CON LA ESPINA CLAVADA

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Francisco Sá, Enrique Wolff, Rubén Ayala y René Houseman, son algunos de los nombres más destacados de la formación de Argentina contra Holanda en el Mundial 1974. Ellos, capitaneados por Roberto Perfumo y dirigidos tacticamente por Vladislao Cap, eran quienes debutaban en el Grupo A de la segunda fase mundialista, luego de que la albiceleste arranque con el pie izquierdo ante Polonia, empate contra Italia y venza con facilidad al seleccionado de Haití. En frente, Rob Rensenbrik y un tal Johan Cruyff aparecían como las principales cartas de una selección que ingresaría en la historia por su manera de jugar, y contaba con la figura del ex entrenador del Ajax, Rinuls Michels, como seleccionador.

Y nos dieron una paliza. Si, a nosotros. Los que muchas veces nos creímos poder con todo cuando en realidad éramos un equipito. A los 10 minutos Cruyff venció por primera vez el arco argentino. Un cuarto de hora más tarde ya estábamos 0-2 y Cap miraba al banco de suplentes donde estaban algunos jugadores como Miguel Brindisi y Mario Kempes. Éste último entró en el entretiempo, pero no pudo hacer nada. Porque Holanda era un equipazo que estaba varios goles encima de Argentina. Por eso no extrañó que promediando el segundo tiempo llegue el 0-3, ni que sobre la hora el propio Cruyff concrete el 0-4 definitivo. Fue el principio del fin. Luego de eso vinieron una derrota ante Brasil y un empate contra Alemania Oriental. Algo debía cambiar en el fútbol argentino. Europa estaba varios pasos adelante nuestro, y Brasil se imponía como ejemplo ganando mundiales casi de manera natural.

Llegó César Luis Menotti y todo cambió. Buscó jugadores a lo largo y ancho del país y luego fomentó una idea de juego basada en el buen trato del balón. No dejó a un lado la condición física. Incluso, se hizo fuerte en ese campo. Argentina organizó el Mundial 1978. Era la oportunidad para marcar un quiebre y obtener, de una vez por todas, el título de campeón. Cosas del destino, o del fútbol, vaya usted a saber, aquel seleccionado alcanzó la final y se encontró con Holanda. Y no solo era la Selección que nos había vapuleado cuatro años antes. Era la naranja mecánica, la del fútbol total. La que algunos marcaron como el mejor equipo de la historia más allá de haber perdido en la final ante la Alemania de Beckenbauer. Como rasgo positivo, esta vez los de enfrente no tenían en sus filas a Johan Cruyff, quien se ausentó por motivos personales. Por nuestro lado había solo algunos sobrevivientes del último enfrentamiento. Fillol, uno de ellos, era el arquero indiscutido y sería clave en el desenlace. Atrás, Passarella erigía como caudillo. En el medio, Gallego se encargaba de la parte sucia: correr y meter, mientas Ardiles jugaba con la frialdad y exquisitez de un inglés. La magia la aportaba Kempes, ya hecho un crack absolouto, mientras que Luque y Bertoni ayudaban en la faceta goleadora. Ayudaban, claro. Porque el goleador era Kempes. Él abrió el partido con un golazo para hacer estallar a todo un país que veía fútbol sin saber que estaban pasando cosas fatales. Fillol voló de lado a lado y el DT holandés Ernst Happel movió el banco de manera efectiva: Dick Nanninga empató el encuentro a falta de 8 minutos para el final. El tiempo extra fue dramático. El público local temía que el título se escapase de las manos. Era ahí, en nuestra casa, o nunca. Pero fue ahí. Porque Kempes fue demasiado para el cansancio físico de Holanda y se encargó de poner el 2-1. Daniel Bertoni se encargó de sentenciar la final, y Argentina gritó campeón del mundo por primera vez en su historia, justamente, ante la Selección que le había hecho entender que se necesitaba un cambio.

Nos hicimos potencia. Presenciamos al mejor jugador de la historia. El que nos llevó a ganar un Mundial con una filosofía completamente distinta a la de Menotti. Perdimos una final por un penal dudoso. Nos morimos cuando a nuestro Dios le cortaron las piernas. Llegamos a Francia 1998 disfrutando de una generación de futbolistas impecables: Roberto Ayala, Javier Zanetti, Matías Almeyda, Diego Simeone, Juan Sebastián Verón, Ariel Ortega, Gabriel Batistuta, y otros. Nos ilusionamos, porque le ganamos a Japón, goleamos a Jamaica, y también vencimos ante la increíble selección croata de aquel año. Vimos otra vez de cerca la gloria cuando Roa se hizo héroe y eliminamos a Inglaterra en los penales. Y otra vez, después de 20 años y cuatro mundiales, volvimos a enfrentar a Holanda. Seguían con la malaria de no poder gritar campeón, y tenían un equipazo, claro. Pero nosotros también. No eramos menos que nadie. La Selección dirigida por Passarella era una de las favoritas a quedarse con el título. Por eso no extrañó que luego de un golazo de Kluivert, Argentina se hiciera fuerte y empatara en los pies del «Piojo» López, quien raramente, aquella vez no titubeó estando mano a mano, y con un movimiento dejó tirado a Van der Sar para poner el 1-1.

Como todo partido de potencias, fue parejo. Hasta que los holandeses se quedaron con 10 hombres, y Argentina empezó a hacerse dueño del partido en los pies de Verón y Ortega. Tuvimos contra las cuerdas a aquella selección de figuras como los hermanos De Boer, Reiziger, Cocú, Davids, Kluivert y Bergkamp, pero justamente este último acabó con toda la ilusión matando una pelotazo vertical como solo los cracks pueden hacerlo y eludiendo a Ayala para luego definir bien lejos de Roa. Y nos dolió en el alma, porque sabíamos de nuestro potencial. La cosa quizás hubiera sido distinta si Ortega no pecaba de irresponsable y no le propinaba un cabezazo a Van der Sar para permitirle a Argentina seguir con 11 en cancha. Pero de poco sirve lamentarse, y ellos, los holandeses, se tomaban revancha de aquella final en el Mundial 78.

El Mundial 2006 nos volvió a encontrar. Como en 1974, Alemania fue el lugar de encuentro. Pero aquella vez había poco en juego, puesto que ambos equipos se encontraban clasificados a la segunda fase y decidieron cuidar a sus máximas figuras. El encuentro terminó 0-0, y Argentina clasificó en primer lugar.

Finalmente, nosotros nos fuimos en cuartos ante los locales y ellos en octavos, eliminados por Portugal.
Holanda siguió y sigue con la espina clavada por no poder salir campeón. Incluso volvió a perder una final, en Sudáfrica 2010 ante España, otra vez en tiempo suplementario. Argentina revivió con la conducción de Alejandro Sabella y la plenitud de Messi con la camiseta albiceleste. Brasil será el lugar donde Argentina y Holanda volverán a verse las caras. Esta vez, en semifinales, es decir, a dos pasos de la gloria. En el banquillo suplente aparece Van Gaal, el mismo que nos eliminó de Francia 1998. Pero no duerme tranquilo el gran Louis. Porque Lionel y sus compañeros parecen decididos a llevarle la copa a su gente. El fútbol siempre da revanchas. Ellos tuvieron la suya. Quizás sea hora de tener la nuestra.

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1994. Si no rueda una pelota me siento incompleto. Cuando sea grande diré que vi jugar a Messi. Disfruto de leer y escribir.

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