Argentinos Juniors 1 All Boys 0 Olimpo 0 Argentinos Juniors 0
It’s all over. England’s hopes and inflated expectations in the European championships, the Argentine football season and quite the possibly the world as we know it….or at least as we would like it to be.
Firstly, the world. I’ve just returned from the Rio+20 conference in, would you believe it, Rio de Janeiro. That’s why I’ve been absent from the Bichos last two games of the season but it doesn’t look as though I missed much.
When I mention that I was billeted just three blocks from the Copacabana beach the response has generally been an ungenerous: “You bastard!” So I’ll try to keep mention of the glistening sea, the soft, fine sand, the caipirinha stands and the bikinied beauties to a minimum.
This was supposed to be an opportunity, twenty years after the first major climate change conference in Rio, for the world to come together before it’s too late and control emission of the CO2 carbon gases that cause climate change.
The severity of flooding and drought, especially in the poorer regions of the world, is getting worse. The science is increasingly making those who deny the climate change reality or say that it’s not caused by human activity look ridiculous.
The money is available. The one trillion dollars paid in subsidies to the oil industry for starters. What does a trillion even look like?
Much of industry is on board. Vehicle manufacturers are battling one another to produce the cleanest, greenest cars on the road since that’s what the customers want. Chemical companies, architects, urban planners, indigenous communities, green groups, girl guides, city councils, some governments and ordinary people concerned about our future were in Rio, all pretty much pushing for the same thing.
What the 190 or so governments represented there produced was a piece of paper fit only to tear into little pieces and fling in the air when the players take to the pitch. It promised nothing, it bound its signatories to nothing and it said nothing.
Leading economists and scientists called it a whitewash. The guilty parties? The United States for one. In thrall to the oil companies who were not present in Rio. It’s an election year in the US so any kind of relevant action is excused. And in case you hadn’t noticed, Europe is in crisis. But that’s really no excuse. Presidents and economic crises come and go. We’ve only got the one world.
Pacific Islanders are already making contingency plans as they watch the waters rising and flooding their low-lying countries.
The only positive I saw out of the conference is that social groups and big businesses are fast losing faith in our politicians to act. They’re getting impatient and angry. They’re talking, planning and forming alliances, no longer able to wait for our Obamas, Camerons and Merkels to do what we pay them to do.
Meanwhile, the talking continues. Our pampered, chauffeur-driven representatives are due to meet again later this year in Qatar. I see a trend developing here with cities first hosting the climate change talks, perhaps as some kind of rehearsal for the World Cup.
Which raises the ugly question of how much longer we’ll need to sustain life on this planet for England to produce a team capable, or at least in with a shout, of winning a major tournament.
Like those climate change deniers, many England fans refused to see the reality. Yet with the festering carcass of that defeat against Italy now laid out on the cold, hard slab for inspection I think we have to accept that now is the time to totally overhaul English football. Better football schools, better coaching, less inflated wages. Let’s do whatever Spain and Germany did to bring their national teams up to the level they’re at. Time is running out.
As the two Ashleys were missing their penalties, the humble Argentine club, Arsenal, were celebrating their first ever championship title.
It’s great that the little clubs have broken the hold that giants Boca Juniors and River Plate had on the Argentine league for much of the twentieth century. But they’re really only getting a look in since the big clubs are so weak.
Boca finished a distant fourth after a 3-1 defeat to All Boys. River Plate were celebrating – but only their return to the top flight as champions of the second division, the B, after being relegated last season for the first time in their history.
Another giant, San Lorenzo, managed to save themselves from automatic relegation with a 3-1 win over San Martin but must still do battle in the relegation playoffs if they want top division football next season.
Both Banfield, who lost 3-0 at home to Colon, and Olimpo, who drew 0-0 with Argentinos Juniors, go straight down. Argentinos Juniors finished in a creditable but none-too thrilling eighth place.
None of the other big teams did well. Racing had a dreadful season, losing 2-1 at home to Velez on the last day. Independiente were also poor. They drew 2-2 with Tigre who needed to win to go level with Arsenal and a play-off for the title.
Because of the quirks of the Argentine system, Tigre were both fighting for the title and battling to avoid relegation due to their poor average over the past three seasons. Don’t ask me to explain the maths which should be taught to primary school kids. Tigre finished second and managed to avoid relegation.
Godoy Cruz lost 3-1 at home to Atletico de Rafaela, Newell’s and Lanus was goalless and Union and Estudiantes drew 2-2.
I’m predicting a German victory over Spain in the European finals.
We’ll all be back in action in August, leaner and fitter and the world a little warmer. Hasta la vista.