billsportsmaps.com

January 8, 2015

Argentina: location-map for the 30-club Primera División of 2015, following the 10-team promotion of December 2014./ Featuring top 3 scorers for Racing (current champions)./ With an article on Argentine 1st division format history, the Buenos Aires-centric nature of the top tier, and the 10-team expansion to a 30-club 1st division for 2015.

Filed under: Argentina — admin @ 2:01 pm

argentina_30-clubs_primera-division_2015_location-map_post_h_.gif
Argentina: location-map for the 30-club Primera División of 2015, following the 10-team promotion of December 2014






2014 – Torneo de Transición champions, Racing Club de Avellaneda
racing-club_2014-transicion_champions_g-bou_d-milito_g-hauche_c_.gif
Photo credits above -
Gustavo Bou, photo by Gabriel Rossi/STF/Getty Images at gettyimages.com.
Diego Milito, photo by FotoBAIRES via canchallena.lanacion.com.ar/diego-milito-recibio-el-afecto-del-cilindro-tras-una-decada.
Gabriel Hauche, photo by racing.com.ar.

Introduction: the Buenos Aires-centric nature of Argentin’s Primera División
The Buenos Aires-centric nature of the Argentine top flight has existed from the very start of football in Argentina, and is partly attributable to the lack of decent transportation infrastructure out to the hinterlands, back in the very late 1800s and early 1900s. In fact, in the early days of amateur league football (1891; 1893-1930), and in the first eight seasons of pro league football in Argentina (1931 to 1938), only teams from Buenos Aires Federal District, Greater Buenos Aires, and the nearby city of La Plata were allowed to play in the first division (the distance from Buenos Aires city center to La Plata is around 53 km or 33 mi). The Buenos Aires-centric nature of Argentina’s first division also simply reflects the huge influence that the giant and sprawling city and metropolitan-area of Buenos Aires has always had on the country itself. Simple demographics point to this, with, currently, over one-quarter (around 28%) of Argentina’s population living within Greater Buenos Aires. Argentina has a population of around 44.6 million {2014 estimate}, and Greater Buenos Aires has a population of around 12.8 million {2010 census}. There is another reason why most of the big and successful clubs in Argentina come from the Buenos Aires region, and that is how the AFA (Asociación del Fútbol Argentino) rules for club representation in 1931 gave the “Big Five” clubs (three from Buenos Aires FD and two from the adjacent municipality of Avellaneda) triple the representation of other clubs (see two paragraphs below).

The Argentine first division was established at a rather early time period – 1891 and 1893 – and the 1893-to-1930 iteration was in fact the first functioning football league established outside of Great Britain (the Argentine first division turned professional in 1931). Once the clubs and the game itself got established, that Buenos Aires-centric nature became embedded. The Buenos-Aires/La-Plata-clubs-only rule existed all through the amateur era (1891; 1893-1930) and for the first 8 pro seasons (1931-38). Then in 1939, two clubs from Argentina’s third-largest city Rosario – Newell’s Old Boys and Rosario Central – from the somewhat nearby province of Santa Fe, were allowed to join the first division (distance from Rosario to Buenos Aires by road is around 280 km or around 174 mi). And then 37 years later, in 1966, one year before the first division structure changed in 1967, another club from Santa Fe province (Colón, from the city of Santa Fe), was allowed to join the first division. But clubs from Córdoba – the second-largest city in Argentina – as well as clubs from all the rest of Argentina outside Buenos Aires province and Santa Fe province – were still excluded from the top flight. The following year – 1967 – the Metropolitano/Nacional league system was introduced, and clubs from the areas outside of Buenos Aires and Santa Fe provinces were finally allowed to compete for the chance to win promotion to the first division (see four paragraphs below for a brief synopsis of the 1st division formats in Argentina).

The Big Five – and how AFA rules effectively institutionalized the dominance of Greater Buenos Aires-based clubs…
From the start of the re-organization of Argentine football in 1931 all the way until 1966, only 5 clubs won the title – Boca Juniors, Independiente, Racing, River Plate, and San Lorenzo – aka the Big Five. This was partly the result of rules the Argentine Footbol Association instituted in 1931, when football became professional at the top level and when that governing body took control of football in the country. Here is an excerpt from the The Big Five of Argentine football at en.wikipedia.org…{excerpt}…”The term [the Big Five] was coined in the 1930 decade, with the establishment of the Argentine Football Association (AFA). The AFA arranged a system of proportional representation for the involved sport clubs: the vote of the clubs with either 15,000 members and at least 20 years playing the tournament and 2 or more championships would weight threefold, the vote of clubs with 20 years playing the tournament and 10,000 to 15,000 members or 1 championship would weight twofold, and the vote of the others would have the standard value. Boca, Independiente, Racing, River and San Lorenzo were the only five clubs who qualified for the threefold vote. The five teams would have a leading role in Argentine football since then, and during the first 36 years of the AFA (1931 to 1966) no team outside the five got the championship. The first one to do so was Estudiantes de la Plata, in 1967.”…{end of excerpt at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Big_Five_of_Argentine_football). To this day the Big Five are among the most successful clubs in Argentina, with only Vélez Sarsfield having won more professional titles (titles won since 1931) than some of the Big 5 clubs (see Argentine pro tiles list on the map page at the top of this post, or see it here {at es.wikipedia.org/Primera División de Argentina/Resumen estadístico}).

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Photos of Big Five jerseys – River Plate, unattributed at futboleros.co. Boca Juniors, unattributed at footyheadlines.com/2014/05/nike-boca-juniors-14-15-home-kit-leaked. San Lorenzo, sportec.com.ar/shop/san-lorenzo-de-almagro-topper-2014-home-jersey. Independiente, tienda.clubaindependiente.com/camiseta-independiente-titular-2014-2015. Racing Club, futbol10shop.com/racing-club-home-jersey-2014.

You can see the Buenos Aires-centric nature of the Argentine top flight to this day
Greater Buenos Aires-based clubs almost always account for more than half of the first division teams to this day. In 2014 it was 60% (12 Greater BA-based clubs). [Note: and in 2015, it will be 53% (with 16 Greater BA-based clubs/see 10-13 paragraphs below).] Here is the breakdown-by-provinces of the most recent season of Primera División… In the (September-to-December) 2014-Transición season, only 4 of the 23 provinces of Argentina had first division representation. And 15 of the 20 clubs in the Primera División in the 2014-Transición were from Greater Buenos Aires/Buenos Aires province. A whopping 12 of the 20 clubs in the Primera División were from Greater Buenos Aires: 4 clubs from Buenos Aires Federal District (Boca Juniors, River Plate, San Lorenzo, Vélez Sarsfield), plus 8 more clubs from Greater Buenos Aires (Arsenal, Banfield, Independiente, Lanús, Quilmes, Racing, Tigre, and top-flight newcomers in 2014 Defensa y Justicia), with 3 more clubs from other parts of the rather large Buenos Aires Province [BA province is slightly larger than the US state of Arizona and is the largest province in Argentina], two of those being from the near-to-Buenos Aires city of La Plata (Estudiantes and Gimnasia LP), the other being the sole outlier in far south Buenos Aires province in Bahia Blanca (Club Olimpo, who will be playing in their 10th season of top flight football in 2015). The rest of the 2014-Transición field was comprised of the following 5 clubs… 3 clubs from Santa Fe province, with 2 from the city of Rosario (Newell’s Old Boys and Rosario Central), and 1 from the city of Rafaela (Atlético de Rafaela). 1 club from the city of Córdoba in Córdoba province (Belgrano). 1 club from the city of Mendoza in Mendoza province (Godoy Cruz).

History of tournament formats in First Division football in Argentina, 1891-2015
1891; 1893-1966: round-robin-style tournament for national title, initially contested only by clubs from Buenos Aires/BA province; later Rosario clubs (in 1939) and Santa Fe clubs (in 1966) allowed.
[Amateur from 1891; 1893-1930; Professional from 1931-on. Only 5 clubs won titles from 1930-66 (River Plate, Boca Juniors, Independiente, Racing, San Lorenzo: the Big Five).]
[1931: First Division becomes professional.]
1967-85: national title awarded twice per season, with the Metropolitano contested only by clubs from old tournament / and with the Nacional open to all [Metropolitano season played first until 1980-81].
1985-1991: European-style tournament, with season running from August to May, clubs playing each other home & away, and one title awarded each May.
1991-2012: return to two single-round tournaments as in 1967-85, but now both tournaments open to all, with Apertura in August-December and with Clausura in January-May.
2012-14: a Super Final instituted [but for only two seasons, it turned out], contested between the 2 single-round winners; the 2 single-round tournaments renamed Inicial and Final, but with the Inicial & Final titles still counting as national titles, and with the Super Final title being a title of its own but not a national title [akin to the Community Shield title in England]; however, AFA never rescinded Vélez Sarsfield’s 2012-13 [Superfinal] title, so Vélez Sarsfield, bizarrely, basically got an extra national title, whereas the Superfinal winner for 2013-14, River Plate, were not allowed to count their Superfinal title as a national title (seriously).
2014-Transición: the August-December tournament has no teams relegated, as league transitions to an expanded tournament.
2015: First Division (Primera Division) expanded from 20 teams to 30 teams via mass-10-team-promotion of Second Division clubs; each team plays each other once, with the 30th game being a clásico (derby/historic rivalry) match; season to go from February 2015 to December 2015, with a halfway-break break in June.

2015: Argentina’s AFA institutes a 10-team expansion of the Primera División (going from 20 teams to 30 teams)…
-From the Turkish Press site, from 30 April 2014, by Charles Newbery, Argentina football league expansion seen as political (turkishpress.com).
-From Caught Offside.com, from 10 Nov. 2014, by Charles Price, Argentina’s 30-Team Primera Division Disaster (caughtoffside.com).
-From the Daily Mail, from 18 Nov. 2014 , by Reuters, Argentine FA set to go ahead with 30-team top flight (dailymail.co.uk/wires).

Five-and-a-half years ago, in mid-2009, the Argentine Primera División’s television rights were bought by the national government, and all games are now shown free on public TV on the country’s state TV network {see this article from July 2010 from the Soccer Politics blog, by Jeffrey Richey, Argentine Soccer Politics: Fútbol Para Todos, Continued}. This was done as a blatant attempt to grab votes. Since the 2009-10 season, Primera División games are broadcast free (and are streamed for free online/see link in next sentence), and the government uses the platform to curry favor with the populace (filling much of the advertising space with puff-piece-propaganda for the political party in charge). {Free streaming of Argentina Premiera División at futbolparatodos.com.ar}. The arrangement is wildly popular, but it hasn’t actually resulted in much more favorable opinions towards the party-in-charge (the Front for Victory party, a Peronist/center-left coalition headed by President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner). Much of the football media in Argentina is dead set against them, especially the more right-wing media outlets, and most especially as with respect to Grupo Clarin, who lost the broadcasting rights and then sued the government (unsuccessfully), claiming the rights to broadcast the Primera División were basically stolen from them. As it says in the article by Jeffrey Richey in the link at the top of this paragraph, {excerpt}…”Certain sectors of the Argentine media have had a central role in rallying public opinion against the Kirchners. In the immediate wake of Fútbol Para Todos, political criticism of the Fernández administration in the various arms of Grupo Clarín media reached a crescendo from which it has yet to descend.”

With a Presidential election coming up in October 2015, and with the sitting government headed by President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner facing abysmal poll numbers (like 20%-favorable poll numbers), the party-in-charge is again trying leverage political gain via first-division football. This time they hope to gain more support in the hinterlands by expanding the league 50 percent – from 20 teams to an unheard-of 30 teams.

There are many who feel that the 10-team expansion of the first division smacks of those in power in Argentina seeking cynical short-term gain at the expense of the long-term viability of the professional game in Argentina, where clubs have seen their ability to maintain high-caliber and stable squads eroded by the continued rise of club football in Europe. To put it another way, as soon as a young Argentine footballer of exceptional skill gets established, he is sold off to a money-laden European club. And watering down the talent-level with the inclusion of 10 second-division-caliber clubs will only further diminish the standard of play in the Argentine top flight. At the NonLeagueMatters.co.uk forum, commenter Edgeley says…{excerpt}…”The general view of most fans in Argentina is that the idea of a 30 club division is madness but it is happening and it looks like once it is established then it will not be easy to undo it in a hurry”…(from nonleaguematters.co.uk/forum/post=600625 [Argentine First Division expansion, ca. June 2014]).

In April of 2014, the long-serving head of the Argentina FA Julio Grondona had initiated the expansion plan…
Grondona’s power (amid all the allegations of corruption over the years) was such that few had the ability to effectively produce an opposition to the radical expansion. But once the 82-year-old Grondona passed away in July 2014, opposition to the the 10-team expansion began to coalesce. Of course the big clubs including the Big Five oppose it. But some of the less established first division clubs are set against it – if only because their share of broadcast revenue will be diminished once the pie is cut into 30 instead of 20.

The most logical aspect of the 30-team first division is the switch to a single August-to-May season (like with European leagues). (The Argentine Primera División had had a two-title/dual-tournament season-format from 1991-92 to 2013-14.)

The whole 10-team expansion plan had been constantly changing all through October, November, and December 2014, but it now looks like the plan is set. The season for 2015 will be a unique one-time setup and will go from February to December 2015, with a mid-June break. Two clubs will be relegated in December 2015 (with two clubs being promoted up from the 2nd division at the same time). For the 2015 season, each team will play each other team once (29 games), and a clásico (derby/historic rivalry) will account for the match-ups which will be the 30th game. For example, Boca Juniors will play River Plate for their 30th game. Some other 30th games are: Banfield v. Lanús, Estudiantes v. Gimnasia (LP), and Rosario Central v. Newell’s Old Boys. Those are all very real clásicos. But because so many of these clubs don’t have a convenient rival to play, there will be some pretty fictitious “clásicos” on display, like Arsenal v. Defensa y Justicia or Tigre v. Vélez Sarsfield. As pedrocoates says in the following article from 17th December 2014 at Golazo Argentina blog, “Where this gets complicated is that AFA have had to create a number of clásicos that in fact have little or no history – Vélez against Tigre is one such fabricated clásico. This issue highlights the stupidity of the new format given that all 30 teams will in fact have different fixtures and an away match at River or Racing is considerably more difficult than say, a visit to Crucero del Norte.” {excerpt from AFA release 2015 30-team Primera fixtures (golazoargentino.com)}.

From the AFA site, here is the fixtures list, Fixture de Primera División [2015] (afa.org.ar).

From the Buenos Aires Herald, from 13 November 2014, Top clubs, Argentine FA remain in conflict over structure of new 30-team top division (buenosairesherald.com).}

From the Buenos Aires Herald, from 28 November 2014, by Eric Weill/Sports World, ‘What is the AFA for?’ (buenosairesherald.com)

The 30-team league will remain in place for two seasons – in 2015 (the aforementioned full 10-month/ 30-match season), with two teams relegated and two promoted up from the second division in December 2015. So there will still be 30 teams in the 1st division for the next tournament – in the first-half of 2016 (a temporary 5-month/14-match half-season with the 1st division split into 2 groups of 15), with three teams relegated and one team promoted following that half-season in 2016. Then, after a full year/quasi-Apertura-and-Clausura format starting in mid-2016 and ending in June 2017, four clubs will be relegated and two promoted. Thus the plan is not to actually end up with a 30-team league down the road, but whittle away the 30-team field via a staggered relegation/promotion schedule (again, with less teams promoted up being than being relegated down each calender year), until the first-division field is down to 24 clubs. Or maybe down to 22 clubs. Or maybe down to 20 clubs once again. That final first-division-quantity-of-teams is still yet to be determined, and there is a high probability that there will be still more changes to the format. (In fact, a faction is lobbying for there to be no relegation once again in 2015, so that there would be a 32-team league come 2016!)

Here, via the Argentine Primera División page at en.wikipedia.org, is the breakdown of the format for the next 5 seasons…

[2015] – From February to December 2015, the league will be contested between thirty teams. Two teams will be relegated to and two teams will be promoted from Primera B Nacional.
[2016] – In the first half of 2016, the league will be contested between thirty teams. Three teams will be relegated to and one team will be promoted from Primera B Nacional.
[2016-17] – From August 2016 to June 2017, the league will be contested between twenty-eight teams. Four teams will be relegated to and two teams will be promoted from Primera B Nacional.
[2017-18] – From August 2017 to June 2018, the league will be contested between twenty-six teams. Four teams will be relegated to and two teams will be promoted from Primera B Nacional.
[2018-19] – From August 2018 to June 2019, the league will be contested between twenty-four teams. Four teams will be relegated to and two teams will be promoted from Primera B Nacional.

As the Buenos Aires Herald notes in an editorial from 27 November 2014,…{excerpt}…” Did nobody dare to question Grondona’s judgement even if this form of honouring him is akin to erecting a statue with built-in demolition plans? Or is there a hidden political agenda with the idea of creating the illusion of a more federal soccer for the election year of 2015, even if it is impossible to maintain in the long term?”…{end of excerpt at Passion of multitudes (of clubs) at buenosairesherald.com)}

Locations of the 10 newly-promoted clubs (promoted in December 2014), and the colossal irony that most are actually NOT from the hinterlands…
A couple of these 10 newly-promoted clubs will be coming from the outer provinces, where few if any clubs are ever in the top flight in Argentina. But most of these 10 newly-promoted clubs are actually coming from the traditionally-allowed-in-the-1st-division areas of Buenos Aires province and Santa Fe province.

3 of the 10 newly-promoted clubs are from Buenos Aires Federal District…Nueva Chicago (now with 7 seasons played in the first division [counting 2015], previously in 2006-07), and two perennial first division clubs: Huracán (now with 73 seasons in the first division, previously in 2009-10); and Argentinos Juniors (now with 65 seasons in the first division, previously in 2013-14). Also one newly-promoted club is from Greater Buenos Aires, from just south of Banfield in the far southern suburbs – Temperley (now with 9 seasons in the first division, previously in 1986-87). Also, two clubs, one of whom is making their first division debut in 2015, are from outlying parts of Buenos Aires province – top-flight-newcomers Aldosivi (from Mar del Plata, which is on the Atlantic Ocean and located around 410 km or around 255 miles south-east of Buenos Aires by road); and Sarmiento, from Junín, which is located near the border of Santa Fe province around 267 km or around 166 miles west of Buenos Aires by road (Sarmiento were previously in the 1st division (Nacional) for a 2-season-spell in 1981 and 1982; this [2015] will be their 3rd season in the 1st division). Also, two newly-promoted clubs are both from the city of Santa Fe in Santa Fe province – one is an old first division standby – Colón (now with 36 seasons in the first division, previously in 2013-14); the other club being promoted up from Santa Fe is also with many years as a top flight team – Unión de Santa Fe (now with 30 seasons in the first division, previously in 2012-13).

So that means that just 2 (or maybe 3) of the 10 newly-promoted clubs are actually from the hinterlands (the hinterlands being the areas that weren’t allowed to have clubs in the 1st division before 1967).
[Note: by saying "(or maybe 3)" in the sentence above, I am referring to Aldosivi of Mar del Plata, because it is kind of debatable if the authorities would have ever let in Aldosivi into the pre-1967 era first division, had they been slated for promotion. But they almost certainly would have let in Sarmiento, seeing as how Sarmiento's location in Junín is basically halfway from Buenos Aires to the allowed-in-the-1st-division city of Rosario.] The two newly-promoted clubs that are actually from the hinterlands are the following… San Martín (SJ) (now with 4 seasons in the first division, previously in 212-13), from the city of San Juan (metro-area population of around 453,000) in the arid San Juan province in the far west of the country near the border with Chile. And first-division-newcomers Crucero del Norte, who are a very new club (est. 1989), from Garupá, a suburb of Posadas (metro-area population of around 334,000), which is in the sub-tropical Misiones province in the far north-east of the country near the borders with Paraguay and Brazil.

That seems like a small yield for all the effort of the 10-team-promotion…whose aim was to put more clubs from the hinterlands into the top tier. And it is indicative of the reason the late Julio Grondona really wanted to expand the first division even more – to 38 teams…because allowing “just” 10 more teams into the top flight would probably end up promoting many clubs that were not from the hinterlands. And that is exactly what has happened.

The map page
The map page features a basic location-map-with-inset-map (inset-map for Greater Buenos Aires). The Argentina National Professional Titles list (1931 to 2014-Transicion) is at the upper-right-hand corner of the map page. At the right-hand-side of the map page I have also included a chart that shows three items for each of the 30 clubs: 1). national pro titles (and year of last title), 2). seasons in the 1st division, and 3). each club’s stadium capacity (sorry I could not include last season’s average attendance figures, but unfortunately for several reasons including corruption and tax-dodging, the reporting of attendance figures in Argentine football is a thing that simply does not exist). On the map and on the Greater Buenos Aires inset map, I have listed the estimated metropolitan-area (aka urban area) populations of each city which has 1st division representation in 2015. I have also listed the estimated populations of all barrios (neighborhoods) of Buenos Aires Federal District which have 1st division representation in 2015. Those populations are found in gray boxes adjacent to each club’s crest (sources can be found immediately below). I have also shown on the map the 8 largest cities in Argentina (all cities in the country with a metro-area population above 500,000). (The 8 largest cities in Argentina, in order of metro-area population, are: Buenos Aires, Córdoba, Rosario, Mendoza, Tucumán, La Plata, Mar del Plata, Salta.)

Sources for map and titles chart:
-Source for city metro populations from Anexo:Aglomerados urbanos de Argentina;
barrio populations found at Barrios and Communes of Buenos Aires; cities within Greater Buenos Aires, with populations found at each page via 2015 Argentine Primera División/Club information.
-Seasons played in Argentine top flight, by club: Primera División de Argentina/Equipos participantes (es.wikipedia.org); LIST OF ARGENTINIAN CLUBS AND DIVISIONAL MOVEMENTS (Professional Era 1931-2007/08) (rsssf.com).
-Titles (professional Argentine titles): http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Primera_Divisi%C3%B3n_de_Argentina#Resumen_estad.C3.ADstico_2.
-Stadium capacities: 2014 Argentine Primera División; 2014–15 Primera B Nacional (en.wikipedia.org).
-Attendance figures (which I ended up not listing due to the high probability that they were not very accurate): very few (if any) media outlets report Argentina Primera División attendances. The following link (World Football.net) reports crowd estimates for Primera División only, worldfootball.net/attendance/arg-primera-division-2014-2015-torneo-inicial/1/.
___
For blank maps of Argentina and of Greater Buenos Aires, thanks to NordNordWest at File:Argentina Greater Buenos Aires location map.svg; and at File:Argentina location map.svg (en.wikipedia.org).

Thanks to Sam Kelly and company at the Hand of Pod podcast (the only English-speaking podcast on Argentine football), for information and for updates on the 10-team 1st division expansion, https://handofpod.wordpress.com.

Thanks to the contributors at en. and es.wikipedia.org, Argentine Primera División; Primera B Nacional.

December 8, 2013

2014 FIFA World Cup teams: Argentina (CONMEBOL), prominent players in 2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifying (theoretical best XI for Argentina, with 6 other player-options listed).

Filed under: Argentina — admin @ 10:26 pm




Argentina national team. CONMEBOL (South America). Nickname: La Albiceleste (The White and Sky Blue). Home jersey: sky blue and white vertical stripes, with black trim.
-Argentina is in Group F (with Bosnia, Iran, and Nigeria). ‘2014 FIFA World Cup/Group F‘ (en.wikipedia.org).
FIFA World Cup qualification: 2014 is Argentina’s 16th qualification out of 19 tries [note: Argentina withdrew from the qualifying for both the 1938 and for the 1950 World Cups, while in 1954 Argentina did not enter the qualifying for the World Cup at all. The only other time Argentina did not qualify for a WC tournament was for 1970. So technically, overall, Argentina have made it to the World Cup in 16 out of a possible 20 times].
Argentina has qualified for the World Cup in: 1930, 1934, 1958, 1962, 1966, 1974, 1978, 1982, 1986, 1990, 1994, 1998, 2002, 2006, 2010, 2014.
Previous WC Q: 2010, Quarterfinals / 4-0-1.
Highest World Cup finish:
1978, Champions / 5-1-1.
1986: Champions / 6-1-0.

Population of Argentina: 41.6 million {2013 estimate}. Capital (and largest city): Buenos Aires, pop. 12.8 million (metropolitan area) {2011 figure}.

-Coach of Argentina: Alejandro SabellaAlejandro Sabella‘. Sabella has had the job since July 2011. Sabella was a midfielder who played with River Plate, Sheffield United, Leeds United, and Estudiantes, winning Argentine titles with River in 1975, and with Estudiantes de La Plata in 1982 and ’83. He went on to coach as Daniel Passarella’s number two for many years (at Parma, the Uruguay national football team, Monterrey, and Corinthians). Sabella was hired to manage Estudiantes in March of 2009, with immediate success, guiding them to their winning of the 2009 Copa Libertadores title in July 2009, and, half-a-year later, the Argentine title for the 2012-Apertura.
-Captain of Argentina squad: Lionel Messi. FC Barcelona’s Lionel Messi, age 26 and born on 24 June 1987 in Rosario, Argentina, is the first player ever to win 4 Ballons d’Or (2009-12). He also has the Guinness World Records title for most goals in a season, with 91 goals scored during the 2011-12 season {see this, ‘BARCELONA STAR LIONEL MESSI SETS NEW GOAL-SCORING RECORD‘ (guinnessworldrecords.com)}.
-Squad:. Argentina has questions in defense but boasts a wealth of attacking options. They will probably play 4-3-3 for some of their World Cup matches in Brazil. Aside from the Higuaín/ Messi/ Agüero trio featured in the illustration below, coach Sabella also will likely utilize PSG striker Ezequiel Lavezzi, and maybe former Boca Juniors and current Internazionale forward Rodrigo Palacio. In the midfield, besides the di Maria/ Mascherano/ Maxi Rodríguez trio featured below, Sabella might also utilize Lazio defensive midfielder Lucas Biglia, as well as Boca Juniors defensive midfielder Fernando Gago. Gago, and Rodríguez (of Newell’s Old Boys), are the only two outfield players selected for the 2014 WC squad who play in the Argentine first division. Despite his solid season in Italy in 13/14 with Juventus, striker Carlos Tévez will not feature at all in the squad, as he has fallen out of favor with Sabella (and the coach does not want to risk upsetting the team’s chemistry and discomfiting Messi, the team’s talisman). Argentina are expected to advance far into the tournament, and have a real a shot of going all the way. Odds for an Argentine World Cup win are 9/2, which is the second-best odds behind hosts Brazil, at 3/1 {see this}.

[Note: squad chart caps & goals are updated to Argentina’s Semifinals match on 9 July 2014, with all Argentina players (19 players) who have appeared in the 2014 World Cup shown ‘Argentina national football team/Current squad’ (en.wikipedia.org).
Below: Theoretical Best XI for Argentina (with 8 other player-options further below) -
argentina_2014-fifa-world-cup_squad_best-xi_alternate-options_a-sabella_t_.gif
Photo and Image credits above -
Map of Argentina on globe, by Addicted04 at en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argentina.
Map of Argentina with provinces by NordNordWest at en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Argentina_location_map.svg.
Argentina home jersey photo and photo of Argentina badge, from adidas.com/argentina-home-jersey.
Coach,
Alejandro Sabella, photo from AFP via conmebol.com.
Goalkeeper,
Sergio Romero (AS Monaco), photo from ligue1.com/joueur/romero-sergio.
Defenders,
Pablo Zabaletta (Manchester City), photo from uk.eurosport.yahoo.com.
Federico Fernández (Napoli), photo by Frank Augstein/AP Photo via bigstory.ap.org/photo-gallery/germany-soccer-champions-league-4.
Hugo Campagnaro (Inter), photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images Europe via zimbio.com.
Ezequiel Garay (Benfica), photo by Getty Images Europe via metro.co.uk.
Midfielders,
Ángel di María, photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images Europe via zimbio.com.
Javier Mascherano (Barcelona), photo by Jasper Juinen/Getty Images Europe via zimbio.com.
Maxi Rodríguez (Newells Old Boys), photo by Télam via utbolparatodos.com.ar.
Forwards,
Gonzalo Higuaín (Napoli), photo by Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images Europe via zimbio.com.
Lionel Messi (Barcelona), photo by David Ramos/Getty Images Europe via zimbio.com.
Sergio Agüero (Manchester City), photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images Europe via zimbio.com.
Other options for squad -
Rodrigo Palacio FW/W (Inter), photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images Europe via zimbio.com.
Ezequiel Lavezzi FW(PSG), photo by Harry Engels/Getty Images Europe via zimbio.com.
Lucas Biglia MF (Lazio), photo from spaziocalcio.it.
Fernando Gago DM (Boca Juniors), photo from labombonera.com.ar/fernando_gago.
Marcos Rojo CB/LB (Sporting CP), photo from zerozero.pt via media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com.
José María Basanta DF/LB (Monterrey), photo by Mexsport via deportes.terra.com/futbol/liga-mx.
Martín Demichelis CB/DM (Manchester City), photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images Europe via zimbio.com.
Enzo Pérez CM/LM (Benfica), photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images Europe via zimbio.com.

Thanks to the contributors at ‘2014 FIFA World Cup qualification‘ (en.wikipedia.org).
Thanks to the contriutors at ‘Argentina national football team‘ (en.wikipedia.org).
Thanks to http://www.transfermarkt.com/en/, for player-position details.
Thanks to Sam Kelly & company at Hand of Pod, for Argentina national team info, handofpod.wordpress.com.

December 14, 2011

Argentina: Primera División, 2011-12 Stadia map, featuring 2011 Apertura champions Boca Juniors.

Filed under: Argentina,Football Stadia — admin @ 6:49 pm

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Primera División de Argentina, 2011-12 Stadia map


The map page features a stadium photo of each club in the 2011-12 season of Primera División de Argenina. Alongside each club’s stadium photo is club information, including…the full name of the club; the year of the club’s formation; their location; their stadium’s name and capacity; the club’s professional Argentine titles (and year of last title); the club’s Copa Libertadores titles (and year of last title); the club’s total Copa Libertadores appearances; the length, in seasons, of the club’s current spell in the Argentine top flight (and the year they (re)entered the first division); and how the club finished in the first half of the 2011-12 season [which was the 2011 Apertura].

At the top, right of the map page, next to the AFA crest, is a season-and-a-half synopsis, listing the last 3 title winners and the clubs that went down to, and came up from, Primera Nacional B…
2010-11 champions –
Apertura: Estudiantes (5th title).
Clausura: Vélez Sarsfield (8th title).

Relegated to Primera Nacional B (in June, 2011):
Gimnasia (La Plata)
Huracán
Quilmes
River Plate

Promoted to Primera División (in June, 2011):
Atlético de Rafaela
Unión [de Santa Fe]
San Martin (San Juan)
Belgrano [Córdoba].

2011-12 champions -
2011 Apertura: Boca Juniors (24th title).
2012 Clausura: TBD [the 2012 Clausura will begin in the first week of February, 2012].

The 2011 Apertura was won by one of the two most popular Argentine football clubs, Boca Juniors [the other one of the two biggest clubs in the country is River Plate, who are currently in their first-ever professional-era season in the second division, but will almost certainly be back in the top flight for the 2012-13 season]. This is Boca Junior’s 24th professional Argentine title, second only to the 32 pro titles won by River Plate. Boca ended as undefeated champions, as well as being the champions with the most points difference ahead of second place.

From the essential Hasta El Gol Siempre site, ‘Apertura 2011: ¡Boca campeón! (video)‘.

From Guardian.co.uk/football, from 22 November, 2011, by Jonazthan Wilson, ‘Boca Juniors’ binary finery a tribute to manager Julio César Falcioni
Boca Juniors are a team cast in Julio César Falcioni’s gnarled image, and the Apertura champions-elect are all the better for it
‘.

From ArgentinaIndependent.com, from 6 December, by Rory McClenaghan, ‘Football Season review: The Return Of Boca Juniors‘.

julio-cesar-falcioni_darío-cvitanich_rolando-sciavi_boca-juniors_2011-apertura-winners_r.gif
Photo credits above – Ortigoza and Cvintanich acion photo by Enrique Marcarian/Reuters via uk.eurosport.yahoo.com. Cvintanich photo from AFA via http://www.argentinaindependent.com/life-style/sport/football-season-review-the-return-of-boca-juniors-/. Schiavi photo and Bombonera title celebration photo from Daylife.com/Boca Juniors. Falcioni photo from pesstatsdatabase.com.

From goal.blogs.nytimes.com, from Dec.13, 2011, ‘In Argentina, Violence Is Part of the Soccer Culture‘.

The Argentine clubs that have qualified for the 2012 Copa Libertadores…
argentina-clubs_in-2012copa-libertadores_.gif
The 5 Argentine clubs which have qualified for the 2012 Copa Libertadores are…
ARG-1, Vélez Sarsfield (2011 Clausura champion).
ARG-2, Boca Juniors (2011 Apertura champion).
ARG-3, Lanús (best 2011 aggregate among non-champions).
ARG-4, Godoy Cruz (2nd best 2011 aggregate among non-champions).
ARG-5/First Stage [aka preliminary round], Arsenal (qualified as best performance by a club in the 2011 Copa Sudamericana not already qualified).

In terms of all-time Copa libertadores appearances, the 2012 Copa Liberadores will mark the 2nd appearance by Godoy Cruz, the 2nd appearance by Arsenal de Sarandi, the 4th appearance by Lanús, the 13th appearance by Vélez Sarsfield (who have won 1 Copa Libertadores title, in 1994), and the 23rd appearance by Boca Juniors (who have won 6 Copa Libertadores titles, their last in 2007).
2011-12 Copa Libertadores‘ (en.wikipedia.org).

From Youtube.com, posted by giovar94, a 13-minute video compilation of the best goals in Argentina in 2011 – this video is incedible – ‘Especial Tyc sports 2011 parte 8 [Mejores goles Argentina]‘.
[Thanks to the Guardian Sport Blog for the above link {see this}.]
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Photo credits (stadium photos on map page) –
All Boys/Estadio Islas Malvinas, somosracingrc.com.ar.
Argentinos Juniors/Estadio Diego Armando Maradona, ca.bestpicturesof.com.
Arsenal [de Sarandi]/Estadio Julio Humberto Grondona, Hopp Hard Ingo at europlan-online.de.
Atlético Rafaela/Estadio Nuevo Monumental, atleticoesrafael at panoramio.com.
Banfield/Estadio Florencio Sola, estadiosargentinos.wikispaces.com.
Belgrano/Estadio El Gigante de Alberdi, fercabc at en.wikipedia.org.
Boca Juniors/ Estadio Alberto J. Armando (aka ‘La Bombonera [the Chocolate Box]), estadiosargentinos.wikispaces.com.
Colón/ Estadio Brigadier General Estanislao López, goolvinotinto.blogspot.com.
Estudiantes/, estadiolp.gba.gov.ar.
Godoy Cruz/Estadio Malvinas Argentinas, tiki-taka.org/forums/index.php/topic/12586-copa-america-2011/
independiente/Estadio Libertadores de América, InfiernoRojo.com via elgrancampeon.blogspot.com.
Lanús/Estadio Ciudad de Lanús, Hopp Hard Ingo at europlan-online.de.
Newell’s Old Boys/ Estadio Marcelo Bielsa, newellsoldboys.com.ar/institucional/elclub/.
Olimpo/Estadio Roberto Natalio Carminatti, aurinegro.com.ar via fussballtempel.net.
Racing/Estadio Presidente Perón (aka ‘El Cilandro’), racingclub.com.ar via es.wikipedia.org.
San Lorenzo/Estadio Pedro Bidegain (aka ‘el Nuevo Gasómetro’ (the New Gasometer), footballzz.com.
San Martin (SJ)/Estadio del Bicentenario, karawang.us.
Unión [Santa Fe]/Estadio 15 de Abril, eltope at panoramio.com.
Tigre/Estadio José Dellagiovanna, Gabriel Sabugo at en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Estadio_Coliseo_de_Victoria
Vélez Sarsfield/Esadio José Amalfitani, juststadium.com.

Thanks to the contributors to the pages at en. and es. and de. wikipedia.org, ‘2011–12 Argentine Primera División season‘.
Thanks to NordNordWest for the blank map of Argentina.
Thanks to Sam Kelly at Hasta El Gol Siempre and at the Hand of Pod podcast (link to it here at SoundCloud).

April 6, 2011

Argentina, 2011 Clausura.

Filed under: Argentina — admin @ 4:59 pm

argentina_2011-clausura_post_.gif
Map of Primera División de Argentina – 2011 Clausura


Hasta El Gol Siempre [Argentina football coverage from Sam Kelly].

Primera División de de Argentina table {Soccerway.com).
2010 Aperuta champions were Estudiantes de La Plata. In the 2011 Apertura, eight rounds (of 19) have been played, and Estudiantes again have the lead, albeit by goal difference over River Plate. River have not won a title since the 2008 Clausura, and are coming off a good 4th place finish in December, yet so bad have they been in the previous two seasons that los Millionarios must still concern themselves with the relegation table (more on that later). Six other clubs are within touching distance of first place, including two, Vélez Sarsfield, and San Lorenzo, who would go top if they won their game in hand. In other words, it is shaping up for another tight, wide-open, and interesting campaign in Argentina.

The maps on the map page show the locations of the 20 clubs in the 2011 Clausura of the Primera División de Argentina. 4 of the clubs’ crests are shown on the main map, and 16 of the clubs’ crests are shown on the inset map of northern Buenos Aires Province which is centererd on the Greater Buenos Aires metropolitan area and the autonomous city of Buenos Aires. Each club’s profile box shows the club crest, the club’s current kits, and information on the club including – year of formation, location; stadium name and capacity; national professional titles (and year of last title); Copa Libertadores titles (and year of last title); total appearances in the Copa Libertadores competition (and year and result of their last appearance); the length of consecutive seasons the club has currently spent in the first division (and year the club was last promoted); and where the club finished last December in the 2010 Apertura.

The enlarged inset map of the northern region of Buenos Aires Province includes the autonomous city of Buenos Aires [which is a Federal District similar to Washington, DC in terms of it's political status]. Usually around 70% to 80% or so of the top flight clubs in Argentina are from this concentrated region – that is…the autonomous city of Buenos Aires (7 clubs currently), Greater Buenos Aires (7 other clubs currently), and the nearby city of La Plata (2 clubs currently). For the 2010-11 season (ie, the 2010 Apertura and the 2011 Clausura), 16 of the 20 clubs come from this region. All Argentine professional titles have been won by clubs from this region, with the exception of the 9 titles won by two clubs from the city of Rosario, Santa Fe Province (those two clubs being Newell’s Old Boys, with 5 titles; and the currently-second-division-club Rosario Central, with 4 titles). Speaking of the title drought suffered by the other provinces, I should mention the recent rise of an Argentinian club that is pretty far removed geographically from Buenos Aires, and that is Godoy Cruz, who hail from the far western province of Mendoza, which is way closer to Santiago, Chile than it is to Buenos Aires. Godoy Cruz made a credible run for the title a year ago, in the 2010 Clausura (finishing in 3rd place, 4 points behind champions Argentinos Juniors), and are again in competition for their first-ever national title. Godoy Cruz are also playing in their first-ever Copa Libertadores, and have a chance of advancing to the Round of 16 (if they win in Quito, Ecuador next week versus LDU Quito [note: they lost, and are now eliminated from the 2011 Copa Libertadores, along with Independiente]).

There are structural aspects which make Argentinian top flight football unusual…the split season that produces 2 champions per season, and the 3-year average which comprises the relegation process.

As to the split season, a random element is introduced when a championship is decided based on a schedule where a club plays the other clubs just once (and not twice, as is of course the usual case). The bottom line is that the competition becomes very wide-open. Eleven different clubs have won a title in the last 10 years in Argentina, and two clubs have won their first-ever championships.

Primera División de Argentina recent title winners, since 2001-02 (the last ten seasons/ and the last 20 championships)..
11 different title winners
Boca Juniors, 4 titles (last in 2008 Apertura).
River Plate, 4 titles (last in 2008 Clausura).
Estudiantes, 2 titles (last in 2010 Apertura).
Vélez Sarsfield, 2 titles (last in 2009 Clausura).
Argentinos Juniors, 1 title (2010 Clausura).
Banfield, 1 title (2009 Apertura).
Lanús, 1 title (2007 Apertura).
San Lorenzo, 1 title (2007 Clausura).
Newell’s Old Boys, 1 title (2004 Apertura).
Independiente, 1 title (2002 Apertura).
Racing, 1 title (2001 Apertura).

Clubs that won their first National title in the last 10 seasons…
Lanús.
Banfield.

{2010-11 Primera División de Argentina Relegtion table, aka the Promedio here (en.wikipedia.org)}.

As to the other aspect of Argentine top flight football that makes it stand apart from most other first division leagues – the Promedio, or 3-season relegation table – there is no way on earth that I am going to defend this cynical system. It is by definition ant-democratic, because it rewards the status quo and creates a non-level playing field for top flight survival. It has been said that the three-year average as a basis for relegation was introduced in 1983-84 because both Boca Juniors and River Plate were under threat of relegation then (the old fashioned way). Since relegation is now decided on a 3-year average, it makes it much harder for newly-promoted teams to stay in the first division. The big clubs love it, because one bad year is not going to send them down, and they don’t have to worry about unloading too much young talent to European clubs, and then suffer a bad season, because there will be future seasons where they can bring their points average back up above the drop zone. None of the Big 5 – Boca Juniors, Independiente, Racing, River Plate, and San Lorenzo – have gone down since the Promedio system was introduced in 1983-84. The 3-year average as a basis for relegation is grossly unfair to small and often provincial clubs, who battle to finally get a chance in top flight football, only to see themselves go straight back down because they didn’t finish in or near the top half of the table. This season all three recently-promoted clubs – Quilmes, All Boys, and Olimpo – might suffer relegation, and for more than one of these clubs it will probably be because of the Promedio. Olimpo, a club from the southern, and much colder, region of Buenos Aires Province, has seen this before. In 2007-08, Olimpo finished in 16th place in the 2007 Apertura, and then 15th place in the 2008 Clausura – and were relegated. That showing would have kept them up in most any other country. In 2006-07, the aforementioned Godoy Cruz ended up with 43 points (when the 2006 Apertura and the 2007 Clausura points were added together), which was better than the points total that season of 5 other teams…Banfield, Belgrano, Gimnasia La Plata, Newell’s Old Boys, and Quilmes- and Godoy Cruz were still relegated, thanks to the three-year average [Godoy Cruz gained promotion back to the Primera División the following season (2007-08)].

A 3-year system of relegation, as opposed to a one-year system of relegation, rewards entrenched interests who have gained competitive advantage over other less powerful interests by fiat, so that the less powerful interests must therefore overachieve to stay on an equal footing with the elite. It is no surprise that the only other prominent place a multi-season system of relegation in football has also been adopted is in Mexico, where the elite have been stacking the deck against the disenfranchised for centuries.

Meanwhile, at this time of the season, when the Clausura campaign is starting to shape up, there is the fact that 4 or 5 clubs must juggle their league campaign with their Copa Libertadores campaign. That can stretch thin a club’s resources and negate a real chance at a Clausura title. In the 20 seasons since the Apertura/Clausura league system has been instituted, no Argentine club has ever won a Clausura title and a Copa Libertadores title simultaneosly.

The 5 Argentine clubs in the 2011 Copa Libertadores Second Stage [ie, the group stage]…
Argentinos Juniors [final match at home v. Fluminense on Wed. 20 April - in contention for advancement {see this}],
Estudiantes [Advanced to Round of 16 as 2nd place in Group],
Godoy Cruz [eliminated in Second Stage],
Independiente [eliminated in Second Stage],
Vélez Sarsfield [Advanced to Round of 16 as 2nd place in Group].

Independiente, the club that has won the most Copa Libertadores titles, with 7, has a third thing which the club must concern itself with – the threat of relegation. Independiente would probably be in a much better position if they weren’t also in the Copa Libertadores, but there you have it – in Argentina, a club can simultaneously be in the final 32 of the most prestigious competition in South America, yet still be around only two bad results away from being relegated to the second division. Independiente find themselves in this situation after stretching their squad in their successful 2010 Copa Sudamericana campaign, which, as winners, secured their place in the 2011 Copa Libertadores. But in concentrating so much on gaining admission to the Copa Libertadores, Independiente finished in last place in the 2010 Apertura, and are now in the bottom third of the current Promedio table.
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Thanks to the contributors to the pages at en.wikipedia.org, ‘Primera División de Argentina‘.
Thanks to RSSSF, and the contributors to this list, ‘Copa Libertadores 1960-2010 Club Histories‘.
Thanks to NordNordWest for the blank map of Argentina, here (en.wikipedia.org).

June 8, 2010

2010 FIFA World Cup: Argentina, 23-man roster.

Filed under: Argentina,FIFA World Cup, 2010 — admin @ 8:59 am

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Argentina 2010 World Cup squad.


The map shows the birthplaces and/or the hometowns of the 23-man Argentina team that competed in the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. At the bottom, left on the map page are photos of all the players in the Argentina squad who saw action in their 5 matches in the competition (20 player photos, in the gear of their professional clubs). International appearances (aka caps) and international goals are listed in the chart section, and are up to date as of 3rd July, 2010.
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The map page is a bit complicated, with separate sections for inset maps of two of the three largest cities in Argentina, Buenos Aires and Rosario, Santa Fe Province. Córdoba is the second largest city in Argentina, slightly larger than Rosario, but Córdoba has a far smaller influence than Rosario in footballing terms. For starters, there has been no first division club from Córdoba for three years now, and no Córdoba club has ever won the title. Meanwhile, Rosario boasts 9 Argentine titles…5 by Newell’s Old Boys and 4 by Rosario Central (and there is a third Santa Fe Province-based club in the top flight, Colón, from the city of Santa Fe, 130 km. north of Rosario).

Sprawling Buenos Aires has a metropolitan area population of around 12.9 million {2002 estimate}.
Rosario has a metropolitan area population of around 1.2 million {2001 census}), and is 270 kilometers (160 miles) NW of Buenos Aires.

The Buenos Aires section, on the far right of the map page, has a large map of Greater Buenos Aires that includes the city of La Plata, which is the capital city of Buenos Aires Province and is 59 km. (36 mi.) SE of the city of Buenos Aires. The Autonomous City of Buenos Aires is a separate entity in both legal and political terms, and is not part of Buenos Aires Province. [It's status is similar to that of Washington, DC (aka the District of Columbia), in the United States.] The Autonomous City of Buenos Aires, or Distrito Federal, is shown on the main map and the inset maps in a dark purple color.

15 of the current 20 first division clubs in the Argentine Primera División are located in the area comprising Greater Buenos Aires and neighboring La Plata. The breakdown is… 6 clubs from the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires (the current champions Argentinos Juniors, Boca Juniors, Huracán, River Plate, San Lorenzo, and Vélez Sarsfield); 1 club from the suburbs west of the City of Buenos Aires (Tigre); 6 clubs from the suburbs east of the City of Buenos Aires (Arsenal di Sarandi, Banfield, Independiente, Lanús, the just-promoted Quilmes, and Racing Club); and 2 clubs from La Plata (Estudianties and Gimnasia La Plata).

The city of La Plata has a population of around 690,000 {2001 census}. As mentioned, La Plata is home to 2 first division Argentine clubs…Estudiantes de La Plata, who are reigning Copa Libertadores champions and 4-time Argentine champions; and perennially relegation-threatened Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata. The Argentina World Cup roster features two La Plata-born players, Juan Sebastián Verón (who captains Estudiantes) and Martín Palermo, the 36-year old Boca Juniors striker who had a 10 year exile from the national team before being recalled by Argentina coach Diego Maradona, in South American World Cup qualifiers in 2009. Palermo famously scored the 93rd minute winning goal versus Peru in October 2009, which kept Argentina from being eliminated from World Cup qualification.

8 players on the Argentina squad were born and/or grew up in Greater Buenos Aires, or Gran Buenos Aires

Two players came from the western suburbs (Zona Oeste), striker Carlos Tévez and defensive midfielder Jonás Gutiérrez. Both these players play in England professionally, Tévez with Manchester City, and Gutiérrez with Newcastle United.

Four players on the squad came from the City of Buenos Aires. 3 were born and raised there: subs Mariano Andújar (goalkeeper for Catania of Italy) and Clemente Rodríguez (defender for Estudiantes), and projected starter Nicholás Otamendi, the young central defender who was instrumental in Vélez Sarsfield winning the 2009 Clausura title, and who was sold yesterday [Monday, June 7] to AC Milan.

The other City of Buenos Aires-raised player on the national squad is Real Madrid goal machine Gonzalo Higuaín, who was born in Brest, France (where his father played professionally), but moved with his family back to Argentina when he was 10 months old.

There are two players on the squad who were born in the southern suburbs of Greater Buenos Aires (Zona Sur), in the Quilmes partido: forwards Sergio Agüero (of Atlético Madrid), and Diego Milito (of Internazionale). Milito scored both goals in Inter’s UEFA Champions League victory over Bayern Munich in late May. Both these players are expected to see action in South Africa [note: who knows what the starting lineup will look like, because Diego Maradona's selections have defied conventional wisdom, if not basic logic, to say the least].

There are 10 players on the 23-man World Cup roster who were born and/or grew up in Greater Buenos Aires/La Plata. There is one more player from Buenos Aires Province, defender Ariel Garcé, who plays for Colón and is from Tandil, which is in south central Buenos Aires Province 360 kilometers (220 miles) SSW of the city of Buenos Aires. [There is one top flight club from southern Buenos Aires Province, the just-promoted Olimpo, from Bahía Blanca, which is 569 km. (353 miles) south of Buenos Aires.]
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The Rosario inset map section is in the grey rectangle at the top of the map page, and includes an outline map of it’s province, Santa Fe. Five players were born in Santa Fe Province, three in Rosario, including the planet’s best football player, Lionel Messi. Messi moved with his family to Barcelona, Spain, when he was 13 years old. Lionel Messi suffered from a rare hormonal problem that could only be alleviated by very expensive injections of a growth hormone… at a price (of around $900 per month) that his original club, Newell’s Old Boys, balked at paying. So when FC Barcelona offered to pay for the injections, the Messi family moved to Barcelona, and Lionel Messi became part of the FC Barcelona set-up, where he remains to this day. Messi has never returned to visit his first club, Newell’s Old Boys, and the Newell’s top brass claim they intended on continuing to pay for Messi’s injections (but receipts prove otherwise).

The other two Rosario-born players on the squad are Maxi Rodríguez and Ángel Di María. Rodríguez is an attacking midfielder who now plays for Liverpool, and who scored a spectacular winning goal from a left-footed-volley in the 98th minute of Argentina’s 2006 World Cup second round match versus Mexico. Ángel Di María is a talented young playmaker who is expected to start in midfield, and plays for Portuguese giants Benfica.

The other two players who come from Santa Fe Province are both slated to start for Argentina in South Africa: captain and defensive midfielder Javier Mascherano (also of Liverpool), and Internazionale defender Walter Samuel.
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In total, 6 of the 23 Argentine provinces, plus the Distrito Federal, (or City of Buenos Aires) produced players on the 2010 World Cup squad. Besides the 11 players from the Buenos Aires City-and-Province, and the 5 players from Santa Fe Province, there are 4 more provinces that produced players on the squad…Córdoba Province, Entre Rios Province, Mendoza Province, and Misiones Province. To give you an idea of how little of a part these provinces play in the Argentine football scene, there is only one current first division club from these four provinces, and that is Godoy Cruz of Mendoza (who actually fared surprisingly well last campaign, finishing in third).

Córdoba Province produced 4 players, while one player each came from the provinces of Entre Rios (Marseille defender Gabriel Heinze), Mendoza (Colón goalkeeper Diego Pozo), and Misiones (AZ Alkmaar goalkeeper Sergio Romero, who is slated to start in South Africa).
Córdoba and Enter Rios provinces, along with Santa Fe Province, form the economic region known the Center Region.
Mendoza Province is in an arid region in the far west of Argentina at the foothills of the Andes Mountains and is closer to Santiago, Chile than Buenos Aires.
Misiones Province is a jungle-filled panhandle surrounded by Paraguay and Brazil, and is the site of the world’s largest waterfall by volume, at Iguazu Falls.
Córdoba Province features the aforementioned city of Córdoba (1.5 million population {2008 estimate}), and just north of that is the salt lake known as Mar Chiquita, where two squad players came from (Bolatti and Burdisso). The four Córdoba Province-born players all play professionally in Europe…Bayern Munich defender Martín Demichelis (a projected starter), and three who play in Italy: AS Roma defender Nicholás Burdisso, Palermo midfield wizard Javier Pastore, and Fiorentina midfielder Mario Bolatti. The last two, Pastore and Bolatti, both made their mark leading the medium-sized club Huracán to the brink of the 2009 Apertura title (they lost it to Vélez Sarsfield on the final day).

Thanks to the contributors to the pages at en.wikipedia.org, Argentina national football team.
Thanks to Fans Edge.com, for the photos of the Argentina jerseys.
Thanks to Zimbio.com, for several of the player photos.
Thanks to Demis of the Netherlands, for the Argentina and Rosario base maps, Demis Web Map Server.
Thanks to Sam Kelly, at Hasta El Gol Siempre site, for fact-checking and proof-reading, and for information on players.

February 14, 2010

2010 Copa Libertadores, Second Stage.

Filed under: Argentina,Copa Libertadores — admin @ 5:05 pm

copa_libertadores2010_second-stage_post.gif


Note- I still am having a few problems with my admin. I have got a handle on inserting images via code, but I can’t figure out how to make links to other sites.

Below are two sets of images relating to the Cup-Holders, Estudiantes de La Plata…

Estudiantes de La Plata. La Plata, Buenos Aires state, Argentina. 4-time Copa Libertadores champions.

Estudiantes won 3 straight Copa Libertadores titles, in 1968, 1969, and 1970. This squad featured Juan Ramón Verón. His son, Juan Sebastián Verón, a midfielder, began at Estudiantes, where he helped the club return to the Argentinian top flight in 1995, before moving on to Boca Juniors in 1996, where he played 17 games (3 goals), and was a team-mate of Diego Maradonna. Verón had always dreamed of playing for Sheffield United (his uncle Pedro Verde played there). However, it was to Italy he went shortly after making his international debut in the summer of 1996, when he was signed by Sven-Göran Eriksson at Sampdoria. After two seasons in Genoa with Sampdoria, Verón signed with Parma, with whom Verón helped win the Coppa d’Italia and the UEFA Cup in 1998-99. Sven Goran Ericksson again sought the talents of the playmaking midfielder, and brought Verón over to Lazio. With Lazio, Verón helped the Roman side win the Double in 1999-2000 (this was Lazio’s second and last national title).

Juan Sebastián Verón then tried his luck in England, but he didn’t have nearly the success he had in Italy, with tepid stints at Manchester United and Chelsea. The pace basically got the better of Verón in England. In 2004, Chelsea manager José Mourinho loaned out Verón to Internazionale, and after two years in this situation, Verón decided to return back to his and his father’s original club, in a sort of prodigal son role. Estudiantes were undergoing a giant disruption, because they were homelesss following the government ruling that banned wooden stands, and Estudiantes had 2 wooden stands at their ‘Estadio 1 y 57′ (aka Estadio Jorge Luis Hirschi). A waiver on the wooden stands ruling, which would have allowed Estudiantes to continue to play in the ’1 y 57′, was overruled by the mayor of La Plata, and this started the feuding between the local government and Estudiantes over the whole stadium issue.
Meanwhile, in his first year back with Estudiantes, Verón helped the club win it’s first national championship in 23 years, as the Pincharattas (the rat-stabbers) claimed the 2006-Apertura title. In the intervening 3 years, Estudiantes have played their home matches in 3 different venues, and currently are playing at the stadium of second-level club Quilmes (who are located in the southeast of Greater Buenos Aires, which puts them around 35 kilometers away from Estudiantes’ La Plata home). In spite of all this, in early 2009 the Estudiantes squad were able to keep their composure and progress through the stages of the Copa Libertadores, and after dispatching Uruguay’s Nacional 3-1 aggregate in the semifinals, Estudiantes were set to face Cruzeiro of Belo Horizonte, Brazil in the finals. Throughout the tournament, Estudiantes were powered by the field general Verón, and the goals of striker Mauro Boselli. And it was these two who were instrumental in the outcome, when, after a nil-nil draw in the first leg in La Plata, Mauro Boselli scored the winning goal in Brazil in the 78th minute, on a header, from a corner kick by Verón. Verón won MVP for the competition, and Boselli was top scorer, with 8 goals.

The stadium had began being rebuilt in August, 2008, and as the last photo (taken in August 2009) shows, most of the main structure is up. Verón has contributed some of his own funds toward the new stadium’s construction, as well as to the club’s nice new training facilities just north of La Plata. Observers note he is positioning himself as the future president of the club, after retirement. The stadium is projected to be ready for play in a not-completely-finished state in late 2010. So soon Estudiantes will be back home, playing in a new 30,000-capacity stadium, on the site of their old and distinctive ground, with the luxurious canopy of trees which flanks the exterior still intact.

estudiantes_veron_copa-libertadores.gif

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estudiantes_stadium.gif

Thanks to the contributors to the pages at es.wikipedia.org; I found the photo of the new stadium under construction there. There is also a nice blog covering the construction progress at the Estadio Tierra de Campeones’ , at estadiopincha.blogspot.com http://estadiopincha.blogspot.com/
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Thanks to Sam Kelly for help on this post. Sam’s work can be found at his excellent Hasta El Gol Siempre site, which covers the Argentinian scene (click on it at the Blogroll in the sidebar at right, at ‘hasta el gol siempre’), and at The Engache.com site (at the Blogroll on the right under ‘the engache.com’). Plus there is the Sam Kelly archive at ESPNSoccernet.com (on the Blogroll at ‘Sam Kelly @ ESPN soccernet’).

December 15, 2009

Primera División Argentina, 2009 Apertura: attendance map.

Filed under: Argentina,Attendance Maps & Charts — admin @ 4:31 pm

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Club Atlético Banfield are champions for the first time in their 113 year history.  On Sunday,  Banfield failed to get a result versus Boca Juniors at the Bombonera,  losing 2-0,  but second-place Newell’s Old Boys also lost,  to San Lorenzo 2-0.

From Sam Kelly at his Hasta El Gol Siempre site,  here is a review of the 2009 Apertura,  which includes a video highlight a nice Santiago “Tanque” Silva goal.  Silva,  of Banfield,  was leading scorer in the tournament,  with 14 goals  {click here  (‘Torneo Apertura 2009 in review’)}.

As champions,  Banfield will be making their third appearance in the Copa Libertadores in February.  Holders Estudiantes de La Plata will also be part of the 2010 Copa Libertadores,  along with Primera División 2009 Clausura champions Vélez Sársfield,  and the three clubs with the best average from the 2009 Clausura and 2009 Apertura…Lanús,  Colón,  and Newells’ Old Boys.

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On the map page,  at the top, right,  is a map of northern Buenos Aires Province.  This map segment shows the 15 clubs in the 2009-10 Primera División that are from Buenos Aires Province…13 clubs from Greater Buenos Aires,  and 2 clubs from the capital of Buenos Aires Province,  La Plata.  The small club crests in this map segment are for location,  while surrounding the Buenos Aires/La Plata map are club crests sized to reflect each club’s 2009 Apertura home average attendance (9 or 10 games).  The other 5 clubs in the 2009-10 Primera División Argentina are shown at the left of the main map,  with crests also sized to reflect their 2009 Apertura home average attendance …3 clubs from Santa Fe Province,  which features Argentina’s second city,  Rosario;  and two other clubs,  one from Tucumán Province (Atlético Tucumán),  and one club from Mendoza Province (Godoy Cruz). 

Average attendances are listed at the bottom,  right.  Note that these attendance figures come from numbers that are obvious estimates.  This is apparent with all the rounded and/or repetitive number sequences.  I am not complaining,  though.  I had had a real problem finding Argentine attendance figures,  and the Football-Lineups site I am using for gate figures is the only place I can find such figures,  so estimates are better than nothing at all.

Thanks to the contributors to the pages at en. and es. wikiedia.org {click here (set at Club Atlético Banfield page)}.   Thanks to Football-Lineups.com, for attendance figures {click here}.   Thanks to worldfootball.net {leading scorers, here}.   Thanks to www.demis.nl ,  for the base map of Argentina.   Thanks to CA Banfield official site {translated, here}.   Thanks to Footiemap site {click here}.

August 19, 2009

Argentina: Primera División, 2009-’10.

Filed under: Argentina — admin @ 9:23 pm

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Reigning champions,  from the 2009 Clausura competition,  are Club Atlético Vélez Sársfield.  The club now has 7 national titles,  with their previous crown won in the 2005 Clausura.  Vélez Sársfield are from the western edge of the city limits of Buenos Aires,  in the Liniers Barrio  [neighborhood].   Here is an article on Vélez Sársfield’s title win {click here (Goal.com, 6th July 2009)}.  The club saw a 62.7% attendance increase,  from 17,000 to 27,666 per game.   To see Primera División Argentina attendance figures,  from Football-Lineups.com…{click here}.

Gallery: CA Vélez Sársfield 2009 Clausura Champions.  Click on the image below, then click on new image once more,  for a sharper view.

velez-sarsfield_segment_2.gif

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There are two newly promoted clubs for the 2009 Apertura and the 2010 Clausura.  Chacarita Juniors are from just outside the northwestern city limits of Buenos Aires,  in Villa Maipú, Buenos Aires Province.  However,  their stadium is being rebuilt,  and they currently are playing back within the city limits,  here at Estadio Ricardo Etcheverry,  and at Vélez Sársfield’s Estadio José Amafitani {click here}. 

The club was formed in an anarchist library,  in the Chacarita Barrio,  in north-central Buenos Aires.  Chacarita Juniors won the 1969 Metropolitano,  but have spent the majority of their years in the lower divisions.  Chacarita’s last spell in the top flight lasted from 1999 to 2004.  Here is the architect’s rendering of Chacarita Juniors future home {click here (Google 3D warehouse, w/ translation available)}.  

The other promoted club is from the remote northwestern Province of Tucumán,  Atlético Tucumán.  The club replaces,  so to speak,   another Tucumán club who were just relegated…San Martin de Tucumán.  Apertura 2009/Clausura 2010 will be Atlético Tucumáns 10th season in the Primera División,  their previous spell being a single season in 1984-’85.  Here is the 3D image of Atlético Tucuman’s Estadio Monumental José Fierro  {click here (Google 3D warehouse)}.

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The Primera División Argentina begins this weekend;  Sam Kelly,  at Hasta El Gol Siempre, has the details…{click here (’2009-2010: The season is upon us’)}.

Here is an article on why the Primera División Argentina’s 2009 Apertura season start was delayed…{click here (‘A question of rights and wrongs’,  by Sam Kelly at ESPN Soccernet)}.

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Primera División Argentina kits {click here (Football11.net)}.

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Thanks to the Kit Design, by eroj site {click here (Vélez Sársfield post)}.   Thanks to Football-Lineups.com site,  for attendance figures and player information {click here}.  

Thanks to the contributors to the pages at Wikipedia {click here (set at Primera División Argentina 2009-10)}.   Thanks to Sam, at http://hastaelgolsiempre.com/ ,  for input and fact-checking.   And a huge thank you to  billsportsmaps.com commenter Thomas,  for finding Argentine attendance figures and sending me the address.  I will be making an attendance map of Primera División Argentina after the 2009 Apertura is finished,  around January.

September 5, 2008

Primera Division Argentina: 2008 Apertura map.

Filed under: Argentina — admin @ 2:04 pm

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In the Primera Division Argentina, the two newly promoted clubs are both from the interior of the country, and both have won no major titles.

Godoy Cruz are from the city of that name, in Mendoza Province, which is in the Cuyo Region of west-central Argentina {Click here, for Wikipedia’s entry on the Cuyo}.  The city’s population is around 183,000.    San Martin de Tucuman are from San Miguel de Tucuman, the largest city in northern Argentina (with a population of around 525,000).  It is the capital of the province of Tucuman {Click here}.  Tucuman Province features high, arid mountains in the western half, and dry plains in the east. 

San Martin de Tucuman have played 20 seasons in Argentina’s top tier.  The 2008-’09 season will be their 21st.  They played 18 seasons (1968-1985) in the old Campeonato Nacional (which was replaced by European-style seasons starting in 1985-’86).  The club also played in 2 more recent seasons in the Primera Division:  in the 1988-’89 season;  and in the 1992 Apertura and the 1993 Clausura (these two comprising the “whole” 1992-’93 season).  The 1989-’90 season was a “full” 38 game season.  The Argentine system of Apertura and Clausura “half” seasons (of 19 games) was implemented in the latter half of 1990, and continues to this day.  Each 19-game season, Apertura or Clausura, stands on it’s own, with a seperate title, yet is counted as half of a single season (meaning the league has just started the 08/09 season).  Relegations and promotions are implemented only after the Clausura, in the June of each year.

San Martin de Tucuman are not to be confused with San Martin de San Juan.  San Martin de Tucuman wear red-and-white vertical striped kits;  the just relegated San Martin de San Juan wear green-and-black striped kits.  [San Juan is about 375 miles south west of Tucuman.]

Godoy Cruz, who sport blue-and-white striped kits, are back in the top flight for their second season, after a year in the Argentine Primera Nacional B division.   The club was first promoted after the 2006 Clausura, and played in the Primera Division for the 2006 Apertura, and the 2007 Clausura, before losing in the Promocion playoff to Huracan, in June ’07. 

Primera Division Argentina current table {Click here (Soccerway site) }.

As to qualification for the 2009 Copa Libertadores {Click here.}, 2 of 5 Argentine clubs have qualified so far:  2007 Apertura winners Lanus (it was their first title),  and 2008 Clausura winners River Plate (their 34th title; their 33rd title since the professional era began in 1931).  The winner of the current season (’08 Apertura) will qualify,  as will the best two other clubs based on the last one and a half seasons (’07 Apertura, ’08 Clausura, and ’08 Apertura).  {Click here, for the list of all the South American and Mexican clubs that have qualified for the 2009 Copa Libertadores (from Wikipedia).}

Thanks to the Hasta El Gol Siempre site, for  information, and corrections {Click here}.

April 30, 2008

Argentina: 2008 Clausura- Zoom Map.

Filed under: Argentina,Zoom Maps — admin @ 6:03 pm

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The Argentine Superclasico: 4th May, 2008.  
By Sam Kelly  [of the "Hasta El Gol Siempre" site (http://www.hastaelgolsiempre.com).]

Sunday, 4th May will be a special day for football in 2008.  For perhaps the first occasion this year- and it’s likely to be one of the only occasions all year- the eyes of the wider footballing world will be paying real attention to a club match that isn’t taking place in Europe.  There are fierce rivalries all over the planet, of course,  at local and at international level,  but this weekend sees one of the biggest- possibly the  biggest, bar none.  Because this weekend, by the docks of Buenos Aires,  River Plate (top of the Argentine league, and in with a good shot at their first league title in four years)  visit Boca Juniors.  Only one country could have the gall to refer to it’s biggest rivalry not as a simple clasico,  but as the superclasico.

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The pair are Argentina’s two biggest clubs by a long way:  River claim slightly under one-third of football fans in the country;  Boca slightly over one-third.  And these figures are supported by numerous polls conducted independently of the two clubs,  by newspapers and other media outlets.  Popular myth has it that the rivalry was born when the two sides, both founded in the early years of the twentieth century in the dockside area of La Boca,  played a match to decide who would stay there, and who had to move out.  Quite why they couldn’t live side-by-side,  popular myth doesn’t explain.  Boca won the match, and River upped sticks,  first to Palermo, and then still further north to Nunez, where they’re located today.  The truth behind the move may have been a little more rooted in the availability of playing space,  at a time when Buenos Aires was undergoing a massive growth in population…but Boca did indeed win the first match between the clubs, 2-1, in August 1908.  Since then, it’s been 100 years of pure hatred.

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Historically, Boca have had the upper hand ever since,  and their fans refer to River as ‘hijo’  (or ‘son’)- claims of fatherhood are often the chosen method of lording it over one’s rivals in South America.   In 323 meetings, in all matches (including friendlies),  Boca have won 117 and River 105, with 101 draws.  In the league it’s a little closer:  65-61 in Boca’s favor, with 55 draws.  In recent seasons, River have been gradually clawing the deficit back a little, not having lost to Boca in competitive matches since the 2005 Torneo Clausura- since when River have a five match unbeaten league run against their great rivals.  During this same period, River haven’t won any trophies (their last was the 2004 Clausura title), and their victories in superclasicos have been the only consolation for the drought.

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This time around, that could be changing.  Under new manager Diego Simeone (whose short management career has already taken in one title win, with Estudiantes, in 2006),  River have a new effectiveness in their play, and such a good goalkeeper in Juan Pablo Carrizo that an (at times) incredibly shaky backline doen’t seem to affect results.  They’re joint top with Estudiantes, four clear of Boca after the latter lost another classico  this Sunday just gone, 1-0, to San Lorenzo.

River wins in La Bombonera are rare- the recent unbeaten spell has included a few draws there- but one this weekend could define the sides’ seasons,  even more so since the match is sandwiched between the two legs of the Copa Libertadores last sixteen. 

And speaking of the Copa, it could provide revenge for whoever comes out worse this weekend.  If both sides continue far enough, they’ll resume the planet’s fiercest rivalry in the Semi-Final, for the 3rd time this century.  Just think:  in Britain, the press ask us to believe Chelsea vs. Liverpool is exciting… 

**Click here, for an article on Boca Juniors’ stadium worries, by the BBC’s Tim Vickery.

Thanks to Sam Kelly, of course…check out his site (http://hastaelgolsiempre.com)

Thanks to the Colours Of Football site (http://www.colours-of-football.com), for the kits.

Thanks to (http://www.football-wallpapers.com).

Thanks to (http://www.daylife.com).

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