We’re relatively new to this, but as far as we can tell, Argentina always wins. This is probably a good thing as it’s usually much better to hang out in crowded places with very passionate drunk people that are happy rather than angry. We watched this game (which was thankfully at 3:30pm rather than early in the morning) at a bar called Sugar in Palermo with a few friends. Sugar was a decent venue with a couple of big screens, but it was more of an international crowd which is a little less fun than hanging out with just the locals. If it’s nice out during the next game we’ll likely head over to San Martin Square where they have big screens setup outside and tons of people turnout to watch.
Anyway, Argentina vs. Greece…
I have to believe that there is some good comedy to be had regarding each of these countries’ ability to have massive economic crises… Greece thinks they’re all that for almost taking down the EU this year, but Argentina does that sort of thing more or less every decade whether they need it or not (hey, I tried). Not only is Argentina better at screwing up its economy, it turns out they are also much better at futbol.
It wasn’t a very exciting game until the last 20 minutes or so. Argentina appeared to only be half trying–likely because they had already qualified to advance to the next round and didn’t want anyone to get hurt in this game. Also, the 2 guys that have been scoring all of Argentina’s goals so far weren’t even in the lineup for this one. Presumably, they were just sitting this one out to conserve energy for the next round–that said, it’s become more and more apparent that the basic strategy is to get the ball to Messi who then runs through 6 or 7 defenders by himself and ricochets the ball into the net off one of his own players; so basically, the other guys just need to stand near the goal and he will score via them. With so many players on the field it seems like favoring one player so much is a suspect strategy, but it clearly seems to be working.
Other than Messi being unstoppable, I think I know why Argentina was able to beat Greece so easily…
Exhibit A: Greek flag
Exhibit B: Argentina’s Away uniforms which they wore for this game vs. Greece
Clearly, Argentina was able to fool the Greek team by wearing jerseys that bore no resemblance whatsoever to Argentina colors, but rather very closely resembled Greek colors. The Greek players likely had no idea why they had so many teammates on the field or where their opponents were–you can imagine their surprise when their teammates started scoring on them (this is why Argentina had to wait until near the end of the game to start scoring). This is similar to the kind of clever strategy that earned Maradona his nickname “the hand of god.” (<–for those unaware, this nickname is based on him using his hand to knock in a game winning 1986 World Cup quarter-final goal vs. England and then proudly telling the press how he managed to trick the referee into thinking it was his head by putting his hand really close to his face when he did it–the goal is one thing, bragging about it later is a whole new level)
If you missed the game, here is the highlight reel. Be sure to watch how Messi plows through the entire Greek team and then basically makes it impossible for Palermo not to score in the second goal (this sort of thing happens often)
Good luck Mexico, we’ll see you Sunday
p.s. for some perspective on just how seriously this sport is taken here in Argentina, check out this great blog post: http://www.vamospanish.com/blog/2010/06/22/when-game-is-on-buenos-aires-is/