U.S.A. 0 – 0 Argentina

A capacity crowd at Giants Stadium in New York were treated to an utterly boring scoreless draw between the United States and Argentina on Sunday night which proved, if nothing else, that there’s only so much managers can learn from friendlies. Argentina didn’t look interested in spite of playing for fifteen of the last twenty minutes with a man more after Pablo Mastroeni was sent off for the States against the country of his birth, and the only statistic they offered was Javier Mascherano’s own red card, with five minutes left, for a frankly horrible challenge in the midfield.

On the plus side, the three-man backline of Gabriel Heinze, Martín Demichelis and Gonzalo Rodríguez (not, as I reported in the ‘lineup’ post, Nicolás Burdisso) looked stronger and more certain than against Mexico, and Mascherano worked well with Fernando Gago in the middle. The side saw fewer changes than expected from Basile – he only brought in Heinze (for Fabricio Coloccini), Rodríguez (for Burdisso) and Pablo Zabaleta (for Javier Zanetti) from those who were left on the bench against Mexico. The attacking trident of Messi, Agüero and Cruz started promisingly but lost interest in the second half, and the hosts never looked capable of breaking down their guests’ ranks.

In all, a dull but not entirely unsatisfying lesson for Basile in the warmup to next week’s World Cup qualifiers against Ecuador and Brazil.  The first of those, against Ecuador, will come on Sunday, whilst the following Wednesday sees the first meeting with Brazil since last year’s Copa América final.


13 thoughts on “U.S.A. 0 – 0 Argentina

  1. It wasn’t that boring. There were plenty of chances, plenty of action and some controversy thrown in as well. For nil-nil, that was pretty entertaining.

  2. I have to agree. Sam, you are a hard man to please! Several very good saves from Tim Howard, and a couple of near misses for the US at the other end. It certainly wasn’t a feast of football like the Argentina-Mexico game was, of course, but not bad for 0-0.

  3. OK, so some of it may have been ‘fatigue’… that was my eighth football match of the weekend and the fourth one I watched on Sunday (both Euro 2008 games, River – Olimpo, and then this one). But by and large it wasn’t a performance that’ll teach Basile an awful lot, other than that the 3-4-1-2 is a viable alternative to the present system… which, frankly, we learned against Mexico…

  4. Agree with Sam. It was as boring as hell.

    I’m puzzled by Basile’s approach to these friendly tours in which he doesn’t test as many players as he should, he plays almost identical lineups and makes no substitution during half time.

    Like if it was such a big deal to get a result.

    And if it is, then he clearly failed yesterday.

    I’m not gutted for the result, but I think I have had enough of Julio Cruz playing for Argentina. He could be doing a great job for Inter, but he is not cut out for international football. Fair play on Tim Howard, an excellent keeper that I had for most of my fantasy premier league season. But I think the key in those one-on-ones was Cruz’s inability to put it past the keeper.

  5. Agreed here as well. Pretty boring. I watched from a bar in the West Village section of New York City. I made the mistake of telling some locals I had spent most of the past 2.5 years in Argentina. I could barely watch the match for answering a bunch of dumbass yankee questions. I don’t think I missed much. I think Coco ought to deep six Cruz and explore other options for the #9. In addition to everything else, Cruz rarely looks like he is having any fun. Gago played well and Burdisso was better than I have seen him in a while. Aguero was a non stop beast.

    The USA coach had some brief, but very complimentary comments to make to the press about Messi. Of course, that is to be expected, but still nice. What do we think about Messi’s future has an (the) enganche ?

  6. Johnny, too bad I didn’t know you were in my city, and my neighborhood! Were you watching at The Red Lion? We could have watched the River game together! :)

  7. Oh, and – I don’t think Messi is an enganche. He’s not a passer, he’s a dribbler, and until he loses that electric pace and dribbling ability, he should be trying to make chances for himself, not others. Just my opinion of course.

    I am STILL baffled by the regular inclusion of Heinze.

  8. Justin-I was in NYC just 2 nights. Now I’m in Montreal for a few months. I watched the match in some kiddie bar.:)

  9. I was there! 13th row. Felt like a kid in a candy shop. Wore neutral colors as I am a native-US but adopted ARG. Kind of like Carlitos returning to West Ham.

    The game was awesome! But, that’s because I saw many of my favorite Argentine players. I thought Gago played the best as he made few mistakes and ran the show. Made plenty of fine passes and plenty of challenges. I was hoping Aguero and Messi would continue the form seen vs. Mexico but they (+ Cruz) failed to score.

    With 10 minutes left, it rained like crazy. None fo the 78,000 were leaving! Got soaked and kept smiling. Excellent experience.

  10. I was there, too – first row, right at the halfway point. Happy as hell to be there – my very first chance to see the Argentine national team play in person. Nothing can take away from that! That being said, despite my overwhelming euphoria, I must admit that one of my overall impressions of Argentina was that they were relatively listless (not that I was any less thrilled, and not to discount individual and group surges of energy, etc.) – and, after all, it was about a gazillion degrees out, they’d had to experience their flight’s emergency landing due to violent weather on the way to New Jersey, and the match was a friendly one, of course.

    Anyway, although I would’ve loved to see Argentina score goal after goal, I still had a great time. It was exciting to see the guys play in such close proximity to me and to be surrounded by so many passionate Argentina fans (errr … for the most part, anyway. My immediate neighbor on the left was a very ardent but very intoxicated supporter who continuously prodded my shoulder roughly, and, eyes fixed on the big TV screen, elatedly exclaimed, “Alli estamos nostotros [There we are]!” over and over again. After the third or fourth time, I stopped bothering to hesitantly point out that, no, the people on the screen were NOT us, but actually the players, and, if in doubt, one could tell the difference because the guys on the screen were on the pitch and kicking the ball, etc., while WE, ourselves, were in the stands. I felt like the Grinch – so much so, in fact, that I hoped against hope that Burdisso would give in to my hopeful neighbor’s bellowed pleas and toss him his jersey, so that the poor guy wouldn’t be disappointed on TWO counts. Also, while waiting in line to enter the stadium, the guy behind me kept nudging me, giving me the thumbs up, and saying approvingly, “Basistua!” [I was wearing my Batistuta jersey.] Hey, all part of the fun! LOL.)

    Zanetti and Messi got the hugest cheers when their names were called – no surprise, there. But I was a bit surprised that Kun Aguero didn’t get as much acclaim as I expected … and, correspondingly – my one REAL disappointment of the night – put in what I considered to be an uncharacteristically dull performance, sort of shuffling and ineffective. Oh, well. I loved seeing Gago in fine fettle, and, in spite of myself, Mascherano being involved in yet another contretemps. Cruz was energetic, and – on kind of a tangential note – made me laugh when, after a failed attempt at scoring attempt, he, from his great height, patted the diminutive Messi on the head, as if his teammate were a puppy or something. Messi seems to bring out the big brother/protectiveness thing in everybody!

    Well, anyway, even though the match wasn’t the all-time most thrilling, and even though I have to pay my boyfriend back the difference in cost between HIS inexpensive seat, and MY top-of-the-line one, because he thinks I’m “barking mad” and isn’t at all fond of Argentina (he’s British and was in the Navy during the war over the Malvinas), I had a great time, and I’ll never forget it.

    I DID take pictures, which I will send to Sam when my roommate puts them into my computer, but I’m afraid they aren’t very good. I don’t know if it’s something they practice in training, but the Argentines are bafflingly consistent when it comes to turning their backs to you just as you snap the picture, and – even worse – deteriorate into mystifying blurriness when the subject of most attempted action shots. :( Go figure.

    Love – Lex

  11. Oh, and as seen recently in Barcelona matches, once Messi is pulled, his team’s energy and level of play noticeably suffers. Now, I’m a huge Messi fan, and I love seeing him shine, but I get frustrated by this Messidependencia thing. Not only is it detrimental to the rest of the squad, but it’s a crazy amount of pressure on Leo. Yeah, I love to see how the fans adore him, his outstanding brilliance, his happy celebrations when he scores, etc., but he’s just a kid, after all, and seems to be such an intense personality; you rarely see him smile, and he’s always biting his nails or fidgeting with his hair. Since his injuries and all the trouble at Barca, especially with Ronaldinho, he appears so unhappy. I think there’s too much weight on his shoulders.

    Just my opinion! :) Not that anyone asked … lol.

  12. I was also at the game and had a blast – i was in the first row of the upper deck and was near the goal where all the ARG fans were.

    The crowd was into the game the whole time and the final 10 minutes was such fun with the rain and both USA and ARG fans cheering on until the final whistle.

    ARG with their full squad would smoke USA anyday of the week. The purpose for Argentina was more to give other players more playing time and rest the main stars. USA was playing to win, which is why the score was 0-0.

    I took some great pics and video from the players practicing all the way to the end of the game.

    I was bi-partisan as I wore my Diego Maradona Napoli Jerzey the first half and wore my newly purchased USA anthracite jersey the 2nd half. too bad both shirts were drenched by the end of the night!!

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