A Spanglish blog dedicated to the works, ruminations, and mongrel pyrotechnics of Yago S. Cura, an Argentine-American poet, translator, publisher & futbol cretin. Yago publishes Hinchas de Poesia, an online literary journal, & is the sole proprietor of Hinchas Press.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


My surrogate team this year is Mexico. My wife is an L.A.-raised Chicana, and I have lots of love for mis cuates. For Father's Day, my wife bought me the FIFA Mexican kit and there was a minor diplomatic scuffle after I put it on and sent a photo to my pops, Hinchas Argentinus. He called me just to make sure I hadn't defected and to remind me that my paltry inheritance rested on me boostering for Argentina in all international matches of stature and renown.

Therefore, I watched the Mexico vs. Uruguay game eagerly. As soon as the game started you could tell two things: one, Uruguay was going to try to use their superior weight to their advantage; and two, Mexico was going to have to rely on their superior agility, while down-shifting forceful strikes. If Mexico were to stand a shot they would have to be superior "dancers". Uruguay were going to throw their weight around and Mexico was going to have to don a no-stick, Teflon coating to even have a chance of boxing with God.

Despite, superior weight advantage, the Mexican team not only held their own but took calculated shots and hustled hard. Guardado's izquerdazo in the 18th minute hits on what I am talking about; the Goalie-Cam shook with the force of that left-legged volley, and seemed to buouy Mexican spirits. The game was hotly contested and vigorously played; at one point, el Ruso Perez, a Uruguayan hit-man-cum-striker, is fully bleeding from his skull and trying to convince the sideline ref that the bleeding is under control while blood trickles from the gauze. He comes out of the game for 20 seconds and comes back head-wrapped in blue gauze like a daffy Jerry Lewis.

Unfortunately, Luis Suarez scores for Uruguay in the 43rd minute with a spectacular head past Suarez, Mexico's goalie, also known as the Rabbit. In the second half, Uruguay covered Mexico with that additional weight so there were alot of theatrics, shirt-pulling, and name-calling. Mexico played with heart, and they lost with heart, but they're qualified for the next tier of play, despite being in second place (behind Uruguay of course).

Monday, June 21, 2010


Kim Il-Jong played 18 holes in 19 strikes on the first
golf course that opened in North Korea.

I don't know squat about golf, but it seems highly unlikely
that a sentient, carbon-based dictator could not sink
over seventeen holes in one.

I'm no expert, though; all I know
is, duress engenders fiction.

During the last Olympics, Kim Il
bested a basketball cadre comprised of
Kobe, Jordan (who came out of retirement,
appraently), LeBron, Bird (ditto), Eisenhower,
George W., Hillary (State Dept. Intramurals),
and the Sancrosanct Void.

He has demolished the likes of Elvis,
Nixon, Michael Jackson & Obama at bowling.

It's true: the Glorious Leader and a squad
of robot mavens dunked on the leaders of the free world
(a team of Hillaries).

At this moment, in Pyongyang, N. Korean sorcerers
dismantle the stunning, historic defeat of its heroes.

The way the sorcerers will spin it: the rain played
in favor of the North Korean heroes; this facilitated
their transmutation into lake-jumping Pointers, or
Salukis with the breakneck of sprinklers.

The way the sorcerers will spin it : heat signatures
boiled from the crown of the Fatherland's heroes as they left
Ronaldo standing still, and played keep away from

his wiley co-pilots, the Portugese half-bloods
were swash-buckled under, the merchant mathematicians
proved no match for the superior North Korean players.

Kim Il-Jong, notorious cinephile, Uranium dunce
crisp military lapels and bouffant martial arts hair
amazing golfer, snorkler, spelunker, Formula One astronaut,
illustrious grand wizard of spin on the ball, any ball,
any sport played under righteous banners for Father-glory.

Those poor Portugese bastards, those righteous
unequivocal North Korean heroes.

Sunday, June 20, 2010


For me, what has marked the 2010 World Cup more than previous Cups is the sense that upsets abound, that the "giants" of the beautiful game (Germany, Italy, etc.)can be got at with sophisticated slingshots. That, Goliaths do get felled by Davids, that overconfident teams falls under the pressure of their own hubris, and that true sportsmen are virtuosos of great skill and heart.

The 2010 Cup has also been marked with a plethora of shots saved by the post. The post is mostly unforgiving, like the net in basketball; one could safely say, iron unkind, and it would apply to many of the 2010 Cup matches. Futhermore, I don't see how divine intervention was not at hand during Serbia vs. Germany, or Spain vs. Switzerland. So many shot were saved by the post, you'd think it was the 12th man.

There has also been lost of chatter about the Jabulani, the ball designed by Adidas for the 2010 Cup. The Jabulani is not stitched together, the hexagons on its face are thermally bonded, and there are rivulets and channels on the ball that only an engi-nerd could explain. I even heard one of the goalies was so shook up about the wiley Jabulani that it drove them to tears.

Last, referees have been a hot topic this Cup. It seems that FIFA has attempted to exhibit its reach by having refs that are from exotic and far-away locales when it should instead opt for refs that have more experience and are better versed in protocols. Exhibit A: the ref that officiated at the Slovenia vs. U.S. match, Koman Coulibaly. Coulibaly, a native of Malawi, has surely officiated games in his native country, but how many matches of international stature? To this day, neither he nor FIFA have ever given any explanation for the invalidation of a third goal by Edu that would have put the U.S. over Slovenia, 3 to 2. The game was hotly contested and then hotly debated for the next couple of days.

There's the case of Germany, which was bested by a Serbian scissor kick authored by Jovanich, and a missed penalty by Podolski. There's the case of France, which was the obvious choice against Mexico (France made it to the Finals in 2006). But, they were no match for el Chicharita's torero moves or a swift penalty booted in by Cuahtemoc. How about Switzerland beating Spain, how about little old blond-haired, blue-eyed Switzerland besting the Red Tide of Spain.

There has also been a fair share of matches expertly played. For example, Brazil's spanking of Cote d'Ivoire on Sunday was an expert, flamboyant spanking with three of the pretties goals I have seen all Cup. Both play an aggressive, physical style with loads of creative, technical passes. The first goal by Fabiano was surgical; he was almost parallel with the goalie but manages to slice it into the opposite pocket. However, it would not have been possible without Kaka's wrangling of a volatile, overhead pass. The second goal, I thought, even more masterful.

Again, the ball finds Fabiano who cascades it over three defenders in lock-step, positions himself in front of the goal, and extends a killer rocketball past goalkeeper Boubacar Barry. That is not to say that Drogba's goal against Brazil wasn't equally as spectacular. My man fields a pass and uses the momentum of it falling to equalize on Brazilian goalie Julio Cesar.

The Paraguay vs Slovakia game was a dazzling match. Paraguay played a vivacious futbol, full of stop-and-go, suicide sprints, and misdirection that proved magical to watch. The main problem is that Slovakia gave Paraguay openings and Paraguay was able to define; in the 27 minute Enrique Vera burst through the Slovakian defense to bumrush it in; in the 86th minute Rivieros sails one in after balon does a little pinball wizardy in the goalie box. All in all, Slovakia seemed dazed and confused and Paraguay capitalized on that.

Thursday, June 17, 2010


Argentina gave South Korea some pow-pow by harmonizing four goals. To be fair, the first Argentine goal came from a Messi corner kick that actually bounces off the shin of a South Korean player to ricochet in. In many ways, this auto-gol demolished the psychology of the South Korean team who until then had been scrapping it out.

The second Argentine goal, courtesy of Gonzalo Higuain [ig-wa-in'], was a tomahawk header that first bounced off the posterior cranium of another player and seemed to align perfectly with Higuain's forehead. The third one Higuain only had to sweep in because it was carried down by Carlos Tevez, masterfully, swiftly. Tevez fired at the goal, it ricocheted off the post and the goalie's back and found Higuain. The fourth was a stately pass from captain Mascherano that had just the right amount of arc so that Higuain again was there to send it into the opposite pocket of the box with his head. It was extremely nice team work.

The Greece vs. Nigeria match was also super-charged and nitrogylcerinish. I think that players are going to take yellow cards more seriously. Nigeria allowed Greece to win yesterday because in the 33rd minute Nigerian midfielder Sani Kaita was shown a red card for kicking Torosidis. Granted, Torosidis played it up and cupped his face as if Kaita had struck him. But, anyone who watched the game will have to agree that Kaitan is a douchebag for raising his cleats against another player and then dropping to his knees in full realization of his douchebag move.

But without a doubt, the match of the day was Mexico vs. France. Unfortunately, I was forced to watch it streaming on my work computer, and since it was my last day the IT guy was saving a copy of my desktop and backing up files. I was able to see the Javier Hernandez goal and have to say that it reminded me of a torero or bull fighter because it was just Chicharita against the French goalie and Hernandez was able to side step him and chip it in. The second Mexican goal came from an expertly kicked penalty kicked by Cuauhtemoc Blanco. Mexico played their mighty Aztec hearts out, and even though France made a couple of futile strikes, one could easily say that Mexico dominated.

In terms of upsets, we've seen lots. Serbia bested Germany on Friday, and it is hard for me to believe that a higher being was not Serbia boostering. Well, that's not completely true: the Germans came out like Vikings in the first half, trying to completely snuff the Serbians out. And, Klose got two yellow cards and had to come off in the 38 minutes. A minute later, Serbia struck with a beautiful scissor side kick from Jovanovic. The Serbians rode a material advantage the Germans were not able to come back from. I guess my previous deduction (i.e. the intervention of God in the game) comes from several volleys in the goalie box that transpired between Germany and Serbia.

One exchange a minute before the game had more than 4 German attempts at making a goal prove fruitless. One of the attempts hit the crossbar, another was ferreted out by the goalie, and a third surely deflected (even though the volley came as a German bicycle kick). Then, a ray of light during the 60th minute, a Serbian player deliberately hits it with his hand giving Germany a penalty shot. Stojkovic defender penaly stopped kicked by Podolski was blocked by Serbian goalie Stojkovic.

Birsa's goal was a stupendous goal. I literally surprised myself by screaming it alongside Fiores on Univision. Slovenia's goal at the thirteen minute was a travesty; no one was covering Birsa (I mean no one) and he was able to run it up the the edge of the goalie box and connect against Tim Howard with a left that left even the aggressive Howard just watching it sail in. Birsa was able to give it an effect that made it spin against the direction in which it was hit; it was a pretty technical goal, all in all.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


The technology of exertion disposes
one to think that hand-stitching is pussy

when you can thermal bond the hexagons
and make balon almost like a waterproof
ion or synthetic canonball,

a mole of pure bouyancy
in three dimensions.

Balon, pelota, has always been
a souvenir thing from Deflection.

For instance, my father recounts
layering a sock with socks
if it had at it's heart
a stark, marble pit.

And the kids in Africa
use masking tape to conflate
their overlapping Drogba dreams
to worship Eto's elan.

Lack of technology propels
the indigent savants of the "beautiful
game" towards manicured salaries and television
spots to sell mouthwash and disposable
shavers to chavs, coolies, and shoguns.

Adidas claims this is the most accurate
and most round football to roll on the pitch
as if the pitch were a ping-pong verandah

or a table devoid of inconsistency.

But, the pitch is all elbows and kinks
and even the most Barishnikov of the strikers
will admit that they just propel and suggest

channel and resist the sense of celebration
innate in the rolling.

Monday, June 14, 2010


By now, all las viejas (moms, wives, fiancees) and jefas (girlfriends, mistresses, et al.) have dug their heels in for the long haul. By now, we have all learned to hate that swarming drone the vuvusellas blow. By now, you have realized how the 2006 World Cup had a cumulative television audience of 26.29 Billion people. By now, you have realized that resistance is futile.

That's right, it's Mundial Time! For the next month, most of the men on the planet are going to be talking futbol shop. For starters, there has been much debate about the arduous conditions in South Africa, i.e. many of the games are played at way above sea level, and the bounciness of the ball, i.e. some space-age polymer developed in a secret futbol lab?

There has even been some talk about the lameness of a "tie" situation, (i.e. U.S vs. U.K. or the Mexico vs Republic of South Africa match, etc.) and how true American sports go into overtime to decide unequivocally who is the champion and who is the loser (and then they drink a Miller High Life). Ah, the impetuousness of youth!

America, this is no one-time Super Bowl or NASCAR race, the World Cup is a month-long conference of competition; the name of the game is endurance, not domination. Or in the immortal words of Eddie Murphy, have a Coke and Shut the F*#$ up!

The only real pummeling has come at the hands of the Germans against the Australians. The Germans were able to ram four goals down the gullet of Australia with quartz bullets. Their first goal was so deliberate and cunning that by the time Australia's defense figured out what was happening, Germany's Podolski had capped the goalie with a Death Ray. For a split second, I thought Podolski had debrained the goalie. Obviously, Germany, again, has positioned itself as the leader and forerunner to play in the quarter finals (at least they have the most points of any team).

I think most teams are playing conservatively because they don't want to burn out before their time. This might explain the low scoring matches between Argentina and Nigeria and Serbia and Ghana.

Saturday, June 12, 2010


So, the day started beautifully with South Korea unexpectedly beating Greece. You heard me...I said unexpectedly because my money was on the Greeks. I did not catch this game but I hear that South Korea played their hearts out and that they played a very physical game with a lot of "touch" or "toque". South Korea's goals were pretty amazing, anyone with the faculty of sight would have to admit.

The first one by Lee Jung Soo came off a corner kick, but the second one by Park Ji-Sung was a real banger because Ji-Sung ran it all the way into the goalie box himself and strafed it across the opposite post. The goal was a true sign of South Korea's virtuosity. Argentina better be careful because if they think they are going to get an easy win off South Korea they got another thing coming. (You can catch the highlights...here)

Then, I had to take my cats to the vet in Spanish Harlem, so I rushed over there in a gypsy cab and caught the first half there. Argentina played well is all I can muster because they controlled the ball for most of the game and allowed Nigeria to lull itself into a feeling of false relief. Nigeria played as if they were the ones up by one and came very close on maybe two shots to tie the score. Argentina though, either Nigeria's goalie is a superb and lithe monster or Argentina mucked up at least four attempts to get another point with another goal and shut out the Nigerians with a 2-0.

However, we have to give it up to Heinze. His goal is one of the best headers I have ever seen. I mean, to see it, Heinze rushes into the goalie box and imparts this kamikaze momentum on the ball that the keeper and defensive player can't keep their eyes on. The goal was masterful and it gives you a fuzzy feeling that it was Heinze because who can't use the positive publicity, right. But, really, Argentina needs to buy an Easter Island Totem head from Chile and dedicate it to Heinze for the goal that he juked from the Nigerians.

The hotly awaited/contested game between the U.S.A. and England lived up to it's hype, but I believe it has to be said that the futbol gods were smiling upon the U.S. And, I say that very affectionately (as in I was rooting for them). But, the goal that Green let slip out of his hands is going to haunt him the rest of life. I mean, Dempsey got a good slug on it; it seemed a little possessed and wily truth be told, but for it to bounce off the hands of a seasoned keeper like Green is an embarrassment.

Green did make up for it by tackling an amazing shot by Altidore that looked like it was going to sail in unencumbered. On the other hand, England's goal by Gerard was an unequivocal, pysch-out that caught everyone by surprise (even the aggressive Tim Howard). All in all, I believe that England played a better game; that does not take away from the good game that the U.S played for indeed they kept up their part of the bargain and played hard.

Friday, June 11, 2010


I spent the whole morning on ESPN 3 watching the game on the Internet. I minimized the tab and had my finger on my mouse pointing on the desktop, just in case my boss decided to barrel into my office. I was excited to see Mexico do it's thing, and see whether or not the host nation really has some pull. I think I read that the record for host nations involved in the first game of the World Cup is something like 14-0-5.

Even though I was rooting for Mexico, I do have to concede that the Republic of South Africa scored an amazing goal. Siphiwe Tshabalala received a pass and was off at full speed. He reached the penalty box and defined with a canon to the opposite pole of the goal being sentineled by Mexican goal keeper Perez. It was pretty amazing to watch and to think that the Cup is being played in South Africa is just bonkers, man, really.

France and Uruguay also played their hearts out to a nil-nil draw, which must be like the most frustrating thing in the world because that means there is no definition, the outcome is still shrouded in abstract variables, bleh!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


J. David Gonzalez and I co-edit the online journal, Hinchas de Poesia, http://www.hinchasdepoesia.com. We are working on the the third issue and are at the point where we are trying out different stuff and "perusing" it on the web.

Well, J. David, what thinkest ye? Also, you read J. David's newest non-fiction piece in the Southern Indiana Review, click here. The piece is called, How Can I Help You? and is about the burning down of the restaurant J. David's family has owned for the past 20 years on Billy Bagg's State Park in Key Biscayne.

Monday, June 7, 2010


For my cousin, Mike Magno, who is an amazing Dad, Coach, and Goalie...

O Lord! they tell me there is a new tradition
of American goal keepers. They say Tim is the Vanguard
deflecting penalties at Everton, pimp-slapping
forwards who feel the new Yank is a 'kant or poof.

O Lord! they tell me Tim suffers from an inexcusable
disease of the brain which allows him not to sieve
the analog torrent, but he interviews like a paladin
manufacturer of formula One brake pads. His cucumber
cool is the dismal truth concerning disabilities.

But, does that mean that he did not have to overhaul
the wiring in his brain once the palisades of New Jersey
were being transferred for Liverpool's more toxic, greener pastures?

O Lord! how could you make the weak more like your image
of the fire-breathing, unequivocal pillar? So much magnamity?

O Lord! how could you overcompensate so egregiously
on Howard's splicing, giving him the sentience of X-Men
and Psy-Opps Dolemites?

O Lord! why even mention syndromes?

O Lord! Tim Howard can intuit where the ball may
roam, zip codes of vector trajectory, the span
of balon's bounce, conditional happenstance

O Lord! Berbatov's boudoir love-penalty
so as not to gun down ex-mate after Cahill's
mustang banger.

O Lord! after he stopped Ferdinand's penalty,
I thought Wembly was going to splinter into tinder.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


Think of the World Cup as a sumptuous feast of athletes, or a great excuse to get together with partisans and frenemies. So, it goes without saying that the first thing you must establish before you proceed is, to "whom" do you belong? In other words, what team (and colors, pues, but not in a gang way) will you be boostering? Because, that may very well determine your World Cup Maniac stamina.

Who you will be boostering determines what group you will big up, so it might be a good idea to acquaint yourself with the groups. This information is easily accessible via the Internet thanks to FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association), the governing body which administer the World Cup, among other things.

To establish that vital component (team allegiance), one must eye the roster of sovereigns that are amassing in South Africa as we speak. One's immediate family history must be weighed against competing heritages. For example, my parents are from Argentine, but I am American, and my wife is Chicana (which means she boosters for Mexico). On top of that, I am a dirty rat because I want Argentina, the U.S., and Mexico to fare well.

Therefore, for the duration of the World Cup, we (she is) are allowed to root when Argentina gets scored on, and (I can cheer)when Mexico eventually gets demolished. Now, many people decide to forego all the diplomacy by picking a surrogate team, i.e. the way most people who booster Brazil are not Brazilian, etc. This is also called surrogate-boostering and is perfectly acceptable, as long as adherants don't over-step the parameters of trash-talking and venture into faux cultural competency.

The last thing you should do is construct a program of the matches that you want to see, again information readily available on FIFA's website. For example, you are going to want to catch the World Cup opener which is between the host, South Africa, and Mexico. This game on June 11th at 4 PM will be that global gong that says, Mundial Time!

On that same day, I would also be interested in seeing France vs. Uruguay (still group A), which commences at 8:30. The next day, however, June 12th, is going to be more essential for me because at 4PM on the 12th, Argentina and Nigeria play the first match of the B group. After that match, though, I will be jumping to the C group, which is playing at 8:30, their first match: England vs. U.S.A.

It's not that the adjacent game in the B group, South Korea vs. Greece, will not be vigorously fought and majestically played. It's just that, to me, so much trash-talk has been built around the England vs. U.S. match that it is more interesting to me. Also, the fact that the U.S. beat England in the 1950 World Cup has brainwashed some into thinking that the U.S. might pull off another stunning upset. The moral to take away is that matches are unpredictable, and a lot can happen in 90 minutes.

I guess what I am saying is that you have to choose your battles carefully, and you have to think ahead because once it starts, the World Cup will be flinging matches and highlights at you faster than you can watch them. Get prepared, people, this is the World Cup!