Saturday, June 12, 2010

Three points in the bag thanks to Gab

Who says that ball cannot be controlled? HEINZE showed it's possible!

Argentina defeated Nigeria 1-0 with a goal from one of the most unlikeliest scorers in a team so full of World Class forwards. And I think that was a key to understand this game.

We had to win it. It doesn't matter if it came on a set piece. The anxiety that comes with the World Cup debut is over now.

I'm writing this as the players are still heading to the dressing room, so you will understand I'm doing it in the heat of the moment.

But my first reaction tells me it could have been 3-0 for Argentina in the first half and could have well gone the other way in the second as Nigeria were dreadful in front of goal. It would have been unfair for them to take anything more than a draw from this, but if this match had to have a winner, make no mistake, it was always going to be Argentina.

I'm way happier with the result than with the performance. Even though I saw some really encouraging signs from a few players.

Lionel MESSI didn't take long to show he is from a different planet. He set up TEVEZ inside the area after only two minutes and started forcing goalkeeper ENYEAMA to a series of saves that earned him the man-of-the-match label.

Carlos TEVEZ showed a lot of movement and played a brilliant pass to HIGUAIN. SAMUEL was very solid at the back and so was ROMERO.

But my pick for best player in an Argentina shirt today has to go to Javier MASCHERANO. He was immense today. He is probably pushed by MESSI to get this recognition, but I think MASCHERANO stood out a little bit more according to what both players' potentials. The more I think about it and the more I remember some flashes from the game, the more I'm leaning towards give this award to MESSI, but I'm sticking to my original impression from the game. Great game, Captain Masch!

Don't get me wrong! MESSI was very much the same player we see every day play for Barcelona. If he was to play like this in every match, all we need is a little bit more production from his striking partners.

On the other side of the coin, our team didn't show much cohesion and there were some clear weak links across the starting XI.

I didn't see the Angel DI MARIA I would like to see. Just one flash of his talent when he played a brilliant one-two with MESSI in the second half.

Jonas GUTIERREZ suffered the game. He did. He never found his feet playing clearly out of position. I kept thinking he was playing as a RB (especially after HEINZE scored early on and changed the game) and he was there instead of one the best in the world in that position: Javier ZANETTI.

That's not his fault that he was asked to play there and on the positive for Jonas you could say that once he joined our midfield in the second half (after BURDISSO and Maxi were introduced), he did show some good stuff.

But the lowest point in the entire team, the way I see it, was Gonzalo HIGUAIN. I like him. I really do. Don't even think for a moment that I'm saying this because I prefer Diego MILITO. Please. I'm being objective here. I'm neutral in this argument because I desperately wanted Pipita to score.

The problem is that I think we should have been 3-0 up after only 20 minutes and all the late suffering in the second half would have had no room for us. He missed a sitter early on after a great pass from MESSI and then another one when he was one-on-one with the keeper and I was getting ready to jump up and down with Felipe in my arms!

In my opinion, and that of many from what I've been reading on Twitter and Facebook, Diego took a lot longer than what he should have to introduce Diego MILITO.

The Inter striker only played 12th minutes. He couldn't deliver in a fast-break, then he set up MESSI in another brilliant one-two and he didn't have time to show anything else. Same old story for him at the national team.

We could have paid the price for not being accurate in front of goal and we have to thank that Nigeria were even worse than us at that.

I'm eager to hear what you have to say.

So far...I'm in a worse situation than that reporter Diego told he had something up his rear end! Gabriel HEINZE can tell me exactly the same thing and I wouldn't have anything to reply to him. Take a bow, Gab. You are the owner of the Jabulani! Take a bow!


Argentina_fan_from_India said...

I'm happy with the overall performance. We can only improve from here onwards. No word on Veron's performance?

johnny said...

Three points ! Messi was fantastic and my man of the match. Yes, Jonas needs to be relieved of fullback duties. It was tough watching him struggle. Higuain struggled as well, and I would guess it was nerves. I'm not sold on Veron, and never was. Without Messi there would have been very little cohesion to the attack.

Bottom line-Argentina won but they must finish better ! I fear the defense is slow and against better competition we are going to give up goals. This is an old concern, but clearly it remains Argentina's big weakness.

Argentina_fan_from_India said... Player Ratings:

Renjith said...

Started with a win but not performed as a champion team...
Di Maria & Higuain struggled through out. Slow reactions from our senior players have given chances to opponents..But our strikers have created lot of beautiful chances, but something happened in the end...I think lack of friendlies might have caused this problem...I hope our team will display a champion performance from next game onwards and I like to see Pastore, Maxi, Milito and Burdisso in the line up...

Mohd said...

why Pastore was not introduced when the midfield went missing the second half is just a secret that only maradona knows! Maxi instead of veron was brilliant!!

and still to this minute i am trying to figure out the role of Tevez. do not be fooled, yes he ran a LOT but when did he not? what was his role? probably not a single shot on goal, no dribbling, and no assisting, even left Jonas exposed at the right when i think he was supposed to help in defence according to maradona before the match.

missing the chances is the least of my worries. but how flat the midfield came is what worries me. the fact that maradona removed the near usless Veron and still played Maxi and not Pastore worries me!

we truly have a cheerleader and motivator on the bench but no tactician and this what will kill us.

Roy said...

We got the three points and the first match out of the way.

The second Higuain missed his chance early on after a great run by Messi, I just knew he was going to miss all of his opportunities for today. Hopefully he can score against South Korea.

Mascherano had alot to do in the second half. He had to cover for Gutierrez who was getting killed on the right side and Veron didn't help him either since he was gassed out at the 60th minute. I would have brought on Milito way earlier and Maxi as well. Di Maria was off as well.

Not sure what Diego will go with against South Korea, but I don't think it'll be a 4-3-3. Maybe Burdisso starting at right back with Gutierrez in front of him and Diego going with Messi and Higuain up front. Maybe a 4-4-2? I don't know. Tevez tracked back as usual and helped out, but whenever he got the ball, I never got the sense that he was going to score.

Renjith said...

Yes...Pastore should come as well as Maxi for Maria...Guti is making the play slower...Burdisso/Otamendi is an option for him...Tevez is working hard, really good..but no outcome is coming from that...

Anonymous said...

See Maria & Higuain are the least scored ones..

rey said...

A good game. lots of positives: Messi had numerous shots on goal (them chances need to be buried to thwe back of the net) you to higuian.

improvements: defense, we looked shakey, a better team would have taken them chances.

Anonymous said...

Dan said,
Veron was terrible today. So was DiMaria. Aside from the corner that Heinze headed in, I do not think he did much out there. Passes out of position, lots of turnovers on Veron's behalf, and poor overall play. Pastore would have helped. Veron was just terrible. DiMaria didn't even come out of the locker room. He had maybe one touch in the first half and we should have yanked him. Maradona knows this and that is why he met him at halftime with his arm around DiMaria asking him presumably, "where the hell is your head?"
All in all though, I was HAPPY with Messi AND Higuain. Sometimes the ball doesn't go in and you have to compliment the other team also. Notice in second half the adjustment the players made to shoot the ball low because their goalie was stopping everything high. All in, PLEASE view this as our practice game as we did not play many matches and the results were good. Impressed also with all of Argentina's work in set plays. It showed on the field and results.

johnny said...

If Di Maria is not going to be involved I'd rather have Burdisso at rightback and move Jonas over to his usual spot on the other side of the field. He can do what he does best from there. There is no shame for Di Maria if he starts on the bench. Lot's of effective offensive players aren't in the starting eleven.

Pastore-yes. I hope he gets a chance. Thank god for Messi as Veron would have been near worthless today without him.

As for Carlitos, he didn't have that many chances, but he spread the ball around a bit, and save for his one rash challenge and yellow, he wasn't completely out of control as he has been for the NT in the past. I wouldn't be too critical of him.

SunnY said...

Tevez was strong in his challenges and some of his sprints were a treat to watch...Messi was excellent and so was Mascherenho...Veron seemed shaky and tired with age...Heinze and Samuel were really good in defence and our keeper came up with some good saves...However I was really disappointed with the finishing performances of Higuain...He missed nearly 4 clear chances !!! I really think Milito should be making the starting lineup as because he is much taller and stronger and his finishing is deadly too...Maxi Rodriguez should also be given a start ahead of Di Maria....Nonetheless I am happy with the 3 points in the bag....GO ARGENTINA...>!!!

Abs said...

Romero: Great goli, and make me feel confident.

Jonas: Played his heart out, however, against Korea, I would rather see him play in Di Maria's position with Burdisso on the RB

Demi: Solid, some mistakes but the lake of support on the right side was the reason.

Samuel: Not so happy with what he gave, I was so scared whenever he is near the ball. I thought he would give a PK.

Henzie: Thank you for the goal, nice game, but Di Maria didn't give him the full support to go ahead more. I want him as a CB after he scored the goal.

Veron: Not a MR, he should play just as MC with Maschy as DMR and Jonas DML

Maschy: A true leader, the best man in the game.

Di Maria: Selfish in a way, didn't attack much, missed a chance, and tried his best at the back. Wasn't enough though.

Tevez: Disappointed with his performance, but I would want to see him against Korea. Kept the ball way too long, and didn't create much.

Messi: Finally played his game, keep it up, and please start scoring.

Pipita: Out of form, missed few chances, but that's what strikers do. (I believe he earned us a PK, which the GERMAN didn't give to us)

Maxi: I wish he been introduce earlier and instead of Tevez, not Veron. Veron had to leave the pitch though. Created some problem on the right side, and finally gave Jonas some support. (He as well, deserved a PK which the GERMAN didn't give)

Milito: In few words, he isn't a team player. He want to be up front and score all the goals him self. Am not against that, but sometimes, it really piss me off.

Burdisso: Made the defensive line more relaxed by playing for solid CB.

Next game, against Korea, I would do few replaces, and I think we should be good to go.


Burdisso - Demi - Samuel - Henzie

Veron - Mascherano - Jonas Guti

Messi - Higauin - Carlitos Tevez

totti said...

Yes, we didnt perform so goog, but Argentina played a lot better game, than the others.

Higuain will be changed for Milito....I hope so

We had more scoring opportunities than other six teams, who played before

Anonymous said...

happy with the 3 points....phew...
but veron was really bad and ive said before hes not good enough for international football anymore.
jonas had a bad game
de maria had a bad game
demi was shakey as well and higuain was ok but apart from messi we did not create a lot of chences for our strikers at all
for me.
on the plus side some of the passing was awesome to watch as was messi's runs.
rom-7 solid,
jon 5 looked bad today
sam 6 solid,
demi 5 does not seem the same player he was before that ballck kick
heinze 7-very solid and nice goal
veron 4 what can i say really aweful pastore must start,
de maria 4 did he play today?,
mash 8 does what he does best,
tevez 6 lots of work but where is the end play im still not sure about him at nt level,
messi 8 with a bit of luck today he would have had 2 or 3 goals,
hig 6 should have scored 1 but where is the service for him??
subs not enough time to rate.
i look at things this way
the wc is not a sprint as the teams who come "all guns blazing" in the 1st 3 games usually run out of steam.
today we passed the 1st test and at the end of day 1 x win and only 6 wins to go :)

Anonymous said...

Do you know how much time I have woke up and punched in the floor.Clearly only messi played otherthan thet Heinze goal.Anyway that Heinze goal was superb.
You cant blame every player that much after a single play and cant make them benched for the second match.So I dont wanna see any more lineup for the s.Korea match.
Anyway I'm still thinking we'vegot a good chance.May be due to the fact i'm a little bit interested in omen.
You know one thing,upto now I dont have seen a WC winner playing with much potential in their opening.Afterall points,3 points that matters...

Just1n said...

Good opening game for Argentina. I fail to see where the negativity is coming from. Opening game was a must win. Settles the squad down and gives them a platform to build on. At least chances were created.

I'm pretty sure Higuain will not miss those chances and the Nigerian goalkeeper was phenomenal in the game.

Well done Argentina. Welcome to South Africa.

I hope to see this team in Cape Town for the Quarter Finals.

Happer said...

Although we didn't show our best, I'm happy with the 3 points.

I think Maradona may replace either Di Maria, Jonas or Higuain the next match. Like Seba, I'd love to see Millito play more than 70 minutes. He did have a great pass to Messi today, which should have led to a goal. I'd also love to see Pastore some time.

Anyway, the good thing is that we created a whole lot of chance today. It was just the Nigerian goalkeeper's day. And Messi's performance makes me so confident. As long as Messi feels happy playing the game, we'll be just fine. Look at Barcelona this season. Iniesta was injured most of the time. Ibra was off. Xavi was fine as ever. Henry was extremely off. Yet Barca still looked even more threatening than the previous year. And that's the key. I know we should not depend too much on the boy, but I believe if Messi plays the whole tournament like he played today, we'll bring the cup home...

One last positive thing: maybe it's good not to play the game so well. I mean if we show the world right now how dangerous we are, they will be very careful. I'd prefer being underrate first, and then trash them in the last 3 games afterward :D

Mohd said...


Milito is not a team player!!! in 10 minutes he created 2 one-on-one chances for Messi. what else can he do?
In fact I am 100% that Milito is the best team-player striker in the world. No competition in that!

batigol9 said...

veron and dimaria sucked,higuain moved ok but wasted too many chances,i think they played better than the world cup qualifiers but still not good enough to face serious oponnetns,let's hope that things improve and pastore and milito are given a chance

Mohd said...

by the way,

the match stats says that veron had 14 missed passes during the match, and he did not even try killer passes!!!
if this is the playmaker that is carrying the midfield then we are doomed.
its either maradona cannot see it which is a disaster or he prefers to play his friend than to do the best for the team!

johnny said...

Blistering shot from Dempsey finds the back of the net !

Anonymous said...

Milito should start. He holds the ball better and have a great one touch. He can helps messi going forward a lot and better than pipita. He surely should start next game.

Anonymous said...

calamity ENGLAND again lol

higuain had the best ball holding today peopler need to understand a training mode level there no were near playing at peak

Anonymous said...

See the match status:

Anonymous said...

Dan said,
What the hell is wrong with all you people wanting to make all these changes????? 5 games thus far, only two winners. Argentina, and South Korea. All the others were draws. Europe still has not won a game. We played a great match, they had a phenomenal goalie. Give them credit for that. Nobody would want to change anything had a couple more balls gotten by the goalie today. Trust me, we play like that and Messi plays like he did today we will be lifting the cup.

By the way, Greece sucks. So does South Korea. We are going to destroy both those teams.

Anonymous said...

clearly maradona is treating the group in the sameway the other nations did there preperation friendlys it looked like a front 3 exercise ozzy ardilas has said just that wasnt out of training mode nigeria are very strong yet we beat them in 1st gear

Anonymous said...

Sorry to say, but i felt that my favorite 'Mundo Albiceleste' discussions turnded today like viewer's useless discussions!
its the starter and its a win, so pls let them play the 2nd match with ur full support what u showed before the first game! Too many changes will not bring success, and replacing one player soon after a game will destroy his confidence level for the entire tournament!
I am 100% hopeful that this first eleven will do far far better in the next match!

Abs said...

@ Mohd:

By saying not a team player I didn't mean he won't pass any ball. All am saying is that he is a true striker, unlike Messi, Tevez and Pipita, Milito won't go to the flanks to cross ball or simply crate counter attacks.

Regarding Veron, then I don't believe he is playing as a play-maker, and if we had one against Nigeria then it would be Messi. Veron was there to move the ball from left to right and from back to front.

@ Everyone else:

I am not against any player who played today. I would love to give the whole starting XI another go against Korea, but honestly, I think we would be very weak in what Korea do best (Counter Attacks) coz Di Maria and Veron won't give the defense support that we'll need. And that's why I want Jonas on the left and Burdisso at the back line.

Rune said...

Well, my friends, here are my thoughts.
I am incredibly relived and happy that we won. In the opening game all that matters is the three points.

Every four year I get the same feeling as I did in the hours leading up to this game. Passion, passion, passion and pride. I just feel so proud to be part of this big family of argentinos. Watching the count down to kick off made my heart beat like crazy. I am 32. It was just like when I was 12, 16, 20, 24, and 28. It was even more intense. The national anthem......there was something in the eyes of the players and Diego that gave me goosbumps. It was so touching. Heinze's face, Mascherano's face, Messi's face, Diego's proud face. I stood on the floor in front of my TV with tears running down my cheek. It was an incredible moment. It doesn't get any bigger than this. Time stood still. I said a big thank you to God, for life and for the blessing it is to have this Argentina obsession with me through life. I will never EVER forget this feeling.

The game was quite good by us. Better than feared. Nigeria didn't wanna play, so it was difficult. But offensively I haven't seen our NT look as dangerous as in this game for a very long time. We created so many chances. 10 or 11 chances, I think. Messi was fantastic. 4 years ago Ronaldinho came into the wc as the best player on the planet, Brazil were big, big favourites. An immense pressure on Ronaldinho and Brazil. They flopped. Ronaldinho did very little. So the pressure Messi was under before this game was enormous, espessially after all the critic in Argentina. Messi played like he was obsessed. He did so many incredible things. Only the goal was lacking. This was probably the best game Messi has played for Argentina, and he suddenly did it right when it mattered the most. I am so proud that he is our boy.

I jumped up and down and screamed like hell when we scored, and passed out on the floor for some seconds. Heinze's goal was superb. A fantastic header by a true warrior. He would give his life for Argentina. His celebration, his face as he run to celebrate after the goal...I will NEVER forget this moment. A player that many of us have been saying bad things about, but he is a player with a never say die attitude and he is a leader and a fighter. He doesn’t hide. He is still not flawless, but I will never ever forget this moment. There was something very beautiful about Heinze scoring the match winner in Diego’s first world cup game as a coach. All I could think of and I could see the entire night after the game yesterday, was Heinze's face after scoring. His smile, his teeths, his tounge, his PASSION!!! Thank you for your passion! I love you forever, Gabriel Ivan Heinze!

It was painfull to see us wasting so many chances, but these things happen sometimes in football. Apart from Messi none of the other offensive players had a really good game. But we looked very dangerous when we attacked, using Messi in the hole between Nigeria’s midfield and defence. Higuain and Di Maria did disappoint me, I must admit. So did Jonas. But Jonas is not a right back, so it’s not his fault. I still want him to play right back when we face “weak” teams. Veron was ok. No reason to hammer him after this game. He lasts for one hour, we knew all this before the game. Tevez held on to the ball too long in some situations, he should have played more 1-touch passes. Mascherano was great, just what we needed in such a game. Romero looked very solid. Samuel looked solid, but as a team we looked a bit shaky at the back, in my opinion. But this will get better in the next game, I hope.

Nicholas said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nicholas said...

Goosebumps when the national anthem was played and when the camera panned across the faces of my idols.

Estatic yell and clenched fist when Heinze leapt unchallenged to power the ball under the Nigerian bar.

Cringing of my face whenever Veron misplaced pass after pass and committed himself early into a challenge.

Nail-biting when Yakubu turned at the edge of the box very quickly and hit the ball, and when Martins dribbled the ball and hit it so hard towards goal.

A loud yes with raised arms as scenes of hugging with The God unfolded when the final whistle was blown and the 3 points were sealed.

This team will only get better...

From a die-hard Argentinian fan from Singapore.

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