Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Something to drink?

The world's most effective (and photogenic) poison

By now, we all know and understand the first rule of football: South America is fucking crazy.

We've studied this phenomenon before. Whether it be Peru, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia or Bolivia, there's plenty of futbol madness to go around. Well, it's been a couple of weeks, but thankfully Paraguay wants to throw its entry into the ring, with the allegations surrounding an important Primera Division match, a team in danger of being relegated, and the sublime art of poisoning.

Club Guarani is in 2nd place in the Torneo Clausura, hunting the title and automatic berth into the 2009 Copa Libertadores with just one game to play. This past weekend, they played relegation-threatened 3 de Febrero, and beat them easily 4-1. Simple enough, right? Just another day at the office for Guarani.

However, 3 de Febrero were missing several players who'd been hit with food poisoning in the days leading up to the match, including one, defender Juan Ortiz, who received treatment in hospital, and causing six other players to miss the game.

The guilty substance is said to be the sports drink with vitamins (too much riboflavin, perhaps?) that they consumed during training, and the coach Pedro Nelson Fleitas smells a conspiracy: "This needs to be investigated. We don't know if the product was past its sell-by date of if somebody put something intentionally in the juice."

Check the goals below (at about :58 in the video); now, I don't know much about Paraguayan soccer, but Guarani looked to have it pretty easy. Their goals were more sunday league than title-chasing, thanks to some sloppy, lazy defending. That said, Guarani could simply be that good.

Sour grapes, or sour stomachs? You decide.

It's not the first time the specter of sabotage has riddled the sport: Brazilian midfielder Branco claimed that the Argentines tainted a water bottle that they gave to the Brazilians during their 1990 Second Round game that Argentina won 1-0. There have been several other incidents, one involving Spurs a while ago, I think?

Anyway, there's your South American scandal for the week. I'm sure there will be a few more by Friday.