Monday, April 26, 2010
Argentina vs. Serbia and Montenegro - 2006: A look back
If the England game from 1998 was difficult, the group stage game against Serbia and Montenegro at the 2006 World Cup looked like the complete opposite. Never has Argentina looked so dominant against an opponent in recent memory. And that includes against Greece in 1994 and Jamaica in 1998. We all knew the story heading into the game... the 2002 World Cup. And this was a chance for our players to put that behind them. And did they ever!
It was the first time we had faced Serbia and Montenegro(in a World Cup) under that name. And I say at a World Cup because two years prior, we had defeated Serbia and Montenegro by a score of 6-0 at the 2004 Summer Olympics. The last time we faced Serbia and Montenegro(at a World Cup) was in Italy in 1990 against Yugoslavia. The first match(of two) for us which went to penalties. A match in which Yugoslavia played very well and a match where Diego MARADONA missed his penalty against the now defunct country.
Serbia and Montenegro had allowed only 1 goal in their World Cup qualification and lost their opening group game against the Netherlands. However, it wasn't to be for them as our boys had an inspiring game to say the least. Juan RIQUELME got awarded the FIFA Player of the Match, Javier SAVIOLA had 2 assists, Maxi RODRIGUEZ had his coming out party with 2 goals, CRESPO netted his second of the tournament(and had one goal wrongly disallowed for offside), TEVEZ came on as a substitute and scored a fantastic goal and the reigning World Player of the Year came on with 15 minutes remaining to set-up CRESPO and score a goal himself.
However, it was the second goal which took the breath away of the entire futboling world. Esteban CAMBIASSO finished off what was an absolute exquisite world class play of the highest order. A play which consisted of 24 passes, that absolutely carved Serbia and Montenegro wide open. On the Guardian's website, they described the goal as: "Ping. Ping. Ping. Ping. Ping. Ping. Ping. Ping. Ping. Ping. Ping. Ping. Ping. Ping. Ping. Ping. Ping. Ping. Ping. Ping. Ping. Ping. Ping. Back-heel from Crespo. Cambiasso... goal!"
This match helped Argentina reach a Goals for Average of 2.2, the highest of any team at the 2006 World Cup.