Saturday, November 17, 2007

Classy Roman leads Argentina to third win in a row

We knew we had great chances of winning it before it even started. How big a result we could get was the big question. Granted it was 3-0. But I also like to have in consideration how we played as a team and how we got that result. And I'm not that happy about the way we played.

The first thing I'd like to say is that you have to consider Argentina didn't try all that hard for the full 90 minutes because they knew they have a long trip to Bogota to face Colombia on Tuesday. Same as the first match against Chile, the Albicelestes got a 2-goal cushion and the last half-an-hour was a surplus. Totally unnecessary because nothing important was really going to happen.

Coco knew Bolivia was not going to give his team a real battle in midfield and so he choose to field just two men that had the ball recovery as their main task (MASCHERANO and CAMBIASSO).

MESSI was deployed on the right (just as he does for Barcelona) and for much that I wanted him to, he couldn't quite shine in Buenos Aires (something he has declared he is desperate to do). It's very evident that he is putting some extra pressure on his shoulders because he tries to do too much everytime he is on the ball. The pitch was horrible. A massive Argentine rock/pop band (Soda Stereo) made its comeback after a decade or so and they played 6 concerts at River leaving tragical consecuences to the grass. That didn't help Lionel, a player that always keep the ball on the surface and depends on a good soil to really step up his game. Not a 100% valid excuse to explain his performance. That run before Argentina's third goal was a classic though.

Defensively, we were not really tested. These are tricky games, however, as the opposition may only get to scoring position once or twice in the whole match and you can never rule surprises out. Are back like is yet to be really pushed to the limit, but so far, so good: 3 matches, no goals allowed. It can't be a bad sign.

MASCHERANO and CAMBIASSO (here's hoping his ankle injury is not that bad. He is doubtful for the match in Colombia) played well in midfield. I could say the same I said when talking about the defence. I guess that when they go unnoticed it means we really controlled the match and that was what happened.

I didn't really like the way the team played upfront. The combination of the "midgets' army" is not something that we'll see everyday, and if that was going to be the case, then they really need to work in a lot of aspects.

I don't think they link up well very naturally. A couple of arguments between TEVEZ and MESSI were proof to that and I've seen AGÜERO fighting for a ball all by himself way too often. The reason is that the three of them play a similar type of game and seeing them trying to cross the ball in more than one ocassion to feed one of the other two was an indication that something was wrong. How will you try and cross the ball for one of them to head it in the box? They are midgets! They should play with the ball at their feet, dribbling opponents, playing one-twos.

Unhappy at Villarreal where he is not playing, RIQUELME really thrives in Albiceleste. BASILE really put himself under a lot of pressure when he decided to call up an inactive player (the only one in his team without regular first team football) and Roman is really paying dividends to the boss. Two goals in each qualifying match played in Buenos Aires. Three from free-kicks. Top-scorer in the South American World Cup Qualifiers. And the real owner of the ball. He is like a corrupt customs officer: Everything goes through him! Good to know he is delivering the goods for Argentina and here's hoping he keeps on smiling when he plays for us.

A couple of milestones

Javier ZANETTI, who played left-back, became the all-time leader in matches played for Argentina. He was tied with former captain Roberto Fabián AYALA but now Pupi owns the record all for himself. You have to feel good for him as he is an example of professionalism, dedication and durability. Not losing a single drop of talent in the process. Congratulations to him for playing his 116th match for Argentina.

A special day for Sergio Kun AGÜERO as he scored his first ever international goal (of course we are not considering the U20 national team). He had an easy header after DEMICHELIS sent the ball his way before the end of first half.

Up next is Colombia away. A win there will mean we head to a very easy qualification to South Africa 2010. It's not very easy to most of the teams in our group to get 12 points in a blink of an eye. I would love to see Argentina opening a huge gap at the top of the table so we can use the second half of the qualifying round as a fine-tune period, playing without pressures and trying to develop a solid style to bring it to the next World Cup.


johnny said...

Thanks for the analysis Seba. It's really too bad Crespo got dinged up and Coco was in some ways forced to employ the "attack of the dwarfs". I would much prefer to see Maxi on the right and a legit #9 in the middle. Ibarra just does not get much penetration and is used to sending in crosses to "Loco" Palermo. Once again Argentina is in the position of having to rely heavily on Riquelme to not only pull most of the strings, but score as well. I hope that as the months go by and Coco has more and more time to assess things, that he can find a healthy big man and get the wingers more involved. Also, something we may overlook at times, all three of the midgets are still awfully young and the very young are often not the "team" players they will likely be in the future.

John said...

I have to agree with you Seba that we didn't try hard to push for more goals.

But the reality is a win is a win and these days that is more important than anything else. As you've mentioned, COCO was more concern for the next game against Colombia.

I do agree MESSI wasn't himself unlike in his Barca shirt.

To be honest we could have use a proper left back rather than Pupi.

Nico said...

cambiasso looked screwed. We might be forced to deploy Gago and call someone up for backup. Mascher was risking a second yellow and miss columbia. Even then Basile didn't take him off when Gago went on, probably meant we still have some weakness in the defense.

Cuchu had been ok. He had improved since few years ago but this is probably the end of it. We need players we could rely on anyway, a short run of form doesn't mean much.

The problem with 4-2-3-1 is that you lose some lateral movements, and offensive players become easier to mark. Trade back is that we gain more defensive coverage, and the 2 holding midfielders instead of one is always more reliable.

When playing one holding mid, one of the winger has to stay defensive to share some coverage areas with the DM. So essentially there's not much drop in offensive power when going to 4-2-3-1. One of the DM could still push up, like cambiasso and gago did yesterday.

Clearly MOTM was Tevez, not Roman. But doesn't matter how players are evaluated, what mattered is the fact the system works.

Anonymous said...

Hey Kudos to Peru, they tied Brasil 1-1.


John said...

Further note to this discussion, there as been some criticism regarding on Coco's game flow.

Pretty much laid back, that's what I heard.

But defensively I would give a big thumb up to the fact that we have yet to concede a goal.

Of course some would argue about the quality of our opponent but I feel this is major factor in our progress moving forward.

Amol Diego said...

hola , thanks for ur updates...m lopez from India...
It was really easy game for Argentina . Once again Roman has shown how wonderful player he is !!
He is really magician ...congrates to Zenneti .. cud u plz send me more information about javier zenetti...thanx n take care
God bless

Anonymous said...

what time argentina colombia game will begin in UK time