International Academia

It may surprise those who’ve come to the world of Argentine football only in the last couple of years, but Racing Club do actually have a proud tradition within in the country’s footballing history. Known as La Academia, or ‘The Academy’, the Avellaneda club has a reputation for producing good young players, and on Thursday a deal was proposed by an investment group to buy the rights to five of Racing’s first team players. Also on Thursday, the Argentina futsal team progressed to the next round of the FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

Gabriel Mercado, José Shaffer, Franco Zuculini, Lihué Prichoda and Juan Ignacio Sánchez Sotelo are the players named by the businessmen, who offered Racing US$8 million in total. The group haven’t been named, but the offer was rejected by the club, who didn’t view it as good enough financially when taking into account the youth and promise of the players involved. Racing may be after funds in the wake of the Blanquiceleste exit, but they’re not yet that desperate, it seems.

In Brasilia, Argentina completed their Brazil 2008 group campaign with a hard-earned 2-1 win over Guatemala. The Central Americans were the better side in the second half, but the Albiceleste held on to the lead they’d established through a goal in the first half from Matias Luciux, and one early in the second from Fernando Wilhelm. Manuel Aristondo got a deserved consolation for Guatemala with moments left, but it wasn’t enough. Argentina finish second in Group C behind Ukraine, and go into a second round group against Russia, Paraguay and holders Spain. The other group consists of hosts Brazil, Ukraine, Italy and surprise package Iran.

Highlights are available here on the FIFA website.

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