Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Last-minute mind games

Quotes to follow tomorrow but, as expected, the Brazilians proved effusive customers as they prepared for the final with a session in Frankfurt two hours before their opponents... apart, that is, from Gilberto Silva, who was plain elusive.
Brazil's confidence is understandably high and the players were conspicuously relaxed as they went through a 10 v 10 practice match using only half the pitch. Ronaldinho may look good wearing most things, but a rapper's bandana is not one of them.
Players and journalists alike got the jaw-jaw out of the way with half an eye on catching the u-20 curtain-raiser live from the Netherlands, which Brazil promptly lost.
Then came Argentina, who got plenty of work out of the way before permitting access to the media and out here some press calls have been known to be announced hours after starting... but who can blame them!
This time a fluid number always less than 20 players contested a game over 3/4 as opposed to half of the pitch - Coloccini having a go in goal - while a couple of specialist groups remained separated, rotating in triangles or quartets once the cones had been put away.
Then it was a warm-down of gentle sit-ups and the like, before the players headed for the showers and Jose Pekerman for the press conference.
With the Argentinians having refused en masse to answer questions in English after defeating Mexico it was disappointing there was to be no opportunity to try a bit of purist French on any of them instead of pigeon Spanish.
Walter Samuel appears content in the knowledge that the universal gesture of the smile speaks volumes, while the multilingual Esteban Cambiasso says no so politely it's almost charming... but for that, you CAN blame them!

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