Thursday, June 28, 2007

Comfortable win for Argentina after nervy start

Yes. It was tough in the first half.

Yes. We were surprised by an early American goal.

But, YES! We never lost our cool and we were able to score 3 goals in the second half to secure three points and start with a great result and a good performance.

There are no easy games these days in football and a group of unknown, untested players, can really complicate your life if they are disciplined and they block every one of the roads you try to create to get to scoring positions.

Eventually, the best team prevailed and took home the three points. No surprises there.

Colombia is next. They will have to really step up their game and go for the win, after being thrashed 5-0 by Paraguay. They might even open up some glorious spaces for us to benefit from.

But before we move on, let me offer you a quick one-by-one players ratings:

ABBONDANZIERI: Wasn't really tested. No responsibility in the USA goal. 6/10

ZANETTI: Always offered an option on the right. Was OK marking but wasn't really threatened. 6/10

AYALA: A quiet game. It was worrying to see some lack of communication with MILITO. 5/10

MILITO: In my opinion, the weakest player for us Today. Lost Eddie JOHNSON and then fouled him for a penalty kick. Saw yellow because he arrived late in coverage. 3/10

HEINZE: JOHNSON won his back in the play that ended with MILITO fouling the American. Played badly with the ball in his feet. But sent a great cross for AIMAR to score our third goal. 5/10

MASCHERANO: Quiet, but efficient. I can't remember how many balls he won back without committing many fouls. Supported the back four and most importanly, the offensive midfielders in front of him. 7/10

VERON: Covered a lot of ground. Tried a couple of times from outside the box and helped both creating and marking. Showed great communication with RIQUELME and MESSI at times. 6/10

CAMBIASSO: Didn't have much influence down the left. I would think the USA didn't play a game that is suitable for him. Was replaced by AIMAR and the team improved dramatically. 4/10

RIQUELME: Not his Boca version. Not a bad game either. Great ball into the box for our first goal. Showed flashes of great connections with MESSI. 6/10

MESSI: Did not gravitate a lot on the right. But changed the game when he moved to the left. Lovely assist for CRESPO in our second goal and looked very dangerous every time he was on the ball. 7/10

CRESPO: Best of the gang. Two goals and a lot of movement. A striker should be judged by how many and how crucial are his goals and he scored our first two in the tournament. 8/10

AIMAR: He was a key to our comeback. He clearly is in a great shape at the moment and he topped the evening with a perfect header to score the third one for Argentina. 8/10

TEVEZ: Played a few minutes but it was enough to write his name in the scoresheet. Nice finish to score the fourth and put some more pressure on BASILE. (I won't grade him as he didn't play enough minutes).

GAGO: Same as with TEVEZ. Didn't play enough to judge him.


Seba said...

Let me hear YOUR players ratings.

Do you agree with CRESPO having the top rating and MILITO the lowest?

Rio said...

you guys see how the first goal developed? That had very little to do with Aimar directly, but it was due to Aimar coming onto the field which forced riquelme to play better or risk his enganche job. so he drove the attack element harder and boom, score.

also messi really need to do more lateral channeling. He just wasn't utlizing his lateral freedom efficiently. That's what im afriad of, he's too used to playing right attacking wing for barca. and not used to playing around an enganche. maybe we need to do 4-3-3 to give messi better chances.

and heinze need to push less.
If not enough width on the left by letting heinze staying home, then switch on a more offensive midfield pair than veron-cambiasso... having aimar on field to pressure riquelme still isnt first rated option. better off with a dedicated midfield pair if roman can just get his shit togather by himself.

more of my opinions on

Rio said...

i meant first goal after the tie of course

johnny said...

I totally agree with the idea that Aimar's substitution changed the match. Cambiasso was constantly getting bottled up on the left. The USA was not playing enough offense to be concerned about the loss of defensive capability. Wonderful move by Coco. Offensively there is a surplus of firepower, defensively there are questions. Unfortunately Coco is a little limited there. He could stick in Diaz for Ayala and it would not bother me. I am a huge fan of Cata. Maybe G. Milito just had a bad night. He has impressed me all year, so I am hoping this was a fluke.

Arg10 said...

I agree with pretty much everything. Abbondanzieri wasn't tested that much and penaltys are 50/50. Zanetti with a 6 is good, I might even say a 7. Ayala in the first half was physical and there when we needed him. I'd give him a 6.

Milito was horrible. I don't know what was wrong with him. Nervousness? Maybe. But the thing we have to remember is that the USA play a different style of "soccer" than the rest of the world. They like high crosses and that seems to be one of Milito's weaknesses. But I'd give him another shot and see how he does. Heinze I'd give about a 6/7. He's good at crosses and thats what helped us take a 3-1 lead. We need a physical defender and I think he does a fantastic job at it.

Mascherano did extremely well. He must stay in the starting 11. Like you mentioned, he won so many balls for us and he can do cross balls aswell which can help. Veron... I think he played an ok match, nothing too good. He's good for those shots outside the box, but thats mostly it. I'd start him next match and see how he does and maybe sub him for Gago at half time.

Cambiasso seemed lost on the field. Much like Milito, I think it's the way the USA played that caused him some trouble. If I were Coco, I wouldn't want to diminush some of his confidence, so I'd start him again versus Colombia. I'd LOVE to see Aimar instead of Cambiasso, but I fear that his ideas(Aimar's) would clash with Riquelme when it comes to creating chances.

Riquelme I'd give a 7 and to some extent 8. Sure he wasn't the Boca version Riquelme, but did he really need to be? I think at 1-1 Argentina knew they wern't going to lose this match(especially since 2nd half the States were pretty much just defending). However, Riquelme has to play better in the next matches. As for Messi... It was tough. It seemed everytime he had the ball, 2-3 Americans were on him. And having 2-3 offsides called on him in the first half didn't help. I still say Coco is using him wrong.

Crespo was the man of the match, period. 2002 he was overshadowed by Batistuta, 2006 the talk was about Messi and Tevez and now he's proving once again why he's an excellent striker. Very good match for Hernan. Aimar... what a difference he can make in a match. That's all I'm going to say about that.

Tevez was fantastic for the whole 15 minutes he was on. Gago... Didn't do much, then again he barely played. So yeah, I pretty much agree with every rating you gave.

johnny said...

A bit off topic, but ESPN is reporting that Carlitos has turned down Inter who gave him a time limit to decide. His agent says he is focused on the Premier. I say GREAT ! Stay at WestHam or head to Liverpool.

Rio said...

johnny i dont know if you thought about this but i think it's also a important change with aimar substitution.

heinze was pushing up too much in first half. by doing this he commited two errors. he hindered our offensive power by forcing cambiasso and veron to drop too low, and he pushed the ball up when messi wasn't on the left so he had no help and the running turned meaningless.

well this was partly due to messi not playing the right way. he just couldn't utlize his lateral freedom, and i think that's why basile wanted him off. Tevez proved he would gain space by lateral channeling in the 2 friendlies.

second half at the begining it was noticable that we were falling back. I think this impression came from heinze not pushing as much, and that could indicate basile was ready to make the aimar substitution right then.

Rio said...

player rating:

pato i dont rate goalies.
good to bad
defense: ayala heinze zanetti milito
midfield: aimar roman(after aimar came on he was brilliant) cambiasso(sorry he had to be sacrificed) veron
offense: crespo
messi didnt do too well till 60 some min second half.

Rio said...

oh forgot about mascher. shit mascher is my boy, he rates above anyone even when he sucked

linda said...

I pretty much agree with you, Seba, except that I think Milito deserves another chance against teams who don't play high balls as much as the US did.

I'm still not sure about the Veron-Riquelme combination (Roman's understanding with Aimar was superb). In addition, Aimar also links up better with Messi, and before he came on we lacked width in midfield.

Coco missed a trick by not starting Tevez, I think, since he deals well with a physical team like the US, but who can complain right now since the players he would have replaced all played well.

All in all, I'm pretty much satisfied.

Rio said...

im just glad we played US first
they are going to turn physical again this tourney. everytime they need points they go ape shit.

allan ng said...

I have not actually seen the match so I won't rate the players now. But it is great to start with a win and for the strikers to score some goals.

Next up is Columbia, who will be desperate to get least get a point from us. I think they might get quite defensive.

Anyway this Copa America is turning out to be quite a tournament with plenty of goals. I hope this trend continue with us doing most of the scoring.

alwin said...

I have to echo a comment in my from a Malaysias commentator (SHEBBY SINGH) that said GABRIEL MILITO is one of the slowest defenders in the world. To be honest with you i have not seen G.MILITO play too often to agree to that statement, but does he lack pace in general? Im sure he would be able to compensate that with solid defending, right?


Rio said...

yep. both him and his brother are on the slow side of world class players.

allan ng said...

I digest a little by telling everyone that don't forget Argentina U20 national team will play Czech Republic on Sat night in Canada.

For HK, China, Malaysia, Singapore..etc, it will be at 7:15am on Sunday morning.

Let's hope the juniors do just as well as the seniors!

allan ng said...

I meant digress...

Saurabh said...

A good game...........though there are several areas of improvement - defence, Veron-Riquelme communication, Messi must not hug the sidelines....and must interchnage position a lot more.

The US penalty was like an early morning shock.

A great start nevertheless.

Anonymous said...

Dear All
just wanted to say that when Messi moved to the left he was more threating and brought the game back to the Argentinian team, when he was substituted Albicelestes were a bit slow. Way to go Messi & Teves

Loved the victory, the team looks promising more than ever, you can feel its very close this time to win it. lets focus on the coming games hence all the other results were surprising unlike ours which was EXPECTED.

bye bye AMERICA and bonus dias ARGENTINA :)

I LOVE Albicelestes

Mohammad O. Ali
Jordan, Bahrain

Seba said...

To complete this excercise, I'll paste here the players ratings by OLE. I'll keep the comments in Spanish, but what I wanted to do was to compare ours with theirs.

Roberto Abbondanzieri (6): Aunque no tuvo mucho trabajo, se mostró seguro en cada intervención y en el juego aéreo.

Javier Zanetti (5): Se proyectó con inteligencia aunque lo buscaron poco. Aportó recuperación.

Roberto Ayala (5,5): Fue voz de liderazgo con complicaciones.

Gabriel Milito (4): Se llevó puesto a Johnson en el penal. Muchas dudas en la marca. El árbitro le perdonó la vida.

Gabriel Heinze (5,5): Centro exacto a la cabeza de Aimar en el gol. No desbordó tanto, pero cuando lo hizo fue aprovechado por la izquierda.

Juan S. Verón (6,5): Metió un zapatazo que rompió el travesaño. Cuando se juntó con Messi se vio su mejor versión.

Javi Mascherano (8): Se adueñó la mitad de la cancha. Ordenado, prolijo y preciso para entregarla.

E. Cambiasso (4): Poco volumen de juego. Le faltó mostrarse más y ayudar a Mascherano en la mitad.

Román Riquelme (7): Participó en los cuatro goles argentinos. Volvió a la Selección su guante en el pie derecho.

Lionel Messi (7): Arrancó jugando algo discontinuo. Levantó mucho su nivel cuando el Coco lo mandó a que se moviera por la banda izquierda.

Hernán Crespo (8,5): Un goleador con todas las letras. De cuatro situaciones que tuvo, dos terminaron en la red.

Pablo Aimar (8): Su ingreso aportó dinámica, velocidad, fútbol y gol.

Carlos Tevez (7): Supo aprovechar el poco tiempo que le dieron. Se juntó con Riquelme y convirtió. Otra pasó cerca.

Fernando Gago: Entró cuando el partido estaba resuelto.

Anonymous said...

I was frustrated with our first half but I think it was just beginning-of-tournament kinks. To their credit, the players were a lot more patient than I was watching, playing our game and trying to unlock a very motivated (albeit inferior) U.S. team. Eddie Johnson matched up well with our back line as large, relatively pacey forwards (e.g., Drogba) always do. That to me is our key weakness.

I expected Veron to struggle not being the focal point so maybe that is why I did not think he did a bad job linking up with the others. He was subdued but helpful. That being said, Aimar was definitely the tactical difference and I still would prefer him and Messi outside with Tevez-Crespo up front (sacrificing Veron and Cuchu). This is of course if like the U.S. the opposition shows only limited offensive ambition. Paraguay seems to rely on counter attack (to deadly effect against Columbia yesterday), but against Columbia perhaps we need to be more balanced tactically. In that case I would prefer Moreno's lineup, as I think Lucho just is more versatile and reliable at defensive duties than Veron.

Tevez as well provided an option that no one else on the seleccion can. But I do understand why Basile might want him as a super sub as he was in the World Cup as his assets are particularly frightening to tiring defenders.

Though I too fear that the experiment might not work, I have to say that after Bielsa (and to a lesser extent Pekerman) shy away from using even 2 playmakers in a lineup, it is incredibly gratifying watching 4 playmakers (Veron/Aimar/Roman/Messi) in the same lineup, and do it to good effect.


Anonymous said...

I'm torn between Crespo and Aimar for MOTM. Crespo scored two crucial goals but Aimar was instrumental for changing the dymanic of Argentina's attack which ultimately led to goal which marked our lead (whether or not he directly involved in it).
Up until that point the USA had pretty much decided to hunker down and defend the tie and Aimar coming on opened up the attack allowing Riquelme, Crespo and Messi to be more effective. It's hard but I think I might give Aimar a slight edge because again, to me it just seems that Argentina's attack changed almost immediately when he came in. I hope he continues his hot streak.
Moving Messi over to the left side also really changed things since Bornstein (the only US player who stood out the whole game) was pacy enough to keep up with him on the right (did they play against each other in the U20 World Cup?). The other guy just couldn't contain him as well and that's when he became really dangerous.

I have to also say that I got my wish to see Aimar and Riquelme play together. They and Messi have this wonderful understanding and chemistry. To me it didn't seem like they were competing against each other at all but that they complemented each other. Riquelme said he enjoyed playing with them. If our current lineup doesn't work I might suggest (along with some other people who posted above me) that Aimar replace Veron in the Riquelme-Veron partnership since I'm still unconvinced by Veron.
That or substitute Cambiasso if he doesn't improve against Colombia.

I hope Gaby Milito's issue was just nerves or something.

Vamos Argentina!


Copa America Blog said...

Aimar - 10/10!!
El Piojo was brilliant in every sense. The crack.

Milito, a 1/10. Didnt do anything well. Bailed out by his teammeates.

I posted more about the game in my Copa America blog

Rio said...

i dont get how ppl underate heinze so much! even ole did it.

he pushed to ensure width for the formation, because the right side was inactive. If the right side pushed more, and if veron laterally displaced more to yield space for zanetti to push, then heinze wouldnt have to do so much running. he went out of his fucking way to help the team and these people rated him a 5.5!

and then rated veron 6.5? ole is full of crap.

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