Monday, 7 January 2008

Classic Colombia and the Rocky Horror Show

Seeing as how romance has been the theme of this weekend’s football – along with heart, grit, giant-killing and pretty much every quality in football aside from skill and technique – I thought I’d draw attention to a video that deserves plenty of views.

For those who didn’t catch it on the Guardian’s website this week, this is a brilliant ten minutes detailing Colombia’s 5-0 World Cup qualifier victory in Buenos Aires back in 1993. They beat an Argentina side that still had many faces from the team that reached the World Cup final of 1990, not to mention some of the biggest rising stars in World football at the time.

Whatever their squad though, Argentina were perennial favourites against the Colombians. Despite the fact that they had similar populations, Buenos Aires’ heavy British influence of the late 19th and early 20th century resulted in a country obsessed with the game. Colombia were always minor players in South America. Indeed, they only entered qualification rounds for the World Cup from 1958 onwards, while Argentina had a record that stretched back to their 4-2 defeat against Uruguay in the inaugural final of 1930.

But, as many of you might be thinking, history smishtory. This was a game between two of the glamour sides of the early ‘90s. The insane brilliance of Asprilla, Rincon and Valderrama against the guile of Batistuta, Redondo and Ortega. Beats an Andy Townsend versus Paul Ince midfield battle any day.

It was the scoreline rather than merely the victory that made the headlines across the globe. At last Colombia were associated with a major story in this part of the world that didn’t have anything to do with cocaine or kidnapping. Of course we all know what came next, from Pele’s prediction they’d win it all at USA ’94 through to the disastrous opening defeats and of course Andreas Escobar’s grisly end outside a nightclub.

Whatever the aftermath though, this is still remembered in Colombia as their finest moment. For us it’s Ray Houghton against Italy in the Giants Stadium (or perhaps any of Bonner v Romania; Houghton v England; or Keane hat trick v Faroe Islands… well maybe not the last one). For Northern Ireland it’s Gerry Armstrong against Spain in 1982. But frankly, this was a 5-0 win with style against a dirty Argentinean side in their own backyard with Maradona looking on in amazement. Therefore, it plain beats the shit out of anything we’ve ever done. Viva Colombia indeed Carlos.

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As for the FA Cup, I avoided the results on Saturday and managed to quite enjoy Match of the Day. Coventry’s win over Blackburn and Everton’s defeat at home to Oldham were obvious highlights. The fact that a guy called Rocky delivered a last second knock out blow was also most welcome.

Liverpool, as anyone with eyes will tell you, were absolutely atrocious yesterday. I vented my disgust at Dirk Kuyt over at Mal’s blog earlier so I won’t go over it again. Fair play to Luton though. Crap town (and yes I have been there so it’s not just random nastiness here) but great fans and they fully deserve the replay. Anyone who can remember the classic 3-2 win over Arsenal in 1988 will always have a bit of soft spot for them anyway.

Okay, before I get washed away in a sea of nostalgia, I shall sign off.

Later, JJ

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2 comments:

Mark said...

should we really be hoping luton are saved, i mean, they shafted newell when he exposed bungs, the fa went to town on them for various illegal activities - see the wiki here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luton_Town_F.C.#2007-2008_season

JJ said...

Yeah I suppose the current incarnation is vastly different from the side of Kingsley Black and Ashley Grimes. Romantic Luton is dead and gone.