By Mariano De Micheli
Diego Maradona’s team advanced to the quarterfinals after defeating Mexico 3-1. In the next round, Argentina will face Germany, the very same country that eliminated them from the 2006 World Cup.
The South Americans demonstrated once more that they are a tough team and they will never give up.
Mexico started the match determined to score first ad every ball was played to ‘‘Chicharito’’ Hernandez and Giovani Dos Santos. The Argentineans felt the absence of Juan Sebastian Veron and lost the ball quickly. Once again, Lionel Messi had to appear. The first two shots were from those of Aguirre, who played better during the first 30 minutes. Argentina took advantage thanks to a linesman’s huge mistake: he did not see a foul from Tevez on the Mexican goalkeeper, and then missed a very clear off-side from Manchester City’s forward. Besides the offside, Tevez deserved the goal because he was so far the best of his team and Messi was told to be responsible of leading Argentina to victory.
The first goal was decisive. Mexico was disorientated and Higuain scored the second goal after Osorio missed the ball. With the difference in their favor Argentina closed the first time with composure.
During the second half, Argentina lost the possession of the ball and the Mexicans, dreading the tie, attacked constantly. But they lost every hope they had after Carlos Tévez scored one of the best goals so far.
After that, Mexico lost patience and started fouling the Argentineans. Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez scored the only goal for the Mexicans, who departed from South Africa without being able to advance to the second round, something their had set as their primary objective.
Photo from fOTOGLIF
One of the best things Argentina had was the defense. Otamendi, Burdisso and Heinze completed a perfect game, while Demichelis is still the weakest point of the team. In fact, it was the Bayern Munich player who missed Hernandez and allowed him to score.
Thinking about the quarterfinals, Maradona will change the line-up, because the Germans have one of the toughest midfields of the world. Mascherano runs too much and the other midfielders do not and that’s something Argentina cannot afford against a team like Germany. Veron might be one of the substitutions made by the coach, to give Messi space so he can play as he had done during the Group Stage.
The speed and offensive power the team has allowed the Argentineans fans to be relieved because the team showed that when their strikers are shining, there’s very little the rivals can do to stop them.
A very important battle will take place between Mascherano – Maxi Rodriguez – Di María against Podolski – Muller – Ozil and Schweinsteiger because the Germans have been playing amazingly during the World Cup.
Ozil is a player to be taken into account. The Werder Bremen’s midfielder has assisted Klose and his talent is undeniable.
Messi’s presence is very reassuring to the Argentineans, who are not disappointed because his lack of scoring, but excited because they think his goals will come against Germany.
With the illusion of a country on their backs, Argentina reached the top eight of the planet, but that does not comfort this squad full of football stars. As Tevez said in the previous World Cup, the main goal is to reach the final. Anything less than that will be taken as a failure from the National Team coached by Maradona, who constantly harangues his players, in an attempt to make them feel what he felt during the Mexico 86’ World Cup, a Cup that proclaimed him as the God of football.