Lionel Messihas helped propel Argentina into the World Cup quarterfinals…
In his 1,000th career match, the 35-year-old Argentine professional footballer scored the opening goal with a sublime effort on Saturday before Julian Alvarez scored in the second half to secure a 2-1 victory againstAustralia.
The win sets up a quarterfinal against the Netherlands.
“I am very happy for taking another step forward, achieving another objective,” Messi said. “It was a very strong and difficult match — we knew it was going to be this way.
“We didn’t have much time to rest up and we were concerned as we knew it was going to be a physical match and they were very strong. Luckily we found the goal and we were one goal ahead, and then two goals ahead.
“And then we had a setback with the goal — but that’s the World Cup for you, the matches are difficult and we got the win.”
Despite Argentina’s firepower, Australia managed to limit the early proceedings, keeping them uneventful with neither side exerting any dominance.
But the Socceroos‘ defense was breached on 35 minutes as Messi showed his undeniable quality to score his first-ever goal in the World Cup knockout stage.
The Paris Saint-Germainforward started the move with a darting run inside from the right wing — a quick exchange of passes landed him inside the box before he unleashed a left-footed curling shot past Mat Ryan.
“He [Messi] is incredible. One of the greatest ever,” Australia boss Graham Arnold said. “We really worked hard not to be in awe of him, because of the great player he is.
“But wow, he’s remarkable. I had the privilege of playing against Diego Maradona, and now coaching against Messi — they’re both wonderful players and Argentina should be so proud and happy to have players of that calibre.”
Buoyed by rapturous support, Argentina tightened their grip on a quarterfinal spot 12 minutes after half-time as Rodrigo De Paul pounced on a slack touch by Australia goalkeeper Ryan, allowing Alvarez to slot into a vacated net, doubling his side’s lead.
A triple substitution for Australia on 72 minutes signified a desperate last roll of the dice by manager Arnold and they were handed a lifeline when an own goal by Enzo Fernandez halved their deficit 13 minutes from time.
Craig Goodwin latched onto a loose ball outside the box and struck a fierce effort first-time, which took a huge deflection off Fernandez, fooling goalkeeper Emiliano Martinezand hitting the back of the net.
With renewed optimism, Aziz Behich came close to leveling the game three minutes later as he embarked on a fantastic darting run, beating four Argentina defenders before eventually being thwarted by Lisandro Martinez in the box.
Despite their desire, a comeback didn’t materialize for Australia and manager Arnold was full of praise for their impressive run in the tournament.
“They’re extremely disappointed — it’s not every day you get to play the third-best nation in the word and play those types of players,” he said.
“I felt we did a good job. I wanted to say how proud I am of them and the sacrifices they’ve made through the campaign. Everyone said before we came here we were the worst Socceroo team ever and to qualify for a World Cup — but that’s gone now — we’ve done exceptionally well.”
It’s a special World Cup first for Julian Alvarez.
The 22-year-old Argentine professional footballer, nicknamed “La Araña,” scored his first FIFA World Cup goal on Wednesday during Argentina’s Group C 2-0 win against Poland.
Alvarez and Alexis Mac Allister’s second-half goals at Stadium 974 in Qatar helped Argentina advance to the last 16.
Great news for the Argentina team, which was shocked by Saudi Arabia in their group opener, in their quest for a first World Cup title since 1986.
“It’s so emotional for me, for the whole squad. It’s a dream come true,” Mac Allister told reporters. “I debuted with this team, I’m so proud of that. And now managing to score in a World Cup. I’m so happy.
“[After Messi’s penalty miss] we tried to stay positive, to stay calm. We did not feel down. We tried to be optimistic. Fortunately we managed to win and go through.”
Despite being thoroughly outplayed through the 90 minutes, Poland also snuck into the knockout round in second place thanks to a superior goal difference over Mexico and will face Group D winners France on Sunday.
Argentina is set to face Australia on Saturday with a spot in the quarterfinals on the line.
Lionel Messi, meantime, was playing in his 22nd game at the World Cup — and 999th of his career for club and country — breaking a tie with Diego Maradona for the most by an Argentine in the world’s biggest tournament.
Poland goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny saved a Messi penalty that was awarded by VAR as Argentina dominated the first 45 minutes but had nothing to show for it with the halftime score 0-0.
Szczesny had been kept busy the entire half with the Poland defence breached time and again, but the Juventus keeper stood firm to deny the Argentines who grew more confident with every attack.
He first denied Alvarez, who broke through the offside trap before he tipped Angel Di Maria‘s cross over the bar when his Juve teammate attempted to score directly from a corner kick.
The opener for Argentina came right after the restart when Brighton striker Mac Allister redirected a Nahuel Molina cross with a first-time shot that trickled past Szczesny and off the far post.
Manchester City teenager Alvarez announced himself on the world stage and doubled Argentina’s lead midway through the second half, picking up a pass from Enzo Fernandez in the penalty area and lashing a shot past Szczesny to all but secure the three points.
With Poland’s spot in the round of 16 looking like it could come down to a fair play (yellow and red card accumulation) tiebreaker with Mexico, Poland coach Czeslaw Michniewicz had instructed his players to avoid unnecessary bookings as the match wore on.
“I didn’t tell players to take their foot off the ball, but I did tell them to avoid silly bookings,” Michniewicz told a news conference. “We even talked about the yellow cards for those on the bench, because it was only before the match, after the meeting with the delegate, when we learned that cards awarded to players on the bench do not count for the fair play classification.
“We were afraid that one of the players would jump out, or the coach, and would get booked and therefore we might not advance further. But I also asked that we do not provoke, not pull their shirts, not argue with the referee.”
There’s another Maradona documentary project in the works… This time about the formerly unknown son of the Argentinean soccer legend.
A docuseries about Diego Maradona Jr., the formerly unknown son of Diego Maradona Sr., is in the works.
Maradona Jr., who also goes by Diego Sinagra, was born in 1986 but it took until 1993 for an Italian court to recognize the World Cup winner as his paternal father and another 13 years before Maradona himself acknowledged him as his son.
Over the course of four years, the two strengthened their relationship, bonding over their passion for football, before Maradona passed away in 2020.
He Was My Father(w/t) comes from NEO Studios, the production arm of sports media group Eleven, and Italian producer Roma Press.
It will see Maradona Jr. celebrate and analyze the life and legacy of his late father and chronicle his experience growing up as the unknown son of one of most celebrated and controversial soccer players of all time.
Unable to attend his father’s funeral due to COVID-19, the four-part series will also follow Diego Jr. as he travels to Argentina to gain insight into his father’s life off the pitch. It will delve into Diego Jr. and Maradona’s complex relationship, the emotional challenges Diego Jr. faced growing up with a father who refused to acknowledge him, and living in his father’s shadow, while also highlighting their special bond, reconciliation, and the time they shared before Maradona’s passing.
Analyzing the final moments before his passing, He Was My Father will also include never-before-released recordings of Maradona, as well as interviews with his family, friends and former teammates who offer untold stories about the legendary footballer and provide viewers an exclusive window into the life and world of Diego Maradona.
Diego Jr. said, “My father lived in the public eye, with all the controversy and speculation that goes along with that. Though it was a challenging road, it was also a great one that ultimately brought us together. It was important to me to set the record straight and to share my story – which is also my mother’s story – while honoring the true legacy of my father, Diego Maradona.”
“Maradona is widely regarded as one of the best soccer players of all time, but his life off the field was sensational as well, often drawing criticism,” added Mertens. “Through the lens of his first-born son, viewers will get unprecedented access into Maradona’s life and impact on sport. We’re excited for Diego Jr. to finally share his story, as he honors his father’s legacy.”
An Instagram photo of the 34-year-old Argentine professional footballer holding the Copa America trophy following Argentina’s win over Brazil has become the most liked sports photo on the social media platform, surpassing a record 20 million likes.
The post broke the previous record of 19.8 million likes that was held by Cristiano Ronaldoafter he paid tribute to Diego Maradona following his death.
Ronaldo shared a black and white photograph of himself with Maradona and wrote: “Today I’m saying goodbye to a friend and the world is saying goodbye to an eternal genius. One of the best of all-time. An unparalleled magician. He leaves too soon, but he leaves a legacy without limits and an emptiness that will never be filled. Rest in peace, ace. You will never be forgotten.”
Lionel Messi is the Latino likes king on Instagram…
Instagram has unveiled its most-liked posts of 2020, reflecting the highs and the notable lows of a rollercoaster 2020, with the 33-year-old Argentine soccer star earning the most likes on any post by a Latinx celebrity.
Messi ranked third on the list for his post (16.4 million likes) mourning the death of soccer legend Diego Maradona, who died in November of a heart attack at age 60.
An Argentine senator wants to put Diego Maradona on the country’s bank notes and presented a project to Congress on Monday to get the late soccer star and possibly even his “Hand of God” image on a 1,000-peso note.
The note, worth around $12.27 at Monday’s exchange rate, would feature Maradona’s face on one side and a picture of one of his most famous goals on the other, said the bill’s sponsor Senator Norma Durango.
Maradona, who died on Nov. 25, had two of his most famous goals come in the 1986 World Cup quarterfinal against England as they went on to win world football’s biggest prize.
He got the first by punching the ball past England goalkeeper Peter Shilton and the second by dribbling past half the England team to score what is still considered one of the greatest goals of all time.
“The idea is not just to recognize our most important idol but also to think of the economic question,” said Durango. “We feel that when tourists come here they will want to take a ‘Maradona’ away with them.”
Although it was not clear which one of the two goals would feature, some Argentines bristled at the thought of the “Hand of God” goal featuring on an official government document because it could be seen as condoning illegality.
The Senator for the La Pampa province said the final decision would be made by lawmakers, who are expected to hear her proposal early next year.
“The idea is to recognize Maradona, for good and for bad, who is the best known Argentine in the world,” Durango said. “I feel the project has got a great response even though some people don’t agree with it.”
The current 1,000-peso note features the national bird, the Rufous hornero.
Barker, who has been meticulously crafting his homage to the infamous cover of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band since 2016 as a tribute to dearly departed pop culture icons and newsmakers — said his initial idea was to start with a blank slate in January and just add faces as the year went on.
The approach would’ve simply meant swapping out some images for more prominent ones as the year went on for a more “interactive” art project. But as this year just kept getting worse, he was glad he didn’t switch up his style.
“Early spring I thought the devastating wildfires in Australia would be the defining moment of the year but, goodness me, 2020 just kept piling it on,” he tells Billboard. “So I had a couple of options of how to show this year was a year like no other. My immediate thought was social distancing; to have the characters all really spread out. But that would have proved really impractical.”
Instead, he stuck to the template of cramming as many singers, actors, athletes, public figures and news events as possible into the image, which this year includes everyone from police violence victim George Floyd to actors Kirk Douglas, Dave Prowse (Star Wars‘ Darth Vader), Sean Connery, Diana Rigg, Monty Python‘s Terry Jones, Fred Willard and Jerry Stiller, as well as musical icons Florian Schneider (Kraftwerk), Peter Green (Fleetwood Mac), Kenny Rogers, Adam Schlesinger (Fountains of Wayne), reggae great Toots Hibbert, Neil Peart (Rush), Ronald Bell (Kool & the Gang), DJ José Padilla, Bonnie Pointer (Pointer Sisters) and Afrobeat star Tony Allen, among many others.
Barker’s next idea was to include a nod to how important masks were this year during the pandemic, but that would have made the concept way too complicated to pull off. After starting work a month earlier than usual (in September), he realized masking the figures would make many of them unrecognizable, and posting it around the American election as he usually does would likely leave too many important figures off in a year when the devastating hits just kept on coming.
“Who knew what else could be just around the corner? It has been such an awful, bleak year,” he said, revealing that his original background was a red sky with burning forests in a nod to the devastating Australian and American wildfires. But with Joe Biden‘s victory over one-term President Donald Trump last month and talk of a COVID-19 vaccine right around the corner, suddenly there was a glimmer of hope. And instead of sticking the Biden/Harris logo “in the middle of a burning hellscape,” the Trump campaign gave him an unexpected gift with lawyer Rudy Giuliani‘s legendarily disastrous presser at Four Seasons Total Landscaping.
“The surreal backdrop perfectly encapsulates the final nail in the coffin of the nightmarish Trump administration that inspired this whole project,” Barker said. “When I first did the 2016 montage, the loss of such an overwhelming number of iconic heroes was undoubtedly one of the defining stories of the year — even overshadowing Brexit and Trump. But this year, obviously the huge number of deaths from coronavirus is far more significant.”
With the real human cost of losses from COVID-19 piling up every day, Barker decided that the chalky floor of the Four Seasons parking lot was the perfect backdrop for an homage that also includes the losses of nearly 1.5 million worldwide to COVID, Trump’s presidency, Spencer Davis, Jeopardy host Alex Trebek, drag queen Chi Chi DeVayne, directors Alan Parker and Joel Schumacher, magician Roy Horn, Glee‘s Rivera, Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, Vera Lynn, Kelly Preston, and Gone With the Wind star Olivia de Havilland.
“Every line a reminder of a life taken, a family ripped apart. Every time I do this montage it is an emotional journey, however detached I may get from the subject matter while I’m in the thick of the Photoshop, when I put the list together for the key at the end and look at it, it is a quite sobering moment,” he said. “I know a lot of people who have lost family members this year and I always try to remember that all the people I am including have left people behind too. I have to try to be respectful to everyone and to pay tribute to them and the way they lived their lives.”
There are always a few losses that hit Barker the hardest, and this year for him it was Kraftwerk’s Schneider, Game of Thrones star Rigg and Python’s Jones.
Luis López Carrasco is celebrating his big Discovery…
The 39-year-old Spanish filmmaker took home the Best International Film prize for his documentary The Year of the Discovery (El año del descubrimiento) on Sunday at Argentina’s Mar del PlataInternational Film Festival, the only Latin American film fest granted a Category A status by producers association FIAPF, placing it in the same league as the Cannes Film Festival, VeniceFilm Festival, San Sebastian Film Festival and Locarno Film Festival, among others.
Due to the restraints imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival hosted an online edition and offered free access to all Argentine residents.
Carrasco’s sophomore feature follows his debut film El Futuro, which premiered at Locarno and collected numerous awards on the festival circuit.
The Year of the Discovery portrays the flipside of 1992 Spain, which celebrated hosting the 1992 Barcelona Games and the World Expo in Seville while in Murcia, south-east Spain, enraged workers from the naval, mining and chemical sectors where companies were shut down, battled alongside students against the police, culminating with the launch of Molotov cocktails that set fire to the regional government’s Parliament.
In a video call from Spain, a grateful López Carrasco dedicated the award to his parents and brother “for being the people who most taught me how to listen.”
Colombian Camilo Restrepo’s Los Conductos won the best film prize in the festival’s Latin American competition. Winner of last year’s Mar del Plata Work in Progress competition, Los Conductos marks an attempt to explore Colombia’s civil conflicts with a style outside the canons of social realism as it follows a man in his attempts to flee from a sect and the trauma that still haunts him.
Maria Alvarez’s The Lost Time (El Tiempo Perdido) trounced a strong lineup in the Argentine competition, which included notable titles like Esquirlas, The History of the Occult and Las Ranas, to nab the best Argentine film prize.
In The Lost Time, a group of now aged friends find new and personal meaning in Marcel Proust’s seven-volume novel In Search of Lost Time at each of the 18 years they have gathered at a Buenos Aires bar to discuss it.
“In this online edition, more than 200,000 people saw the films we have programmed, and on YouTube, more than 180,000 people followed our events, so I congratulate the public who have known how to adapt to our circumstances,” said festival president Fernando Juan Lima at the online closing ceremony. “We miss the City of Mar del Plata and its movie theaters, but we are going to return,” he declared.
“We celebrate [the festival’s] continuity even with the challenges that the pandemic has imposed on us,” concurred festival artistic director Cecilia Barrionuevo. The festival paid homage to filmmaker-politician Fernando ‘Pino’ Solanas, Argentine actress-writer-director Maria Luisa Bemberg and, naturally, Argentina’s greatest hero, soccer star Diego Maradona, who died Nov. 25 from heart failure.
Augusto Costa, minister of production, science, and technological innovation, also announced that Mar del Plata would be the site of the fifth regional headquarters of Argentine film school, Enerc.
“From the government and from the ministry, we reaffirm our absolute commitment to the festival and to the audiovisual industry of the province,” said Costa.
2020 MAR DEL PLATA ASTOR PIAZZOLLA PRIZES
OFFICIAL INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION
BEST FILM “The Year of the Discovery,” (Luis López Carrasco, Spain, Switzerland)
BEST DIRECTOR Matías Piñeiro, (“Isabella,” Argentina)
BEST PERFORMANCE María Villar, (“Isabella,” Argentina)
Nicolás Prividera, (“A Farewell to Memory,” Argentina)
SPECIAL JURY “Moving On,” (Yoon Dan-bi, Korea)
LATIN AMERICAN COMPETITION
BEST FILM “Los Conductos,” (Camilo Restrepo, Colombia, Brazil, France)
SPECIAL MENTION “Mascarados,” (Marcela Borela and Henrique Borela, Brazil)
SPECIAL MENTION “Fauna,” (Nicolás Pereda, Mexico)
BEST SHORT “Correspondence,” (Dominga Sotomayor and Carla Simón, Chile)
BEST FILM “The Lost Time,” (María Álvarez, Argentina)
SPECIAL MENTION “Las Ranas,” (Edgardo Castro, Argentina)
BEST SHORT “Homage to the Work of Philip Henry Gosse,” (Pablo Martín Weber)
BEST DIRECTOR “Esquirlas,” (Natalia Garayalde, Argentina)
“My Dear Spies,” (Vladimir Léon, France)
SPECIAL MENTION “Heliconia,” (Paula Rodríguez Polanco, France, Colombia)
WORK IN PROGRESS
BEST PROJECT “Morichales,” (Chris Gude, Colombia, U.S.)
BEST LATIN AMERICAN DEBUT FILM, YOUNG CRITICS PRIZE “History of the Occult,” (Cristian Ponce, Argentina)
The 33-year-old Argentine futbol star dedicated a goal to the late Diego Maradona in his return to the F.C. Barcelonateam in a 4-0 romp against Osasuna on Sunday.
Messi, who’d been rested for the 4-0 win against Dynamo Kiev in the Champions League on Tuesday, scored the fourth goal and celebrated by revealing a Newell’s Old Boys shirt in Maradona’s honor, following his death at the age of 60 on Wednesday.
Messi began his youth career at Newell’s before joining Barcelona and Maradona was on the books at the Rosario-based club at around the same time, toward the end of his playing career.
The Catalans had paid homage before kickoff to Maradona, who played for the club in an eventful yet disappointing spell from 1982 to 1984, hanging a framed signed shirt of his above the presidential box while the players held a minute’s silence in front of an old Barca shirt bearing the No. 10.
Barca, who had begun the day 14th in La Liga, won comfortably with Martin Braithwaite, Antoine Griezmannand Philippe Coutinho also on the score sheet.