Monday, July 23, 2007

Pointed observations of excessive celebrations (or what a Sunday)

Visiting BMO without the TFC to root for is an odd feeling. I think it is the equivalent of visiting a shady motel without your girlfriend. Once the object of desire is missing, well things go downhill. So forgive the sour rant to follow, I blame it on emotions gone astray. The best chant I heard all day was rows behind me. A number of TFC shirted fans called out “This is our house....and we want it back”. I could not have said it better myself....
I have struggled for hours to make sense of the U20 World Cup Final I attended yesterday. I did not go to bury Argentina, although my English heritage makes me a strong skeptic when it comes to those blue and white stripes. I left with a sour taste about the game, that team and that soccer nation. If ever the phrase “sing when you’re winning” applied to an army of supporters, it’s Argentina, at least the group in Toronto yesterday. When the Czechs had the run of the game, they go quiet, real quiet. Chile had much better support, consistent support in the third place game. When the losing Austrians ran the field to salute the crowd at the end of their match, there was a good feeling between the players and everyone in the crowd. Even more so down in the south end where a large group of Chilean supporters had gathered. The Austrian team heartily applauded them and the Chilean group cheered them back. A touch of class on both sides.
Argentina have won 5 of the last 7 U20 World Cups, but by their celebrations you would think that they have gone centuries without victory. You would have thought that they had won the game 12 -0.
Go ahead and try to find a photo or video clip of an Argentinian player congratulating or consoling a Czech player. I was there for 30+ minutes. The Czechs stood at half field while the Argentineans danced and danced and celebrated and celebrated some more. At this end and then again at that end. They acted as if they were at a private party, not at an athletic contest.
Winning made them the better team. It was a paper thin margin of victory, but victory was theirs. The post game actions and relentless self involvement at the end made them, in my eyes, the lesser team. If I was a Czech player standing there I would be simply dreaming of the day when I would meet them again on the senior world stage.
If I could wave a magic wand and take two players from the U20 WC and put them on the TFC roster, I would not be taking an Argentinian at all.(surprise, surprise, surprise) The big number 4 for Austria playing central defense would be one and number 13 the left winger for the Czech’s would be the other. Forgive me for not knowing their names. Research department took the day off.

A tip of the Still Kicking hat to the mastermind of the “Mistake by the Lake U20 WC investigative team” yesterday, Mr Craven Cottage View. Mr. CC View is a man of many talents. A lover of the beautiful game, a footy historian, a fine official and may even be running for office ( Halton Hills chapter of TFC supporters club). cheers !


arsenalist said...

They're 18 and 19 year old kids, what do you expect them to do? I thought the Czech celebration for the first goal was a little too much too and had they won the game they'd have done the same thing the Argentinians did.

You definitely can't judge a footballing "nation" just based on some teenagers behavior (which wasn't that bad at all IMHO). As for talent it's debatable who the best player in the tournament was ( I didn't watch all the games so I can't say) but it was nice to see Arsenal nab Angel Di Maria from the Argentinian squad.

Antonio G said...

This is an interesting point you make about emotional maturity and the importance of coming to terms with adversity, but are you actually arguing that Argentina would be a better team four years from now if they had lost? Because I'm not sure that follows...

And, Arsenalist, I know I'm excited about the De Maria news too (and over-hastily said so on my blog), but have you seen any confirmation on the Arsenal site yet? I think it may be still just rumours - he's still listed as a player on the Rosario Central site (along with an interactive poll asking fans how much they think he is now worth...)

stillkicking said...

More than a blogger, I also coach kids and I am a teacher too, which gives me a chance to coach even more. My observations are based on the post game situation. The victors acted like their opponents were not there anymore. I saw nothing like it with Chile and Austria. I have never seen it before. Even if youngsters get carried away, there were no coaches to intercede and say go offer your hand.
Would Argentine be better if they lost ?? No, I guess I am extending my observation to fill in the mystery why such U20 success and not the same at the senior level.