My Love for Football started in 1986 when in school just after my summer holidays, all I was hearing was Maradona. Dint have a clue about that but I heard he is really good and stuff and Argentina was implanted in my infantile mind and that’s the team I rooted in Italia 90 My First ever full fledged world cup.
Thanks for the timings most of it was midnight and I avidly followed Argentina and Maradona was the only name I knew. I later got acquainted with Burruchaga as the one who scored the winning goal in 1986. The one who stole my gullible heart and capture my attention was Claudio Canigia the thin lanky striker who scored winning goals against Arch rivals Brazil who I hated at the first site thanks to their irritating yellow color and also a late equalizer against Italy, both thru Maradona thru passes. I was crest fallen when I came to know that Canigia wont be part of the finals coz of the Yellow carded offence and painfully endured the boring finals of Italia 90 in which Argentina lost to West Germany thanks to a Klinsmann dive and an ensuing Penalty converted by Brehme in the 85th minute. Football became a love ever since and Argentina the team to follow.
I was elated in 1994 USA when Argentina made a tremendous display beating teams like Nigeria Greece in the earlier rounds but lost to Romania in the knock out stage as Diego Maradona was tested positive for a banned substance. Am sure like me the whole of India were deflated at the outcome of the Drug analysis. Rest was insignificant though I heard the tales of an Italia 90 upcoming hero Roberto Bagio and his goals and Italian comebacks from friends in college. I supported Italy in the finals just because the opponents were Brazil but something said that the arrogant Romario and co were a bit too much for Italy and it turned out that way with the divine ponytail missing a penalty in the finals of the world cup after almost single handedly getting them to the finals. I still remember Meenakshi Seshadri telling on DD that with a player like Roberto Baggio any one would root for Italy. The curse of Glory hunters I thought;
France 98 was memorable only because France beat Brazil in the finals. I loved when Argentina beat England on penalties and heard and saw a bit of Michael Owen, but I dint care then. It was again tough to see Argentina lose to Netherlands in Quarters this time after its most skillful player Ariel Ortega considered second Maradona landed himself in trouble with a RedCard offense and Dennis Bergkamp scored a Bergkamp special from a long pass to seal Argentina’s fate.
2002 Argentina were painfully eliminated from the group of Death after David Beckham redeemed himself from the error he committed four years ago against the same opponent and scored from the Spot Kick. Fact that he missed several other spot-kicks to be finally taken out of that responsibility is a different story but an English commentator always mentions the name of Beckham in the long list of famous players who missed from the spot likes of Maradona Platini, Baggio &&&& Beckham… phew…
By 2006 I was more of an English supporter but an Argentina well wisher. They I guess lost to Germany and it was a little painful to see them lose.
But now with Messi around and strikers like Aguero, Higuain, Milito, Carlos Tevez & wingers like Maxi Rodriguez & more than anyone else a defensive midfielder and a Liverpooldian at heart like Javier Mascherano at the helm, they are definitely looking threatening to go lot further in the tournament and hope they really finish deep, because if not Maradona the extremely talented bunch of names mentioned a while back deserve a world cup glory and none deserves better than Lionel Messi.
Vamosssss Argentina while my heart also supports England and feels neutral about old and regular horses like Italy Germany and the Netherlands but preferably no Brazil.
PS: Yesterdays thumping of South Korea purely coincidental not to be construed as the Glory Hunting Adrenaline rush...