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T&T Junior Boys team of Aaron Wilson, Luc O'Young and Joshua Maxwell missed out on a quarterfinal spot in the inaugural Pan American Junior Table-Tennis Championship after ending with a 0-3 record in Group B round-robin play in British Columbia, Vancouver

Thursday, June 30, 2016

I do not expect a football match to be described as rough, tough and sometimes ugly, as was the case with the Argentina and Chile clash in the final of the Copa American on Saturday night. 

Two teams that produced magnificent performances just 74 hours before the penultimate match, could not have planned that script. 

Argentina clobbered the USA 4-0 convincingly and Chile got the better of Colombia in the other semi-final showdown 2-0 to set up the mouth-watering contest at the MetLife Stadium in New Jersey. 

While there were portions where both teams showed they were the best in the tournament, the rough and tough behavior, brought to the field an opening chapter, filled with a rough and tumble approach that was not pretty.

The statistics did not read well in the foul column, neither did the yellow cards, especially as a result of arrogant and challenging comments to the referee who appeared to have had a preconceived idea with regards to his manner of quelling any incidents.

Maybe we should all remember that a referee has the challenging task of making on the spot decisions and face the wrath of millions who get a closer look through TV replays, without understanding the rules on all occasions, yet castigate officials. Few looked at the referee, in the context of what appeared to be a strategic approach by the Chileans to use their tackles on the Argentine #10 and arguably the world’s best player, Lionel Messi. Many opf teh tackles seemed more suited for rugby.

He may not have been expected to issue cards in the early stages, but the tackles came fast and furious, a feature which reduced the quality to shambolic nothingness.

In the middle of the aggression however, fans were still able to see a few exciting, attacking modes at both ends, the less coming from Chile. 

Have we missed the absolutely wonderful display of the two outstanding goalkeepers Bravo and Romero? Were we quick to point fingers at the referee when the players were committing the most errors?, especially in the areas of illegal play such as handling the ball deliberately, holding, tripping and pushing each other like boxers in a ring.

The game settled down when both teams had a player each ejected from the field. That was the time Argentina started to show their superiority, as Chile demonstrated their tactically strong defence. 

Spectators who were regularly criticizing the Argentine genius, regarding his failure to bring victory to his country at the senior level, may have succeeded in getting the message to him at a time when he felt it was an ideal opportunity to prove his worth and silence the critics. 

This change in mindset caused him to stray from his intelligent principles of instigating the passing game with his midfielders and go for more individual efforts, a task which was even more difficult than in a normal match. His long runs towards goal sometimes failed and whenever they appeared to create a chance to score, the left footed wizard, became tired and his shots at goal went hay wire.

Sixteen shots at goals for Argentina and four from Chile produced exciting affair, but it was the brilliance of the two keepers that made them players of the match. After 120 minutes-plus of football, penalties, with lady luck and strength of character, to settle the score.

Chile became victors, but the game still maintained the excitement and reputation that both teams demonstrated during the tournament.


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