EL PRIMER MUNDIAL DE DIEGO

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Mucho antes de la seguidilla de campeonatos juveniles ganados por Pekerman y Tocalli, hubo otro equipo sub-20 argentino que a base de buen fútbol se coronó campeón, siendo el punto de partida de extensas y brillantes carreras de muchos jugadores. Hace 35 años, un conjunto de pibes con poca experiencia y demasiada categoría deslumbró al mundo y le mostró lo que era el fútbol a los japoneses, que poco sabían del deporte más lindo de todos. Dirigidos por Cesar Luis Menotti, y comandados adentro de la cancha por la excelsa dupla entre Diego Armando Maradona y Ramón Diaz, Argentina ganó el torneo de pe a pa y se llevó la medalla dorada, la primera de una larga lista de conquistas que signan la superioridad argentina en la categoría.

Para el Mundial de 1978, que se disputó en nuestro país, Menotti hizo una lista previa en la que figuraba Maradona. El pibe que la rompía en Argentinos terminó quedando afuera del torneo porque en el plantel ya había muchos jugadores en su puesto. Quienes presenciaron el momento, aseveran que Diego nunca lloró tanto como en esa ocasión. Sólo, en un rincón, se lamentó durante varias horas hasta que su padre lo pasó a buscar por la quinta donde concentraba el equipo nacional. El entrenador, que sabía de sus capacidades y lo había utilizado en varios partidos, le iba a dar otra chance.
Diego junto a Menotti, previo al Mundial 1979
Al año siguiente iba a disputarse el torneo juvenil en Japón. Para eso, el «Flaco«, que dirigía tanto a la mayor como al sub-20, armó un equipazo. Algunos de los integrantes de ese plantel eran Juan Simón, Osvaldo Escudero, Gabriel Calderón, Osvaldo Rinaldi y Juan Barbas. Mención aparte para Diego Armando Maradona, a quien le dieron la conducción del grupo y del equipo, y Ramón Díaz, quien resultó goleador del certamen.
Maradona junto a su socio en el Mundial 1979: Ramón Díaz.En la fase de grupos los rivales sorteados fueron Indonesia, Yugoslavia y Polonia. El debut fue con una goleada demoledora por 5 a 0 ante los indonesios con 3 goles de Ramón y 2 de Diego. Aquel 11 inicial que sufrió pocas modificaciones a lo largo del torneo estuvo integrado por: Sergio García; Carabelli, Simón, Rossi, Alves; Barbas, Rinaldi, Maradona; Escudero, Díaz y Calderón. Luego, una victoria ajustada ante Yugoslavia con gol de Escudero y finalmente, otra goleada, esta vez por 4 a 1 ante Polonia, con goles de Maradona, Simón y Calderón por duplicado. Con puntaje perfecto de 6 puntos (en aquel momento se entregaban 2 por cada victoria) nos esperaba Argelia en cuartos de final.
Ante los africanos se vio de nuevo un gran rendimiento del conjunto nacional y una excelente producción ofensiva. El resultado final fue 5 a 0, con 3 goles del delantero riojano, uno del pibe de Villa Fiorito y otro de Calderón. En semifinales el rival fue Uruguay, equipo siempre complicado. Tras un primer tiempo muy luchado, en el complemento Argentina le encontró la vuelta al partido y lo ganó 2 a 0 con goles de (¿cuándo no) Ramón Díaz y Maradona.
Maradona, imparable.
El 7 de septiembre se disputó la final en Tokio. Argentina y la Unión Soviética, los equipos. 

«Señores, ustedes ya son campeones, no me importa el resultado de este partido, ya han demostrado que son los mejores del mundo. Nada de patadas o locuras. Vayan, jueguen y me divierten a los 35 mil japoneses que están en las tribunas» les dijo Menotti, que entendía este torneo como una forma de preparación y formación de jugadores, sin ninguna necesidad imperiosa ni presion por ganar.

Diego festeja. Mundial 1979A los 12 minutos, el conjunto soviético se puso en ventaja con un gol de Ponomarev, pero luego Hugo Alves lo empató de penal. El encuentro siguió con muchas ocasiones peligrosas en ambos arcos que se veían truncadas ante la resistencia de los arqueros y las defensas, hasta que a los 30 minutos del complemento, Ramón puso el 2 a 1. A los 35, Maradona sentenció el encuentro y le aseguró la medalla a los argentinos.

Este equipo logró que todo un país se levante temprano, o directamente, no duerma para ver los partidos. Los números hablan por si solos y le escapan a cualquier análisis: 6 partidos jugados, 6 partidos ganados. 20 goles a favor, y sólo 2 en contra. Premios individuales al mejor jugador del torneo (Maradona) y al goleador (Ramón). Derecho al libro de los grandes equipos.

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Estudiante de Historia en la UBA. A veces oficio de periodista. Hincha y socio de Argentinos Juniors.

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