Remember when Riquelme and Argentina mesmerised the world with some football tango?

On this week's World Is A Ball, Raf Diallo of Team 33 looks back at a 2006 World Cup goal against Serbia & Montenegro

BY Raf Diallo 14:02 Wednesday 30 March 2016, 14:02 30 Mar 2016

Argentina's Esteban Cambiasso, left, scores during the Group C World Cup 2006 soccer match between Argentina and Serbia Montenegro at the World Cup Stadium in Gelsenkirchen, Germany, Friday, June 16, 2006. (AP Photo/Roberto Candia)

Some goals send a bolt to your heart as you watch them live.

But for others, the shimmy and shake of a replay is what stirs you from your slumber and show you just how majestic they really are.

On this week's Team 33, we were delighted to be joined by The Guardian's Spanish football expert Sid Lowe and one of the great non-Barcelona and Real Madrid teams of the Millennium that we discussed was the Villarreal side which was built around the talent of playmaker Joan Roman Riquelme.

The now retired Argentine is one of those names that is often made out to be a hipster's choice for football fans, but in his peak year of 2006, he led Villarreal to a Champions League semi-final, only to see what would have been a winning penalty saved by Arsenal's Jens Lehmann.

But later that summer, the No 10 would be the player that Argentina manager and current Colombia boss Jose Pekerman would built around.

Carlos Tevez, a teenage Lionel Messi and a 22-year-old Javier Mascherano were all part of the Albiceleste squad for the 2006 World Cup, but Riquelme's vision and rhythm was the style around which the team itself revolved. 

One goal from that tournament encapsulated the joy of watching a playmaker threading a team towards the net.

Speaking of replays, the second goal that Argentina scored against Serbia & Montenegro in the group stage of that World Cup required one to really bask in what Riquelme and co were trying to achieve.

The No 10 was at the centre of it all, prodding and poking, but 26 passes needed the input of practically the entire team from the moment the ball was won in their own half to the slow start and rapid one-touch flicks and combos which ended with Esteban Cambiasso thrusting one past the keeper.

Joyful, tango-like swishes and sways. It's the type of goal that equals the spectacular volley or the Maradona-style solo goal and certainly the sort that has the eyes of Riquelme-type playmakers rolling into the back of their heads in ecstasy. 

If you watch the video above, he and his team-mates are like shepherds, guiding their opponents and not necessarily going straight for the end-point until the culmination of the move, as if they knew exactly where they wanted to go but just wanted to prod and encourage the situation towards its natural conclusion.

It's almost 10 years on, but I can't help but exclaim whenever I watch back footage of the endless replays of that goal.

You can read more from Raf's The World Is A Ball series every Wednesday on To find past articles, head to the Team 33 show page.


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