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The Best Match of the Year

August 6, 2010

The Argentine D'Alessandro: 100% heart!

Wow!

That’s all I have to say after last night’s match between Sao Paulo FC and Internacional, at the Morumbi Stadium in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Both teams fought incredibly hard for a spot in the final of the Copa Libertadores, and in the end, despite losing this second leg, Internacional advanced due to a 2 x 2 aggregate score (they won the 1st leg 1 x 0 at home last week). What made this match so great were the pace, the commitment of the players, the passion of the fans present at the stadium – cheering their heroes on loudly all night long – and, of course, the level of technique presented by the athletes. Everything was top notch! Indeed, much better than any World Cup game I saw from South Africa! That’s right, much better than any match Brazil, Germany, Holland and Spain (certainly Spain, since I find them boring being belief) played in South Africa.

Alright, fine, Xabi may be (much) better than Tinga, but what I mean by the ‘best match of the year’ has to do with something that was evidently present at the Morumbi last night, and that most teams forgot at home when they went to South Africa for the Word Cup: fun!

Inter and Sao Paulo played truly beautifully last night. Hernanes (Italy-bound, in his last match with Sao Paulo) and D’Alessandro were both superb. Such passion, such skill…amazing. Indeed, ‘passion’ played more of a supporting role in South Africa two moths ago. Uruguay perhaps was the only nation that bothered to use their hearts to make up for any lack of technique when they played big guns like Holland and Germany. And even though they lost against those countries, they left the match with their heads held high – because one could clearly see that they were 100% committed to the cause – and the fun – always.

And that’s what true South American football is all about: commitment.

Players from South American leagues are either too young or on the eve of retirement. The mature and more ‘productive’ part of their lives are spent – if indeed they are considered to be ‘very good’ players – in Europe. It is in the Old World where we get to see football at its highest level, in competitions like the Champions League, Serie A of Italy, and La Liga of Spain, for instance. That is where the money is. That is where the best of the best always end up. That is where technique and talent seem to find perfect balance. But that’s not where the fun always seems to be…

For FUN and innovation, I turn to the leagues of Brazil, Argentina and Colombia!

And that’s what we got last night at the 2nd leg of the semi-final between SPFC and Inter: pure joy! Young players trying to be something more than just “promising” stars, and veterans trying to reassure everyone that they ‘still got it’!

The result was glorious: attacking football! A spectacle. Exactly what sports should be all about!

RB

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Peteca permalink
    August 6, 2010 8:13 pm

    Glad you mentioned Colombia. Same lives. That’s the league I turn to when I want to see football played in truly the right spirit. Pure joy. I don’t follow the league or any particular team, but when I flick on a Dimayor match, I can’t turn it off. Fun indeed.

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