Sudamericano U20: Monsters in the Basement
Whenever they played the packed football arenas of South America, the Ramones would bring down the house with punk proclamations like "I Don't Want to Go Down to the Basement" because "Something's down there."
Who in Argentina or Brazil would have thought they were foretelling the first-round tables of the U20 Championships?
One or the other of these perennial soccer powers might have a rough patch in a given year, but both at the same time?
Both have one scrawny point with one match to play. Both need wins to advance. Both have a tough task ahead. Argentina must confront a fierce Colombian side that would love nothing better than to knock them around in their own country while knocking them out. Brazil doesn't have it much easier, facing Venezuela and its stingy defense and then taking on a feisty Peru side playing inspired football in front of the gobsmacked Argentinian crowds.
It isn't a lack of talent causing the lackluster performances. Ironically, it might be the abundance of it. As often occurs in such sides, there are too many stars and not enough role players. Both Argentina and Brazil have been diabolical on defense, and their offenses have been disjointed to the point of stifing any hint of creativity. The most humiliating example was Chile's 1-0 triumph over Argentina, even though they were two men down. Amazingly, Argentina never even looked like scoring.
Here are their remaining schedules, with all games at 15.00 ART:
- Wed 16 Jan ... Brazil v Venezuela
- Thu 17 Jan ... Argentina v Colombia
- Fri 18 Jan ... Brazil v Peru