The football that people like | Columnists | Sports

"There is a degeneration of taste," complains Ángel Cappa, referring to the aesthetic aspect of football. Certain. Reviewing the social networks,

“There is a degeneration of taste,” complains Ángel Cappa, referring to the aesthetic aspect of football. Certain. Reviewing the social networks, which have made it possible to press the feelings of the fan, especially the young fan, an evident contempt for beauty is noted. It is generational: it pleases the rough, the defensive, even the rough. If a defender hits and commits all kinds of outrages, he generates idolatry: “Always give it to me.” Beckenbauer or Bobby Moore, who were clean and elegant to defend, were lucky to act in the 60s, at this time they would have been treated as candid. If the one who proposes to play wins (for example, Guardiola), he is demerited to the limit of what is possible. “Win tournaments”, “It’s because of the checkbook”, “Let him look at Mourinho”. The smart one on the block, the smart one is the one who plays badly, but he wins. The Bible is the result.

However, all that building of thought collapses when we see a show like Argentina 3 – Italy 0, which strictly speaking should have been six or seven to nil. A recital that vindicated the South American game, its ancestral way of feeling it. Our passion for football comes from the artistic sense that the players born in this continent always gave it. It’s not about being dogmatic, there are different ways to play well; strength, power, bravery are also a form of beauty. Knowing how to defend, having a good tactical plan is essential. And without pressing you cannot currently compete. But there is no more sublime expression than the precise touch with mobility, the play from below, the intelligent pass, the dribbling, deception, the abduction of inspiration, all with a collective and offensive spirit. And with a goal. Because without crowning it is not complete, it is platonic football.

And the detractors of good football themselves know it. A clear example is the Boca fan: he confesses his adoration for his drive, his dedication, but places Riquelme, Maradona and Rojitas on his pedestal, three exquisite ones. In the soul of the fan there is no place for flintstones. That is, the aesthetic value is above all. The defender most loved by Number Twelve was Julio Meléndez, a Peruvian who took the ball from you like someone who steals your wallet on the subway, without you noticing. The greatest idol of Estudiantes de La Plata in its 117 years of existence is not someone who poked eyes, who delayed the game or pricked with pins, it is Juan Ramón Verón, a genius who played on tiptoes and threaded colossal dribbles .

The Argentine national team celebrated a new official title at Wembley. Photo: ANDY RAIN

It happens everywhere. In Uruguay, the claw is raised, which is seductive, by the way, but the claw alone does not fill stadiums, they are filled by the Rubén Paz, the Francescoli, the Recoba, the Suárez, Forlan and Cavani, all those giants of the tiny eastern country. The icon of Colombia is Pibe Valderrama, the one from Bolivia, Etcheverry, the one from Peru, Sotil, Cubillas, Paolo Guerrero… Nobody remembers a puncher. The most serious survey carried out in Brazilian sports journalism (by Placar magazine) on the most beloved coach in history revealed the winner -by demolition- to Tele Santana. He didn’t win any of Brazil’s five world titles, people didn’t care. Tele was total generosity, he gave them a ball show, he sent the team to the front and to play. He made them feel proud to be Brazilian. By the way: What is “playing football”…? Everybody knows.

There is also an Argentine way of playing soccer. It doesn’t always happen. Or rather, very occasionally. But there is. I try to remember a strong, beautiful and forceful Argentine National Team and one must go back in time, to the Basile.2 version, that of the 1991 Copa América or the 1994 World Cup. . However, this Wednesday against Italy has reached the most brilliant interpretation of what in Argentina is called “the great Argentine football”, or “the football that people like”. In other words: ball at ground level, very high technical condition to handle it, touch, dynamics, personality to maintain possession, offensive vocation, forcefulness, brand pressure to recover and firmness to defend, team play and individualities. All seasoned with energy.

“Football that people like” did not happen many times, because it is like finding a gold mine in the mountains. Surely it was seen in the 40s (the older ones told us), then in the 70s and a little in the 90s. But that style exists. And when it happens, we really enjoy it. That is black label, twelve years of aging, the elixir of this game, its maximum expression. The satisfaction was double because the Argentine soccer bath was given to Italy, consecrated European champion just ten months ago and that arrived with only 2 defeats in its last 44 games (because now it turns out that Italy is nothing). Whether he is in the World Cup or not is a detail, in the World Cup there will be Tunisia, Iran, Canada, Ghana and others who are nothing more than Italy. And because it was at Wembley, with the eyes of the world watching the festival. To regain respect and prestige. Without giving me a choice between Argentina always playing like this or winning the World Cup by playing badly, I chose the first option, without the slightest doubt.

Exactly seven days before the Argentine dance against the Azzurra, Kilyan Mbappé had declared: “Argentina and Brazil don’t play high-level matches to reach the World Cup. Football is not as advanced as in Europe”. He slipped the clutch. You may think that football started yesterday. But Brazil and Argentina are, once again, on a par with the Europeans, in a position to bring glory back to South America. Hopefully Uruguay can join this vindication train. Of course, nobody can guarantee that they will win the World Cup or maintain their level of play in five and a half months, but playing like this there is a greater illusion that they can do it.

The World Cup is the tournament with the greatest impact and gives eternal recognition to those who win it, although their football level is overestimated. Without going too far, the last one was won by France, a correct team that the history books will not deal too much with and that the poets will not sing about. (EITHER)