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Maradona: “Nigeria was like colliding against a wall”



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Argentina boss, Diego Maradona, discussed starting Maxi Rodriguez and Jonas Gutierrez, his exclusion of Juan Sebastian Veron, the pace of South Korea versus the physical nature of Nigeria, the brilliance of Leo Messi and some friendly advice for opposing defenders ahead of the upcoming match with South Korea in Johannesburg.

Maxi Rodriguez to Start

Maxi Rodríguez lo va a hacer muy bien y haremos descansar a Verón, procurando que juegue con Grecia y sino que vuelva en los próximos partidos…”

Además, se refirió a la continuidad de Jonás Gutiérrez en el equipo:

“Jonás hizo un partido bárbaro, por eso lo confirmé. Si Carlitos (Tevez) se tiró a la derecha fue porque Verón se me tiraba más adentro.”

Diego Maradona praying that God is not Brazilian
Diego Maradona praying that God is not Brazilian

“Maxi Rodriguez is going to do very well and will we rest Veron, making sure that he plays against Greece and that he returns for the following matches.”

Then he referred to the continuity with Jonas Gutierrez in his side:

“Jonas had a great game (against Nigeria) and for this reason, he will be starting. If Tevez shot from the right side it was because Veron was shooting more from the inside.”

Veron Out

Fue difícil la decisión de dejar a Sebastián afuera. Quiere jugar, un partido de Mundial no se lo quiere perder nadie pero está el tema del riesgo y de que la lesión se pueda agravar y yo no quiero que se termine el Mundial para Verón, lo necesito“.

“It was a difficult decision to leave out Sebastian. He wants to play. At a World Cup match, you don’t want to lose anyone. But it is the subject of the risk and that the injury could be aggravated and I don’t want the World Cup to end for Veron. I need him.”

On South Korea: Pace and Set Piecees

Su juego se basa en un bloque colectivo muy fuerte, son respetables pero nosotros vamos a salir a ganarles. No variaremos mucho. Sabemos que son muy rápidos y que apuestan mucho a la pelota parada, nosotros tenemos que tener mucha precisión en la mitad de la cancha y no perder balones para darles la posibilidad a ellos de salir rápido“.

“Its play is based on a very strong collective block. They are respectable but we are going to take the pitch to beat them. We won’t make many changes. We know that they are very fast and like to use set pieces. We must have a lot of precision in the middle of the pitch and not lose balls to give them the possibility for rapid counter-attacks.”

Diego Maradona with the hero of the Nigerian match, Gabriel Heinze
Diego Maradona with the hero of the Nigerian match, Gabriel Heinze

Difference between Nigeria and South Korea

La diferencia entre Nigeria y Corea está en la fuerza física. Con Nigeria cada choque era chocar con una pared, contra los coreanos es chocar 50 y 50 y tendrá la pelota el que tenga mejor posición. Pero vamos a ganar la pelota nostros cuando choquemos contra los coreanos“.

 The ultimate hands-on manager: Diego Maradona celebrates with Leo Messi
The ultimate hands-on manager: Diego Maradona celebrates with Leo Messi
“The difference between Nigeria and South Korea is physical force. With Nigeria, each challenge was like colliding against a wall. Against the Koreans, it’s 50/50 and the one who has better position will keep the ball. But we are going to win the ball when we challenge against the Koreans.”

On Messi and Advice for Opposing Defenders

Ninguno le llegó al 40% de lo que jugó Messi el otro día, por eso estoy tranquilo”.

Y les dio consejos a los defensores de los demás equipos:

“Jugate la vida gambeteando, no rompiéndole la pierna al rival. Los arbitrajes dejan mucho que desear“.


“Nobody has arrived at 40 percent of how Messi played the other day. For that, I am calm.”

And he gave advice to defenders of all of the other teams.

“Play like hooligans. Don’t break the leg of your opponent. The referees leave much to be desired.”

Spanish source: Clarin de Buenos Aires, June 16, 2010.

Steve Amoia is a freelance writer, editor and translator from Washington, D.C. He writes the World Football Commentaries blog. He has written for AC Cugini Scuola Calcio (Italian soccer school), Football Media, Keeper Skool and Soccerlens.

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Steve is a freelance writer, editor and translator from Washington, D.C. He was the founder of World Football Commentaries in 2006. He has written for AC Cugini Scuola Calcio (Soccer School), Football Media, Italian Soccer Serie A, International Herald Tribune 2006 World Cup Fan Blog, Keeper Skool and Soccerlens. Steve has also created three football-related sites: World Football, Italian Calcio and History of the Azzurri, and The Amoias of the Americas. Steve translated player and manager quotes from Italian and Spanish to English for Soccerlens during the FIFA 2010 World Cup.