Olympic Games Final 2004: Argentina becomes golden

por Roberto Anidos publicado en 2004 Argentina Decade 2000 Italy Olympic Games

In the summer of 2004, the Olympic Games were held in Athens, where in the final Argentina defeated Italy 84-69, Argentina more than deserved Olympic Gold, a Gold that would mark forever this «Albiceleste» selection

In the semifinals Argentina beat the United States 89-81, the NBA did not win again. In the other semifinal Italy won 100-91 also a little against the odds. For the fight for the bronze the United States won without too much brightness to Lithuania by 104-96.

Argentina’s national team have made good predictions that gave them as favourites for the Olympic title. The Magnano had complications with the leathery Italy, but in the last quarter the Albiceleste took off directly to the triumph that was denied in the last World Indianapolis. The imperial domination of Luis Scola in the painting and the continuous external production of Ginóbili and Montecchia did not give option to the squad ‘azzurra’, that will have to be satisfied with the silver, and they gave to the albiceleste its first podium and its first gold in some Games.
Basketball completed a circle of complete happiness in Athens with the gold that turns the South American country into the ‘Lord of the Rings’ of the two great team sports of the Games, basketball and football, both in the hands of Argentina, big on the grass, but much bigger on the parquet.

The Albiceleste lost the World Cup to Yugoslavia in a controversial final. In the Greek Games has suffered a very tough first phase, with defeats against Spain and the squad itself ‘azzurra’ (75-76), a crossroads of semifinals in which nobody gave a hard for her, thanks to the presence of the United States (81-89), and a final where very few countries have touched the success.

Much less, a success like that of Rubén Magnano’s group. The total success, unquestionable. Argentines do. To the first one. Without previous experience. A final, a title. Forty minutes and the passport to glory. Magnano and his men deserved it more than anyone else. For his ability to suffer, not to lose faith, to empty himself every night, to play basketball, to believe.

Argentina is a team loaded with sporting values: faith, desire, ambition, respect for the opponent, the shield, itself. It is, without any possible reply, the Olympic champion. With a triumph extolled by the nobility of Italy, the Italy of always, faithful to the historical quotations. Few teams in the world know how to express their virtues like the Italian. One of them always accompanies them: the defence. With a heart that comes out of their chest. Clinging to two exhibition shooters -Basile and Bulleri-, to an interior man with a classic cut -Marconato- and to an all-terrain vehicle that always responds -Galanda-, the defence makes them enormous, making them Olympic runners-up twenty-four years after reaching the silver medal in Moscow’80.

The Italian masters tested the ‘students’ of the American continent -seven players share Italian-Argentine passport-. They put them in the position of homologating their race of champions in the arena of the Olympic Coliseum, the largest ‘circus’ that exists in sport. And Scola, especially Scola, made it clear to them that the lesson is well learned.

After Italy’s last attempt, with eight minutes to go (59-61), Argentina headed for gold with the authority and determination of the chosen, one of the greatest. The quality of his rival, the strength of the Italians, enlarged the Albiceleste feat.

Argentina 84
*Sanchez – 3p, 5a.
*Ginobili – 16p, 6r, 6a.
*Nocioni – 7p, 9r.
*Scola – 25p, 11r.
*Wolkowisky – 13p, 3r.
Montecchia – 17p, 2r.
Sconochini – 2p, 2r.
Delfino – 0p, 1a.
Fernández – 1p, 1r.

Italy 69
*Bulleri – 5p, 1r.
*Basile – 9p, 1a.
*Soragna – 12p, 4r.
*Galanda – 7p, 3br.
*Marconato – 6p, 4r.
Pozzecco – 12p, 1a.
Rombaldoni – 10p, 2a.
Righetti – 3p, 1r.
Garri – 2p, 6r.
Chiacig – 3p, 4r.
Radulovic – 0p, 1r.