By Robert H. Kelly
HOUSTON, TX (June 23, 2007) Is was a rivalry that began in 1993, when the national soccer teams of Mexico and Argentina faced off twice in Copa America, including a final that saw the Argentines crown themselves champions of South America.
Nearly 14 years later, many of the players of that final, which Mexico lost 2-1, met in a legends match the University of Houston’s at Robertson Stadium.The friendly match, which is the finale of El Reto Final, which is a sports reality show on
Fox Sports en Español.
The show, in which the host was given a list of players to locate and convince to suit up again for a legends match, was at top rated show for Fox.
Many of these players had not seen action in years, but were eager to give their best.
"You might see us limping a little bit every once in a while, but you'll see that we still have that competitive spirit," said Ricardo Pelaez.
Pelaez, who is one of the many former Mexico internationals who will take part in the match, was also quoted in saying "That and a player's skill are things you never lose."While many stars of the past were unavailable for the match, the rosters of both nations are filled with players who played proudly under the flag of their nation.
The Mexican team starters included Benjamín Galindo, Ramón Ramírez, and Luis Roberto Alves, while Argentina started fan favorites Deigo Latorre, Gustavo Zapata, and goalkeeper Sergio Goycochea.
The first half got off to a slow start as the players ran and passed and ran and passed to their hearts content.
It was evident to this humble writer that they seemed to be enjoying themselves without the added pressure of having to win for their country. After all, this was a friendly match.
This was a match that allowed them to relive past glory. It was also a match that allowed them to do something that was far more important that the outcome of the game. Play again in front of the fans.
In addition, let’s be frank. It was also a chance to make a nice pay check for their efforts.
The game was played with 35 minute halfs.
After regulation play, the score was tied 1-1. Penalty kicks were invoked to determine the winner.
As a result of each team scoring 4 penalty kicks, the score was still tied. Both teams went to sudden death penalty kicks and after four tries each, the score was still tied.
It was them determined to allow each goalkeepers one penalty kick each. Each was successful and the game was finally declared a tie.
Game officials stated that a rematch was possible in the future. But as most reality shows go, there is always next season.
And for these starts of the past, perhaps another chance to shine once again.