Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Argentina start MARADONA era with a win

Just how many things were at stake? Not many, really, but the good thing for Diego is that, in a world where results are often the only "truth", he started off with a win and he'll have a lot of time to prepare for his next match without having to answer a lot of criticism.

I said it before the game. MARADONA didn't have a lot of time to work with the players. Argentina could have won it, could have lost it, and my opinion would have been the same.

The only aspect Diego could have an impact on was the psychological. There was no time for him to prepare set-plays, to train specific tactical exercises or to try and coordinate some movements. All he could do was to try and talk to the players and install some confidence in them.

It showed tonight. MARADONA said when he was announced as manager that: "Argentina doesn't play friendly matches. We play to win every match and that's the mentality I want my players to have".

I think is showed. Honestly.

With all those things said, I don't think we should judge the team as a whole very meticulously right now.

What we can do is to talk a little bit about each player.

Juan Pablo CARRIZO: Didn't have to work too much. I can't remember a single moment in which he was forced into action. Overall, he gave his team-mates confidence.

Javier ZANETTI: Endless. Surged forward, safe in his marking duties. I hope he can continue playing for Argentina.

Martín DEMICHELIS: A slight mistake in the first half but some crucial moves in which he deflected shots that looked dangerous. Had a header wide and showed a willingness to join the attack and did it well.

Gabriel HEINZE: Not my favourite player, but I think he played a great game and was very comfortable in the middle of defense. Shouldn't take any more free-kicks in the future, though! ;)

Emiliano PAPA: Good debut. The Scottish crowd decided to get on his nerves and booed him ever since he felt a knock in his ankle that was hard to see by the audience. But he never lost his composure, was safe in defense and showed good communication with Jonas GUTIERREZ on the left.

Fernando GAGO: He was his usual self and showed good distribution and a perfect understanding with his fellow central midfielder, Javier MASCHERANO.

Javier MASCHERANO: Didn't feel the burden of being the new captain. He almost opened the score with a lovely volley from outside the box that forced a save from McGREGOR. Controlled the midfield as always and participated in the attack too.

Maxi RODRIGUEZ: He will go down in history as the first goal-scorer of the MARADONA era when he capped a beautiful attacking move. Ran a lot (as always) and had a couple of not-so-clear chances in the second half. Good game.

Jonas GUTIERREZ: Started off very brightly and sent a perfect assist for Maxi for the only goal of the match. Faded out a little as the match progressed, but a good asset for Argentina on the left.

Carlos TEVEZ: Did the dirty work and couldn't shine. He was a little too selfish at times and that may be coming from his anxiety and the willingness to play and to show what he is capable of. Had a crucial part in our goal when he brough the ball to the middle after cutting inside from the right.

Ezequiel LAVEZZI: Hmmmm...probably the weakest link of today's match. Couldn't quite impose his pace and I'm not sure he worked well together with TEVEZ (maybe they are not compatible, but it's too early to judge).


Lucho GONZALEZ: Played 20 minutes and it was probably the worst I've seen from him in a long time. Lost the first three balls he touched and never got into the game. He'll surely rebound from an off match as the one he had tonight.

German DENIS: Replaced Napoli team-mate LAVEZZI with 15 minutes to go. Not enough to judge him and he only had one half-chance when his shot got blocked.

Cata DIAZ: Didn't play much when he replaced PAPA.

José SOSA: Came on with only 1 minute to go. Just to make the books.


Seba said...

You can vote for your Man of the Match on the right hand side of the blog.

Abs said...

Great analysis.. But do you guys think Maschy should be the captin ?! I trust him, but I believe he still need alot to learn !!

johnny said...

It's funny how different people see different things in a match. The reviewer gave his highest individual rating for the match to Lavezzi.

The only thing I worry about regarding Masche as captain is his temper. A captain needs a cool head and Masche has at times not been so cool.

Anonymous said...

mascherano is the right one for captain even if zanetti was the great captain and a lovely player.
next i'll be glad to see gonzalo rodriguez,garay,diego milito ,zarate,higuain,

andaman said...

I think having the duty of being captain Mascherano might cool his temper down a bit (I hope!).