Sunday, July 10, 2011

Venezuela on top

I do not know how it is to have Venezuelans on top of me. Maybe I should ask Brazil's and Paraguay's national teams? They are trying it right now!

Group B in the Copa América is on fire. The two huge favourites tied 2-2 earlier today in a match that Paraguay should have won. As for Argentina, this tournament is turning into a huge disappointment for the large collection of Brazilian superstars, who have obviously been more worried about getting fancy haircuts than preparing for this tournament! Most notable is Dani Alves, the Barcelona right-back. If anyone (including myself) criticises Lionel Messi for not being able to play without Xavi and Iniesta, a few comments should surely also go to Dani Alves, who today played, like we say in Danish, like "a broken arm".
He was pathetic, and Brazil can only thank Paraguayan strikers and a splendid Fred for not losing.
And for the first time ever, Venezuela is leading its group in front of the favourites of Brazil and Paraguay. In their first match, an organised and fighting Venezuelan side managed to play 0-0 with what is turning out to be one of the most disappointing Brazilian sides ever (I think that it has not been since 1966 that any Brazilian side has played their two first matches in a tournament without winning!), and a victory today against Ecuador could give the "Vinotinto" the first place in the group.
I think the coach, Cesar Farías, was a genious when surprisingly keeping Solomón Rondón outside the starting lineup, and instead using the much more versatile veteran, Giancarlo Maldonado.
Mr. Maldonado was splendid, and Venezuela played more openly. I was very positive to see that differently from many other teams in the tournament, they were taking many shots from the distance, and it was indeed also a long-range effort by Rodriguez that gave them the well-deserved winning goal!
Venezuela plays well; they have always been the Cinderella of South American football, but have already shown that they are a team not to be underestimated. I watched the match alone in my apartment in Caracas; would love to have celebrated with some Venezuelans, but that is surely too much to wish for in a country where still, most people have little knowledge about football, or know that they are the proud hosts to a talented and organised national team (just like the US!).

Cheers for la Vinotinto! I will have a Solera to celebrate!

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