Thursday, February 08, 2007

Allez Argentina!

As I said before the game, I´ll take it easy with the result.

There were other things I was focusing on and I´ve got some answers from the manager and the players that left me satisfied.

It was clear that this game meant a lot for BASILE and for most of the players on the field.

Usually, friendly matches are used to test formations, players, movements and stuff like that. But last night for COCO the result was crucial. That´s the way I saw it. He wanted to win at all costs and he only made substitutions to give the team a breath of fresh air to keep on looking for the win.

At the same time, most of the players were still hurt for what happened at the last World Cup and for the rough start they had under BASILE (losing to Brazil and Spain).

That translated into a very eager team, playing the game and fighting for each and every ball like if victory was worth 3 points or meant qualification to an hypothetical next round at a major tournament.

You gotta love that attitude. I want to see my team with that attitude all the time.

Back to the game and our performance, the first thing I would like to say is that I believe Javier SAVIOLA is the most underrated player in the World!

How come nobody seems to appreciate the way he plays. How he scores goals everywhere he plays. I´m out of words when it comes to this subject.

I don´t want him to play fancy, beautiful football. He is there to score goals and work for the team and he does both things ALL THE TIME.

The back-heel pass he sent to Javier ZANETTI, before PUPI crossed towards CRESPO was pure class. It mesmerised the French defense (no matter how weak it was for missing THURAM or other key defenders) and then he kept his head up to finish that play sending the ball home after COUPET´s save.

I think our defense looked great.

ABBONDANZIERI reacted very quickly in the game´s most dangerous situation for France when he stopped point-blank that shot by David TREZEGUET.

Gabriel MILITO stopped everything in the air and on the floor. Roberto AYALA was his solid self in a way that he put an end to many French attemps and also because he could have been send off as well!

HEINZE and BURDISSO were OK and I really liked the way we play in midfield.

It´s not easy to make your international debut for Argentina (or for any national side), let alone facing the World Cup runner-up at their own backyard!

So I think Fernando GAGO did exceptionally well considering all this and his footwork passing through Thierry HENRY and Patrick VIEIRA was a classic image to treasure. Nice passing, good on marking the opposition and composed all throughout the match. Well done, PINTITA!

CAMBIASSO looked like a man with a thousand games under his belt. Worked very well alongside GAGO.

LUCHO didn´t contribute much on offense. I think he suffered because COCO had to use a formation he is not very keen on using and he did have a lot of work marking the opposing midfielders.

PUPI really send a statement as he is clearly a great option for Argentina. An experienced, influential player who can be used in defense or midfield. He could have had an assist if COUPET didn´t stop CRESPO´s shot before SAVIOLA´s goal.

CRESPO didn´t score. He is there to do that. But he was active and trying his best all the time. The movement without the ball, to receive ZANETTI´s pass was sensational. A shame he couldn´t capitalise on that.

Diego MILITO, Jonás GUTIERREZ and Sergio AGÜERO did not play enough minutes to allow me to judge their performances and I would like to see them involved a little bit more in the future.

A very positive outcome after this friendly match and a good result for COCO to stop the pressure from growing.

I´m looking forward to watching the next couple of friendly matches and I think the team should be ready for the Copa America.



Seba said...

Video of SAVIOLA´s goal (horrible commentator though!):

Seba said...

It has a little bit more footage here...(no audio)

Seba said...

The image illustrating my article is the newspaper Ole´s cover for today.

The headline reads:


It´s a play of words refereeing to the famous movie "ULTIMO TANGO EN PARÍS" ("LAST TANGO IN PARIS" -Bernardo Bertolucci, 1972).

The trick is that TACO means HEEL.

So it is a reference to the back-heel pass SAVIOLA sent to ZANETTI before the goal.

john said...

Hi There Everyone,

Been very busy with work recently so that speaks for itself how much I'm missing reading all your comments here. But most important of all I would like to say thank you to all of you for keeping this blog alive and kicking.

Yes! Finally we have manage to taste victory once again what better way to do it than doing it behind your opponents backyard. I did not had the chance to watch the game but I did manage to see the goal through the ESPN news and all I can say is, what a fantastic goal it was!!!

As for SAVIOLA, all I can say is that keep up the good work. Remember he was the fifth choice striker in Barca at the start of the season. With ETO'O being injured and GUDJOHNSSEN very much out in the cold, the Rabbit has stolen the spotlight in recent times. Finally all his hardwork has paid off.

Great to know PATO and our backfour had a solid performance and I hope PATO will be rewarded as the best goalkeeper in Primera Liga come end of the season.

I do agree some you that we needed a genuine playmaker and for me D'Allesandro is still my preferred option. I have nothing against AIMAR but somehow I feel ANDRES could offer more is he was given the role.

As for the future, I would like to see PUPI moving back into the right back position and I can't really wait to see MAXI back in action. To me ever since he got injured Athletico Madrid, it seems like it has been long time since he scored that wonder goal against Mexico. Great to see Messi back in action too.

To summarized all this, Coco is going to have selection headache on his future plans. For example up front there is Crespo, Saviola, Kun, Milito and even Carlitos. Or what about in central midfield, he has Gago, Cambiasso, Samoza, Javier or even a certain player by the name Demechelis.

As I've always said before, we should put our faith Coco and hopefully with this win, we could perhaps have a great year ahead. And if what I've heard from all some of you its true, then come May, bring on England!!!

By the way, Le Tour De Langkawi cycling event is currently going in Malaysia. In the first stage, Maximiliano Richeze of team Ceramiche Panaria Navigare came out on top. The race is currently right now going into the eigth stage, as of now in the overall points standing, Richeze currently in 2nd spot. Will keep you all up to date on what's happening.

In the meantime...



andaman said...

Great article Seba.

Pato is the current zamora in la liga. He has been there since the start of the season mostly, dropped off only twice only to gain the top spot again.

Good result against the world champions runner up and the way the boys gave their all on the pitch. I love it.

Seba, you explained why Higuain is called Papita. What about Gago. Why is he called Pintita?

andaman said...

PIPITA!!! Sorry, me bad, misspelled there.

Anonymous said...

Hey everyone,

I wanted to post the link to this article that I'm sure everyone one will enjoy. It's in english so everyone will be able to read it. After the game, Pato, Ayala and Heinze sat down for some drinks with some journalists and shared who they thought should be man of the match. It's a really good read.


Seba said...

Andaman...I don´t know why GAGO is nicknamed PINTITA. Will try and find out for you.

Allan said...

I think Lucho was the disappointing member of the team. I am looking forward to see D'Alessandro given his opportunity.

Anyway, Saviola and Crespo maintained their unbeaten record... Argentina never lost with the two of them upfront. I hope this fact is not lost on Coco.

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