Chance for Argentina's Bielsa to win back fans

Updated: 25 February 2007 09:07 IST

Most coaches came to the Copa America viewing the tournament as a laboratory, a chance to see new talent or fine-tune their squads.

Chance for Argentina's Bielsa to win back fans

Lima:

Most coaches came to the Copa America viewing the tournament as a laboratory, a chance to see new talent or fine-tune their squads for World Cup qualifying. Not Argentina's Marcelo Bielsa. While other coaches chose to rest their top players, Bielsa brought a veteran-laden squad to the South American championship. His aim was clear: Win the title and erase the bitter memory of the team's disappointing 2002 World Cup performance. Argentina meets Brazil today in the Copa America final, a game whose outcome could help Bielsa lead the team through a reconciliation with fans back home. Fans still haven't forgiven Argentina for its disastrous showing in Japan. A pre-Cup favourite, Argentina played poorly and was knocked out in the first round. Tensions appeared to be cresting in recent months with Argentina drawing slack crowds at World Cup qualifying matches and fans booing and shouting insults at Bielsa. Some angry fans even launched a Web site with a petition calling for his removal. But the pressure has appeared to subside - at least for now - as Argentina roared into the final playing with panache and flair. That has helped revive interest back home. (AP)



Topics : Football
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