Cesar Luis Menotti, Argentina's former World Cup coach who many believe should be directing this year's team, is writing a daily column for a Buenos Aires newspaper about the 13th World Cup. Carlos Bilardo, Argentina's current coach, also is writing a newspaper column. And Argentine captain Diego Maradona is detailing the Cup for a newspaper as well.
Everyone in Argentina, it seems, has an opinion on how to run the team, and perhaps that has created a discussion more harmful than helpful.
At least for today, all the news going home was good for Argentina. In a Group A match at Olympic Stadium, the Argentines dominated South Korea, 3-1, as Jorge Valdano scored two goals and Oscar Ruggeri scored one. Maradona endured the South Korean's surprising roughhouse tactics and was the catalyst for Argentina's two first-half goals.
Still, the critical eyes of Argentina remain on Bilardo. Argentina, under Menotti, won its only World Cup title in 1978 playing at home. In 1982, again under Menotti, the team played horribly in Spain, but with Bilardo's team struggling the past several months, the sentiments of many Argentine fans have turned back to Menotti.
Even though Menotti frequently has questioned Bilardo's techniques and personnel moves, he said this week: "I never criticize Argentina. I don't want to create discussions. Bilardo is the coach, and he must be supported so that he'll get good results."
Menotti conceded he has ideological differences with Bilardo, "but I don't mean to be negative."
Bilardo, for instance, has been maligned for converting what had been an attacking club to a defensive-minded one. Argentina qualified for the Cup in low-scoring matches, and Bilardo said, "We plan to play the same way here as we did in the qualifiers."
As Argentina began its Cup bid today, much of the focus was on Maradona and Claudio Borghi. Borghi, 21, was benched by Bilardo although the striker was expected to help Maradona immensely.
"It is disillusioning not to play," Borghi said. "I think I have played well. The truth is that I have waited a long time to play. I hope I play against Italy in the next match ."
"I named my team and there's no more to it," Bilardo said when asked about Borghi. "Perhaps in the next match, I'll use a different lineup."
Maradona, meanwhile, is trying to live up to his billing as one of the world's greatest players. In the '82 Cup, he disappointed. Now, the 25-year-old midfielder might be capable of leading the Argentines a long way if his play today is any indication.
Today was a mismatch, with the South Koreans reduced to mugging Maradona repeatedly. They butted him, they held him, they tackled him, they tripped him.
However, they did not stop him.
The first two times Maradona touched the ball, he was fouled. The next two times the South Koreans committed infractions against him, Maradona assisted on goals off free kicks.
In the fifth minute, Maradona's kick rebounded off the South Korean defensive wall back to him, and he headed it to the right corner of the penalty area, where Valdano scored on a powerful kick into the left side of the goal.
Then in the 17th minute, Maradona again showed a deft touch off a free kick. On a set play, he sent an arcing pass to the right side to Ruggeri, who scored on a header from 10 yards out to make it 2-0.
In all, the South Koreans, who had a reputation as an agile, fast-breaking squad, fouled Maradona seven times in the first half.
"We were told the South Koreans would not be that physical," Maradona said. "The game was very rough, and I'm not sure that's the way soccer should be played."
With a 2-0 lead, the Argentines went into their version of a four-corner offense for the final 20 minutes of the first half. They slowed the pace and kept the ball near midfield, mindful of the 87-degree heat, high altitude and the fact that they will get only two days rest before meeting Italy.
In the first minute of the second half, Valdano scored again to make it 3-0, and Argentina let the air out of the ball much of the remaining time. Park Chang-Sun scored South Korea's goal with 18 minutes left.
For South Korea, making its first Cup appearance since 1954, there was little chance to match the Argentines' skills. Choi Soon-Ho, the team's best striker, was not a factor. Choi is sometimes called the "Maradona of Seoul," but he might reconsider that label lest Maradona sue him for impersonating a superstar.