Wednesday, 7 September 2011

One to Watch (los Pumas)

Okay, if you hate Rugby stop reading now. I have tango stuff in the queue but it's all stuff I have to work out how to write, and spend hours on, and I'm not getting round to it.

Until finding it on YouTube (with commentary in Spanish!) I had completely forgotten what a fantastic game this was; the opening game of the last World Cup, France v Argentina. This match converted Argentina into, basically, everybody's second team. They went on to reach the semi-final, and beat France again in the third-place play-off. I'd also completely forgotten that on the way, they hammered Ireland. Admittedly Ireland had misplaced the plot, but they were still Ireland, with some seriously good players. Part 8 of the playlist doesn't work, you have to skip it.

There was no way they could have met England in that tournament anywhere except the final. This time, Argentina and England are in the same group. It's happening in New Zealand, so they play each other at 09:30 this Saturday morning - it's free-to-air on ITV and ITVHD, and on ITV Player.

Argentina still have only an amateur league at home; all their professionals play in Europe. They've lost a lot of very experienced players since the last tournament; their superb captain, Pichot, has retired, and the excellent Juan Martín Hernández is injured. But nobody really has any idea at all what's going to happen. Next year, if all goes well, they're in the Tri-Nations; which is good, if awkward for their fans in Europe. I would have liked them to join the Six Nations just for the fun of it, and plenty of supporters would have come out of the woodwork here, but I see the logistical problems for home support; and the Tri-Nations could do with them.

Anyway - I'll follow their adventures with interest.


Plain Jane said...

All we've been hearing for months down this end of the world is rugby, rugby, rugby. And it isn't going to stop any time soon.
But the Argentine Embassy in Wellington is hosting a charity tango ball in a couple of weeks, and holding out the possiblity of a tanda or two with one of their players. I'm not holding my breath! But I'll let you know if I manage to nab one.

msHedgehog said...

@Jane: Brilliant. Cross-marketing! They did have an opera singer in last time's squad (2007 spot Quilmes, canta Omar Hasan) so nothing is impossible.