World Cup 2010 qualifying: Ecuador… 2 – 0 Argentina

Amazing. A second match at altitude (though nowhere near as high as La Paz this time, and against a much better team than Bolivia), and for the second time running Argentina lose, this time when they didn’t think they could afford to slip up at all. There really might not be any further room for error from here on in. Maybe for the next high-altitude qualifer, if he’s still in charge, Maradona should consider chemical help. He must still be in touch with a good coca supplier…

First things first, a 2-0 loss to this Ecuador side, whilst hardly what Argentina were hoping for, is a poor loss but not a humiliation, and certainly not on the same scale as the 6-1 in La Paz back on the 1st April. Argentina actually played pretty well in the first half, Lionel Messi impressing in his unexpected appearance (he finished the match without having picked up the booking that would have seen him suspended against Brazil). Messi put Carlos Tevez through for one great chance which saw the Kia Joorabchian / MSI forward (how else do I refer to him, at the moment?!) taken out by home goalkeeper Marcelo Elizaga.

Elizaga should have seen red for the challenge but only got a booking, and saved Tevez’s penalty. A little later, Messi got one-on-one with the ‘keeper but, going for a right-footed finish, midjudged and saw his shot go off target. The pitch was wet, and high up, but it was at least a proper football pitch, unlike the insulting excuse for a surface at El Monumental on Saturday, and Argentina were playing far better than they had against Colombia. At the break, Ecuador were fortunate to still be level.

The good showing continued in the second half, although one or two moments of nervousness did creep into the defence. Then, in the 71st minute, an unexpected pass out of defence caught Maxi Rodríguez on the back of his heel and the hosts pounced, midfielder Walter Ayoví sending a screamer into Mariano Andújar’s net from 25 yards out. Twelve minutes later substitute Pablo Palacios put the game to bed with a smart finish inside the box.

Maradona, hopefully, will be given time. He’s still learning and the performance was far from embarrassing. The fact remains that the scoreline still makes things very awkward for Argentina though. They’re fourth in the South American group,  just two points ahead of Ecuador – and if Uruguay win their match a little later tonight they’ll go level on points with Ecuador.

Argentina’s next fixture? The good news is it’s at home. What’s not so great is, it’s against Brazil. Maradona vs Dunga, World Cup-winning captain against World Cup-winning captain. And Argentina will be afforded absolutely no room for error.

World Cup 2010 South American qualifying group, Weds 10th June 2009: Ecuador 2 – 0 Argentina

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15 thoughts on “World Cup 2010 qualifying: Ecuador… 2 – 0 Argentina

  1. Gutless Wonders. This isn’t the Argentinian team I grew up knowing and hating.

    They make everyone look good north of Bolivia and Venezuela.

    Losers. They can’t win unless they use their patented scumbag tactics. They need to ditch his desire to be the new Brazil, because they have no ability to win with it.

    Absolutely disgusting.

    1. Scumbag? You think Kempes, Ardiles etc were scumbags?

      The current squad is hugely talented and capable of winning well, but not getting the direction it needs. It seems to be an affliction for big Argentine sides at the moment, Ischia and Gorosito are not big enough for Boca and River, and I don’t think Diego’s charisma and history are enough to get this side going.

      I think Bianchi might have qualified by now.

  2. Off topic-no comments yet on the massive retooling underway at Real Madrid ??!! What’s your take Sam ? No Ronaldo at Manchester United. Ripples ? Shockwaves ? Replacement(s) on the horizon ? Impact on Carlitos ?

    1. No comments on it here because no Argentines have been involved, Johnny! I’m hoping it means we (Manchester United) get to keep Carlitos of course – with the offer we’ve accepted today for CR7(TM) and the reports that Fergie will be allowed all or nearly all of it for transfers, the mystery of where the £25.5 million is going to come from is cleared up.

      I also doubt United’s board would allow Cristiano Ronaldo and Carlos Tevez to both leave in the same summer. That wouldn’t be a wise move in terms of appeasing the fans.

  3. Just looking at a different website which states Alexis Sanchez (formely of River Plate) is worth in the region of 15-20 million pounds. Is this correct?? How has he performed for Udinese?? When I saw him for River, aparts from a few flashes of brilliance, I thought he was way to lightweight for European football at this satge. I know hes not Argentine, Im just interested cause hes ex River.

    1. He’s doing very well, he had a bit of competition at Udinese but he’s had plenty of gametime and has scored goals, With Quagliarella’s departure he will have even more opportunities next season. He’s a serious talent and his career has been very well managed. Signed at 16 by Udinese then loaned back to Chile, then loaned to River making sure he was ready for the jump. On fire with Chile as well scored 2 against Bolivia, his workrate for a so called flair player is fantastic too. If you havn’t noticed I rate him very highly!

  4. what really kills my hope for the future is your comment on “Maradona, hopefully, will be given time. He’s still learning”… what? The Seleccion is not the place to LEARN!!! you do that on a “normal” team, either small or big, in Argentina or in any other country, but not on the national team FOR GOD SAKE!!!
    Sorry, just got carried away :(

    I think I said in this space already, I didn’t think Maradona was the right selection, I still don’t think it is… and your comment just reflect my worries.

  5. I hate these results. La Seleccion is my favorite team in all sports.

    However, there are so many great, dedicated and brave fulbolistas all over the world these days. So, these results are not a great surprise to me.

    Argentina will have to learn how to compete in this new reality and with a national team of players playing all over the world. It will be very hard to compete going forward. And, Argentina can no longer count on results without raising their level to a new place they’ve never been. Imagine that.

    As for 2010, I am beginning to give up. I cannot see this team’s nature coming through and qualifying.

    If we don’t qualify for 2010, I expect a new breed of fighters – whether they are on the team now or not – to emerge and take us to the Finals in 2014. In other words, I think we can raise our leve!

    I hope I’m still alive to see it.

    1. ‘Raising their level’, Chris… I like it.

      I think suggesting they’ll actually fail to qualify is a bit much. It’s still in entirely their own hands, even a loss to Brazil (and let’s not forget that even when they’ve been useless in decades past, Argentina don’t lose home qualifiers) would leave 5th place at least in their hands, and that brings a playoff against the 4th team from CONCACAF (who might admittedly, the way they’re going, be Mexico).

      1. The Argentina v Mexico match in the 2006 finals was one of the most enjoyable and technically accomplished matches I’ve seen this decade.

        To think that this might be a ‘play-off’ is sad.

        And if a loss to Brazil is followed by a draw or loss in Paraguay, I think it’s going to be more than ability that decides the group.
        I downloaded the Uruguay-Brazil match off Rojadirecta, and thought Uruguay played very well indeed. They were just unlucky in front of goal (unlucky that Abreu is Uruguyan, ha ha) and Brazil were playing like champions for spells, and would have beaten any side. But a similar performance from Uruguay against Argentina and it really would be up for grabs. Nerves might kick in and Argentina collapse :-(

  6. I agree with Gabriel. Diego *needs* to get four points from the two September games, but these are against Brazil and paraguay, immensely difficult. I think if he doesn’t do it, he will leave anyway, to salvage his pride and not go down as the coach in charge when Argentina failed to qualify. I half expect Bilardo to take the side through the final two games against Peru and Uruguay to try and salvage something. It would be a retrograde step, but at least he has the experience and know-how and might get out of a difficult situation.

    I don’t agree with the first comment. I don’t want Argentina to go back to 1990… though to be fair, *all* football was horrible in 1990, all the teams had a negative attitude, just look how far Ireland got with horrible play, and the hugely talented Dutch side’s craven attitude in ‘fixing’ a draw against them.

    Dreadful days, instead I’d love to go back to the summer of 2006 and just make Pekerman a little bolder in the quarter-final against Germany that was there to be won. But it just isn’t happening for Diego, and I’m sorry but I don’t expect it to do so against Brazil and Paraguay, particularly if Verón is anywhere near that squad.

    I predicted that Argentina might not qualify after the Bolivia result, and it looks extremely doubtful at the moment, with the fixtures you have left. It would be a massive blow to the status of the competition, to have a squad that is potential winners, and capable of playing magical football under the right guidance, staying at home. I felt the same way about the Dutch after they were done for in 2001.

    I’m half inclined to think Diego would look better if he held his hands up and walked away now, before the two most important qualifying matches Argentina have played since 1993. Do Argentinian fans really have any confidence that he can outfox Dunga and get that essential win?

  7. Jason Vorhees is obviously an idiot. But – he has a point. Argentina have had a certain killer instinct in the past, even at low ebbs in form. A “Thou shalt not pass” attitude, often expressed through brutality and a willingness to, er, bend the rules. Not this team, which seems something of a soft touch.

    Maradona is not a coach. He has no philosophy of football, as many great coaches do. Nor does he have the guile and experience to change a match through substitutions and tactical adjustments. He reminds me – and it pains me to say it – of Kevin Keegan when he was in charge of England. Lots of passion, respected by the players, but not really up to the job.

    You can say he beat France, Colombia etc. But with the players at his disposal (the players that aren’t even in his squads would be regulars for any other South American Nation besides Brazil – D’allessandro, Aimar, Zarate, Cambiasso, Higuain, even Saviola) beating anyone is a possibility, so I give him little credit for his few successes, just as I don’t really blame him for his failures. He never should have gotten the job in the first place. I agree with Matthew that he’ll quit if the Brazil and Paraguay games don’t go his way. Maybe as soon as the Brazil game if its a defeat.

  8. Maradona was summed up perfectly at Barcelona: All heart and no head. Its obvious he doesnt know what hes doing and never should have got the job in the first place. Its not his fault hes in charge but the Argentine national team is not the place to learn on a trial and error basis. I dont think hell quit though

  9. People tend to forget that the position we are in is not entirely Maradona’s fault. He only took over four matches ago. The other 10 matches we were under Basile.

    We won the first three and then won only one in the following seven (at home 2-1 over Uruguay).

    4 wins in 10 matches for Basile. Defeats at Chile and Colombia and disappointing draws vs. Ecuador and Paraguay at home. Another disappointing draw (in Belo Horizonte vs. Brazil, when we should have won it) and costly points dropped in Peru (1-1 draw) .

    Say what you might, but both of Diego’s defeats came under unusual conditions (altitude), where more accomplished managers than him (Passarella, Pekerman) have also struggled.

    He barely had time to work with the players and if you ask me, against Ecuador, he was VERY unlucky with some key players (Tevez, Messi) missing incredible chances to score.

    The story would have been very different had Tevez put that PK away or had Messi scored that sitter inside the first 10 minutes.

    “Huevos” will be vital vs. Brazil, but also the intelligence to avoid falling into their game and let them counter-attack all they long (like Uruguay allowed them to do).

    I still support Diego.

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