Ho ho, me so funny. It’s the last day of the Second Round of this year’s World Cup, so it’s time to take another look at Argentina and see if they’re capable of going all the way this year. A comfortable draw certainly helps their case, but today’s match against Switzerland isn’t quite a foregone conclusion. The Swiss recovered from a sound beating at the hands of France get through to this stage of the competition, after all. Anyway, we’ll be back shortly.
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Unspeakable (and almost untypeable) drama at the end…and the emergence of some supreme anti-Argentine bias from the com-box.
Benaglio proved a better strike option than most everyone on either side. And Switzerland were half a post away.
Shaqiri dived for the last-ditch free-kick. “Like the Argentinians never do that” says Lawrenson, irrelevantly, as the defenders, rightly, complain. “I’d like to see that at real speed,” he adds, as slo-mo shows the dive. Did he think it was a foul in real time but NOT in slo-mo?
Argentina must be knackered. Belgium’s quality and/or the USA’s energy will make for a close quarter-final.
A Belgium win tonight and all the group winners will have made the quarters. Making the second round irrelevant. Something for FIFA to ponder, but they won’t.
Meanwhile, Di Maria is still getting a BBC booting. That’s the Di Maria that WON…THE…GAME. Grrr…
Right, I’ll shut up and let some real writers evoke some fun from the USA tonight. TTFN.
Shaqiri dives. Last ditch free-kick. Is this the Shaqiri moment?
Oh my blimey O’Reilly giddy days. Dzemaili hits the post from five yards and the rebound hits him.
Switzerland not beaten yet, despite the current BBC narrative.
Can you BE “distinctly average”? For another time. This IS the Di Maria moment. Its all about Messi again of course, cos its a good pass. But Di Maria’s finish is class.
All that said, Argentina have had as many shots as a quite-impressive Germany did last night. But, well, you know…
Argentina playing 4 up front. The “little magician” Paul Daniels/Lionel Messi and 3 Debbie Magees.
Di Maria even tries a little floater. Its come to this…
Is this the Di Maria moment? Pearce doesn’t say as the Real Madrid man goes close.
If it goes to penalties, Switzerland will have, by quite a bit, the better keeper.
Messi looks ready to heave.
Switzerland have found an extra yard…no,.. make that five yards in the last few minutes of that first half, backed by thousands of ole-ing Brazilians. Now, if they can actually get the ball into the box…
Any chance that these two can both be knocked out and Belgium and USA play their game as the first quarter-final? Actually, that’s a bit harsh on Switzerland. A bit.
Mmmm… First thoughts are of a penalty shoot-out and Messi missing.
Right. So lets see what Di Maria can hit with his balls in the next half-hour.
Another one for the 200% art department? I shudder to think.
Yes you all heard it but: “The number of times he’s hit the frontman with his balls,” – Shearer on Di Maria.
Schar gets a headed chance from a free-kick – as predicted by Pearce with all the confidence of someone who’s seen two minutes into the future. Its over the bar though. And its the last chance. 0-0. And not such a good one. “Better” in the second half…in the predictable voice.
Hey! And a “stupid boy” for Rojo for a foul on the impressive Rodriguez. And Lawrenson is right. Make a note in the diary.
A massive “behave yourself” as Behrami is shoved unceremoniously to the floor. Its Messi, you see. Behrami must have dived. He didn’t.
Pearce is now commentating on what Messi is doing when someone else has the ball.
He also seems to think the second round has been a bit rubbish. That’s not fair, is it?
Messi produces a good save from Benaglio, who blocks the follow-up. Getting there…
Javier Zanetti, whose Inter number four shirt was ‘retired’ this week, could still get in this Argentine defence…and speed it up. “Old school” hack by Fernandes on Di Maria gets a yellow. Di Maria is normally a serial diver but hasn’t had to in this game. Sub striker Palacio gets a chance on a plate from the little magician (Paul Daniels) and drops the plate.
All Argentina. But Higuain and Di Maria are stinking the place out.
Pearce and Lawrenson berate the TV director for focusing on close-ups and Messi rather than “Higuain’s chance”…which barely went towards the goal.
I suspect Townsend would have given us a few “better”s in the last few minutes about Argentina. But they are still frustratingly not quite on it.
We now await a “lack of quality in the final third…”
And its official: 51 mins 45 secs: The game is “starting to stretch” – Lawrenson.
Pearce thinks Xhaka should be off for a second yellow after what replays reveal to be an innocuous tackle on “the little magician,” as Pearce has called Messi THREE times now.
Jason Muhammed, auditioning for the next series of “An Idiot Abroad.” I think he’s got the job. Poor guy. He deserves better. Wonder if he’s seen any football? Better than Shearer platituding his way through the townships four years ago, though.
Blimey, the BBC really don’t know how to fill this half time.
“We’re struggling if that’s all we’ve got to show of Messi”, Shearer and Hansen both say, long before their Messi montage ends. Edited the way it was, it makes Messi look a bit of a threat. I’d be interested in an equivalent Shaqiri montage and how much longer it would be. Nonetheless, Switzerland have been the better side and should be ahead. ‘Swiss Ramble’ on Drmic’s floof: “For crying out loud.” Quite.
Nil-nil. Pearce thought we’d have a flood of goals, apparently. Not the worst game. But getting a BBC booting seemingly on the basis of Argentina’s laboriousness. Switzerland have been really good, though, as Shearer – at last – notes.
Switzerland have been really well drilled here so far. Definitely having the better chances and Xherdan Shaqiri is patiently waiting for an opportunity to break.
Messi and Di Maria play a, what, a one-four? Di Maria’s shot is weak, though.
Drmic should absolutely have scored, there. Goodness knows what Romero was thinking, but his positioning was about as bad a goalkeeper’s could be whilst being in the general area of the goal.
Replays show that Xhaka’s earlier chance was a damn fine one. “Put your foot through it, Xhaka,” tweets an exasperated Swiss Ramble. But its not as good a chance as Drmic has just weakly chipped into Romero’s hands. Dear me. A dink when he should have “hit it with his laces.” In fact, if he hit it like he’d ACTUALLY just used his laces…
This stadium reminds me a little of the Velodrome in Marseille, where Argentina lost to the Netherlands in 1998. Not very potent, as omens go.
I agree. Rojo is just not on his game.
Meanwhile, Pearce slips in a “Liver Birds” reference while Shaqiri leads the Argentine defence a merry dance. Credit where its due to the BBC shoutyman there.
Yet again, Argentina don’t look terribly impressive, a certain person notwithstanding.
Higuain heads over a Messi free-kick, with both cited as “top scorer in qualifying” by Pearce – and he didn’t mean jointly.
Meanwhile, latest replay of a corner being given away re-affirms that technology can be used to make such decisions without holding up play. True in 2010 too.
And Switzerland’s Xhaka and Schar force two saves out of Romero. The game’s quite even and there are unconfirmed reports that its “getting stretched” – Garay misses a semi-sitter for Argentina from another corner
And there’s Pele – best known for his “best supporting actor” Oscar-nominated role in “Mike Bassett – England manager.” Well, if he wasn’t, he should have been.
The game’s lively but tight, BTW. And Messi’s on the move. Unlike most of the game against Iran.
The referee – a Mr Angel Di Maria – is having a lively start.
Lawrenson seems surprised that one of the Argentine fans is “dressed like the Pope.” Someone should tell him…it was in all the papers…
Here’s a thing that has annoyed me about the World Cup (and in the overall scheme of things it’s not a big deal) – I’ve seen a preponderance of rectangular Swiss flags over the last couple of weeks and, as any foo know, the Swiss flag is square.
Early hat-trick for the Swiss Messi/Andy Reid (Shaqiri). One dive, one foul, once fouled. Busy.
First two bars of Swiss national anthem = theme tune to “Open All Hours” (mentioned already, I’m sure). Which has now replaced Metallica’s “One” as the song in my head. Its been a difficult day.