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Americas: The Kick Off for World Cup Qualifiers

Note from the Editor: Juan Arellano teamed up with Global Voices authors and editors from across South America to write this latest article about the road to the 2010 World Cup.

The South American World Cup qualifiers for the World Cup South Africa 2010 began this past weekend with matches that come around every four years and that gathers a multitude of people and passion from football fans. The following are opinions and reactions from around the continent and collected with the help of Global Voices authors.

On Saturday the 13th, the first round of matches were played. Uruguay and Bolivia started things off with a result that favored the home side, Uruguay. Bolivian bloggers wrote before and after the game. Rolando Lopez of Rocko Weblog [ES] wrote:

empezar una eliminatoria siempre es renovarse de esperanza y como tal, la confianza de buen fútbol, resultados y clasificación –como en el 94- están puestas en la joven selección Boliviana en estas tierras. Y como en Bolivia, en el resto de países de Sur América vivirán durante 2 años las mas grandes alegrías y las mas horribles tristezas que puede regalar el fútbol, al ver a su selección y su bandera en una metáfora de guerra danzada en el rectángulo verde que hará las veces de campo de batalla donde nacerán ídolos y caerán héroes.

Beginning the qualifiers always renews hopes and confidence in that the young team will play well, will achieve results and qualify as we did in 1994. In Bolivia, as in the rest of the South American countries, they will experience over the course of the next two years the biggest joys and the worst sadness that the game of football can provide to see its national team and flag in a metaphor of war that takes place on a square rectangle that resembles a battlefield where heroes are born and where heroes fall.

After the game, which ended up being a different story altogether, Hugo Miranda of Angel Caido [ES] provided his thoughts:

Como lo dije luego de la Copa America en un Podcast, esto no pintaba bien, pero igual la ILUSION ESTA y CONTINUA POR SI ACASO. Pero luego de lo sucedido estos dias Jueves y Viernes, en los que los Jugadores se PUSIERON A EXIGIR PLATA, por presentacion, por victoria de local (IMAGINANSE SEMEJANTE TONTERIA, PREMIO POR GANAR EN LA PAZ), por empate de visitante (seria milagro), por victoria de visitante (esto seria como ganar la LOTERIA), bueno cuando primero te ocupas de LA PLATA Y TE VALE LA PLANIFICACION (la poca que habia), cosas como estas suceden. Y asi nos fue, acaba de terminar el partido y Uruguay repitio la dosis de la anterior Eliminatoria nos clavo 5.

As I mentioned in a podcast about the Copa America, but this doesn't bode well, however THE HOPE REMAINS AND CONTINUES. After after what happened on Thursday and Friday, in which the players DEMANDED MONEY for each appearance and for a victory at home (IMAGINE THIS ABSURDNESS, PRIZE FOR WINNING IN LA PAZ), for a tie as visitor (it would be a miracle), for victory as visitor (this would be like winning the LOTTERY), when first you worry about money (THE PREPARATION DOES NOT MATTER MUCH TO YOU). That is how it goes, the game just ended and Uruguay repeated the dosage from the last qualifiers and marked 5 goals.

On the Uruguayan side, as they did not hope for anything less, Juan 1989 of Charruaha Hasta Los Huevos [ES] calmly comments as they await the next game:

La celeste “aplastó” al seleccionado de Bolivia por 5-0, con goles de todos los delanteros que jugaro; Forlán, Abreu, Suárez, V. Sánchez y Bueno. Uruguay jugó muy bien contra un seleccionado que no mostró mucho, y jugó mas de medio tiempo con un jugador menos por la expulsión de Ronald García. Dominamos el juego de inicio a fín, y podrían haber llegado más goles.

The blue “plastered” the Bolivian National Team 5-0, with goals from all the strikers that played: Forlan, Abreu, Suarez, V. Sanchez and Bueno. Uruguay played very well against a team that did not show much and played almost half the time with one player down due to the expulsion of Ronald Garcia. We dominated the game from the beginning to the end, and there could have been more goals.

Venezuela-Ecuador did not have a lopsided score as the previous match, but Venezuela won with the minimal difference, but in certain manner it was a surprise the fact that they beat Ecuador in Quito, a city of 2,850 meters above sea level, which means a certain tactical advantage when the play at home, at least it was. Cronista [ES] writes about the initial conclusions regarding Ecuador's defeat.

El mito de Quito déjenlo para las fábulas de don Luis Chiriboga y otros que crearon en torno a la ciudad, una especie de muralla invencible, por la dichosa altura. Estas eliminatorias son distintas. En los dos procesos anteriores, empezamos ganando a Venezuela. Hoy perdimos. Dejen de llorar por la ausencia del TIN. Si don Chucho Benítez, insigne goleador del torneo mexicano, hubiese concretado una de las tres oportunidades que tuvo, creánlo que el marcador hubiese sido distinto.

Leave the myth of Quito for the fables of Don Luis Chiriboga and others that created this myth for the city: a kind of invincible wall, for this supposed altitude. These qualifiers are different. In the two qualifying cycles before, we began by beating Venezuela. Today we lost. Stop crying over the absence of “Tin” (striker Augustin Delgado). If Chucho Benitez, the top goal scorer in the Mexican league, would have taken advantage of the three opportunities that he had, the score would have been different.

On the Venezuelan side, Luis Carlos Diaz of Periodismo de Paz [ES] tells us about some particular characteristics of these qualifiers in Venezuela, which among other things do not arouse many emotions:

La “vinotinto” que ha sido una cenicienta en el fútbol, se ha subido en carrozas de calabaza en algunos partidos de los últimos años. Tras la gran venta mercadotécnica que le hizo creer a medio país que íbamos a clasificar para el Alemania 2006, y tras una Copa América con visos faraónicos en nuestra república petrolera, este inicio de eliminatorias empezó como con poca visibilidad pero nuevas esperanzas. Quizás teníamos que ligar para Sudáfrica 2010 desde un principio, pero aquí somos inmediatistas y apasionados de media hora, así que esta victoria de Venezuela sobre Ecuador es algo que sólo los fanáticos han sabido reconocer, ya veremos el despegue de marketing más adelante. Les dejo tres enlaces: Previo: el despliegue de seguridad del evento, Un parecer del partido, con encuestas de usuarios incluida y un fanático de esos que postea con adrenalina y promete “para después”, pero deja el video del golazo solitario. Lo dice bien este último… aquí consideramos milagros estas victorias. Suerte al resto de los hermanos latinoamericanos… aquí nos va mejor el béisbol.

The “burgundy,” which had been a cinderella story in football, it had climbed aboard a pumpkin carriage during some matches over the past couple of years. Grand marketing made half the country think that we were going to qualify for Germany 2006, and after a Copa America that showcased the petroleum state, this cycle of qualifiers started with little fanfare, but with a new hope. Maybe we should have hoped for South Africa 2010 from the beginning, but here we want everything now and have short attentions spans, so Venezuela's victory over Ecuador is only something that the fanatics can recognize, we'll see the marketing from here on out. I leave you with three links: about the security for the event, about thoughts on the game, which includes a survey, and a video of the lone goal. As the last blogger writes….we consider these victories to be miraculous. Good luck to the rest of the Latin American brothers and sisters … here we do better in baseball.

The third game between Peru and Paraguay ended with no score. The result did convince anyone, and the Peruvian sport bloggers, such as De Media Cancha [ES] writes:

Lamentarse a estas alturas, buscar culpables, cuestionarnos que nos falto Paolo Guerrero, no cabe ahora, simplemente no se pudo, queda solo pensar en el próximo partido ante Chile, ya pasó el debut, se empato a cero goles ante el cuadro guarani, de locales se debe ganar, porque no se gana un punto se pierden dos y eso cuesta en las sumatorias finales. Solo diremos COMO CUESTA GANAR DE LOCAL. Podemos seguir hablando y analizando este empate pero es seguir en lo mismo, la falta de definición como siempre, pasemos la pagina que esto recién empieza.

At this stage, to feel sorry for ourselves, look for the guilty parties, question whether we missed Paolo Guerrero, is not worth it right now. Simply, we could not win, and all that remains is to think abou the next game against Chile. Our debut is over, we tied against the Paraguayan side. As the home side, we should win. We didn't win one point, we lost two points and those add up. We simply say, HOW IT IS DIFFICULT TO WIN AS THE HOME SIDE. We can continue to talk and analyze this tie, but to do so, would be the same. It was the lack of finishing, but let's turn the page so that we can finally start.

The fourth match was Argentina – Chile, which finished 2-0 in favor of the blue and white (Argentina). It was a victory that the entire world expected of course, including the Chileans. As Charla Tecnica [ES] commented:

Lamentable pero esperable derrota, yo tenia las esperanzas de que se podía obtener algo más pero bueno, no se pudo y se ve que hay bastante trabajo por hacer. Puedo destacar algunas cosas como la intención de atacar con harta gente, o pese a estar perdiendo y con 10 hombres, se intentaba atacar y no defender el 2 a 0 como ocurria en procesos pasados. Los rendimientos individuales fueron bajos, especialmente de mediocampo hacia adelante. Fue un equipo largo, que cometio mucha fallas, que no presionó la salida Argentina, que perdio el balón en la salida o en situaciones complicadas en donde no se puede perder. La expulsión fue una “huevada”, y agradezco por un lado la suspensión de “Limitado”.

The loss was unfortunate, but was expected. I had the hope that we could have accomplished something better, but we couldn't and it appears that we have a lot of work to do. I can point out certain things like the intention to attack with a lot of people, and in spite of losing with 10 men, we tried to attack and not defend the 2-0 as had happened in other cycles. The individual performances were low, especially in the midfield and the attack. It was a long team, which committed many fouls and did not pressure the other team and we lost the ball during the attack or in complicated situations where we shouldn't give up the ball. The expulsion was “unfortunate” and on one hand, I am grateful for the suspension of the player.

Jorge Gobbi of Blog de Viajes [ES] writes about the reaction from Argentina.

La primera fecha de las eliminatorias fue muy buena para Argentina, que derrotó a Chile 2 a 0, con goles convertidos por Román Riquelme de tiro libre. Ambos goles fueron muy similares, tal como comentan en Vale Chumbar: “Parecen los mismos videos, pero no es así. Juan Román Riquelme concretó 2 golazos (26 y 45´) de tiro libre casi idénticos para darle el triunfo a la Argentina por 2-0 ante Chile”. Y agregan: “Más allá de ciertos “chistes”, el partido se terminó a los 27´cuando Riquelme clavó el primer tiro libre. Hasta ahí, el equipo de Bielsa -recordemos que es Chile- intentó fiel a su estilo ser protagonista, siendo Suazo su arma más peligrosa. Habrá que ver si cuenta con los valores necesarios para plasmar su idea futbolística”.En Futblogs también destacan la actuación del 10 de Argentina: “Riquelme venía de una inactividad bastante prolongada; actualmente se encuentra en el Villarreal de España, donde su técnico, el chileno Manuel Pellegrini, no lo tiene en cuenta y ni siquiera lo incluye en el banco. Con poca delicadeza, dicen al respecto en Pasión Redonda: “¿Habrá visto el partido Manuel Pellegrini? ¿Se habrá dado cuenta de que su pollo Matías Fernández fue un verdadero desastre y se cagó en las patas? (perdón por las palabras)”.

The first matchday in the qualifiers went very well for Argentina, who defeated Chile 2 to 0, with goals by Román Riquelme on free kicks. Both goals were similar, as commented by Vale Chumbar [ES]: “They appear to be the same video, but they are not. Juan Román Riquelme marked two great goals (26 and 45′) on nearly identical free kicks to give a victory to Argentina by the score of 2-0 over Chile.” And they add” “Beyond certain “jokes” the game ended when Riquelme scored on the first free kick. From then on, Bielsa's team – remember this is Chile – tried to remain true to their style of being a protagonist, with Suazo as his most dangerous weapon. We must see if he has the necessary tools to make his idea of good football a reality. In Futblogs [ES], they also celebrate the play of the #10 of Argentina: “Riquelme is playing after a prolonged inactivity; he currently belongs to Villarreal of Spain, where his coach Chilean Manuel Pellegrini, has not considered playing him, not even including him on the bench, which leads Pasión Redonda [ES] to say with a little bit of delicateness, “I wonder of Manuel Pellegrini watched the game? He would have noticed that Matías Fernández (a Chilean and Villarreal player) was a real disaster and he played horribly (pardon the words.)”

El último partido de ésta fecha se jugó el domingo14 y correspondió al Brasil – Colombia y concluyó 0 a 0. Leamos lo que nos cuenta los amigos colochos de Futblog en el post Editorial: volvió la fe:

The last match on this date was played on Sunday the 14th where Brasil and Colombia faced off to a 0-0 draw. Los Amigos Colochos de Futblog [ES] writes:

La selección Colombia empató sin goles con Brasil en el primer partido de eliminatorias sudamericanas, pero pudo ganar. El resultado es bueno teniendo en cuenta que los puntos conseguidos frente a equipos como Brasil o Argentina pueden ser determinantes en el momento de definir los clasificados al mundial, porque son unidades con los que casi nadie cuenta. Este fue el mejor partido desde que Jorge Luis Pinto asumió su cargo como técnico de la selección mayor, el equipo salió motivado por comenzar bien la eliminatoria, con un rival de la talla de Brasil enfrente y no decepcionó.

The Colombian National Team played to a scoreless draw against Brasil in the first match of the South American qualifiers, but they could have won. The result is favorable considering the points achieved against teams like Brazil or Argentina can be determining factor at the moment of qualifying for the World Cup, because they are points that almost no one counts on. This was the best game since Jorge Luis Pinto took over as coach of the National Team, as the team emerged with motivation to begin the process well with a rival with the stature of Brazil and did not disappoint.

And finally, it can be said that no one has more confidence in the Brazilian team than the Brazilians themselves. GV Portuguese Editor José Murilo writes:

Começam domingo as eliminatórias. O Brasil nunca deixou de ir, e não vai ser agora. E ainda que acontecesse, dariam um jeitinho pra gente participar. A Seleção Brasileira estréia contra a Colômbia, que já não bota medo em mais ninguém. Acho que ganhamos fácil. O segundo jogo contra o Equador, quem diria, é que vai ser mais complicado apesar de ser em casa. Mas ganharemos também.Eliminatórias sulamericanas para 2010Blog Extralibris

The qualifiers will start on Sunday. Brazil has never missed a World Cup, and it would not be now. Even if it happen to occur, they would find a way to put us in. The Brazilian team will debut against Colômbia, which is not a threat to anyone anymore. I think it will be an easy win. The second game is against Ecuador, and who would guess it, I think this will be a tough one although we will play at home. But we will win it also.South American Qualifiers for 2010 – Blog Extralibris.

Y este es un comentario sobre los resultados:

Com 45 minutos de atraso por causa da forte chuva que caiu sobre Bogotá, Colômbia e Brasil começaram a partida com perspectivas opostas: os colombianos em busca de jogo, os brasileiros para fazer o tempo passar. Porque 2640 metros de altitude são 2640 metros de altitude… Enfim, num jogo nota 4, com 10 só para a altitude, a grande vilã que a Fifa ameaçou matar mas não teve peito para cumprir, parece justo dar 5 para cada brasileiro em campo, com 6 para Júlio César, e 7 para Dunga que, afinal, conseguiu o que queria. A arbitragem merece 7 e o gramado, quase perfeito depois daquela borrasca, fica com 9. Em La Paz será pior, em Quito será igual, mas bom mesmo será em Lima, em Montevidéu, em Buenos Aires, Assunção, enfim, onde dá para jogar bola, como no Rio, em São Paulo, Belo Horizonte, Porto Alegre… Em tempo: que os blogueiros me poupem com comentários do tipo “altitude é frescura”.Faltaram ar e futebolBlog do Juca

In a game which started 45 min. late because of a rainstorm in Bogotá, Colombia and Brazil displayed opposing perspectives: the Colombians running after the game, and the Brazilians rolling the ball to pass the time. Because 2,640 mts high [Bogota's elevation] still mean 2,640 mts high. Wrapping it up, the game scored a 4 grade, and the only ‘player’ deserving 10 is the local altitude, the big villain that FIFA menaced to kill [by announcing the ban of all matches at elevations above 2,500 meters, or 8,202 feet, which was then relented after protests] but did not have the guts to accomplish. It seems fair to give a 5 to every Brazilian in the field, a 6 to Julio Cesar [Brazilian goal keeper], and a 7 to Dunga [Brazilian coach] who finally achieved what he wanted. The referees deserve 7, and the pitch, which was almost perfect after that storm, deserves a 9. In La Paz it will be worse, in Quito it will be the same, but the good ones will happen in Lima, Montevideo, Asuncion, where after all it is possible to play the game, like in Rio, Sao Paulo, Belo Horizonte, Porto Alegre… In time: I ask you bloggers to save me from comments such as “altitude is girly talk”.Missing air and footballBlog do Juca

The next round of qualifiers begins on Tuesday and Wednesday.

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