First of all, a big THANK YOU for choosing Mundo Albiceleste as your place to exchange comments on the game and be in touch with fellow Argentina fans around the world. That means a hell of a lot to John and to me. I enjoyed the comments and the various opinions. It's always great to get your views on everything related with our national team.
I won't do a full match report this time. It'll be more like last time around, when I did a quick easy-to-read bullet-point list.
So, here I go:
- CRUZ should stay in Milan with his Inter's black and blue shirt. They like him there. He does the job for them there. I don't want to see him again playing for Argentina.
- Coco BASILE is getting to my nerves. I used to like him a lot. I still like his offensive, attractive style, player-friendly approach to football. But he is letting his stubbornness rule the show and he is becoming a little bit too arrogant when talking to the press (which provide us with the only way we have to hearing what he has to say).
- His CRUZ in for MASCHERANO substitution was a little bit too much if you ask me. I know we already had GAGO in (he came in to replace an anonymous Maxi RODRIGUEZ) and I know we needed to score, but I think by taking out MASCHERANO, we lost our balance. I'm not saying the goal was GAGO's fault, but there is no doubt, with VERON, RIQUELME (plus MESSI, AGÜERO and CRUZ) we only had GAGO and perhaps ZANETTI as holding midfielders and tracking back was a little bit too difficult.
- Adding up attacking players, doesn't necessarily translates into scoring goals or even creating chances. It can work or it can really mess up everything. We were a lot closer to ending up seeing a complete mess than of seeing good things.
- VERON played a great first half (when he played deep in our own half and launched a lot of great long passes) but faded in the second when COCO sent him closer to our strikers.
- RIQUELME was on an off night. He didn't even take his free-kicks in a good way. He even played short passes to the sides when he had all the tall heading specialists lurking for the ball in the Ecuadorian box. He didn't take control of the ball and he needs it to have an influence on the game.
- MESSI is in a different class. I still think he is trying too hard to have a great game in Buenos Aires. I don't think he ever played at the Monumental up to the standard he is capable of showing. Maybe that's playing against him and he is too anxious. He showed some great moves but couldn't create chances for himself or the others.
- AGÜERO tried hard and you have to give him credit for winning that ball in the air and making that assist for PALACIO.
- ABBONDANZIERI? I don't think he is to blame in Ecuador's goal (which was a beauty of a goal, by the way).
- DEMICHELIS saw the yellow card and he'll miss the big game in Brazil (Jonathan BOTINELLI has been called up by COCO to replace him but I don't think he'll be anywhere near the starting lineup this Wednesday).
- PALACIO did what he failed to do at Boca as of late: HE SCORE THE 100% OF HIS CHANCES! Boca fans are very critical of PALACIO's inabilitiy to finish, but he sent the only one he had in his three minutes of action on Sunday and he kept Argentina's unbeaten run of 30 WC Qualifiers in Buenos Aires (the last one? Yep, you guessed it right! It was with COCO on our bench. That famous 0-5 against Colombia in 1993).