Football is back next week! Changing the format of the League Cup, whose last champion was Rosario Central. The fact that the quarter-final, semi-final, and final matches are played head-to-head opens the way, perhaps, for teams that in a long championship have little chance of becoming champions. This Cup is also tight, with many dates in the week, which will finish in time for the Copa América, the star tournament of the year, in the United States. Aren’t you a bit rotten that FIFA and Conmebol spend their time organizing cups in countries with little or no football fans? (Qatar, United States, the World Cup coming to Mexico—a football country—plus also the United States and… Canada!—”petromonarchy,”petromonarchy” or anyway, it’s really a dictatorship.). Money is king, as my grandmother Clara used to say.
Returning to the League Cup, River-Argentinos for me is the most interesting game on the first date, and on the second, Vélez-Independiente, which, if it’s a nice night and rarely doesn’t rain, I plan to go see. I think that Ávalos, Rojo’s recent addition, will be one of the stars of the championship. I think this is a very good buy. You have to pay attention to Independiente; he is putting it together well, and Tevez looks to be a good coach. The river and Boca are mysteries. I rarely see Zenón, who goes to Boca de Unión. If I had to choose my favorite scheme, it would be 4-3-1-2, but for that, you have to play with engagement, with quality engagement. Does Boca have it? The other day, Bullaude scored a goal that came from an empty spot, something that hasn’t happened in Boca for a long time. But I’m not sure Bullaude is the hook. Let’s see if it’s Zenón. Or if he finally plays with a false 4-4-2, with one of the middle players a little weakened as a midfielder,. If River has a good portion of the paid press to criticize it, as in the case of Riquelme’s Boca, there is talk of a team in crisis: a coach who fights with the emblematic player, who went to Estudiantes, also leaves basically. references, a team that did not work in the second semester and lost every head-to-head match, from the smallest Argentine Cup to the largest Copa Libertadores. It is known that it will be difficult to replace Gallardo, no matter who the coach is. But River is a very good squad; it is always a candidate despite its internal problems. On February 11, they played against Riestra, one of the strangest matches of the First Division in recent years.
To kill time without local football, in the summer I watched a lot of European football, especially in English. I have seen great games; sometimes it seems they are playing a different game at a different pace, with other tactics, with big goals, and in a beautiful setting—grass, stadium, lights. There is no doubt that it is. And on the contrary, many, many times I found football in Argentina embarrassing—the games and the organization of the AFA—with an unparalleled level of improvisation. And indeed, I miss him. I miss football in Argentina. Luckily, he came back.