Monday, June 09, 2008

A tiny performance in Giants stadium

I took a long time before writing this report but I had to do it.

I couldn't write it before and to be honest, there's an element of really not feeling like writing about that match.

I'm always really excited to write about a win right after we play as much as I'm really fired up to type in a report the second after we lose. But last night, I was without any motivation. It was a friendly. It was Sunday night. And most importantly, it was the most boring 0-0 draw involving Argentina that I've seen in quite a long time.

Perhaps I'm being a little bit unfair with what was a decent first half. I think the optical illussion that this game left me was that of the second half, in which the most exciting thing was to see the crowd going crazy when birthday boy Javier MASCHERANO saw the red card. The home fans were celebrating as if it was an injury time game-winning goal for the USA.

As reflected by you in the comments' box, the main story of the day has to be Julio CRUZ and his entirely unconvincing performances every time he wears the Albiceleste.

On Sunday he had 3 clear chances and he wasted each an everyone of them, shooting straight at Tim HOWARD in more than one occassion and really throwing away those golden opportunities to put the game in the bag after Lionel MESSI provided him with some perfect services.

Not too much to analyze in our game, which was a lot slower than what we showed against Mexico and, of course, a lot less effective.

A header that hit the cross-bar by ONYEWU almost gave the Americans the win and Kun AGÜERO was clearly fouled by HOWARD inside the box but the ref didn't gave the penalty he should have given.

6 days to go to the qualifier against Ecuador and a little over a week to visit Brazil in Belo Horizonte.

COCO called up RIQUELME and VERON today and we now need to know if he is going to make a lot of changes to the starting lineups we saw against Mexico and the USA.

I, for one, will rather have Sebastián BATTAGLIA or even goalkeeper Juan Pablo CARRIZO wearing the number 9 shirt if that means Julio CRUZ does not start again for us.


Tim said...

I don't know if I'm jumping the gun or what, but I'm really wondering if COCO is going to be able to lead this team to victory.

We didn't get a chance to see a true 9 in the first set of qualifiers and it really showed. Luckily RIQUELME was able to get us the wins off of set pieces, but I think we all realize that we need a true 9. So we go on to play Egypt in a friendly and try out CRUZ and AGÜERO up front. Well CRUZ ended up being nonexistent and AGÜERO did what he could. So then I hoped that we would move on from CRUZ and try someone else. Nope! We all got to watch him fail 2 more times. Not only did we get to watch him fail, but we didn't even get a chance to see someone else succeed. How can you know what you're getting from someone (such as CAVENAGHI or LICHA) if you don't get to see them play with a full first team for an extended number of minutes?

After witnessing this, I can only imagine that we're going to see CRUZ again a week from now since qualifiers won't be our opportunity to experiment. But I have to wonder, what does it take for someone to lose their starting role on this squad? This goes for PATO as well. I can't imagine that we, the fans, are seeing something different than COCO. I'm by no means a coach, but I can notice a weak link in a chain when I see one.

The frustrating part is that after these set of qualifiers, we won't know what his next step is. Assuming CRUZ plays and does what he's done the last 3 times he's worn the shirt, do we continue giving him chances? Or do we finally move on and try someone else. Not knowing is the worst part.

Roy said...

I completely agree with you Tim. It seems like most of the talk around here is about Cruz and Pato and Coco's inability to make some logical decisions. Let's face it, Cruz can't do what he did with Inter for Argentina. He's had 3 matches and 0 goals. You know, I was watching the last match versus the USA and when Cruz missed his first chance I knew it would be one of those nights for us. Then when he missed his second I thought "His National Team career is over". But all signs point to him starting our next matches.

There's a reason why we play friendly matches... to test out some freaking formations! Cavenaghi and Lopez only got to play around 15-20 minutes per match(versus the USA) and Messi was already substituted off. Tim brought up a great point. It clearly showed like we were missing a #9 in the previous WCQ. Our 2 goals versus Chile came from Free Kicks(Riquelme). Our next match versus Venezuela another Free Kick(Riquelme) and a nice shot from Messi. Bolivia was another Free Kick(Riquelme), a decent header from Aguero and the rest was Riquelme/Messi. But versus Colombia is what hurt the most. Tevez gets subbed off, we get a goal from Messi(via a pass Riquelme) and we lose the match. I'm not blaming the players by any means, but eventually there's gonna come a game where Riquelme and Messi don't score. We need a solid #9. Coco has been with this team since right after the 2006 World Cup and he still doesn't have a solid #9.

But that's not our only weakness. Pato's inability to give his team any confidence in him is what scares me the most. I'm not just talking about the friendly matches, but Copa America and WCQ.

Soy_de_River said...

I have to agree with all the comments but take them one better. I would rather play a man down than give cruz the privledge of wearing our shirt again.

Pato as well. He scares me everytime he handles the ball. I keep expecting him to miss the ball on one of the back passes.

We need to find a 9 that score and keeper that instills confidence.

Until then we will always have the best team but always end up on the wrong side of the scoresheet.

Lopez,India said...

Bring back Gabriel Batistuta :) ..
I am completly agree with you guys. We have given enough chances to Cruz. He its time to say goodbye to Cruz .Let him improve and then decide. The match against Brazil and equador are very vital. That will predict our existance for 2010 WC.

I dont want to see Deja Vu againt Brazil . Comon Guys we can beat Brazil anytime . Only thing we needed is confidence.

The game against USA was really not that good . We would have beaten USA by 3-0 .but that dint happen.

Anyways let put our eye on next match .

One more thing about this blog .This is really nice blog . I get all the latest updates of Argentina football from this blog. Thanks for your goodwork.

God Bless

Mauro said...

I wanted to give CRUZ the benefit of the doubt... I had long ago lost confidence in him, but following a successful year in Inter, where I hoped he had learned from our great old number 9 CRESPO, I was ready to give him another shot... BAD IDEA!!

In person, against Mexico, he simply looked slow and outclassed by his two teammates upfront (MESSI & AGUERO).

On TV (ESPN Classic) CAVENAGHI was announced as the stater. Instead CRUZ played out the gate as if though he had spent his career playing in the MLS. After he was clearly psychologically rattled after squandered opportunities, I was ready for COCO to pull him 25 min. into the match. Imagine my horror when he reappeared on the field in the second half!

To his credit he calmed down a bit in the second half, and consistently got separation throughout the entire match...then again it was U.S.!

I too agree that PATO has got to go. I like him to, so I tend to root for him... but the goal I watched sneak in against Mexico was an absolute joke! Too shaky, and it's not as if though he is getting any younger- let's look to the future and look to LUX or elsewhere.

Lastly, I am not sure I am too excited about the return of RIQUELME (and this is just because my team is the Millonarios!). He is incredible in free-kick situations, but he also slows down the team and the offense has become stagnant in the past. I prefer AGUERO and MESSI playing freer. I was ready to finally see the right combination up front in a 3-4-3 formation.


P.S.- Seba, I got many pictures from the game, where should I send them?

Seba said...

Superb, Mauro! Send them to:

If you feel like writing a little report, it'll be 10 times better and I'll publish it right away.

Let me know and thanks in advance for sharing your pictures with Mundo Albiceleste!

Anonymous said...

Messi interview by Fifa.


p2bn said...

Hello guys!!

Just wanted to give you a great link on recent Albiceleste news.

Just for the sake of saying, it would be nice if these two blogs merged:-) as both are such a great source of albiceleste news.

Vamos Albiceleste

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