Madness and magic from Maradona’s motherland
Quilmes is the Argentine national beer. It tends to be quite a divider amongst the foreign legion in Argentina, the main gripe being that it is just too light.
The highly contemptuous term ‘shandy’ has even been mentioned in one or two discussions within earshot of this particular blogger, although at 4.9% it is not far off matching its misogynistic competitors in the market.
Complaining about the taste of the national beer will earn you fewer local friends than if you point out that the company that produces Quilmes beer belongs to the Brazilians.
As well as the nation’s beer of choice, however, Quilmes is also a town on the outskirts of Buenos Aires, meaning that of course it also has a football team. Quilmes, in fact, holds the honour of hosting the oldest football club in the land.
Back in the 1880s, as one Quilmes website proudly reminds us, there were about 30,000 ‘English’ living in Argentina. The website happily explains that by ‘English’, they mean English, Irish and Scottish.
Anyway, these ‘English’ immigrants formed the Quilmes Athletic and Polo Club to play football, polo and other sports. Seven years later Quilmes Rovers Athletic Club was formed, passing onto Quilmes Cricket Club before settling with the Quilmes Atlético Club we all now know.
Its status as the Godfather of Argentine football hasn’t necessarily transpired into success, with just one top flight league title to their name.
And although everyone – they themselves – knew they would struggle after winning promotion to primera this year, it was generally seen as good news that the founders were back in the big time.
Naturally, not everyone was happy. Conspiracy theorists and paranoid opposition coaches claimed that The Brewers were granted some unfair advantage in their return to the big boys club.
First of all, the government’s chief-of-staff Aníbal Fernández (also one of the architects of Fútbol Para Todos whereby the state bought the TV rights to the first division) became the club’s vice-president a week before the league started.
Then, together with River Plate and Arsenal, they were accused of having an advantageous fixture list. In the case of Quilmes, their first three league games were at home – ‘that’s unfair!!!’ cried other clubs.
With this backdrop, Quilmes brought in their former keeper, and championship winning coach from Chile, Hugo Tocalli. And there were new faces – lots of them.
They didn’t just sign a new team, they almost signed a new squad with over 20 players joining. Amongst them was the ‘Paraguayan Messi’, 17 year old Juan Iturbe, who, confusingly, is Argentine. Yet despite this it hasn’t been the best of starts for Quilmes.
On Sunday they got lucky, having been poor against River Plate. Had Funes Mori scored one of his various chances, the millionaires would have sown up the points after Mariano Pavone gave them the lead in the second half.
And despite improving on recent performances, Quilmes offered between little and nothing during 90 minutes. Lucky there’s time added on, eh? In the 91st minute, a free-kick swung in, and former Boca Juniors midfielder Miguel Caneo, totally unmarked, headed in the equaliser.
The point may have felt like a win for the visitors, but it wasn’t at all. Quilmes are the only side without a win in top flight. Independiente sacked their coach Daniel Garnero last week, having not won in 7, and then proceeded to beat Gimnasia 1-0.
Reigning champions Argentinos Juniors had also failed to take three points from a game till this weekend, but managed just that against Banfield at home.
Whoever scores the winner for Quilmes’ first victory will no doubt find a crate of beer on his doorstep when he gets home. When, and if, that happens is an entirely different matter.Meanwhile…
River Plate relegation watch:
They should have wrapped up the three points against Quilmes, but then that’s exactly why they are where they are. Failure to do see leaves River in the relegation playoff position, six points from safety.
The Back Three:
Thanks to one Sunday night football show, the new evil in humanity has been identified.
Regularly demonising Claudio Borghi’s decision to play three defenders, all that is left is to put ‘the back three’ up there with drug-smuggling, irresponsible privatizations during the 1990s, the bogey man, parents, the virus that invaded twitter the other day, responsibility for breaking up The Beatles, social injustice, cruelty to animals etc.
Matchday Eight results:
Vélez 3-0 OlimpoIndependiente 1-0 GimnasiaArgentinos 1-0 BanfieldEstudiantes 1-0 BocaLanús 1-0 All BoysColón 2-0 San LorenzoArsenal 0-0 Newell’sHuracán 1-1 Godoy CruzTigre 0-0 RacingRiver 1-1 Quilmes
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Great article Joel. I'd like to complement your thorough Argie report with this podcast that includes some information on Colombian fotball's grim reality, the preparations for the U20 World Cup and more action from Brazil and Chile! http://ind.pn/9EDYf j
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