Monday, March 05, 2007

First Day Of Class

Alfio Basile brought together his home-based squad for the first time today in the Buenos Aires suburb of Ezeiza. As he gets his team ready for the national team's Copa America opening match against the United States, Coco held court at today's press conference.

Beyond what you'll find in this AP report, Basile made several comments concerning the upcoming months leading to the tournament in Venezuela. This is definitely a man who will say what's on his mind, damn the consequences.
  • Basile has asked the Argentine FA to set up at least two home friendlies between now and June, when Argentina will be facing Switzerland and Australia. The dates they are currently looking at are the two FIFA dates this month, the 24th and the 28th.
  • He told the press today that the Copa America is a higher priority than the U-20 World Cup in Canada. This means that Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero, Mauro Zarate, and Gonzalo Higuain are more likely to be playing in Venezuela than with players their own age in The Great White North.
  • Concerning Juan Roman Riquelme: "He's not here because he told me that he wanted to retire from international soccer. That doesn't mean that he won't play again."
  • What he came away with after the team's friendly win against France: "We were awesome at the back, we couldn't have played any better. We were lacking something in the offensive third, we didn't get behind them down the wings as much as I would have liked. We should have put them under more pressure."
  • Only 17 of the 21 selected players were able to train today. Rodrigo Palacio, Ezequiel Lavezzi, and Leonardo Ponzio were all out with minor injuries while Estudiantes phenom Jose Sosa was in Germany settling personal terms for what is believed to be a summer move to Bayern Munich. He is expected back by tomorrow and will train with the rest of the squad until Wednesday afternoon, when the players return to their respective teams.
  • He reiterated, again, that it is he, not anyone else, who picks the team. He wanted to make this perfectly clear, again.
Basile opens Argentine training camp [International Herald Tribune]


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