Tag: Argentina

World Cup 2010: Argentina 0-4 Germany

Some games need no introduction, and they fall into two camps. One camp is the poor games that are best left forgotten (which can only be known after the event). The other games are games like this one, where everything that can have been said in advance, has already been said (and, considering England’s history on and off the pitch with both nations, everything that doesn’t need to be said has probably been said by the tabloids). Games where all the previous encounters in the competition have either been classics (1958, 1986 and 2006) or notorious (such as 1966 and 1990). The game starts with a bang. Miroslav Klose puts in what could be described as a reducer on Javier Mascherano. It’s from behind, nowhere near the ball, and worse than either of the bookings he rightfully received against Serbia, but Ravshan Irmatov (the Uzbek referee now officiating his fourth game of the tournament) keeps his cards in his pockets. Seeing the lenience, Nicolas Otamendi lets Lukas Podolski know that he is there, but this second foul is more costly. Bastian Schweinsteiger floats in a beautiful free kick from the German left hand side, Thomas Muller nips in ahead of Otamendi and heads past Sergio Romero. We’re in the second minute, it’s already full of incident, and the deadlock is already broken. 1-0. Muller threads a through ball for...

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World Cup 2010: Argentina 3-1 Mexico

Even at these times of sport’s saturation of the television schedules, the endless search for a new hit sitcom goes on at apace. Yet again, instead of closely watching the game for tactical nuance or pointers for later performances, our crayon-chewing art specialist Dotmund has considered the possibility of the two – sport and sitcoms – not having to be mutually exclusive. In so doing, he has certainly proved something, although it is possibly in better taste not to consider what that might specifically be. Still, keep an eye out for new loveable characters and hilarious catchphrases that will be the talk of the office watercooler in the weeks to come.

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World Cup 2010: Argentina 2-0 Greece

No-one has done it single-handedly before. And whatever Lionel Messi achieves during the rest of his football career, nothing will surpass his transformation of Argentina – and one managed by “dirty” Diego to boot – into the good guys in the English media. One unfortunate side-effect of this astonishing volte face is that there’s only one team around when Argentina play – Maradona’s tactical deficiencies serve as the opposition. And on the BBC, “is it a case of how many?” is a rhetorical question about Argentina v. Greece, even though it’s virtually an Argentine second-string. Greece don’t even get a mention until Hansen announces that after they played Nigeria they were declared “officially” useless. And this was a game Greece won. The suggestion was made during Argentina/South Korea that somebody might try to man-mark Messi. But that game was live on ITV, and Shearer and Hansen obviously weren’t watching, while new boy on the panel Harry Redknapp didn’t even know what country he was in – referring to last year’s South African Confederations Cup as being played “out there.” And to be fair, it is six whole years since Greece employed the tactics they use tonight to… WIN… THE…EUROPEAN… CHAMPIONSHIPS… “They’ve killed the game,” notes Hansen, clearly not a fan of defending when it’s done against the lovely Lionel (another landmark achievement). The panel tell us at half-time that...

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World Cup 2010: Argentina 4-1 South Korea

“There’s enough material here for an entire conference,” said the psychiatrist in the Fawlty Towers episode entitled, funnily enough, ‘The Psychiatrist.’ Argentine coach Diego Armando Maradona, we are told, is a modern day Basil Fawlty. A six-one loss to Bolivia, selected 107 players, scraping through to the finals, picking his 36-year-old mate who hadn’t played for Argentina this century, not picking Esteban Cambiasso…or any full-backs, or getting the best out of Lionel Messi. That’s been the narrative. The reality was high altitude in Bolivia, a mix of Argentine A & B teams, “scraping” through by the considerable feat of winning in Uruguay, his 36-year-old mate, Martin Palermo getting the winner against Peru which set up the chance in Uruguay. And he’s not the first national coach not to get the “best” out of Messi (although Messi’s display against Nigeria looked pretty “best” to me). The lack of Cambiasso and full-backs I’ll let you have. But is Maradona as mad as they say, or does it all stem back to one handball incident on 22nd June 1986? His last press conference before this South Korea game was reportedly gave credence to his “mad as they say” theory. But, in truth, the reality was little more than the usual pro-Argentina, anti-Pele rhetoric with a little added Platini, both in response to criticisms they made of him. There was some stuff about...

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World Cup 2010: Argentina 1-0 Nigeria

Diego Armando Maradona’s last World Cup game as a player, was in 1994. Against Nigeria. So, it was fitting that his first World Cup game as a manager was against the same opponents. Maradona’s playing career was controversial, but at his peak he was capable of raising above average teams to great heights, both at club level with Napoli (both their Serie A titles came with Diego at the heart) and of course at national level (Burruchaga apart, most of Argentina’s 1986 side was ordinary, or past their best).

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