20+) scoring opportunities b) the opponent reached the goal six times, and scored three times. Together, these factors make the game completely one-sided. It got so bad, that I no longer expected the players to score. I hate that feeling. So please, next monday, against Brasil... let us play with Mr. Hyde, not Dr. Jekyll. Now I need to get back to the bottle. ======================================== From: email@example.com (Ariel Mazzarelli) Subject: Top 10 razones for the US beating Argentina Date: July 15, 1995 10. The US played with gay abandon, Argentina abandoned. 9. US players have better haircuts. 8. Argentina was playing without Maradona, Bernabe Ferreyra, DiStefano and Chango Cardenas. 7. The referee (who was Brasilero) did not give Argentina a clear penal late in the second half. 6. Argentina wanted to make sure that they would play Brasil. 5. Menem watched the game. 4. Passarella es un facho. 3. Passarella es un forro. 2. Passarella es un pelotudo. 1. Passarella is the coach. ================================================ From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Loris Magnani) Subject: Neutral Comments on Argentina-USA Date: July 15, 1995 I'd like to make some comments as a neutral observer (I like both the US and Argentina, but they are not the teams I am fanatical over). The most important point is that the U.S. during the last 3 years has left the lower rungs on the world football ladder and moved to the respectable positions. A sobering note to US fans: it is going to be hard to move up from there. Unless an organized MLS is established and the athletic talent in the US decides that pro soccer is a viable career option, too many potential superstars will be lost to baseball, basketball, and american football. Imagine if someone like Lawrence Taylor decided to play soccer at an early age! Unfortunately, athletes of that caliber are weaned away from soccer nearly immediately. Without an established pro league, you will never tap that talent pool. I have become more skeptical and depressed about the prospects for MLS in the last year. I think the league will form, but I don't believe it will be successful. Anyway, let's hope I'm wrong. And even if MLS is successful it will take 10+ years for it to become established. So the US soccer program will continue to move along at the level of an average soccer power: on any given day, with a few breaks, they can beat anybody including one of the "superpowers", and a month later they can lose at home to Costa Rica (a reasonable team, but hardly one which will impact the world game). The second comment has to do with the lack of television coverage. The Argentina result is the most important result in US soccer history. It outweighs the 1-0 vs. England in 1950, the World Cup victory at home vs. Colombia, and the various positive results in the US Cup in recent editions. Was I able to watch the game on TV? Of course not. Will I be able to watch US-Mexico and Argentina-Brasil? Not from my house at any price. My cable provider will not carry any of the games. And I don't have an option on cable providers. I will try to see if a friend on the other side of town can get the games on pay-per-view from his cable provider and shell out up to $20 per game. And mind you, I live in Athens, Georgia, the site of next year's Olympic semis and finals in soccer! Imagine for a second if ESPN had been carrying the US games...can you imagine the interest that could be generated with some clever advertising... I've got to believe that the same sort of hysteria generated by the US hockey victory over the Russians at Lake Placid could be generated, if the media were so inclined. Instead, most people will get to watch the thrilling sporting competions of tractor-pulling, celebrity bass fishing, or the senior golf tour. If we can't see the US national team on national TV as they play in the quarterfinals of the championship tournament for the hemisphere...how can I be optimistic about the future of soccer here? Congratulations, USA, on your greatest victory...may we someday be able to see some of these games live instead of having to rely on r.s.s. or spanish-broadcast stations for news. ====================================== From: email@example.com (Colin Morris) Subject: Fine Argentina? Date: July 17, 1995 Great to see a team finally pay for the arrogance of fielding mainly reserves in a competitive competition. However, is this - and the fact that they have to play Brasil in the next round - punishment enough? It seems to me that in a game such as this where the result not only affects Argentina, but also, in this case, the USA (obviously), Ecuador (because they could have qualified instead of the USA) and Brasil (because they'll now have to play a first seed despite winning their group) a team has an *obligation* to field something approximating a full-strength team. Obviously, with nine players missing, this can't even be claimed to be something even close to full-strength. Some national leagues fine teams who play deliberately understrength lineups, particularly where the result might affect another teams championship or relegation chances. Are there any precedents for punishing teams who behave such as Argentina did in an International competition? If not, then I hope Argentina getting their asses kicked so wonderfully will be a salutory lesson to any other coaches who think of doing a Passarella. --------------------------------------------- From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Ariel Mazzarelli) Subject: Re: Fine Argentina? Date: July 17, 1995 My dear envious RSSer, Argentina did not invent this tactic. Why do you wish to invent the punishment for them? Just curious, Ariel -------------------------------------- From: email@example.com (Colin Morris) Subject: Re: Fine Argentina? Date: July 17, 1995 I don't, which is why I asked whether there was any precedent for punishing teams that behave like Argentina, my dear sore RSSer. I'd just like to see an end of this fielding of weak teams in the last group game by teams who think they've already won their group (ho ho):- it devalues what should be honest competition. So my comments apply in this Copa America equally to Argentina and Uruguay, plus anyone else who tries this stunt in future competitions. Sorry to disappoint you that I wasn't suggesting an "Argie-only" punishment.