The HEGS 2014 Premier League summer transfer window roundup

That’s the northern hemisphere summer, of course. Or the boreal summer transfer window, as La Nación‘s sports site put it on Monday. I noted last week that the number of Argentines moving to English Premier League clubs this year seems to have been quite an increase on previous windows (there are ten in all), so decided to do a post summarising all of them, with a couple of brief sentences on each. I’ll do the same for the couple of players from elsewhere who have also spent significant periods playing club football in Argentina. Do not expect anything deep and meaningful, but I’ll try and give some sort of a reaction to each and all of them. Transfers are listed per club, in alphabetical order.

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Posted in Alexis Sánchez, Angel Di María, Argentine football, Argentine national team, Esteban Cambiasso, Marcos Rojo, Mauro Zárate, Transfers | Tagged ,

The Argentine FA are giving everyone headaches again

Last Wednesday, AFA president and FIFA vice-president Julio Grondona died. I wrote about it here, for ESPNFC. Everyone knew that the organisation was in for a few changes, and it will be a while before we really get a handle on who has control at the new-look AFA. For the moment, though, Argentinos Juniors president Luis Segura, as the AFA’s previous first vice-president, has taken charge. On Tuesday a bunch of details came out which… well, you’ll see.

First, AFA spokesman Ernesto Cherquis Bialo told reporters on Tuesday evening that, although the idea had previously been to hold elections for a new president in October this year, Segura has been ‘unanimously approved by the AFA board to see out the rest of what would have been Grondona’s mandate.’ That means Segura will be AFA president (and take the association’s CONMEBOL seat as FIFA VP) until October next year.

That was all Cherquis said to the TV cameras; the other stories regarding the announcements are from journalists tweeting what they’ve been told following this evening’s board meeting. A committee of directors will on Thursday meet with former Paraguay, Newell’s Old Boys and Barcelona manager Gerardo Martino and offer him the national team job. Whilst I was writing this post, Luis Segura himself confirmed this. This isn’t a surprise at all; Martino is by a distance the outstanding candidate for the job, bearing in mind that other favourites such as José Pekerman and Diego Simeone are currently employed and want to respect their contracts.

And now rumours have come out regarding what the Primera División will look like next season. When it kicks off this weekend (it was meant to be last weekend, but Grondona’s death meant a cancellation of all footballing activities in the country for seven days), the Primera will witness one last short championship before expanding to thirty teams and a year-round calendar in February. At least, that was the plan before Grondona kicked the bucket.

What’s emerged this evening is a different plan – and it should be stressed these are only possibilities at the moment. It seems that with clubs uneasy about a year-round calendar, the first half of 2015 could now see another ‘transition championship’, this time with thirty teams, before the previously-planned season-long thirty-team championship begins in August 2015, to run through to May 2016.

In other words, one of the main reasons for even having a transitional championship – switching to a calendar more in keeping with the southern hemisphere seasons – could be going out of the window, whilst the other reason – the stupid reason of expanding the Primera to thirty teams who’ll play each other only once per season(!) – would remain.

Players who’ve recently renewed or extended contracts (or who’ve just signed for a club) have contracts running through to December 2015. That, if this second change did happen, would be halfway through the season. Argentine football would still have a gap of a couple of months during the winter (when, certainly compared with northern Europe, it’s relatively mild and games could definitely take place) as well as a gap of a couple of months in the summer (when it’s stinking hot and playing competitive matches would be actively dangerous).

Confused? Well, at least you don’t have to write about it…

Posted in AFA, Argentine national team, Luis Segura, Primera A | Tagged , , , ,

Riquelme returns to Argentinos Juniors

Oh, hello. It’s been a while, as it normally is. I shan’t bore you with more promises of more frequent updates this time, I’ll just post this one and we’ll see what happens next, shall we? The Argentine Primera kicks off a week on Friday, and it will do so without Juan Román Riquelme, who’s finally left Boca Juniors and returned to Argentinos Juniors. I’ve written about it for ESPNFC, and you can read the article here.

If that link takes you to a ‘pick your language’ splash page, then select English, allow the home page to load, leave that tab open and click the link above again. It’ll load okay the second time round.

Posted in Argentinos Juniors, B Nacional, Juan Román Riquelme, Other football sites | Tagged , ,

Argentina v Bosnia-Herzegovina: a couple of World Cup previews

The day is finally upon us. I type at 4am on Sunday, 15th June 2014 – although I have yet to go to bed, for a significant portion of my readership Argentina’s World Cup opener against Bosnia-Herzegovina in the new Maracanã is already ‘today’. So, ahead of this first test, what are the key points, and where on the pitch are the key battles going to be fought? I’ve got a couple of previews already online.

  • First, have a read of this piece on Club Metro, in which I take a look at the tactical options open to manager Alejandro Sabella, and consider the significance of the 2-0 win Argentina recorded in St. Louis last November in the sides’ most recent meeting.
  • Then check out this one on ESPNFC, in which Bosnia-Herzegovina correspondent Sasa Ibrulj and I give our opinions on both sides’ strengths and weaknesses, and finish up by trying to predict the result (it’s just possible Sasa knows a bit more about Argentina than I do about Bosnia-Herzegovina).

Since ESPNFC’s redesign, some links from external sites seem to have gone a bit funny, so if the second link above doesn’t work, go to their homepage (, and do a search for ’50-50 Argentina Bosnia’ or similar, and it should pop up. And please, if you like either (or both!) of these pieces, feel free to share them!

Posted in Alejandro Sabella, Argentine national team, Lionel Messi, World Cup | Tagged , , ,

The World Cup starts today! So apropos of nothing, here’s the whole of the 1986 final

For no other reason than I found it on YouTube a couple of nights ago and thought it would be fun to share for those who want to fill some time whilst waiting for Thursday’s opening ceremony and Brazil v Croatia, here’s the final of the Mexico ’86 World Cup, played between Argentina and West Germany in the Estadio Azteca. I have been toying with the idea of searching for and posting some historical Argentina highlights/matches from past World Cups during this year’s tournament, so this might be the first of several such posts. This video’s almost the entire Argentine TV coverage of the event. Enjoy (and if you’re the chap who uploaded it, muchas gracias!).

Posted in Argentine national team, Diego Maradona, History, World Cup | Tagged , , ,

Independiente return to the Primera with a 2-0 tie-break victory over Huracán (video)

Wednesday saw one absolutely titanic clash before the much more minor business of the Brazil 2014 World Cup gets underway. Having finished level on points during the 2013-14 B Nacional season, Independiente and Huracán had to play a tie-breaker in La Plata to decide which side claimed third place in the league, and with it the final promotion spot to next (half-) season’s Primera División. Independiente won 2-0, getting a bit of a break in the second half when, at 1-0, Huracán had a legitimate goal ruled out for offside. The goals are here.

Independiente 1-0 Huracán (Zapata)

Independiente 1-0 Huracán (Ábila disallowed goal)

Independiente 2-0 Huracán (Pizzini)

Posted in B Nacional, Goal videos, Huracán, Independiente | Tagged , , , ,

Where to find me during the World Cup

Hello. You might have heard there’s a football tournament being played during the next month. You’ll also have noticed, if you’re a frequent visitor to HEGS, that I’m crap at updating it, even with links to articles. So, here’s the idea: I’m going to try and post links to pieces I write during the World Cup, but as I’m lazy at that I can’t promise to keep it up. As such, just in case, I’m going to tell you now where you can find me.

  • First and most easily, look on Twitter. Twitter is fast, and easy, and fun, and if I’m awake and at home I’m probably connected to it, so I post much more frequently there than here, these days. If you’ve got an account you can follow me, but if you’ve not you can still see what I’m tweeting. To do both, just go to my profile. Here it is.
  • I will of course be writing regularly throughout the tournament for ESPNFC; the new layout takes some getting used to, but navigating to the Argentina section is easy enough. Just hover over the ‘teams/groups’ options at the top of the site and click ‘Argentina’.
  • I’ll also be writing Argentina match preview and review pieces for Club Metro, the football blogs section of the UK free newspaper Metro’s website. I’ll be covering Argentine hopes and expectations as the tournament progresses.
  • You can also find me in the World Cup section of the Daily Telegraph website, with an article on Uruguay pre-tournament and possibly more to come during the competition if they progress.
  • As well as all this, keep an eye out on Thursday for the Hand Of Pod World Cup preview, in which we’ll be discussing what we expect from Argentina in this tournament (and also talking about what happens in Wednesday afternoon’s promotion tie-breaker in the second division, in which Independiente play Huracán to decide the final spot).

Posted in Argentine national team, Other football sites, World Cup | Tagged , ,

Weekend review: ¡River Campeón! and a frankly ridiculous relegation endgame (video)

I’m going to quickly surmise Sunday’s action from the relegation and title battles. First things first: River Plate are the new champions of Argentina, claiming their thirty-fifth Primera División title overall and their first since their return to the Primera in 2012, thanks to a 5-0 thrashing of Quilmes in the Estadio Monumental on Sunday evening. For drama, though, we had the relegation battle. At 3pm on Sunday, the following matches kicked off: Godoy Cruz v Racing; Colón v Olimpo and Arsenal v Atlético de Rafaela. Godoy had a point more than Colón and Atlético, so the maths, compared with the normal division and multiplication required by Argentina’s system, were quite simple.

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Posted in 2014 Torneo Final, Goal videos, River Plate, Vélez Sarsfield | Tagged , , ,

Tevez’s exclusion, and why Argentina won’t miss him at the World Cup

With the World Cup just around the corner, ESPNFC are ramping up coverage of each of the national teams, and you’ll find their homepage for all 32 blogs here. I’m playing my part in writing for their Argentina team blog, of course, and following Tuesday’s 30-man longlist announcement, I’ve written a piece for them on why Carlos Tevez’s exclusion really wasn’t as surprising as lots of people seemed to think, why Argentina won’t miss him in Brazil, and why he’s very much not been left out to accommodate Franco Di Santo. You can read it here.

Posted in Alejandro Sabella, Argentine national team, Carlos Tevez, Other football sites, World Cup | Tagged , ,

Argentina World Cup squad: preliminary list confirmed

After an interminable television build-up which saw singing presenters, a chef handing Alejandro Sabella and AFA officials finger food and an awful lot of comments about how TV Pública will show ‘the whole World Cup to the whole of this beautiful country’ (don’t mention that they’ve only got 32 of the games live, with the other 32 to be shown on delay), Alejandro Sabella’s preliminary list of 30 for Argentina’s Brazil 2014 World Cup preparations has finally been confirmed. There are one or two slight surprises – Manchester City’s Martín Demichelis is called up for the first time since an error away to Bolivia in qualifying, whilst River Plate’s Gabriel Mercado gets an unexpected place on the list – but the 25 or so we’d have expected are all there. Read on for the list.

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Posted in Alejandro Sabella, Angel Di María, Argentine national team, Lionel Messi, Martín Demichelis, Sergio Agüero, World Cup | Tagged , | 2 Comments