Sunday, June 27, 2010

When individual quality is better than team-work

I didn't like how we played tonight. I really didn't. But you want to know what I did like? That despite not playing a solid game, despite not enjoying that much possession, despite not creating as many chances as in our three previous games, we still won 3-1. And we still managed to make it look rather easy.

The reason? Apart from a horrible refereeing mistake that allowed our first goal in a clear offside position, was nothing more than our incredible individual quality.

Mexico put us under real pressure early on and Carlos SALCIDO hit the bar from outside the area. It looked like Sergio ROMERO completely misjudge that ball's trajectory but it also appeared to me that he did manage to touch it just a little bit. Maybe enough to deflected against the bar. Then Andrés GUARDADO sent a shot just wide and again we were lucky for Mexico not to score.

And without attacking that much or that clearly, we found the opener courtesy of a Carlos TEVEZ header and thanks for the referee that didn't see that clear offside position.

It looked like the linesman wanted to have a word with the referee and I was ready to punch a wall or something because I clearly saw the linesman running towards midfield with his flag down (a clear sign that he saw no offside) and then it looked like he watched a replay and thought differently. Had they ruled that goal out, it would have been an even bigger embarrassment for FIFA, because they don't allow the use of technology in those kind of plays and had the ref taken a decision based on how the linesman saw the play on the big screen, it would have make matters really worst for FIFA. Especially coming from a terrible blunder that costed England the chance to equalise and get back in the game earlier against Germany.

After that, Rafa MARQUEZ seemed to have lost his mind and got a really quick yellow for a foul on Lionel MESSI. He was clearly frustrated for that call.

It looked like after that opener, Argentina would destroy Mexico with counter-attacks and when Ricardo OSORIO tried to step on the ball to change the direction of the play and simply gave it away to non-other than Gonzalo HIGUAIN it sure looked like game over.

Pipita was incredible and with a sweet step on the ball (that's how it's done, Señor OSORIO! That's how it's done!), he left Oscar PEREZ lying on the ground and prompt me to shout: "GOOOOOOOL" a good few seconds before he even hit that ball with his left foot.

He is now alone at the top of the goalscoring charts with 4 goals in 3 matches played. Not bad, Pipita.

The second half saw Argentina happy with the 2-goal difference and sit back a little too much for my liking. But Diego's team got lucky to find a third goal right after the break. With seven minutes gone, TEVEZ tried a through pass for HIGUAIN but was blocked. Right after he noticed the ball was still on his reach, he never thought twice about it and he sent a beautiful rocket into the top right corner. 3-0. Second goal for TEVEZ in this game and his third in World Cup matches (reaching Maxi's level, slightly behind of Pipita's four).

After that, it was more of the same. We were not controlling the ball and we let Mexico came at us. You can't fault them for not trying, but it was clear they didn't have the individual talent to reach the level of effectiveness in front of goal that Argentina were showing.

Diego then introduced VERON in place of TEVEZ, who looked clearly frustrated as he really wanted more. I liked Diego's idea of sending VERON onto the pitch to try and get more possession, but I though TEVEZ was on fire and he should have stayed. Maybe replacing HIGUAIN and releasing TEVEZ and MESSI upfront would have been a better way to make the most out of TEVEZ happy day and move your star man a little more forward for him to try and finally get his personal goal and have that problem out of the way.

We looked shaky at times and DEMICHELIS was again at fault in the goal we conceded. Second goal we concede in this tournament, second clear mistake by DEMICHELIS. No. This was not even close to the mistake he made v. South Korea, but he let Javier HERNANDEZ turned him inside out and he allowed the new Manchester United signing to have a clear shot on goal that was just too much for ROMERO to defend.

That is a concern. That is a real concern going forward. Germany have a lot more talent than Mexico up front. They have very intelligent players in OZIL, PODOLSKI and MULLER and they have a hit-man that knows what he is doing and is getting closer and closer to RONALDO in his quest of becoming the top scorer in the history of the World Cup. Miroslav KLOSE got another goal today against England and he is now at 12 compared to RONALDO's 15.

Yes, England scored two (though only one was allowed to stand), hit the post once (though DEFOE was unfairly judged offside) and forced Manuel NEUER to a couple of crucial saves. All of this, even with the Three Lions playing an average game and showing nothing even closer to the firepower Argentina have in the final third of the pitch.

Dave already sent his player ratings but I have to say my man of the match was TEVEZ (not only because the two goals he scored but also for his movement and for what he did especially in the second half), but very close to him I have to put Gabriel HEINZE! What a performance today. As I always say...when the team is in the middle of chaos, the more chaotic players will shine (examples: PALERMO v. Perú; HEINZE v. Mexico today -especially in the second half-), but that doesn't take anything away from El Gringo. He made a couple of goal-line saves that were fantastic and saved us from a nervy finish. He was very solid, made no mistakes in his marking and he even gave us a classic moment when he hit that cameraman when he was celebrating with TEVEZ and HIGUAIN after our second goal.

This marked the first time we win a knock-out World Cup match in regulation since we defeated Brazil in 1990! Yes. You heard me! After that, we advanced v. Yugoslavia and Italy on penalties. Then lost to Romania in the round of 16 in 1994, defeated England on penalties in the same round in 1998 (before losing to Holland in the QF) and defeated Mexico in extra-time in 2006 before losing to Germany in the following round.

That was a terrible streak and I'm more than happy to see it end. It goes to show how hard it has been for Argentina to advance deep in the World Cup recent history.

Another run? Last time we lost a World Cup match (not on penalties) was back in 2002 when England beat us 1-0. Since then: a 1-1 draw with Sweden (though it meant we were eliminated); wins v. Ivory Coast and Serbia & Montenegro, a draw v. Holland, a win v. Mexico, a draw with Germany and then these four consecutive wins in South Africa. That is the longest run we ever had in the history of the World Cup with 10 matches without defeats.

We move on, but we need to improve if we want to avenge our team from 2006 and beat Germany as a pay back we've been waiting for during the last four years.


Abs said...

I have few questions..

- Would Maschy, Henzie and Bolatti keep their yellow cards or they are waved starting from the quarter-final ?!

- Do you think Maradona would consider Samuel and Burdisso on the back line ?!

- Could it be possible to see Jonas in for Di Maria, coz the kid is not showing me enough !!

~ KinaZ ~ said...

I agree, Jonas should go in for Di Maria.

johnny said...

Great thoughts Seba. For my money the difference in Argentina at the moment is Tevez. He has come of age. It pained me no end to see him come off the pitch early today. Not only is he scoring goals, but believe it or not, he is the midfield glue, tracks back,and doesn't get booked for silly, out of control behavior. What a huge step up in his play from not all that long ago with the NT.

One more thing. I was dissapointed in Messi's play today in the second period. I am a big supporter of Messi and quick to defend him against irrational assaults. That said, he looked way too passive at times in the second period and I can't help but think that he was irritated at having not scored a goal. I hope he realizes and learns-it is all about winning the match, not about whether or not he scores.

Apocalyptic Creator said...

After the quarters, the yellows get wiped out.
I think only if someone gets red then its affects the future games. (not 100% sure).
It is high time that FIFA do something about using video technology.
Though it helped us today (and I absolutely love it) most often than not I find the more talented team being hurt by dodgy decisions by the refs.
About the team against Germany,
I will prefer this team:
Clemente burdisso/Demi Walter heinze
Masch Bolatti
Messi Higuain Tevez

Subs: Maxi for Veron
Jonas for Bolatti

hugo said...

I did not like how we played, it was perhaps our worst game in this WC. True, individualities carried us over. I did not like how the team gave the initiative away after the 3-0. At the individual player level, I am most disappointed by Di Maria. He is good, and played well in the friendlies. I had great hopes for him, but something is not working out.

Anonymous said...

no more need to say.


Allan Ng said...

Argentina vs Germany is the big match this saturday. I hope we get our revenge over them from 2006.

It would be good to see Uruguay, Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay as the semi-finalists of this World Cup... but I doubt it will happen... Spain is still there.

Anonymous said...

hi guys,

great discussion! hope demi gets to be on the bench and samuel partners burdisso in central defence as the german players know demi very well to exploit him. di maria has been given his chances and not taking them. he seemed better to come in as a sub like against greece. pastore seemed more intelligent and dangerous. that said, im proud of what our team has achieved and hope we will have a memorable victory over germany. vamos argentina!



nikhil said...

hi ABS AND ~ KinaZ ~ & ALL,
About DI maria,I feel that he is an important cog in our team.What is revelling is although he is not running through the opponent defense's,he is doing a GR8 defensive work 4 our team.
I am of d opinion tht Di maria shld be retain'd in the team,since there is no need for any attack we are alresdy 3-0 up or when we have carlitos,Messi & higuain in top form + he is giving his usually good crosses in opponents penalty box.

HI Johnny,
I think Messi not touching d ball at most of times was a GR8 ploy b'coz m sure Mexican wld h've neutralized that attack even b4 it start'd by foul'ng Messi.

In d second half,messi didn't touch d ball and did'nt want to add our score tally as i think he might h've reserving this 4 Germany game or probabaly avoid'ng injury.
This game was important as we play'd only d first half & d third goal and after tht we were trying to just viol away d time and give other reserves some time n imp rest for other players.

Cheers to carlitos 4 his Gr8 strike 4 d third goal and above all th'nks to Maradona (*or support staff) 4 plann'ng everything as if he knows already what is gooing to happen.

Vamos Argentina!!!

Mohd said...

I quote
"So you negative freaks really need to take a chill pill and learn a little about the WC! Sheesh!"

people who answer like that without scientific argument are non worthy of replies. then again why expect anything else...

Sparrow said...

I not only want to avenge 2006 defeat Seba, I have never been able to swallow the 1990 defeat. We were stolen that day ...


Fadi said...

This is the worst game for Argentina in this WC. We only scored one goal, the rest was mistakes from the referree and from Mexican defense. Our midfield is very weak, something needs to be done here. If we play with the same or similar formation against Germany, we will be slaughtered.

Anonymous said...

Hi nikhil,

you got a point about di maria doing some neat defensive duties. but for that alone we can try clemente rodriguez as he can alternate with heinze going forward and defending when he delivers decent crosses into the box. well, these are just my thoughts...maybe without any scientific reason to back it up but football does not always need science to be comprehend, enjoyed and discuss....or else it will no longer be enjoyable for ordinary people like me who does not take notes about each individual player but just sitting with a bunch of passionate supporters, eyes transfixed to the google box cheering for every argentine player regardless if the team is winning or losing..and talking about the match long into the night. vamos argentina!

ordinary passionate lifetime albiceleste fan



bombonera said...

b4 MEX got their only gol Micho had already created a blander shd u can remember!no more Micho plz!! take Burdiso n Samuel to b CD if we hav to survive against GER, Guys! do u knw u got SOME1 deserved 2b our RB? y do u 4get him 4 wot he did 4 us yesterday to the extent no one so far talk about him!,now i dont regret why Diego left Zanetti, coz OTAMENDI shut up my mouth completly. anywayz no 1 can deny the game 2 b too bad in the 2nd half after we had our 3rd gol,bt dont 4get it waz a match against MEXICO, a team that is challenging us quite long time.,the 1st player i can blame in this match is MESSI, 4rm the beginning he did play individual rather than as a key player 4 da entire team, all wot he does is to show off his ability to overcome any1 dare to follow him, if this is wot he is going to do forcing himself in a group of pple, then expect boring attack every game we play..try to replace Messi and take in Pastore ,samuel 4 micho and the 1st eleven 2b like this, ROMERO OTAMENDI BURDISO SAMUEL HEINZE

then sub missi 4 pastore in the 60mins, guys you wont believe how best we gona play, and it will b a lesson 4 messi,
doing so will also allow Di maria to show his bestwen combine with Pastore
Dont think i Hate MESSI and MICHO,not at not at all, that is wot in my opinion, PLZ GUYZ COMMENT ON MY VIEW

Joe Gergi said...

As i agree wuth most of you this was our worst game. Hopfully we will improve against the germans.

What disspointed we the most was we hade no counterattacking play. We did not counterattack with determination. I am also a bit let down that we lost possesion sow easy.

Demi is a hazard, i am really hoping we replace him against the germans.

one most know that Mexico and Germany are totaly diffrent teams with diffrent strengths and weaknesses.

The mexicans, moore speed and skill.

The germans, moore physical strength and determination.

Apocalyptic Creator said...

I am astounded from what I have read from you guys in the last 12 hrs after the game.
In these 11-12 hrs in these discussions I have probably heard every Argentinian player being slammed as bad along with the coach Diego.
Romero has been labeled as a bad keeper (slow and lazy and whatever)
Demi- well do i need to mention anything about him anymore.
Heinze - well not too much but many still believe he is slow, not effective and makes mistakes.
Burdisso and Otamendi & Tevez- there are probably just the exceptions.
Mascherano is supposedly bad along with veron.
maxi doesnt give any creativity.
Di Maria should be subbed.
Higuain - we all have heard who shud relace Higuain.
And FINALLY (and I stress with the CAPS)
MESSI - the best player in the team and the world should start from the bench because he didnt have as great a game as the last one.
Diego has got all tactics wrong

And I heard after we have won a match (actually quite comfortably) 3-1.
No wonder Diego gets riled up so much by all this crap.
One moment the team is AWESOME, the next moment every member in the team is worthless.
Guys get some perspective. It is the World Cup. Teams which can wn games even when not playing at their very very best are the true signs of a winner.
it is not just silky wonderful football that wins matches, its the fight, desire and mental strength which wins matches too and that is what I saw today. I saw heinze defend for his life at times.
Ofcourse some players didnt have the greatest game - Messi, Di maria, veron. There can be many reasons for that and I hope that things get sorted out soon but i will no longer want to tolerate this crap about all the above players are shit and only the players who are not playing (like Pastore, Milito are the best).
Honestly even when Pastore was on today i didnt find him give something outstanding, i didnt find him able to control the game and calm down the game. (which I think was the fundamntal aspect missing in our game today).
Anyways it will be nice if you all can take a deep deep breath, tell yourself we have won the match, havent played the greatest and live to fight another day.
Great teams learn and peak as a tournament progresses. I sincerely hope we do so.

Mohd said...

Apocalyptic Creator -->

Pastore played 3 minutes!

Majumdar said...

What is the news on Walter Samuel? Wud he be fit to play on Saturday- Dimechilis is an accident waiting to happen.


Happer said...

Guys, why can't we play both Veron and Pastore? I'm sure all of us remember how well the team played last 15 minutes in the game against Greece. I mean, Maxi and Di Maria show nothing since the beginning of the tournament, so why don't we just bench them? And if we play like yesterday, i.e. NO CENTER MIDFIEDER, how can we get any chance to score? Messi always got one or two players ready to kick him every time he has the ball, so no way we should rely on Messi as the man who control the game. We need possession of the ball, and without Veron/Pastore, we can't have it.

I'd love to see the following formation:
Otamendi - Burdiso - Samuel - Heinze/Clemente
-------Veron - Pastore-------
-------Higuain - Tevez---------

Mohd said...

impossible. who would cover the flanks defensively? we need another string defensive player. i am ok with Maxi instead of Veron keeping the rest of your formation. but should DiMaria be dropped, then Tevez must do additional defensive effort covering the left flank.

Happer said...

Mohd, so I ask you this question: who cover the flanks for Barcelona? They have no wingers. Veron and Pastore can help Mascherano doing this job, it's fine.
Moreover, my point is that if we have the possession, we should not worry about defence, should we?

Mohd said...

Happer, good point mentioning Barcelona.
But there are some subtle differences. first with Xavi and Iniesta, Barca's ability to hold the ball is incomparable to anyone. especially to a finished player like Veron.

even then, do not forget that Pedro claimed his spot this year with Barca because he covers the flank defensively very well. so soon when in defensive mode Pedro joins the midfield and its a four men defending.

bombonera said...

PLZ dont dare to blame MAXI and MARIA, they played as were instructed to mark mexicans on flanks and no body among you fail to agree how dangerous they are wen it comes to attack sidewayz.
2nd,do you knw y we dint c two of them playing? bz every ball messi takes he rarely involved them,he just luk who wants to be beaten, ,imagine how many balls messi waz given and lost in a group of opponents!!
listen guys, the role given to messi is misused,sorry to say that definitely many of u will curse me,bt he shd knw that he is a playmaker who need to involve his mates,i think if we were still to stick 3 4wards its better to make tevez play role of messi and viceversa

Anonymous said...


salvio supporter said...

I totally agree. And I also agree in that it's great to see that individualities saved us instead of team play. I mean, it was about time...

ARG4LIFE said...

whats happening to Di Maria? He was one of our best performers during the qulifying campaign.

Apocalyptic Creator said...

@ Mohd
I know Pastore didn't get minutes.
But even in the Greece game, what i saw from him was good (not something outstandingly superlative) against a group of tired legs after 80 mins.
I am not saying Pastore is bad or worse than Veron but I will be extremely cautious if I am suggested that Pastore is miles ahead of Veron.
It may seem that I am a fan of Veron, let me state as a fact I am not.
But it doesnt harm to see what Veron brings to the team.
He brings possession football and a calm head in the midfield. People will argue that he wasn't effective yesterday. For me the primary reason for that was he didnt start the game. When he came in, most of our players were in a defensive mindset, backing off whenever Mexicans arrived. In that case, in the midfield there was almost no one to pass to, and I found messi frustrated many a times due to that too.
It was a problem of the tempo of the game being already being controlled by Mexico and Argentinian players being sucked into it. I do feel strongly though starting a game, veron will be able to control the game much much better in the midfield.
For however great Pastore is, no one can deny that Veron has enormous experience and with it he gets a few things on the pitch that no one else can.
1. reading a game,
2. how to pace a game.
3. Messi respects him and so if he tells messi to start passing teh ball instead of always trying to get things done on his own, messi will listen.
and Finally I am astounded that nobody here remembers that even at this age it was not for nothing that he was the South American Player of the year for two consecutive years (2008 & 2009).
He may not be as fast as he was or as many others but in the middle with teh support of others like Mascherano, tevez, Di maria I think it should be ok.
Maxi his replacement was not that great replacement either.
Stop getting on his back just because he is a bit old. :)

Rune said...

Hi guys!
I’ve got so many things to say……..
The game yesterday was a poor game by us, but we won. I am extremely happy that we won and also very happy that the germans beat England. I hate England more than anything(together with Brazil)and a defeat against England would be impossible to take for me.

Tevez, Masch and Heinze were all great.I am so incredibly happy that we have Carlos Tevez!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Messi mediocre like last game because he is obsessed with scoring and is dribbling too much. Otamendi and Higuain were good, but Higuain should have burried his header. The problem with our attacking play is that everything that happens is due to coincidents….Messi or Tevez doing some magic. There is no real plan and cohesive movement. I HATE to see this.

This german team is NOT as good as everyone says. They have 1 great asset: fantastic counter attacks. But that is their ONLY real strenght. To stop them is easy: prevent them from getting chances to counter attack. Park the bus and let those bastards taste their own medicine. Defend low in 4-4-1-1, play possesion football, and they will not do us much harm. BUT will Tevez do all the dirty work that is required, for 90 minutes, if he is played as a side midfielder? But just the thought of this team without Tevez scares me to death…he is essential! So I kinda find it hard to agree with myself on this…….
One way to get eaten alive by Germany: play kamikaze 4-3-1-2 and they will counter attack us to death. We would have absolutely no chance with this system against the germans, I repeat absolutely no chance.

Anonymous said...

I read on the latest news that Argentina is training PK shootout. They watch the videos of all German players who take PK. They learn the lesson from the 2006. At the time, we had to use poor PK shooters like Cambiasso n Ayala that costed us dearly. I just hope those who regularly take PK for their clubs will improve their PK. Messi and Tevez especially...although they rarely missed PK for their clubs, but their PK shooting is too weak.

I also read that Burdisso doesn't deserve to be benched for the Germany game...and that Samuel participated in a full training with the reserves and looked 100% healthy. It was: Pozo; Garce, Samuel, Clemente, a youth player; Veron, Bolatti, Pastore; Aguero, Milito, and Palermo.

So the good news is Samuel is available. So the 2 defenders will be among Demi/Samuel/Burdisso. I'm fine with any combination as long as one of them is Samuel. Maradona needs to remember that Samuel shut down all of Munchen player in the final CL!

Guys, let's not think of changing the majority of the starters in the crucial games. After the game against Nigeria, we as fans, said that we wanted Milito, Burdisso, Pastore, Maxi, Clemente etc...we wanted those who played not to good to be changed. But Maradona did stick to the same line up, but Veron. Now after the game against Mexico where we WON 3-1, most of us want 3-5 changes of the line up (Veron, Bolatti, Gutierrez, Samuel, Clemente, and Pastore are mentioned the most). Come on...the right formula is:
1. Don't change the winning team (with the exception of...)
2. The exception is someone who's injured/unavailable or if no one is injured, insert 1 player AT MOST into the starting line up of the winning team.

That's a good coaching! Changing 5 players of the starting line up who didn't play too well in the last game for the crucial game is too risky!


Frank.Sugar&Spice said...

The reason you are probably seeing a lot of calls for changes is that the first goal was a product of pure blind luck, a total gift. Fine, that shit happens in futbol.

That gift discombobulated Mexico who up until that moment was driving the game.

The second goal was like a second gift and I think it had a lot to do with Mexico just being rattled.

The second half saw a Mexico that was getting their act together, and an Argentina that could not drive the game. Diego was trying to figure out a way to dominate the possession of the ball and to slow down the pace (Veron). Veron could'nt do it.

Argentina was lucky that Mexico did not have the individual skills up front to finish it off. They had more shots on goal, but they were mostly from a distance.

I guess we are all just a little nervous after seeing how fast, agile and precise Germany is. Argentina can take them, but they will have to have a different game than the one they showed against Mexico.

Paulina said...

Seba - was that you on the ESPN Soccernet podcast? If so, great job!

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