In La Nacion today an interview with Argentina manager Alfio Basile.
Q – The press conference after the Copa America left very little. Can we lengthen the analysis you made of the tournament?
B – Argentina won five games and lost one, but it was the main one. Brasil defeated us well but from the start I must say that I liked the way Argentina played. A good base of players was formed but we weren’t able to finish.To win five games by a wide goal margin is not easy. The things we failed in I can not tell you. I keep that to myself.
Q – Do you agree with the idea that Brasil defeated Argentina because of a rigorous system of pressure and counter attack?
B – They already did it but let’s see how they play with stars like Ronaldinho and Kaka. With them they can not play the same way again. They placed all the pressure on us that Argentina had to win no matter what. They defended well, committing alot of fouls but its a tactical way of defending. That’s how in the right moment they scored the goals. They put the game away in the first half and in the second half they defended with ten players in their own half of the field and we weren’t able to enter in anywhere. They won well but they didn’t win the way that the history of Brasil demands. I’ll argue that with anyone.
Q – It’s been alot of years that Argentina has not won anything. Do you have to work that issue differently with the players?
B – No, the players leave right away. When can I work that? You have to understand that: the national team can not train long term, nor does it have alot of time to do so. The players that are based in Argentina can not train long term either because their clubs have the league and international cups during the week.
The training work done on the field is over, let’s finish with that already because there is no time. For the players based in Argentina there is also fewer chances, going against them is that every two days they have to play for something. That’s how it is. We got together for the Copa America and the team played, I repeat, really good.
Enough of lying to the fans. This won’t happen only in the friendlies, it’ll also happen in the world cup qualifiers.
Q – So, it all depends on how the players wake up the day of the game?
B – It’s not so much that. I at least have a system of play and the team plays the way I say. Is that clear? A club team is better prepared tactically than a national team. I’m tired of being told about working with players who are worth 40 million Euros and who have obligations with their club teams that does not permit them to dedicate themselves exclusively to the national team. Whether you like it or not. And whoever wants a change let them put up a mountain of money to buy the players that are in Barcelona, Inter, and other places and bring them to me in Ezeiza.
Q – But before you signed you knew about all these matters.
B – When I signed my contract with AFA they didn’t tell me a fairy tale. I knew how things were and once you’re in charge you have to deal with it. Anyhow, I’m not without hope, or else I would’ve left.
Q – So then, the idea of working with the domestic players failed?
B – You didn’t see how all the injuries during the time we had in Ezeiza hurt the plans? The players get injured because they have to play Sunday and Wednesday. We work with a direct line to the clubs; and even, if we have to travel to talk to the managers of the European clubs, it is done. The players get injured because they play two games per week, Understand?, not because of the national team.
Q – Do you have the base of players set for the WC qualifiers?
B – I’m looking at 44 players, more or less. And with these friendlies I can look at cases like Garay, see how he kicks the ball, how tall he is, how he comes out to defend. It’s useful to see live in action everything that we follow through videos. But to know if he’ll be Ayala’s successor we have to wait, the World Cup is in 2010, but we have to start the qualifiers. I’m looking for players but the base will be the players that were in the Copa America and played so well. But we must improve things because sometimes it is not enough, like what happened to us against Brasil.
Q – It’s clear that you can’t repeat the same setup of the Copa America because Riquelme is not here?
B – There’s no other player like Riquelme. At this moment I can’t make a decision about him because he does not have a club, he doesn’t play, he doesn’t train. If I find a Riquelme I can return to that setup, only if I find one. Anyway, the problem is through where you want to play. The playmaker disappears, everyone plays 4-4-2 but I don’t like it. I want to do it with a playmaker.
Q – Definitively, if he doesn’t find a club he won’t be called up?
B – The player that does not have a club and is not active in competition, How am I going to call him up !!!! If you’re not playing football you can’t be on the national team. Let’s speak clearly. If you’re not playing for the 3 points and have the pressure to win for your club, How are you going to play for the national team?. Unless you’re a superstar, I can’t wait on anyone.
Q – And since you don’t have Riquelme. Will you use 3 forwards against Norway?
B – And because Messi is a little bit of everything, a little bit of a right winger, a little bit of a forward and a little bit of a playmaker, he plays all over the field and you can’t contain him, he’s a superstar in the making. Obviously, we have to see how he evolves during his career. Only time has the final answers…….Patience.