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Last Updated: Tuesday, 1 August 2006, 11:15 GMT 12:15 UK
Tim Vickery column
By Tim Vickery
South American football reporter

Alfio Basile
Basile coached Argentina at the 1994 World Cup finals

It was time for a tug of war in Argentina.

On one side, the local FA and its powerful boss Julio Grondona. On the other, Boca Juniors, the biggest club in the country. In the middle, 62-year-old coach Alfio Basile.

Boca had him, Argentina wanted him - and after two weeks of jostling, the issue was decided on Monday.

In the event both sides downed the rope and agreed to compromise: Basile stays with Boca until mid-September, giving the club time to find a replacement.

From 15 September, he becomes Argentina's coach, though if they fix up a game for the start of the month then he will take charge for that as well.

A decisive factor in the outcome was that Basile's not inconsiderable weight was pulling in favour of the Argentine FA.

No one could possibly blame him. It would have been hard to turn down the chance to work with such quality material.

As well as the likes of Lionel Messi and Carlos Tevez, who gave tantalizing cameos in Germany, there are plenty of other players of huge promise making their way through the pipeline.

Striker Sergio Aguero, who has just joined Atletico Madrid, has the talent and confidence to stand comparison with a young Romario.

And central midfielder Fernando Gago could develop into a right-footed version of Fernando Redondo.

Neutrals should be delighted with Basile's return - he hated the recent World Cup, believing that it was ruined by excessive caution

There are also some defensive options appearing. Just turned 20, Oscar Ustari was third-choice keeper in Germany, and has the potential to become Argentina's first world-class player in the position for some time.

A former-centre back himself, Basile is likely to look for a tall, commanding figure to hold the defence together - the role that Daniel Diaz has been carrying out for him at Boca.

The giant Ezeqiuel Garay of Racing Santander could be one for the long term, or perhaps Liverpool's new acquisition Gabriel Paletta will grow into the job.

The offer to take over the national team, then, is one that Basile can hardly have refused.

This will be his second spell in charge. He took Argentina to their last senior titles, the Copa America wins of 1991 and '93, and resigned after their second-round elimination in the 1994 World Cup, a campaign overshadowed by Diego Maradona's failed drug test.

The way that team played means neutrals should be delighted with Basile's return. They were a ball-playing, attacking, attractive side.

Their elimination against Romania came in the undoubted game of the tournament - a classic match-up of puncher and counter-puncher.

It was far better than any of the knockout games thrown up by Germany 2006.

Basile has not changed. He hated the recent World Cup, believing that it was ruined by excessive caution.

His way is more joyful. There is the air of a veteran tango singer about him, with his deep, rich voice and his alleged liking for a drop of whiskey.

With the talent at his disposal in the Argentina team, if he stays true to his principles and gets the best out of his players, then football lovers everywhere will be feeling light headed and ready to burst into song.

  • Tim Vickery takes part in Up All Night's World Football phone-in every Saturday morning at 0230 BST on BBC Radio Five Live



  • SEE ALSO
    Search for more Vickery columns
    12 Jul 05 |  World Football
    Tim Vickery column
    13 Feb 06 |  Football
    World Cup history - USA 1994
    04 May 06 |  World Cup 2006


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