Thursday, June 19, 2008

Argentina stop Dunga's curse but can't get 3 points

First thing first: We didn't lose to Brazil again.

It was like a curse we had whenever we face DUNGA and his team. The record so far consisted in 2 wins for the Brazilian manager with 6 goals scored and none conceded (after that 0-3 result in a London friendly -first match for BASILE in his second spell as Argentina manager- and that 0-3 Copa America final).

The key? I think it was Brazil failing to score inside the first 5 minutes of the game. They've done that through ELANO in London and Julio BAPTISTA in Maracaibo and those early goals really changed the rest of those games. Argentina were forced to chase the game and were hit heavily on the counter-attack.

That's the game that suits DUNGA to perfection! Well...he was out-coached on Wednesday as BASILE finally seemed to have gotten his number.

If only he could pick a decent centre-forward so we can score goals against Brazil!!!!

That was another of the keys. I understand the idea of having a tower of a centre-forward to go along with a bunch of small geniuses so you actually have a variety in your game and you can hit rivals with powerful headers inside the box or have someone to hold up to the ball and give the little fellows a rest every now and then.

But CRUZ??? CRUZ has proven that he can't play for Argentina. As simple as that. CRESPO in one leg is 10 times better than him and BASILE should use Hernán or simply try other options. Such as CAVENAGHI or even Lisandro LOPEZ for that matter (who is a smaller player than CRUZ but surely has more speed, a great header and can shoot with both feet).

That said, here are my bullet-points with the things I think were the most important or relevant of the game on Wednesday:

  • BASILE played a great wild-card by including Jonas GUTIERREZ. He was immense, top3 in my Argentine man-of-the-match shortlist (along with GAGO and MASCHERANO. I can't decide who was the best of those three but it doesn't matter, they were superb!). Jonas, also known as EL GALGO (which means THE GREYHOUND) surely did his job in keeping MAICON's run to a minimum. Not only that, he also contributed offensively and had a few runs of his own. Including one in which he sent a perfect cross for CRUZ and we all know what happened: easy one for the keeper.
  • MAD MASCH and Fernando GAGO can really work together as a terrific holding midfielders duo. My friend Johnny pointed out that GAGO should work on his lateral moves when going forward and he'll be extremely dangerous and I've got to agree with that. I think his ball-winning performance on Wednesday and his running-all-day showing were World Class. MASCHERANO was his usual self and he completely dominated that part of the field. What a player!
  • I'm quite pleased with our back three. They looked shaky at the beginning (specially BURDISSO) but they did a good job overall.
  • ABBONDANZIERI deserves all the credit for an outstanding performance. That one-handed, pure reflexes save against ADRIANO in the first half was incredible. He also felt very comfortable to perform those long services in such a big pitch and he was very safe overall (I remember a free-kick and a flying volley by BAPTISTA being well-controlled by Pato). The only scary moment was that one-on-one against ROBINHO and that almost-a-penalty-for-Brazil move by Pato that in the end finished in nothing (because ROBINHO did everything wrong!).
  • For all of what's been said on the press before the game, I think RIQUELME and MESSI worked quite well together. Not to perfection. Not to a standard they are perfectly capable of reaching, but they can co-exist in the field. BASILE needs to work on their relationship ON THE FIELD (I don't care that much if they really hate each other off it, as long as they deliver the goods on it). Everyone knows BASILE loves both players and they are the backbone of his team. That's why they need to interact a little bit more and they need to exploit their abilities to the maximum. RIQUELME should hold on to the ball a little bit more and MESSI should receive it with a little bit of space in front of him so he can make the most of his speed and lightning dribbling ability. They've been doing it quite the opposite for most of the match and the team felt it.
  • ZANETTI had an off game. Probably more focused on not allowing GILBERTO to run forward on his wing.
  • CRUZ should have done better with the chances he had and should have worked a little bit harder when he was dispossessed instead of walking next to the Brazilian defenders without even bothering to chase them just a little bit.
Overall, a good performance marred by the lack of power up front and with that lack of luck in that final play in which MESSI had a golden opportunity to put the game away and give Argentina a classic win in Brazil.

What would have happened if he falls to the floor following that tackle by MAICON just before he shot wide? Would the ref had given a penalty? We never know. So I think it was a good thing for him to try and get the ball, stay on his feet and try his luck with a powerful shot.

The best thing of the night for me?

Seeing MESSI being replaced with the whole crowd (Brazil supporters!) chanting his name and giving him a standing ovation! Granted it may come as a gesture against DUNGA and his team, but nevertheless, they gave one of our stars a standing ovation!

That's priceless!

Next stop? Paraguay in Buenos Aires (around September 6) and Perú in Lima (roughly September 10).

Bring back Carlitos and let CRUZ stay in Milan!


johnny said...

Great recap Seba ! It is so nice to see a generally positive review after a match with Brazil. I couldn't agree more about Gutierrez, a real nice effort on his part. And yes, no more Cruz. He obviously plays well for Inter, but does not look comfortable playing in Coco's lineup. I would love to see Lopez get an extended opportunity to fill that role. Big enough in my book, pretty speedy and as you note, is dangerous with both feet. I am less happy with Pato though. Yes, he played very well in spots, but that butterfly chasing incident could have been a disaster. Everyone remembers the flubbed pick up he made against Bayern Munich, but he also was running around at the end of that match like a chicken with it's head cut off ! He is just too anxious. Come on with Carrizo, and send Pato back to Boca were he has always played better than he has in international matches. Argentina is going to need Carrizo when it comes time to face Brazil again, and this time with Kaka, Ronaldinhogordo and the others.

By the way, I watched the match in a big time sports bar in Montreal, and it was full of screaming fans for both teams. As you know, Albiceleste supporters are everywhere.

progott said...

1. This is one of the few Albicelestes Blogs i check every day. You're doing a great job man!

2. I think we should look at Basiles lineups and call ups on a positive way now. The next games take place when the season already started. Players like Cavenaghi, Lisandro, Gonzalo, Lucho will play in the UCL so Basile simply can't ignore them! Cruz and Burdisso most probably won't play for inter anymore, but Samuel will be back and hopefully as good as last season.

Seba said... are like a "travelling fan". One day you are in Buenos Aires watching a game with me. The following day you are in Mexico, then you watch a match in NYC and the day after you're in Montreal! Talking about mileage!

Agree with CARRIZO being needed to replace Pato. About that particular play, I think the mistake was made by the defense. They didn't see ROBINHO and they stopped running when they though the ref was giving an offside by ADRIANO. Pato was probably too fast to jump the gun and went out. But had he stayed, I think ROBINHO would have had more chances to score (or pass it to the middle). The good thing in those cases is that he didn't stop half-way through his move. That would have been terrible. At least he continued to chase ROBINHO and to tighten the angles so the Real Madrid forward couldn't take a good shot.

Then...Pato was even quick to let go on ROBINHO's shirt after grabbing him inside the box.

I agree with you in that the bottomline is that CARRIZO should be our first-choice keeper, though.

Progott, thanks for your comments about our blog.

I agree with what you suggest and the names you're bringing to the table. One thing, though, Lucho GONZALEZ and Lisandro LOPEZ risk missing out on Champions League football if they stay at Porto. The thing is UEFA imposed a sanction on Porto because of a match-fixing scandal and so they are not allowed to play in the Champions League next season.

It doesn't matter, though. They are two great players that should be getting their chances with Argentina.

progott said...

I think UEFA changed that bann on Porto and they are allowed to play now.

Batigol said...


Argentina will always be Argentina....Cruz might suffering with his form. I believe one day he will emulate like Rossi whom became the Italian Hero after inspire them to World Cup.

The key reason for Argentina failure in the recent tournament is the tactis.....3-5-2 is the best tactis to our MIGHTY ARGENTINA........With this Tactic i bet you they will terrosize the entire world with GUNHO TACTIC where ATTACKING IS THE BEST FORM OF DEFENSIVE.....


John said...

I'm sorry Batigol but just as much I admire your love for Julio CRUZ, I honestly believe that it is time for Coco BASILE to move on without him.

There are other players that truly deserve their chance in the national team such Fernando CAVENAGHI or Lisandro LOPEZ.

I agree with Seba about the Roman-Leo rumours that is escalating around. They should put their difference aside when they are on the pitch. That is how professionalism should be defined.

But a part of time gets scared about Roman's attitude in the dressing room. I just hope he brings a positive vibe in times like this.

Anonymous said...

Just came across this great website. If you can remember offhand, would you give the starting lineup + general formation
for Argentina v the U.S. for the game at Giants Stadium.

I was at the match. Unbelievable atmosphere, brutally hot night, but it would have been nice if a couple goals would have been scored
to give the loyal fans their money's worth. The tickets were very expensive - a burden for many folks attending, especially those
with small children.
Thank you.

Seba said...

Hi Anonymous ;)

Welcome to our blog and thanks for your comment.

We had our little long-distance match coverage for Argentina v USA at Giants Stadium.

You can check it out here:

Just copy and paste both lines into your browser as it is rather long and I can't make it visible if I don't cut it.

You'll see lineups and a lot of other things in there and in the comments' box.

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