Thursday, July 12, 2007

Is this the best Argentine side or just the prettiest?

AC usually handles the bulk of the action in South America, but I had to chime in today about Argentina's clinic last night in Venezuela against a previously dangerous Mexico side. Not only do I feel foolish for questioning Gabriel Heinze's drop in form since his horrific injury a year ago (the leftback toed in a Juan Roman Riquelme screwball of a free-kick past Mexican keeper Oswaldo Sanchez as the Mexicans went to sleep just before the half), but also foolish for dismissing Leo Messi as just another up-and-coming Argie.

Well, that's not entirely true; I'd have sold Theirry Henry several times over to get a guy like Messi at Arsenal. His touch, his movement, and the genius of him to chip the ball over Sanchez for the second goal of the match just shows you the maturity this kid has.

We all know Argentina are fielding the strongest side in the tournament, but there's an element of chemistry among the team that allowed them to dictate the match after their first goal. And, if you're a kid at home watching this match, or just one of those old geezers who like to harp on about "playing the game the right way", you have to give a lot of credit to Alfio Basile's side. Despite being mugged in the midfield for most of the match, the Argentines not only scored decisive goals in an eye-pleasing manner, but they effectively closed the game with 20 minutes remaining, just pinging it around like kids in an impromptu game on the street.

So we get the 10th final between the footballing powerhouses of Argentina and Brazil in 91 years of the South American championship. Despite Argentina's disappointments of the last two meetings, they've managed to win 8 of those 10 meetings. Now the Alibicelestes look poised to lift the trophy once again, and they've got Basile, the last guy to lead them to it. And, with the Selecao less than impressive, it should be Argentina's tournament.

Brazil face a battle to stop the elegant Argentines [Daily Mail]



linda said...

"And, with the Selecao less than impressive, it should be Argentina's tournament."

I certainly hope so, although it's Brazil, so it's hard to be entirely confident.

soccermad said...

Are we reaching a turning point in the Argentine side? I feel there an argument to be made that this squad, w/the possible exception of Ayala and Abbondonzieri due to age, should be the one that gives them the best chance in 2010 (now if they can just live up to the plaudits).