Argentina and Colombia are two countries that I am so attached to that I can actually sing along on both national anthems. Today, both teams played in the second round of the Copa América in a match where the Argentinean home side was under enormous pressure after their debacle against Bolivia, while Colombia could play more comfortably after their opening 1-0 win over Costa Rica.
The game ended 0-0 and let me start by the more positive things: Colombia was excellent in everything except for the enormous chances that they missed. They should surely have won the match; although they came under some pressure towards the end of the match, their defense around AC Milan's veteran Mario Yepes and Atlético Madrid's Luis Perea was simply outstanding. At the same time, the best player of the match was undoubtfully FC Porto´s Freddy Guarín, who was eternally conquering balls and feeding the ever-dangerous Colombian strikers. If Colombia can play like this for the rest of the tournament, and adds goals to the formula, they are a very serious candidate for the title.
Not so an extremely poor Argentina who can actually be happy about the 0-0; they look like a team of superb individualists that just get together to become mediocre. The performance of some of the defenders was simply unacceptable, while one must ask whether Lionel Messi does indeed feels like playing on any other side that is not Catalonian; today he could not even kick a corner-kick properly, and ran more in the way than anything else. Of course, Lavezzi was at least as bad, while I continue to question whether Esteban Cambiasso should ever have been selected (he has never played a good match for Argentina, and today was no exception). The Argentinean players seemed nervous and frustrated as the match progressed, and it did not help that coach Sergio Batista's changes seemed more of desperation than of any tactical considerations.
The Argentinean fans in Santa Fé gave the Argentinean team a very hard time, and in the end were even chanting to get Diego back. If Argentina continues to play like this, they will not get much further in the tournament, and we will all be singing to bring El Diego back!