Away in Caracas against a Venezuelan side who surprisingly won their first qualifier thanks to what some are calling the greatest free kick of all time, the selección may have been more concerned with getting the job done than with doing it in style, especially with so many of the players in for a long flight back to Europe today.
And so it proved, with Argentina not shining and at times trying to patience slightly, but winning comfortably courtesty of two goals from their two Barcelona players – Gaby Milito and Lionel Messi. There were some minus points – Carlos Tevez again ran a lot and put in a lot of effort but failed to find a finish, whilst Hernán Crespo’s back in Milan and Germán Denis again watched from the bench.
Another point the Argentine press have made today is the team’s lack of a left-sided midfielder once Esteban Cambiasso’s out of the equation. They might be overcooking the pessimism a little bit with that one – Lucho González, oddly left out of this squad, operates equally well on either side, and Cambiasso himself is hardly nearing retirement age just yet.
But the positives outweighed the negatives far more – Argentina have scored four goals in two games, conceded none, and have a maximum six points, sitting pretty at the top of the South American qualifying group and with only Uruguay who can overtake them (on goal difference, if they win) after tonight’s matches have been played.
Messi also scored his first goal in the qualifying campaign, so his star continues to maintain its already scarcely credible altitude.
Venezuela 0 – 2 Argentina
G. Milito: Venezuela 0 – 1 Argentina (15th min)
Messi: Venezuela 0 – 2 Argentina (42nd min)