Saturday, October 13, 2007
On a historic day in Lens back in 1999, Argentina pulled off one of the biggest World Cup upsets to date, knocking Ireland out of the tournament through typical Argentinian guts and determination, forcing Ireland out of the World Cup.
Argentina's incredible defence under tremendous pressure in the closing minutes of the game is what we feature here.
And as we now sit a day away from possibly Argentina's greatest and most important match in their rugby history, the 2007 World Cup Semi Final against the Springboks, we think about the possibilities of Argentina going on to claim what they've been working so hard for, and I dont just mean the respect and recognition of the IRB.
In this years tournament they've gone unbeaten, notching up a record of four out of four matches in the group stages. They've claimed the scalps of France, Ireland, Namibia, Georgia and then Scotland in the Quarters. Argentina are no longer a team of underdogs. These guys need to taken seriously and given the opportunity to grow by being brought into an international competition such as the Six Nations or the southern hemisphere's Tri Nations.
With their success on the field we'll hopefully now see some action being taken by the IRB in the not too distant future.
South African head coach Jake White sees the debate as yet another factor to drive Argentina to success in their semi-final against his team on Sunday.
"They are not just playing for the rugby world cup, they are playing for rugby in Argentina. Everyone knows they are looking for opportunities to play internationally and keep their players on top," he said.
Back in 1999 it was a shock result that surprised many. Nowadays, the Argentinians have a real belief in themselves and expect to win the big games. They still rely a lot on passion and pride, but they do now have seasoned individuals that are of top quality in terms of the world game.
Their forward pack are arguably the toughest in the game, and in their backs, particularly their halfback combination, they have players blessed with all the natural talent they could ask for.
Los Pumas now have the opportunity for a spot in the world cup final, with the only thing standing in their way being the mighty South Africans. Expect an extremely grueling physical battle up front, matched hopefully by some fantastic skills and running from the talented Argentinian and Springbok backs.
Final Score: 28-24 to Argentina