Interview with Allyson Latta

Friday, July 13, 2007

The Luck of the Draw

I have a love/hate relationship with the Argentinian side. Gabriel Batistuta has always been one of my favourite players - if not my favourite; Argentina has been England's nemesis on more than one occasion in World Cup play and when I'm rooting for my national team a segment of my loyalty lies with my birthplace England, another with my folk's birthplace and my dad's former national team - Scotland, and of course there's my loyalty to the country whose soil I live on, Canada - it's a fine balance. Usually, it's England I'm behind and I have sat in the stands amidst good-natured Argentinian fans at World Cup events of the past and watched them kill my team. They are sly and fast and often far too bloody good. They have dominated World Cups, both U-20's and the big guys, since before many of us were born. In short - they frighten me and in yesterday's game against Poland, Argentina's youth team were no exception.

Last night's pitch was full of eleven sturdy Polish players and eleven Diego Maradonas. The ball was an extension of the young Argentinians' sweeping feet, which at times didn't even seem to be touching the ground, they appeared to communicate telepathically, eyes never leaving their target and it all seemed so effortless. Whose feet move that fast and skillfully other than perhaps Barishynikov's, Secretariat's, or Muhammed Ali's - Maradona's, Batistuta's. Frightening. And doesn't it figure that the nemesis is playing one of my favourite teams in this competition, the dazzling and seemingly unstoppable Mexican side. Sunday's game, Mexico vs Argentina is going to be a final in itself, and sadly one of the two most spectacular teams in this U-20 World Cup will be heading home trophy-less. That's the luck of the draw.

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