By Mariano Tomás De Micheli
Argentina comfortably defeated Greece by two goals to nothing and became the first team to manage 3 wins in the group stage. The rival of Diego Maradona in the second round will be Mexico, a team that also proposes an attacking and striking football. This clash of American teams to take turns at the same stage in Germany 2006, where the victory went to Argentina in overtime, thanks to a goal from Maximiliano Rodriguez.
Photo from fOTOGLIF
The defense of the Greeks set up played amazingly during most of the match. Messi and his teammates were very patient; it proved effective when from one corner, Argentina scored its first goal, showing their aerial power. Palermo scored the second goal, after Lionel Messi had left behind several Greek players. Boca’s striker returned to cover all media, who recognised the player’s insistence to score. Another player who demonstrated impressive conditions was Javier Pastore, player of Palermo in Italy. Besides for Veron, Pastore may be the ideal partner for Messi, because both have an awesome talent and incredible speed.
Against Mexico, Argentina will play with the same player that defeated Nigeria and South Korea. After giving them a rest, Mascherano and Higuain will return to the team. Liverpool’s midfielder has a yellow card, so he must behave himself if he wants to play the quarterfinals. If they beat Mexico, the Argentineans will face the winner of the match Germany – England. If advancing to the quarterfinals, Argentina will play a country they have already played in crucial circumstances: they played England in 1986, a match we all remember because Maradona’s two goals and they also played Germany during that World Cup (they won the final match to them). Another important match between these two countries took place during the last World Cup, a game Germany won in the penalty shoot-out.
Argentina’s biggest weapon is very well-known: Lionel Messi. By far the best player in the World, he is still no able to score. Despite this, his level has remained as superb as ever. The Argentinean fans are desperate because of this. On the contrary, they believe Messi’s goals will come during the final rounds. Gonzalo Higuain will play along Messi and Tevez, and he will have the job to put pressure on Mexican defenders to make any mistake he can turn into a goal.
Argentina has its eyes on Mexico’s best players: Giovanni Dos Santos and Javier Hernandez, two young men capable of troubling any defense with their speed. Precisely, the defence is the worst part of the Argentinean team, which suffers a slow Demichelis, Jonas Gutierrez who can’t play in any defensive position. Walter Samuel, who overcame an injury, will return in defense. On the Mexico side, it is unknown who will be the sole forward against Argentina because, although the coach has plenty confidence in Guillermo Franco, but the fans want ‘‘Chicharito’’ Hernandez to play and the Manchester United’s new player has already showed his talent scoring against France.
In the midfield, the only issue Maradona faces, is whether Juan Sebastian Veron or Maximiliano Rodriguez are joining Javier Mascherano and Angel Di Maria. If Veron plays, the team wins precision and if Rodriguez plays the team will be more balanced tactically speaking and Liverpool’s midfielder would help Jonas Gutierrez.
The squad is confident and the fans excited, because so far no team has proved to be as strong as Argentina. Maradona said that no one had played nearly as well as Lionel Messi. Leo. Although he has not scored yet, he says that as long the team wins, it does not matter who scores the winning goal. Against Mexico, Messi might play better than ever. The Mexicans do not have a player capable of following him around the pitch as the Greeks have, and the difference in speed between Messi and Aguirre’s players is abysmal, so everyone expects Argentina to win the game and advance to the next round, where the team will face either Germany or England, its first true challenge.