Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Argentina wakes up

Argentina's national team had their backs against the wall against Costa Rica in a match that they had to win if they were not to be the first host-nation ever to be eliminated in the first round of the Copa América. Costa Rica, although playing with a youth side, had in previous matches proved well-organised and disciplined, while Argentina had looked like a mess.
But there was really never any doubt about the result after Argentina went ahead 1-0 at the end of the first half with a goal by Kun Agüero. Until then, Argentina had also dominated against a solid Costa Rican defense, who had nevertheless been lucky in some situations.
In the second half Costa Rica seemed to fall apart, and after Agüero made it 2-0 it turned into a walkover for Argentina, who completely dominated, and 3-0 was not one goal too little for the hosts, who now take the second spot in the group behind Colombia.
Argentina's coach Sergio Batista had made three important changes to the starting lineup: Carlos Téves, Esteban Cambiasso and Ezequiel Lavezzi were replaced by Kun Agüero, Ángel Di María and Gonzalo Higuaín (who nevertheless missed some huge chances!), and this obviously worked much better for the Argentinean side, who although facing a rather lame Costa Rican side, seems much stronger with this lineup. Lionel Messi, who has been criticised a lot seemed much more comfortable with Higuaín in front of him, and in particular with Agüero and Di María running deep (two of the goals came from from Messi passes).
Although I am very happy for Argentina, they still have to convince against stronger opposition in the coming quarterfinal. That said, it is a characteristic of great teams that they are best when they have their back against a wall, and Argentina today showed that!

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