Nicaraguan Women´s Soccer Team beat Cuba in Second Game of the Friendly Match

Nicaragua women's soccer squad beat 2-1 Cuba in the second and last friendly match these two sides held at Havana´s Pedro Marrero stadium.

The visitors opened the score at the 25th minute when Cuban goalkeeper Katherine Montesinos couldn´t keep a header and right winger Yensi Aguirre took the rebound and sent the ball home from close range.

At 45´, left winger Sheyla Flores starred a magnificent play when dribbling past two local defenders to then beat Montesinos through a tremendous shot, thus setting the score 2-0.

In the second half, the Cuban coach Reiniel Bonora made some substitutions as he had lined up several not-regular players and his team noted the improvement and at 75´, Nicaragua´s defender scored an own goal, but the visiting side didn´t collapse, as in the first match, and managed to maintain the score 2-1.

Last Tuesday, Cuba won 4-2 the first of these two matches after starring a tremendous comeback in the second half as they were losing 1-2 at half time.

  • Published in Sports

Cuba: Soccer Fans and Where to Find Them

Let’s imagine for a moment, only for a moment that the city is a jungle that there are trees instead of buildings and for the chirping of birds we have the honking of old American cars.

This jungle, of course, has its own animal species: beautiful, exotic, colorful and dangerous. But out of the entire urban biosphere there’s a particular specimen, a new one that little by little has earned its place among the noisiest beasts in the environment. In Cuba, where globalization seems to have sunk in like a roof leak, there are already these extraordinary beings who live match after match and feed of goals. Soccer addicts are undeniable part of our social fauna and, although in the world they are called "fans", "hooligans" and "ultra", those here prefer to call themselves fanatics.

Sub-species

Soccer fans in Cuba are not on the brink of extinction at all; they are rather in their peak, although they are far from being a plague yet. Just like there are different species of cats or spiders there are also different classes of soccer fanatics, which usually divide in Barcelona Fans, Real Madrid Fans, followers of the Bayern Múnich and those who support a team from the Premier League or the Italian Calcio. Nevertheless, it’s the Barcelona Fans and Real Madrid Fans who proliferate around these days.

The unstoppable growing number of fans of both teams is a limitless phenomenon. In the last years, specialists worldwide have noticed a huge growth in the ranks of these two packs in detriment of others. For many, the origin of this overpopulation is due to the majestic presence of two male alphas: Christian Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. In the jungle, as everyone should know, the male alphas usually impose by the "survival of the strongest". But as soccer must not be of violence (unless the faults committed in the field), we could assure that this law is translated for these born leaders in talent, skill, elegance and omnipresence in the media.

Natural Habitat

At least in Cuba, soccer fanatics are easily identifiable. Their natural habitat is usually corners, parks or any field, may that be grass or pavement, as long as the ball can roll without problems. Certainly there is nothing more appealing for them than a television broadcasting a soccer match.

To better understand these fanatics you must study them in full action, in their ideal ecosystem, where they express their wildest nature. If we talk about an important match, one that defines a tournament or that pits historical rivals. Previous the television broadcast, the Cuban soccer animal bet all kinds of things, review shortly the times his team has won over the other one and, lastly, he uses his premonitory skills to predict the result of the match. During the game they just jump off their chairs to scream, and fruitlessly speak to the TV screen. Once the whistle indicates the end of the match, if he wins, his main duty is humiliating the opposing fanatic. In the event of losing, then there will be the warning of a sure revenge.

Physical characteristics

The physical characteristics of this species are quite variable, to the point that they can sometimes be mistaken with the rest of the human kind. However, there is a small detail that gives them away: the outfit. The fanatics walk around wearing their soccer T-shirt and the crest of the team on their chests. But T-shirt are expensive and, wear out in the end. A few lucky ones ask their relatives or friends to bring them a t-shirt from abroad. Other more radical decide to turn their colors permanent and tattoo their skin. The crest is something sacred for them which they respect and love, as if it were a religious symbol. They pray to it in search of goals and, when the goal is scored, it’s mandatory to kiss it feverishly, to thank it, to tighten the muscles and raise his arms to the sky.

Wild Behavior

Warning! in the event of facing a soccer fanatic you should know, first of all he doesn't have a “favorite team”. No. The beast in question has "a team", or better, HIS TEAM. In his head he believes that the club (or national team) is his property and he will refer to it as HIS. This behavior leads him to assume an entire bunch of responsibilities: to defend against detractors and enemies, to suffer the defeats, to sing the victories and tell them among friends like epic battles that for their historical accuracy and detail would rival Homer himself.

There are few things in this world compared to a goal, or at least that believes a soccer fanatic. In his mind the goal is like an orgasm, a spasm with heart arrhythmia included, the glorious culmination of comings and goings of fulfilled expectations and disappointments. He celebrates it as if he had scored and with the burning desire of being in the skin of players. So don't be scared if you see some rapture of ecstasy in some specimen, because that could be his less harmless behavior. Of course, if his team scores.

Predators and Preys

Some specialists affirm that soccer fanatics is a specie introduced that has altered the domestic ecosystem, becoming natural predators of baseball followers. However, the Cuban sport biosphere has not suffered any change, or at least none associated to the boost of “soccer”. Baseball is and will always be the national sport, the very existence of hot corners, the homelike ritual that brings the family together in front of the television. The recent National Baseball Series has proven that, where soccer fanatics either those of Barcelona or Real Madrid have worn the Industriales, Las Tunas or Granma T-shirt. The scientific community should not be based on groundless fears, since baseball is the Cuban fiber that gives certain qualities to the soccer animal.

Evolution  

Soccer fanatics in Cuba which as every being is victim of evolution would gladly mutate his wild nature of television spectator and neighborhood player for that of the regional "fan". He would not hesitate to wear over his T-shirt of European clubs that of the provincial team and cheer from the bleachers with greater enthusiasm than at home. But reality conspires against the Darwinian designs, because both the stadiums and the national tournaments alike are missing the minimal conditions to start a proper competition. Only a few improvements to those forgotten fields and turned into amazonic jungles, and maybe something promotion, to attract that mass of curious characters among which, with pride, I include myself.

  • Published in Specials

Brazil leads FIFA rankings, Iran best in Asia

Brazil has taken over at the top of the FIFA rankings for the first time since 2010. 

After losing Lionel Messi to a four-match ban, Argentina lost 2-0 at Bolivia last week and dropped to No. 2. 

World Cup winner Germany is still No. 3, followed by Chile and Colombia. South American teams tallied more ranking points last month by playing two World Cup qualifiers. European teams played one. 

European champion Portugal is No 8, while Switzerland entered the top 10, up two to ninth, one ahead of above Spain. 

Mexico climbed one to No 16 and leads CONCACAF teams. The United States climbed seven to No 23. No 19 Egypt leads African teams, and No 28 Iran is Asia's best. 

World Cup host Russia fell one to No 61.

  • Published in Sports

Diego Simeone Chosen Best Soccer Coach of 2016

Argentinean Diego Simeone received the Award for Best Head Coach at Club Level of the year 2016, an award annually given by the International Soccer Federation of Statistics and History.

Diego Simeone is still making history as head coach of Spanish team Atletico de Madrid, and now the team he coaches is an alternative to the power showed by other teams, such as the Real Madrid and FC Barcelona.

Simeone got 113 votes to get the award, beating coaches like French Zinedine Zidane (Real Madrid, 108 votes) and Italian Claudio Ranieri, from the Leicester City (England), who got 86 votes.

In the category of National Teams Portuguese Fernando Santos was the chosen one, since he led the Portuguese National team to the title of the Euro Cup this year.

  • Published in Sports

Messi and Umtiti close to fitness for vital forthcoming games

MADRID, Oct. 6 (Xinhua) -- FC Barcelona are working hard to recuperate injured duo of Leo Messi and Samuel Umtiti for their forthcoming games at home to Deportivo la Coruna and Manchester City.

Messi has been sidelined for two weeks after suffering a groin strain during Barca's 1-1 draw at home to Atletico Madrid, while Umtiti has been out for a similar amount of time with a ligament injury in his left knee.

Although Barca's 4-3 defeat away to Celta Vigo on Sunday was down more to defensive and goalkeeping errors than Messi's absence, the fact is that the Argentinean is a talisman for his side.

His ability to create chances around rival penalty areas and pull defenders out of position is vital to Barca and his presence seems to generate confidence among his companions.

Meanwhile before his injury Umtiti had quickly established himself as first choice central defender alongside Gerard Pique at the club and neither Javier Mascherano or Jeremy Mathieu, who scored a very avoidable own goal in Vigo, have looked comfortable in recent games.

Both Messi and Umtiti have worked on the training pitch in recent days to put the final touches to their recoveries and although Messi spent Thursday in the gym, the current international break gives him a further nine days to recover.

Barcelona entertain Deportivo in the Primera Liga on October 15 in a game they are clear favorites to win before welcoming Manchester City to the Camp Nou on October 19.

The visit of the team coached by former Barca boss, Pep Guardiola is likely to be vital in deciding which side finishes top of their qualifying group and ideally Barca coach Luis Enrique would like to see both Messi and Umtiti in his starting 11. 

  • Published in Sports

Soccer Icon Maradona: Argentina 'On its Knees' Thanks to Macri

Maradona criticized Macri in an interview with Victor Hugo Morales, marking the soccer star's legendary goal against England on June 22, 1986.

Legendary soccer star Diego Maradona criticized Argentine President Mauricio Macri in an interview on the local Canal 5 Noticias Wednesday, saying the South American country is “on its knees” in the face of neoliberal economic policies and censorship of the press just half a year into the new conservative government’s mandate.

RELATED: Soccer Legend Maradona Blasts Argentine President Austerity Policies

Maradona commented in a conversation with C5N’s Victor Hugo Morales—who narrated the soccer star's legendary goal against England in 1986—that Argentina finds itself in a situation “where everyone wants to go shopping but they can’t.”

Maradona also criticized Macri’s move to gut the state’s commitment to a free press, citing the president's decision to axe teleSUR from the air.

“Getting rid of teleSUR is a shame,” he said.

Last month, the country’s inflation hit the highest rate seen since 2002 in the aftermath of the historic debt default that epitomized the South American country’s economic crisis.

When Morales asked what the soccer hero thought about Macri’s neoliberal economic policy and whether he sees potential for the situation to get better, Maradona argued that it’s not likely.

“I don’t think anything can change,” he said, mocking the fact that Macri had to “suspend his agenda” this week after injuring his knee playing a game of paddle as an example of the government’s likely inability to get the country back on track. “It’s hard to see,” he added.

RELATED: Johan Cruyff: How Can You Play Soccer Next to a Torture Center?

The sports legend added that months after the election that brought Macri to power with a victory over progressive candidate Daniel Scioli, it seems the president has few supporters among those he meets.

“I ask, ‘Man, who did you vote for?’ and they tell me Scioli,” he said. “Today, nobody voted for Macri.”

The comments come as part of an interview commemorating the 30th anniversary of Maradona’s historic winning goal for Argentina against England in the 1986 World Cup quarter final. The win, and the goal, led the South American country to win the championship that year and remains iconic decades later.

The Argentina versus England match was a kind of proxy rivalry between the two nations just years after they had gone to war over the Malvinas Islands in a territorial dispute that remains unsettled to this day after the British won the brief but bloody war.

Maradona’s winning goal was a symbolic form of revenge for Argentina against colonial British power.

  • Published in Sports
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