Wednesday, March 31, 2010
In a game between two teams that share almost the same 'football philosophy', Barcelona started off with 9 shots on goal inside the first 20 minutes, whilst Arsenal chased shadows for most of that first half.
Lionel MESSI had a few chances but never really got his game going. Zlatan IBRAHIMOVIC scored twice and Arsenal replied with goals from Theo WALCOTT and Cesc FABREGAS, who will miss the trip to the Camp Nou after seeing a yellow card.
Gabriel MILITO got introduced to play the final few minutes after Carles PUYOL saw red. With the legendary captain and Gerard PIQUE both suspended for the second leg, it looks like Gabriel MILITO will have a chance to show Diego what he can do playing at the top level of European football.
Speaking about MILITO and top level of European football, Gabriel's brother, Diego, just keep firing those shots in.
Between Champions League and Serie A, Diego Alberto MILITO got to 21 goals this season, the first at his new club.
Against CSKA Moscow, MILITO and company made of Igor AKINFEEV a wall of a goalkeeper. That was until the 65th minute when the former Racing Club, Genoa, and Zaragoza striker received the ball from Wesley SNEJDER just outside the area and sent a powerful shot towards the bottom left corner.
Walter SAMUEL, Esteban CAMBIASSO and Il Capitano Javier ZANETTI also played 90 minutes for the Italian champions.
Now both Inter and Barcelona have the upper hand for the second leg, but they need to capitalize on those chances if they want to meet up in the semifinals and give us a MILITO vs. MILITO showdown (just like when they were playing for Racing and Independiente, the bitter Avellaneda rivals in Argentina).
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
I thought: 'Why not do a Tuesday News Roundup?' After all, a lot has happened today and there are plenty of things we can debate about.
WHO LET THE DOG OUT?
Who? Who? Who? Who? That song's been punishing me since I read the news this morning (more like since that song was ever recorded!), but I thought it would be the most suitable soundtrack to play behind this story.
Right...so they are saying MARADONA was bitten by his pet dog at home and needed minor surgery (10 stitches) on his upper lip.
Right...so I'm expected to believe that. Right...right...
Nah...I'm sorry. I'm too cynical these days. I'm going to need a few more lives to believe that (unless the attack is well documented, which of course won't be the case).
I don't want to sink your boat, tough. If you still think a dog attacked Diego, then who am I to contradict you or the media reports we are getting?
WILL LICHA's GOALS BITE DIEGO NEXT?
You know? It got me thinking. How can a player like Lisandro LOPEZ be ignored the way he is right now? Can you tell me Lisandro wouldn't crack into the World Cup squad of every one of the 32 nations competing in South Africa this summer? Give me one team that wouldn't want to have him amongst their 22/23 players. Justify your answer and then, if your point is strong enough, I'll give it to you.
Even Argentina, with a plethora of amazingly talented forwards, should count Lisandro LOPEZ as one of its 6/7 forwards.
Based on quality, form, present and the level of competitions they are playing at, our forwards shouldn't be found outside the following names: Lionel MESSI, Carlos TEVEZ, Gonzalo HIGUAIN, Diego MILITO, Sergio AGÜERO and Lisandro LOPEZ.
You can present cases for Lucas BARRIOS, Javier SAVIOLA, Ezequiel LAVEZZI, Mauro ZARATE and one of them would complete the list in my opinion.
But no. We will see Lisandro LOPEZ being left out of the World Cup squad and we will see Martín PALERMO (who can't buy a goal lately at a very weak Argentine league and is even getting replaced every now and then by the Boca Juniors manager), getting on the plane to Pretoria and using one spot that shouldn't be his.
Again. I've got nothing against PALERMO and I think his story is probably the most incredible in the history of the game. A film about him should run away with 10 Academy Awards, but this is not the ending I'd like to see for that film. I want my best players to represent me at the World Cup. And I want them to be at the best form of their lives and peaking at the right time.
Tonight Lisandro LOPEZ scored twice (one was from the penalty spot but I don't hear people -journalist- downplay penalty-shot goals when PALERMO scores them. To me, they are worth 1 goal. Just like any other goal scored in football), but just as when he scored on the first ball he touched in Moscow v. Russia, MARADONA won't care about him.
DEMI-CARELESS EARLY ON, DEMI-SOLID THE REST OF THE GAME
A big controversy that never got too public or too heated. MARADONA was fuming when he heard Bayern made Martín DEMICHELIS return from his surgery earlier than expected. What if he received another blow to his head and miss the entire World Cup because he played before he should have played?
That was MARADONA's fear and I understand him. I also think Bayern wouldn't risk an important asset to them like DEMICHELIS if they weren't sure about his capability of playing tonight against Manchester United.
If anything, I took this game as a chance for Masked-Micho to show how he could do if squared against one of the world's top forwards like Wayne ROONEY.
The initial answer to that question couldn't have been more terrifying! Only one minute into the game and Manchester United won a corner kick. As NANI sent the ball towards the box, Mark VAN BOMMEL deflected it with his head and it rained inside the area where Martín DEMICHELIS was man-marking ROONEY. And then...disaster struck. Micho fell to the floor (no contact from nobody) and ROONEY was left completely open for an easy goal.
After that early blunder, the former River Plate star recovered and played a solid game, dealing with ROONEY and keeping United at bay. In the end Bayern got their reward and they will now travel to Old Trafford having two results (a win and a draw) that will work in their favour.
Yes, DEMICHELIS will be haunted by that early mistake, which could very well prove to be the crucial away goal for United to advance to the semifinals, but that's the cruelty of playing in that position where every mistake counts and could ruin you even when you have performed at a high level.
The fact that he picked up himself so remarkably speak wonders about DEMICHELIS and that is exactly what all our players need from here on. Because they will all make mistakes, the important thing is to see who can overcome those difficulties and who will be petrified or end up in tears.
Monday, March 29, 2010
With the friendly against Canada in Buenos Aires (May 24) confirmed, the latest news speak of an exhibition game in Dubai against a team from the United Arab Emirates.
A possible friendly against South Africa (May 29) was discarded because of this new itinerary.
The friendly against Canada at The Monumental will be a part of the festivities to celebrate Argentina's 200th anniversary (25 May, 1810 was the day the first government formed by Argentines took charge of power in a country that was ruled by the Spanish).
The match, which will kick-off at 4:30 PM local time, will have a festive tone and will see a half-time show a la SuperBowl with local rock legends Charly GARCIA, Fito PAEZ, Gustavo CERATI, pop-icon Diego TORRES and some international stars such as Shakira and (if you heard the news) an out-of-the-closet Ricky MARTIN.
It will also serve as a farewell party for the Albiceleste from the home crowd before embarking into their World Cup adventure.
Right after that friendly with Canada, Argentina will travel to Dubai and after the friendly there will go straight to Pretoria to set up the headquarters ahead of the most important tournament of all.
For the past two weeks it's was Lionel MESSI (twice) and Gonzalo HIGUAIN and now add Carlos TEVEZ into the list of hat trick heroes for the month of March.
Manchester City hopes of securing a place in next season's Champions League took a bright turn when Carlitos inspired them to a 3-0 win over Wigan Athletic, despite having to work hard for most part of the game.
They broke the deadlock in the 72nd minute when TEVEZ tapped into an empty net after goalkeeper Vladimir STOJKOVIC missed Patrick VIERA's high ball. In just three minutes later he added his second and this secured City's win but they kept pushing for more. No surprising indeed that City's third goal came from the little fella and he completed his trick in the 85th minute.
Overall I must say that I'm happy for TEVEZ as it's been a while since we've seen him in such of form. Now here is a simple question; among the possible names of forward that might head to South Africa, where would you ranked TEVEZ in your list alongside MESSI, HIGUAIN, Diego MILITO or Kun AGUERO (you may add Martin PALERMO if you want to).
Sunday, March 28, 2010
Kun AGUERO and Atletico got the dream start they wanted, but it just wasn't enough to salvage anything as Real kept they're unbeaten record against city rival since 1999.
It was Kun who fed the ball to Jose Antonio REYES who scored to put them in the lead. However it was international teammate Gonzalo HIGUAIN who was smiling in the end. His goal courtesy of some defensive mixed up from Atletico in the 62nd minute gave the home side a 3-1 lead. In the end, despite of pulling back Real manage to hang on to a 3-2 win.
Also in the game, nice to see Fernando GAGO starting for Real while on the opposite side Eduardo SALVIO took to the field as a second half substitute.
Mario SANTANA scored with a left footed strike for Fiorentina in their 4-1 win over Udinese in the Italian Serie A. In the Belgian Jupiler League, Matias SUAREZ was on target for the Anderlecht as they hammered Zulte-Waregem 6-0.
Finally in the Greek Super League, Ignacio SCOCCO was the saviour for AEK Athens after scoring a 90th minute equalizer against Panionios. Sebastian LETO was on target for Panathinaikos in their 3-0 win over Atromitos.
NBA News -Manu Rout Celtic In Boston
Across the Atlantic, Manu GINOBILI and the Spurs made another all important statement on the east with a big 94-73 win against the Boston Celtics; their worst of the season. This follows their previous win against non other than the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Manu was proved to be again the life and soul of this win posting 28 points, 3 rebounds, 7 assists and 1 steals. Among his notable highlight was the one hand buzzer beating shot from 25 foot and his block on Kevin GARNETT which send KG landing on his back to the floor hard.
From what I've noticed, Andres NOCIONI looks to be a lost ever since returning from injury. But tonight he had his moment but it just wasn't enough to stop Le Bron and the Cavaliers as the Sacramento Kings went down 90-97. Off the bench, he posted 21 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists and 1 steal.
Saturday, March 27, 2010
Friday, March 26, 2010
Monday, March 22, 2010
Over the past 10-15 years, we've seen many great players come and go. The Brazilian RONALDO, Zinedine ZIDANE, Luis FIGO, RONALDINHO and others. However, none of them was an Argentinian, who at the tender age of 22, has mezmerised the futboling world. After an absolutely amazing week consisting of 8 goals in 3 games, people are already calling MESSI the greatest player of all time or atleast better than MARADONA(which for me means the greatest player of all time). I'm a huge MESSI fan and have been following him since he made his debut for Barcelona, but to call him the greatest of all time or better than MARADONA is a no for me. Can he end up being better than MARADONA? Yes. Can he become the greatest of all time? Yes. IS he better than MARADONA? No.
For us Argentina fans, we've seen a bunch of players being labelled "The next MARADONA". It happened with TEVEZ, AIMAR, RIQUELME and a few others. But no one has come as close as MESSI. Game after game for Barcelona he's scored goals and provided assists and at times single handidly won matches for them. In short, he's Barcelona's hero. However, if one was to take a quick glance at Lionel's statistics with Barcelona and that with the National Team, you wouldn't say it's the same player. People constantly argue and bash this kid from Rosario because he isn't scoring goals for fun with Argentina, but let's take a look at the Top 10 goalscoring lists for the Albicelestes.
1. Gabriel BATISTUTA
56 Goals, 78 Matches
2. Hernan CRESPO
36 Goals, 64 Matches
3. Diego MARADONA
34 Goals, 91 Matches
4. Luis ARTIME
24 Goals, 25 Matches
TIED FOR 5th PLACE
5. Leopoldo LUQUE
22 Goals, 45 Matches
TIED FOR 5th PLACE
5. Daniel PASSARELLA
22 Goals, 70 Matches
TIED FOR 7th PLACE
7. José SANFILIPPO
21 Goals, 29 Matches
TIED FOR 7th PLACE
7. Herminio MASANTONIO
21 Goals, 19 Matches
9. Mario KEMPES
20 Goals, 43 Matches
TIED FOR 10th PLACE
10. Norberto MENDEZ
19 Goals, 31 Matches
TIED FOR 10th PLACE
10. José Manuel MORENO
19 Goals, 34 Matches
TIED FOR 10th PLACE
10. René PONTONI
19 Goals, 19 Matches
2007 was a big year for La Pulga in terms of goal scoring with the NT. And I'm crediting that to the formation Basile used(well basically continued from what Pekerman started) as well as the players around him. I know statistics don't always show the truth, but 6 goals in 2007 with the National Team isn't bad at all. At times, he's come up pretty clutch for us, scoring when needed(Uruguay at home, Venezuela away and Colombia away, even if we did lose that match). Not to mention against Spain where the defence was absolutely horrible(even if it was a penalty, he was calm under whatever pressure there was and scored it).
We can all sit here, chat and pass the bucket when it comes to debating on MESSI not showing up with the National Team, but MESSI is only 6 goals away from entering the Top 10 goalscoring in the history of the NT and he's only 22. Only 6... and he isn't even an out and out striker. What about the other #10's that we've had or players that were supposed to lead this team to glory? ORTEGA, D'ALESSANDRO, AIMAR, RIQUELME, anyone? Fact is, none of them can single handidly(or were single handidly able) to lead the team to glory like MARADONA did. Nor should they have to do it alone. They need to have the right players and the right formations to succeed. Right now, Messi isn't surrounded with that.
Guaranteed if TEVEZ doesn't get red carded in those two games which cost us valuable points and if he scores that penalty against Ecuador, all this talk about MESSI not showing up with the National Team wouldn't be where it's at today. Not because MESSI isn't underachieving, but because those mistakes by TEVEZ made it that much more difficult for the team to qualify for the World Cup. So naturally, the blame goes to the person who's supposed to be your best player. It was the case with VERON in 2002, RIQUELME and now MESSI. Let's not forget MESSI is the #10 and with this #10 comes great responsibility and pressure. The pressure got to ORTEGA, it got to RIQUELME and so on. Did MESSI ask to be the #10? Last I heard, he initially said no, but later accepted. So of course he deserves some of the blame, but to be in the position he is in now(in terms of pressure) at that age, people need to realise it's incredibly tough. Especially when you have your own fans turning against you(no one here on the blog in particular, just people in Argentina).
Is the pressure getting to MESSI? No doubt, but it doesn't mean he doesn't care about doing well with the National Team. Some people here in the past have talked about MESSI's passion and commitment for the National Team. I'm pretty sure if he didn't care about the team, he wouldn't have taken time off during the beginning of the season to go to Argentina and train for the match against Brazil. I'm sure if he didn't care, he wouldn't have went to the Olympics. And I'm sure that if he didn't care, he would have accepted Spain's offer to play for them instead of playing for Argentina. Go back and watch the match against Germany from this month(as boring as it was) and you'll see MESSI getting frustrated with the game when he almost gets himself red carded. The first was a yellow card for a harsh and late tackle in the second half. Or how about when he jumped to try and stop/control the ball with his hands? I'm sure if he didn't mind not doing well with Argentina he wouldn't have risked getting himself red carded.
Some people need to wake up and realise that whether they like it or not, our best shot at the moment for us to win the World Cup is for MESSI to flip the switch, grab this team from the hell hole it's in(or from the lowest point this team has been in ages... whichever analogy you prefer) and lead it to victory.
Saturday, March 20, 2010
Thursday, March 18, 2010
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Monday, March 15, 2010
Saturday, March 13, 2010
Friday, March 12, 2010
While the interesting discussion about Pipita’s performance for Real keeps getting bigger; two other players were on the score sheet in Friday’s Serie A match between
However the league leaders had a shocked defeat as the home side won the game 3-1. Diego MILITO gave Inter the lead in the 54th minute with a simple tap in. However
The match also saw a total of 8 Argentine players starting for both sides; Mariano ANDUJAR, Matias SILVESTRE, Pablo ALVAREZ, Mariano IZCO & Maxi LOPEZ for Catania and Esteban CAMBIASSO, Javier ZANETTI & Diego MILITO for Inter
I've seen it sparked some debate in the comments' box of our previous post and so I want to hear more about the Gonzalo HIGUAIN situation and how from one day to the other he seems to be the main culprit signalled by all the pro-Real Madrid Spanish media and, it has to be said, some of Pipita's team-mates.
I missed the match between Real Madrid and Olympique Lyonnais, but I watched some highlights (more than 6 minutes of it) on YouTube.
My initial reaction was of honest disbelief when I saw some of the chances Pipita missed that night. I remember having watched highlights of the Real Madrid 3-2 win over Sevilla this weekend and I recall having thought the same as Pipita crashed two shots against the woodwork and missed some other opportunities (though he was instrumental for Madrid to come from behind in that match and reach La Liga's first position together with Barcelona).
For all the goals Gonzalo HIGUAIN scores, lets face it, he is going to miss more than a fair share of chances.
And here's when my point start (before you all start pointing your 'you-say-that-because-you-are-a-Diego-MILITO-lover' fingers at me): HIGUAIN is one of the bravest players I've seen and he's been Real Madrid's more reliable player so far this season.
When the parade of new signings of the like of KAKA, Cristiano RONALDO and Karim BENZEMA started walking around the Santiago Bernabeu, we all thought Pipita was doomed.
"Why start him over players the White House had bought at such high prices?" "Surely he is going to be benched now. After all...he is only 22" and a few other thoughts along those lines were going through our minds.
But HIGUAIN didn't let the critics or the high-profile competition get to him. He galvanized against all that and he worked as hard as anybody to make sure that striker role belonged to him, even when he was ignored by his national team manager.
With 25 games of La Liga gone, Pipita (16) is only behind Lionel MESSI (19) and David VILLA (17) in the goalscoring charts in Spain.
He is ahead of Cristiano RONALDO (14), KAKA (7 -though we know he is not exactly a striker and he has been injured-) and Karim BENZEMA (7 goals).
Sure, any striker is going to go through a rough patch and any striker is going to have an off day, but that doesn't mean young Pipita is going to have to shoulder the burden of this heavy Real Madrid early elimination in the year the Champions League final is going to be played at the Bernabeu.
I'm reading reports now that suggest Cristiano RONALDO is angry with HIGUAIN because the Argentine didn't pass the ball to him and I can't believe it! If those reports are true then I really don't get it. We are talking about Cristiano RONALDO. Incredibly talented but do you remember his first few seasons at Old Trafford? He needed a ball all for himself to be able to play. He wouldn't pass it for his life.
I would understand if players get frustrated but by no means I'm going to agree with Cristiano or any other Real Madrid player or member of the coaching staff or even boot-licking journalist take it on Pipita.
We, as Argentina fans, should at the very least be happy Pipita won't be burned out come World Cup time. He will have more time to rest as he will be solely dedicated to play in La Liga and his legs will be fresher.
Our only worry is that he gets benched (which could happen at a club where the pressure is so high), but I'm confident he won't. He'll bounce back from this low point and he will do it by showing everyone what he does best: scoring goals for fun.
Monday, March 08, 2010
Saturday, March 06, 2010
He had some trouble breathing when he first came out, but now he's in good shape and breathing on his own. He just needs to be in observation for a while, but we're confident he'll be released no later than Sunday.
Right, I knew I could count on all of you here to be with me during the World Cup, but now I found myself another partner to watch the World Cup with!
What are the odds that Felipe's first words will be Diego MILITO? hahaha! Nah...I don't think so, but just in case, I'll check on bwin or some place like that.
That's the news I wanted to share with you!
Thursday, March 04, 2010
John, Roy and Seba discuss the most important aspects of the game and trigger a debate. Based on what we saw in Uruguay in the last round of the World Cup Qualifier and our showing against Germany last night the question is up in the air:
Will Argentina play defensively from now on?
As a matter of fact, we've got more than one question floating in the air and Mundo Albiceleste team tries to answer some of them and struggles to do so with others.
Maybe you can give it a listen and join in the debate.
To download the Podcast, click here.
Argentina's doctor, Donato VILLANI, stayed in Munich after the game and has said that the surgery was a success.
"He will have to stay in the hospital for a couple of days as a precaution, because even when the surgery was a small procedure, it included general anaesthesia and was performed in the head area. But he is OK. He will have to stay away from football for about three weeks. We are thinking he may be back playing in April"
Here's hoping for a quick recovery for MICHO!
Wednesday, March 03, 2010
I said 'mixed fortunes' in the headline but to be honest, three out of the four teams in our Group (of course, Argentina included) have won and only Greece got defeated.
The Greeks are surely worried after losing 2-0 to Senegal, a team that is not even qualified for the World Cup.
Here are the goals of that game:
Nigeria also faced a team that didn't make it to the World Cup. They surely played the weakest opposition of the whole of the Group B teams in action and they easily defeated the Democratic Republic of Congo 5-2. So far, I couldn't find the goals on YouTube. If any of you find a link, please post it on the comments' box and we'll then edit this post so we can see those goals.
Finally, South Korea pulled out a surprising result in Loftus Road, the home of Queens Park Rangers in London. They defeated Didier DROGBA and the Ivory Coast 2-0.
Surely a warning sign from the red army.
Here's some footage from that game. It could be that it was really one-sided, or it could be that this comes from a Korean TV channel so they only show Korean scoring opportunities. It could be both! The truth is they beat the Ivory Coast and that's not an easy task.
Great team victory tonight for Argentina. Happy to get a little revenge over Germany even-though the match means pretty much nothing, but good to beat a top national team. This game was very interesting, it was good to see Veron play alongside Messi and Higuain, and the defense consisting of 4 CB's worked out extremely well. In the first half we kept possession very well, unlike any game I have seen from us in a long tine. We were moving it well between our defenders and midfielders with confidence, and whenever we lost the ball our defense was 100% organized and solid. In terms of offense we did not have much, as always Di Maria was our main attacking spark, who set up our only gol from Higuain.
In the second half it was more of the same we were content with possession, especially with the lead. Veron never ventured too far forward to get involved in the attack so whenever Higuain or Messi had the ball they had about 4 Germans surrounding them and not teammates to pass too, which was frustrating. But the main take away from this game is that our defense played excellent, and we kept possession with confidence completely shutting down any chances the Germans had. Overall a very good victory and some key defensive performances that give me more confidence in our back line as we get close to SA. Here are the ratings.....
Romero 7: Great game versus a top oppoenet today for our starting GK. Early on did not have much to deal with but he was always quick off his line to the ball. In the 8th min had bad communication with Heinze who headed it backwards but was quick to react. Just like when Otamendi passed it back to him he was very fast to sprint of his line and beat Podolski to the ball. Very confident in the air with every ball into the box and very safe hands in the air. Our defensive line was very solid and Romero only had to save 2 or 3 shots, but was there every time. Great positioning on set pieces and great clean sheet.
Otamendi 7: In the beginning of this game everyone was questioing how Otamendi would do, and he played very well. He setteled in the game quickly and was never found out of position. He worked hard to get forward a few times and hustle back to his postion. Had 2 or 3 last second tackles to stop counter attacks by the Germans. Made one sloppy move in the back which Samuel cleaned up getting a Yellow card. But Otamendi has proven he deserves a spot on the NT and in South Africa. A Very composed performance by the youngster.
Demichelis 7.5: Excellent performance by the heart of our central defense. Demi was everywhere with his typical no nonsense tackles and brick wall mentality. He came out in the first half full of energy which set the tone for our defense the rest of our game. Demi saved Heinze from a sloppy miss up in the back, and was smart in getting a yellow card or else Germany would have had a 1 on 1. Whenever there was a counter Demi was their to stop the ball or slow down the attack to get more players back behind the ball. Unfortunate to get injuried with a BALLACK knee to the eye, hopefully he will be ok. Looking forward to more gritty performances by Demi.
Burdisso (sub in 56 min or Demichelis) 7: Subbed in for Demichelis’ injury, and slotted in perfectly. Was in perfect position playing alongside Samuel and carried on playing like Demi. Great timed tackles, and there was a time when he got beat but sprinted back only to win the ball back and clear it out of danger. Burdisso is getting better and with his time at ROMA has proven he is a solid defensive player. Unlucky not to get a touch on Veron’s ball in the last 5 mins to score.
Samuel 7: Welcome back to the NT Walter. Like the rest of our defense a very solid performance from the Wall. Had many good one on one tackles on Klose and Podoloski, organized the back line well and never caught out of postion, a very obedianet defensive display. He understands how to use his body perfectly to maneuver attackers off the ball. In the second half was more quiet but went about his job very effeicently made no mistakes.
Heinze 6: Not much to say about Heinze for this game, had a few good tackles but with the Germans not really attacking down the wings he did not have much to do defensively. He did attempt to get forward a few times but nothing came out of it. Made one mistake that could have costed us but Demichelis was their to save him. Good game by Heinze overall. Was injuried in the 47th min. Hopefully it is nothing serious, but I know many of you guys hope it is = (.
Clemente (sub in 47 min for Heinze) 5.5: Came in for Heinze once he was injuried. Pushed forward immediately and showcased his fast pace. He looked to play with his teammate Veron and did this well, however, he was caught out of postion 3 times I counted. There were a few crosses when he let his player get in behind him. Decent performance but I feel Heinze was more confident at LB.
Jonas 8: Wow what can I say, everytime he puts on the Argentina colors he transforms into a work horse. In the beginning of the game he pushed forward to look for Messi and Higuain however, we were lacking in attack creativity as usual. Like always he got back in defense and helped out Otamendi. As the game moved into the second half he was everywhere. He stopped atleast 10 German attacks, winning the ball from Lahm and other midfielders. Jonas is a solid workhorse and deserves his spot on the NT with the "never stop working" attitude he has. One of the best tracking back performances I have seen by a outside midfielder. Absolute beast.
Mascherano 7: The captain has be out of form in his past couple NT performances, however, I am glad to say that he is back to his bulldog ways after watching him tonight. Masche hustled all night shutting down the German attack as well as Ballack. He is another one of the main reasons why our defense was so organized tonight. He did nothing in the attack end of things, however he really made the Germans look terrible in their own attack by busting up passes and tackling balls away which is what he was put on the field to do, solid performance.
Verón 6.5: Played great alongside Mascherano and was always looking for an intricate pass up front but never really played any dangerous attacking balls. He did combine well a few times with Di Maria and Messi, however, there were many times when he would force the ball to a spot on the pitch which would cause a 50/50 battle. In the second half he slowed down completely with pushing forward and was content with holding possession which he did very well. Good match by Veron but would have liked to see more movement and combination with our
attacking players. Maybe sub in Pastore for him because he was getting very tired after 70 mins.
Di María 7.5: Angél is an attacking gem. He was always looking to push forward but never recklessly. He has immense pace and showed it well against the Germans tonight, he beat many of them with touches of magic and would look to combine with Messi and Higuain. There was a moment when Higuain played him in but was offside and missed his opportunity. Then there was his other opportunity where he beat two germans on the top of the box to have his open shot get touched by Adler and deflect off the crossbar. Great attacking presence, and got his assist with a beautiful over the top counter attacking ball that set Higuain in to score. In the second half we were possessing more so he did not see as much action but still Di Maria is full of tricks and attacking prowess. There were times where he looked like the Barcelona Messi that we see week in and week out, great game.
Higuaín 5.5: What can I say, he always seems to find the back of the net when you think that he is having a bad game. In the first half he probably touched the ball only 4 or 5 times, but one was a good ball to Di Maria, and another consisted of a very eloquent move around the German keeper to a precise finish. Higuain looked to combine well with Di maria, but not really well with Messi. There was a time when he was pushing forward and Messi was to his left, but he took it himself and got stuffed. As the game went on you could see that he was getting frustrated. He has all the smarts to be a brilliant striker, and great body awareness but was not getting supplied the ball. Great game winner by El Pipita and looking forward to seeing him shine in South Africa.
Tevez (sub in 62 min for Higuain) N/A: Subbed in with about 30 mins to showcase himself but did nothing. He was running hard everywhere, but when you don't get any balls played to you and your striking partner (Messi) is frustrated and tired then nothing really happens. Good to see him run hard for 30 mins though.
Messi 5: Pretty quiet night for Messi on the NT is beginning to sound like a broken record, but it is true. Messi played ok tonight, with all his talent he always makes 3 or 4 mesmerizing runs where he beats
3 or 4 players. But all these runs ended in being fouled or not having anyone to lay the ball of too. There was one great little combination between Messi, Higuain, and Di Maria which lacked a finishing touch but when it happened it looked amazing. Messi all game was checking back behind the half line to receive the ball, like past games he has no one to combine with other than Veron, but he is playing to deep to
get involved with the attack. Waiting for that one game where Messi will shine and score 1 or 2 goles. Overall a frustating performance from Messi.