Argentina’s World Cup Qualifier against Brazil has been rescheduled for tonight at 9:00 PM after torrential rain and thunderstorms forced last night’s encounter to be postponed.
It felt like the year 2100 had arrived already the way the streets were flooded with water, leaving ankle-deep puddles in some places and the pitch at el Monumental was equally inundated. Fun as it would have been to watch the two teams play something more akin to water polo, it was a remarkably sensible decision from an organization as incompetent as CONMEBOL.
By 7:00 PM last night, rumors had already started surfacing about a possible suspension, but despite everyone on Twitter seemingly being in a race to be the first to “officially” confirm the suspension, the referee pulled the plug on the match with around 45 minutes until kickoff, with an estimated 1,500 fans (at least) already inside the grounds. It would have been nice if the referee could’ve pulled the plug on the city’s drainage system as well.
Some parts of the Brazilian media were critical of the suspension of the game, accusing Argentina of pressuring the referee and CONMEBOL officials to postpone the game, or just being scared. Sports daily Lancel even went as far as to paraphrase Argentine fans’ favorite refrain during the 2014 World Cup in Brazil in their headline: “Decime que se siente? Miedo!” (“Tell me what you’re feeling? Fear!”)
At least later on in the pieces there was some acknowledgement of the biblical rain that had beset Buenos Aires during most of yesterday afternoon and evening. Of course, playing the game a day later leaves both Brazil and Argentina with a day less to prepare for next Tuesday’s fixtures, home against Peru and away to Colombia, respectively. It’s especially unhelpful in Argentina’s case, as it has to travel to Barranquilla, right on the Caribbean coast of Colombia, where it will now have one less day to acclimatize to the tropical climes.
Gerardo Martino’s men have made an inauspicious start to their qualifying campaign, taking just a point from their opening two matches without scoring a goal. Knowing they couldn’t afford to ease off ahead of tonight’s rescheduled game, the players took to River Plate’s basketball court to train, playing some small-sided games to keep themselves sharp for tonight.
Interestingly, the Superclásico last year between River Plate and Boca Juniors still went ahead at el Monumental in similar, arguably wetter, conditions, producing an awful game as a result. The same also happened in Ecuador’s 2-0 win over Bolivia in the last round of World Cup Qualifying matches, where the pitch was equally saturated.
Fortunately, the forecast for today is dry, and the pitch already looks in a much better state than yesterday. Hopefully you won’t get soaked again tonight.