Argentina vs Brasil – Game Commentary

September 5, 2009

There are two hours left before kickoff.

So far no last minute changes or news.


The stadium is already very loud.

The players are on the team bus close to arriving at the stadium. Alot of players are singing on the bus and making alot of noise.

The video that Maradona showed the team had messages from friends & relatives of the players. The video also showed scenes of poverty & of working people all over Argentina. The message pretty clear. The players need to leave their heart & soul on the field tonight.


The starting lineup has been confirmed again. No changes from the lineup that Maradona gave earlier in the week.

UPDATE – 7:45pm EDT

All the Argentina players are on the field doing their pre-game walk. The crowd is in a frenzy. What an atmosphere!

UPDATE – 8:05 pm EDT

The Argentina bench will be:

Carrizo, Papa, Schiavi, Coloccini, Aguero, Milito.

UPDATE – 8:15pm EDT

Argentina has never won a WC qualifier with tonight’s ref, Oscar Ruiz, as the ref of the game.

UPDATE – 8:20pm EDT

The players are about to enter the field.






And so it is.

None of it shocking, all of it predictable.

Brasil had three goal scoring opportunities and scored twice but it could’ve been 3 goals.

Tonight, one of the worst Argentina lineups ever was put together for a Brasil game.

Argentina’s playmaker tonight. The worst player on the field.

An old, slow, less than fit Veron was given the responsibility of leading the attack. It’s been a disaster. Long balls to nowhere. No vision on the field and completely irrelevant.

The first Brazilian goal was courtesy of the second worse player on the field, Heinze. Completely asleep as he allowed Luisao (the player he was supposed to mark) to walk in, completely unmarked, to score the goal.

Tevez has also been totally ineffective and as expected losing to the Brazilian defenders every time the ball is in the air.

Datolo has done little and nothing on the left side of the midfield. Contributing little on offense and defense.

and Messi?

Poor Messi.

There is nobody on the field that is capable of delivering the ball to him.

Messi has no choice but to go near the midfield just to have contact with the ball and when he has the ball, it is him vs the Brasil team.

Argentina is a team without football, without order in any of their lines and is a team full of players that did not deserve to be in the starting lineup tonight or on the national team, for that matter.

None of it shocking, all of it predictable.

Argentina vs Mexico – Game Commentary

July 12, 2007


A very needed goal right before halftime.

An amazing free kick by Riquelme who placed the ball with precision right to Heinze who was at the end of his run on the right side, inside the box.

It’s been an open game as expected. Mexico is marking very tightly but fouling excessively, especially on Riquelme and the ref has been keeping the yellow cards hidden somewhere.

Messi has not had a good first half, he’s been marked well but he has struggled to find the ball and move forward and Messi is also playing too deep.

Tevez missed a goal he should’ve put away, one on one against the GK.

Veron, again, is not playing well, contributing very little in the playmaking and is not a factor on the field.

Mascherano, great as always.

It wasn’t a good first half for the team, despite having a few dangerous scoring chances, it’s struggling to break down Mexico’s defense.

The goal at halftime should hopefully open things up even more. Mexico has to go on the attack more than ever.



A great second half with a masterpiece of a goal by Messi.



and Riquelme put the game away with a beautifully taken penalty kick, touching it softly right up the middle.

A very different team in the second half, the team didn’t attack as much through the middle and started to play the ball out wider, on the wings more.

After Messi’s monumental goal the Mexican team fell apart, totally demoralized. Argentina controlled the ball, circulated it effectively and took charge of the game.

Mascherano? There just aren’t enough words to praise him, to describe what he means to the team, to explain the brilliant level of football that he is displaying. Masche is here, there and everywhere on the field, stopping attack after attack, taking the ball away and distributing it with skill. What would Argentina do without him?

Veron played better in the second half but I thought he stayed in the game too long, especially with a 3-0 lead.

Riquelme also looked better in the second half, controlling the ball, accurate with his passing, and was more effective leading the attack.

Not a great game by Tevez but he was a threat out on the wings, played hard and never gave up.

The backline had its first real test of the Copa and did well overall, especially Milito.


On to another Copa America Final.

Another Clásico against Brasil.

Argentina vs Peru – Game Commentary

July 8, 2007


No score.

The team’s controlling the ball and for the most part circulating it well but it’ s not able to finish on goal because it’s crashing head on with Peru’s defensive wall. The team is creating some good scoring chances.

Messi has broken down Peru’s defense with his usual electrifying diagonal runs and great dribbling skills but he still needs someone to link up with to be more effective, he’s alone and can not do it all by himself.

Veron’s played horribly so far, giving the ball away too often and not contributing in the playmaking.

Riquelme had more contact with the ball but has not been able to create much.

Zanetti has been very active, defending well and making good attacking runs.

Abbondanzieri has been a spectator so far.

Veron should come out of the game and Aimar should be brought in to help with the play buildup.

Argentina needs to score in order to bring Peru out of their defensive wall and open the game up.



The goal finally came and the talent imposed itself.

A great second half by the team doing the same things as in the first half but the first Argentina goal opened up the game and the individual talents came together to create the collective plays that were needed to finish off Peru.

Argentina was in control in the second half and in reality the whole game.

Tevez came in the second half and right away showed the impact he can have on the team. Only a few minutes in the game and he combined with Riquelme, making a great pass to him, setting Riquelme up, who went on to score a fantastic goal. Tevez also came close to scoring as well, a header well made hit the crossbar. Tevez also made a great run and pass to Riquelme on his second goal and if that wasn’t enough, he linked up with Messi, combining on a beautiful one-two pass that Tevez took down the left flank and made a fine pass into the box that led to Mascherano’s goal. Tevez’s mere presence alone changes the team, for the better, his talent and football is great and undeniable.

It’s too obvious and crystal clear by now.

Tevez has to be in the starting lineup!!!

Riquelme scored two goals (the first a great shot that zoomed right through the Peru GK) and made a brilliant, well timed pass into the box that led Messi in, and Messi touched it lightly between the GK’s legs for the goal.

When Riquelme is on like he was in the second half, there is no player in the Copa America that can equal him. That’s Argentina’s big advantage over every other team in the Copa.

Messi was a big factor again tonight. With the ball in his feet he is capable of doing anything he wants. Uncontrollable diagonal runs, dribbling around players, great passes, and finally, scoring goals.

Messi is another huge advantage that Argentina has over every other team in the Copa. There is no player like him in the Copa, in South America, in Europe, in the North Pole, anywhere, that can do the things that he does. Especially, controlling the ball with the speed and precision that he can. Another great game for Messi tonight.

Zanetti and Cambiasso were superb once again. They continue to play better and better with each game. Defending well and helping the team on the attack.

Mascherano was a lion in the middle, as usual, and he scored another goal !!!!!

A great win, the team scored 4 goals once again in a game.

On to the Semifinals !!!!!!!!!

Argentina vs Paraguay – Game Commentary

July 6, 2007


Not a whole lot to talk about so far. The team has 8 new players in the lineup.

And it shows.

Argentina is attacking and doing their best but Paraguay is defending well and defending with 2 lines in a bloc.

Some positives so far?

Zanetti is playing like the Zanetti we’re used to, alot of attacking runs, this time down the left flank and is actively participating in the play buildup.

Tevez and Palacio are constantly moving, fast, switching to both sides, and have posed a threat.

Cambiasso is having another good game and is participating more than ever on the attack, linking up with Aimar all game long.

Some negatives so far?

Aimar and Lucho have been inconsistent so far with the playmaking.

Gago has not done a good job distributing the ball, which is supposed to be his strength.

Diaz is struggling mightily against Cabanas who is moving past him with relative ease.

Paraguay seems content with defending and holding out for the tie, which strategically makes sense, with a tie they win the group.

Argentina has created the best chances (not many but chances nonetheless) in the game.

Another 45 minutes to go……….


Argentina 1 – 0 Paraguay

Basile brought Messi and Mascherano into the game around the 68th minute and……..Messi made a run down the left flank and went around two Paraguay players and sent a ball into the box which was cleared right to Mascherano, outside the box, who stopped it and proceeded to place the ball, low, straight to the right post….GOLAZO !!!!!!!!!

After the goal Paraguay remembered that there was a game that had to be played and they attempted to attack but to no avail.

The player of the game?

Zanetti, easily. Who was outstanding playing in the left back position (unheard of for him with the Argentina shirt), no less. Will he remain there and relegate Heinze to the bench?

Basile made two moves (Messi & Masche), at the right moment in the game, and it paid off big time, delivering the win to the team.

Now it’s on to the Quarterfinals on Sunday against Peru…….

Argentina vs Colombia – Game Commentary

July 3, 2007

Another win, another disappointing performance.

That is quickly becoming the theme of the Copa America.

Watching Riquelme is really frustrating and aggravating. For most of the game he gave the ball away, over and over and over and was not able to lead the team, not able to be the playmaker he is supposed to be. And he then scores a fantastic goal (free kick). Tonight was the typical Riquelme performance with the Argentina shirt. Basile will not take him out of the lineup no matter what.

Veron did not play well, he had alot less contact with the ball but did help out defensively, more than usual but if that’s what Veron was able to do more effectively than anything else…. What does that say?

Mascherano was superb once again and Cambiasso had a really good game, alot more active with the ball and holding his ground on the left side of the midfield.

Messi was once again alone on the right side and not able to find someone to link up with but he was all over the field, played hard, and even gave a good effort on defense.

And speaking of defense…….the backline fell asleep, once again, on a set play. How could the Colombian player be so alone, in front of Abbondanzieri? This can not continue to happen.

In the second half, the team kicked the ball around, back and forth, in and out, in every way, but did not threaten the Colombian GK. A significant part of the game was spent or should I say wasted, doing that.

And the result?

The team made things complicated for itself, all of its own doing, for no reason. And spent the last 15 minutes hanging on for the win.

Argentina had in front of them a Colombia team without heart, without personality, a team that conceded possession of the ball, a Colombia team that had given up and refused to put up a fight. And Argentina did not finish them off.

Basile fell asleep at the wheel, Veron and Messi were clearly worn out and Basile waited too long too make the substitutions that were needed to bring the team back to life and to secure the win.

Argentina scores 4 goals again and wins but the feeling that is left after the game is one of frustration and disappointment with the overall football display, the slow pace in the second half and the lack of conviction shown by the team in finishing off an opponent that came out in the second half with a defeated attitude and was unwilling to do anything to change the result and course of the game.

Oh well, on to the Quarterfinals.

More tomorrow…..

More on Argentina-USA

June 30, 2007

The first game and first win out of the way. The game last night left much to talk about.

A weak football display. The team won 4-1 not because of what it was able to do throughout the 90 minutes but thanks to a couple of inspired moments by some gifted players who like the whole team, can and must do better.

It might be a rushed judgment after only one game but I still think that the Veron/Riquelme playmaker tandem is not going to work. I thought it was clear to see that with Veron on the field Riquelme struggled to find the ball, struggled with his positioning on the field, struggled to set his own pace, and struggled with the most important part: distributing the ball and imposing his football. With Veron controlling the ball, Riquelme is taken out of his game and can not give the team what he is capable of giving.

It has to be either Veron and Riquelme as playmaker and neither played well enough against USA for a case to be made for either one.

The GK and the backline were not seriously tested by the USA so it’s not possible to talk in depth about their performance.

Crespo continues to score goals when he is needed to and Messi began to play better once he moved to the left side and started to link up with Aimar. That was part of the problem in the first half, he was too isolated and even when he moved around to find a teammate to combine with, there was none.

However, there is no denying what an extraordinary player he is, he was not having a good game but a couple of inspired moments by him and GAME OVER. The best is yet to come from Messi and that is alot to look forward to.

I think that the most pressing issue at hand with the team is the midfield and the inclusion of Tevez in the lineup. Basile should reconfigure the team but will he? Aimar confirmed on the field what he has been showing in the practices. Aimar brought some much need explosion and gave clarity in the midst of all the confusion and he showed once again that he can form an ideal partnership with Messi.

Tevez came off the bench within minutes to score a fantastic goal and make it well known that he in great form and ready to go.

Where should the changes be made?

A change to look like this:





or a change like this:






There is very little time left before the next opponent, Colombia, but enough time to make some necessary changes.

Argentina vs USA – Game Commentary

June 29, 2007


After an electrifying start with Messi, Veron and Riquelme moving close to each other, making short passes back and forth, opening things up, playing our game, our football, and then the USA got a penalty that they converted and the team fell flat.

Veron dropped deep to take control of the ball but was not effective with his passing and gave the ball away too many times. Riquelme moved around alot but did not have as much contact with the ball as he’s used to and when that happens he is not a factor and when he did have the ball he did very little, also ineffective with his passing and at other times making passes that did not help the play buildup.

At least in the first half, with both in the lineup, the team does not have a playmaker, with both in the lineup there is more confusion and errors than football.

The team controlled possession of the ball for the most part but did absolutely nothing with it.

Heinze needs to stay back because his attacking runs do not lead to anything.

A terrible first half for Argentina. It can’t get any worse. I really hope not.



A great result, obviously, but with very little football.

The team did not play well. Veron and Riquelme can not be in the lineup together. It’s either one or the other. Veron improved somewhat in the second half, playing mostly from a deep position and improving with his passing, connecting more consistently with long passes on the ground and in the air, his trademark. It wasn’t a great performance by him though, not even close. Riquelme was not a factor most of the game, though he did make a fine pass (the only one all game) on Tevez’s goal. If Riquelme does not control the ball, he becomes a ghost on the field.

Messi improved in the second half when he moved to the left side and showed why he has to be in the lineup: at any moment, in a second, he can change a game, he can win a game for the team. That said, he will have to play much better in the upcoming games.

Crespo scored 2 goals and showed alot of mobility, even playing out wide at times. Excellent performance.

Mascherano was the teams best player, a great game by him, though not seriously tested, he was superb with his marking.

Tevez came in and immediately scored a fantastic goal, making a great run along with a great finish. Tevez can’t stay on the bench. Will Basile make room for him in the lineup?

Aimar scored a brilliant goal but he needs to play closer to the forwards not as close to the midfield to be effective.

The backline was not tested too much.

The team controlled possession of the ball and played along to its own rhythm but showed very little in the way of football, despite the result.

Tonight, all it took was a few great individual plays that led to the goals. Argentina will have to do alot more than that against the tougher opponents that are coming next.

Lastly, Basile needs to make a change in the lineup. Either Veron or Riquelme will have to go to the bench and Tevez has to fit in somehow, he has to be in the starting eleven.

It is late.

To be continued tomorrow……………