BUENOS AIRES Argentina
(Xinhua) -- Argentinean fans gathered in
large crowds in two of Buenos Aires’ main squares on Saturday to
watch their football team make its World Cup debut against Iceland.
However, after a 1-1 draw, the fans’ happiness turned to
disappointment although they remained optimistic that Argentina
could beat their other Group D opponents, Croatia and Nigeria.
Eduardo Banegas, one of around 8,000 people watching the game in
San Martin Square, said that despite the draw he was very positive
about the team led by Jorge Sampaoli.
"The two teams played very well, the Icelanders were very brave.
"Argentina lost goal (chances), they’ll be there next time," he
He commented that the Argentinean players "did everything they
could" and that against Croatia "we will be fine."
For his part, Miguel Angel Gutierrez considered that Argentina
"played a good game ... but had no luck because Iceland went back
and did not leave their area."
"There is not only hope for the next game, I think we will reach
the final and I hope it’s against Germany so we can get our
revenge," he continued.
At the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, Germany beat Argentina 1-0 in
the final, through an extra-time goal by Mario Gotze.
Gutierrez was also sanguine about the penalty miss by Lionel
Messi, saying that "there is a lot of hope" placed on him.
"Stars have failed such as (Germany’s Franz) Beckenbauer,
(France’s) Michel Platini and even (Diego) Maradona," he explained.
Among the women in the audience, Sofia Fernandez said it was
"very emotional to see the World Cup," although she admitted "the
game could have been better."
She said the coach should have "brought in (striker Cristian)
Pavon far earlier, it would have been better."
Fernandez lamented Messi "having missed" the penalty but said
"there is always hope," while talking outside Buenos Aires’
Monumental Tower and the monument to the fallen during the Falklands
Minutes after the game began, the mayor of Buenos Aires, Horacio
Rodriguez Larreta, visited the area and predicted an Argentinean win
with Sergio Aguero playing a starring role.
The assembled masses erupted as one when Aguero scored in the
first half, before succumbing to disappointment when Alfred
Finnbogason equalized for Iceland and Messi missed his penalty.
Despite this letdown, the crowds will surely return when the team
plays against Croatia on June 21 and Nigeria on June 26.
Nordin Amrabat out for one
week, will miss Morocco-Portugal match
MOSCOW Russia (Xinhua) --
Morocco have confirmed Sunday that winger Nordin
Amrabat has been allowed out of hospital after suffering concussion
during their opening World Cup Group B game against Iran.
Amrabat, who played for Spanish club Leganes last season, was
injured in a clash of heads with Iranian midfielder Vahid Amiri
during the 1-0 defeat on Friday in Saint Petersburg and had to be
taken to hospital.
He spent Friday night under observation but was discharged on
Saturday and returned to Morocco’s training camp in Voronezh.
However, the Royal Moroccan Football Federation has issued a
statement saying he will not be able to play for at least one week,
meaning he is certain to miss Wednesday’s game against Portugal in
the Luzhniki Stadium and is doubtful to appear against Spain in the
final group match in Kaliningrad on June 25th.
The defeat to Iran in the opening game means that Morocco need to
achieve at least a draw against Portugal on Wednesday to keep alive
their hopes of progressing to the last 16.