Some goals cause this kind of information to come to light. Entire nations want to know the details of how the seed was sowed, all the conditions gone into nurturing it. One World Cup ago, Rodriguez scored for Argentina against Mexico in the first knockout match, and in doing so kept his country in the competition -- ending the agony which had been prolongued into extra time. But he didn't just score; he
"Sometimes I don't know whether to believe in coincidences or not ... It's my turn to talk today, for the Mexico preview. It's incredible" Maxi told a press conference Friday in South Africa, before adding that he has a lovely memory of the 2006 match, but what's gone is gone. "[It's] History now, and we have to write a new one."
But in linear time, we are compelled to permanently rewrite history adding the new to what is already there. We cannot erase the "coincidence" as Maxi puts it, of facing the same opponents at the same stage of the same tournament. Each match, though it should be its own event, does not actually happen in isolation from all our other "knowledge."
This fixture is fodder for the intellectual lovers of the game in both countries; writing in
"Last Tuesday they had to beat Uruguay thus avoiding in the same move the nightmare that is Argentina; I say it because of Maxi Rodriguez's hoof which still has us waking up screaming in the middle of the night." Vazquez goes on to say that whereas the historic plea of the Mexican fans used to be "Why again the damned penalties?" it has now become "why again the Argentinians," whereas Mexico's maestro of football literature,
But if there is a football fan on the planet that does not feel a quiver when the competition enters the "kill or die stage," let her or him through the first stone. As we progress, so does the certainty that it's all or nothing: all rivals can be therefore deadly. Those who have historically given us trouble make us tremble because of that. Those we have beaten before make us believe that statistically it could be their turn. And new opponents (rarer as the feast ages) should fill us with the fear of the unknown.
Whether recent history has more of an impact than ancient one is not scientifically proven. But it's definitely the case that it's more than just Rodriguez who will walk out of the tunnel with a memory of that game. His current teammates
For Mexico, the likes of
Mexico and Argentina are also linked in another sense, having co-worked extensively; as one of the richest football industries Mexico is a good client to Argentina's exports. Indeed, Franco is in fact an Argentinian who chose to play for Mexico. Perhaps, as a perfect illustration of the duality intrinsic to Mexicans Vazquez refers to, the very first assist this World Cup came from Franco. Ironic then that Franco is now being criticized for his play to the point of cruelty in Mexico. First and last, worst and best, all rolled into one.