Maradona pure gold at World Cup

Argentina manager Diego Maradona has been flapping his gums again but that's nothing new at the...

Argentina manager Diego Maradona has been flapping his gums again but that's nothing new at the 2010 World Cup. (AFP Photo)

MIKE ZEISBERGER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 3:01 PM ET

RUSTENBURG - This column was going to be all about how Mexico was seeking revenge against Argentina for booting them out of the 2006 World Cup in Germany.

And about how the Mexicans do not fear the 3-0 Argentines in the least, instead vowing to look the likes of superstar Lionel Messi directly in the eye and collectively say “Bring it on.”

That was the original blueprint, anyway.

Then outspoken Argentine manager Diego Maradona held a press conference Saturday and opened his mouth.

And with that, the plan changed.

That’s the way it has been with Maradona throughout this entire tournament. Whenever his lips move, pens scribble, video cameras whir, still cameras click.

And with good reason.

Maybe your are sick of reading about him by now. Many of us, truth be told, would rather write about other aspects of his team.

But in a tournament full of dry, mundane quotes, his statements are gold.

On Saturday, he supplied yet another classic nugget.

In a media gathering that was supposed to focus on the huge round of 16 showdown between Argentina and Mexico at Soccer City Sunday, the Argentine manager began bitching again at reporters for not showing him or his team the respect he felt they deserved in the months leading up to South Africa 2010.

In once again asking that certain media members apologize to the team, Maradona said: “I’m not suggesting you drop your trousers, but it would be honest and great so we all get along better.”

That’s good Diego. Because most of the ink-stained wretches we five Canadian reporters renting a house in South Africa know, would NEVER EVER shed their slacks for the likes of you.

And those who would consider it, well, personally, we’d rather not associate with those types.

If you want to race around Buenos Aires buck naked like you vowed if Argentina wins the World Cup, be our guest.

Just keep those juicy quotes coming, buddy. They are paying our bills.

To recap: Through the first two weeks of the tournament, Maradona has slagged Pele, Michel Platini, the Italians, the Spanish and the Brazilians.

But not the Mexicans.

“Mexico have Rafael Marquez, (Andres) Guardado, Giovanni Dos Santos, many players that worry us,”  Maradona said.

Deep down, he must know this is a team that could cause his squad some headaches. Especially since there is the additional motivation of revenge fuelling the Mexicans.

“This is a nice possibility to get even with what happened four years ago,” coach Javier Aguirre told reporters.

Four years ago in Leipzig, the Mexicans were playing the Argentines tight, with the match deadlocked at 1-1. It was at the point where it could go either way.

Then, with the game in extra time, Argentina broke the hearts of Mexicans from Cancun to Cozumel when Maxi Rodriguez scored one of the greatest goals in World Cup history to give the Argentines a dramatic 2-1 victory, sending the Mexicans home in the process.

The Mexicans have not forgotten. Nor should they.

“If we’re going to play Argentina why should we wait?” Mexican goalie Oscar Perez said. “We might as well play them now.

“Whoever the opponent is, we need to win.”

And what a win it would be.

Payback for the heartbreak caused them by the Argentines four years earlier.

And, in the process, it would ensure Maradona would not have the opportunity to run around the streets of Argentina’s largest city with his pants down.

That is, if he were wearing any at all.

mike.zeisberger@sunmedia.ca


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