World Cup 2010 qualifying: Argentina 1 – 3 Brazil

Who's to blame this time, Diego?
Who's to blame this time, Diego?

Saturday night saw the big South American clásico in Rosario as Argentina hosted Brazil in the qualifiers for the 2010 World Cup, and Diego Maradona’s reign as manager will be marked forever by the result: Argentina lost a qualifier at home for only the second time in their history. The first was the 0-5 loss to Colombia in 1993, and as Brazil ran out 3-1 winners this time round, the hosts’ performance was almost as listless.

Argentina started the better side, winning a corner in the first minute and showing an intent to get towards the visiting goal that brought to mind some of their more confident displays under Maradona to date. Lionel Messi, playing for his country in his hometown, shot just wide from outside the box and minutes later Seba Verón sent a free kick from twenty five yards into the wall. Argentina were pressuring Brazil high up the pitch, and it seemed a matter of time before the breakthrough came.

So it proved. When it arrived, though, it was Brazil, and not Argentina, who took the lead. In the twenty-third minute, Sebastián Domínguez brought Luis Fabiano to ground about thirty-five yards out. Neither Nicolás Otamendi nor Gabriel Heinze picked up Luisão from Elano’s free kick, and the towering Benfica centre back powered a header past Mariano Andújar to give the visitors the lead with practically their first chance of the match.

Just six minutes later the lead was doubled from yet more defensive incompetency. Kaká tried to hit a centre but the ball bounced of Gabriel Heinze and fell for Maicon. The full back’s shot was pushed away by Andújar but it fell right to the feet of Luis Fabiano, and the Sevilla striker continued his fantastic early season form with a simple finish from six yards out.

Just under twenty minutes on and, following two minutes of stoppage time, a strange first half was brought to a close. Argentina had dominated possession and spent far more time in their opponents’ half than Brazil, whilst only picking up on booking (Javier Mascherano for a poorly-timed tackle on Kaká). Brazil, meanwhile, had four yellow cards to their name and had only managed three attempts on goal – but were leading 2-0.

At half time Sergio Agüero replaced Maxi Rodríguez and, with Javier Zanetti pushing into midfield, Argentina tried something approaching a 3-4-3. They were nervous, though, and whilst an attacking trident of Messi, Tevez and Agüero is undeniably high on flair, technique and imagination, it’s low on the kind physicality required against defenders the size of Brazil’s. All the same, the pressure continued and, in the 64th minute, there was daylight when Jesús Dátolo, on his competitive debut, scored with a fulminating drive from well outside the box which flew past Júlio Cesar in the Brazil goal – an even better strike than the one which won the recent friendly with Russia in his first appearance for his country.

Two minutes later, though, Luis Fabiano snuffed out the hope that goal gave Argentina. Running onto a through ball from Kaká he knocked the ball round Andújar, rushing out to claim the ball, and chipped into an essentially unguarded net as Otamendi tried and failed to get back in time to clear.

After that goal, Argentina merely went through the motions and Brazil were easily able to hold them at arm’s length. The spirit drained from the hosts and no more ideas were forthcoming as to how they could force an unlikely point from the match. After three minutes of stoppage time, Colombian refree Oscar Ruiz blew his whistle and Brazil had confirmed their place in next year’s World Cup Finals.

Inexperienced and poor at the back, lacking in options at the front and patient but indirect in midfield, Argentina paid the price for poor organisation and lack of attitude in Rosario. After pushing so hard to get the match moved from the Estadio Monumental and ensure that the conditions were perfect to play football, Maradona failed to remember to actually prepare his team to do just that.

Argentina now have a lot of work on. On Wednesday night they visit Paraguay, no pushovers especially in Asunción, and need to win both that match and a home tie against Peru if they’re to stand a chance of going into the last match with their tickets to South Africa already assured. That last match? A ferry trip across the river to Uruguay. Argentina wouldn’t want to be relying on a result in that fixture if they were playing well. If they’re playing like this, though, they can forget about it.

World Cup South Africa 2010 qualifying, Saturday 5th September 2009: Argentina 1 – 3 Brazil:

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14 thoughts on “World Cup 2010 qualifying: Argentina 1 – 3 Brazil

  1. Next game, someone to tell Messi that the 9 mongers with the blue and white shirt that desperately run around him are his companions..! Has he any problem in passing the ball? Has someone noticed how many times his missing of a ball in an advance position, with the rest of the team unbalanced in attack put us in a very risky situation? O.K with the Superstar in Barcelona, but what abstruse and demonic influence befall upon him when he puts the argentine shirt?
    And another message, this one for Diego: we all love him, and it’s all right from the animic and spiritual point of view but a little tactic..? Just a little strategy..? Something like the ABC of how to stand up against a corner, how to position the team for a counterattack..? Basic things like that.
    Now we enter in the Miracle Zone: we must bring back a tie, at least, from Asuncion. Beat Peruvians in… Rosario? And began praying for our last and final and apocalyptic match in Montevideo.
    Still.., we have God on our side.

    1. This is not very difficult to Diego Maradona to understand! I would say one thing specially for J. Riquelme, Argentine it is your country don’t let anger destroy you love for the game. I felt so bad, I cannot believe what happened last night.

      G. Higuain L. Lopez

      L. Messi

      J. Gutrerez J. Riquelme J. Mascherano J. Zanettti

      F. Monzon D. Diaz F. Coloccini

  2. Argentina are in real danger, but they will still qualify even if it does require a playoff, I feel. A playoff would likely be against Costa Rica, and if they can’t overcome them over 2 legs Argentina don’t deserve to be at the World Cup. I’ve written a little more about the subject here if I may:

    Question for someone wiser than me: why does Lisandro Lopez not get in the team?

  3. hey man I’m totally agree with you. two/three shorties are not a good conbination. Carlos Tevez need to be on the bench! all we need goals! goals! goals!
    G. Higuain M. Palermo

    L. Messi

    J. Gutrerez J. Riquelme J. Mascherano J. Zanettti

    E. Papa D. Diaz F. Coloccini

    1. This is not very difficult for Diego Maradona to understand! I would say one thing specially for J. Riquelme, Argentine is in danger, this is your blood, your country, don’t let anger destroying your love for the game. I felt so bad, I cannot believe what happened last night. Diego don’t need to get fired, it’s just the matter of choice! call the right person we will be champion 2010. I’m still have hope!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
      G. Higuain L. Lopez
      L. Messi
      J. Gutrerez J. Riquelme J. Mascherano J. Zanettti
      F. Monzon D. Diaz F. Coloccini

    2. Bobbygee, one polite request…

      Would you mind putting your website URL into the box provided for it when you make your comments, rather than into the body of the comment itself, please? Any comments with links in have to be approved by me first before they show up on here, you see (this prevents spamming). I’ve made your link work properly for both your recent comments though.

  4. This is fast approaching a train wreck. As I see it, Argentina is only a moderately talented squad, and very top heavy with alot of talented strikers. The talent level drops off considerably once you start reviewing the rest of the squad. Currently Messi and his playmates don’t mesh at all up front, and all that talent is wasted. Forgetting the rest of the squad, Argentina needs some smart players up front who have a plan. Tevez needs to be replaced in the starting 11 without doubt. His effectiveness seems to wane every match. It’s time for a smart target man in either D Milito or L Lopez, and Maradona, or hopefully his replacement, needs to instill an attacking plan that the players understand. If they don’t follow through on the plan, sit them, or replace them on the squad.

  5. Maradonna,

  6. Ustari,romero,carrizo – Walter samuel, monzon, cata diaz,insua – cambiasso, lucho gonzalez, aimar, riquelme, di maria, zarate – lisandro,higuain,lavezzi ….. Have I named enough ‘argies’ that should play in argentina starting XI . Any coach of the world will murder to have these players at their disposal & only a dumb-arrogant- cheap chatter box- immoral- indisciplined- tacticless freak- alcoholic can overlook them. … If half of these players were in the team & we played 4-2-3-1 , we had a chance. Grondona mafia out – I WANT PECKERMAN.

  7. Hasta, publish an article on internal turmoil of AFA & money-grabbing mafioso who run them & appointed diego for more sponsor money- thus sold the soul of argie football & turned our team who are a joke to the world .I Can’t stand this corruption anymore.

  8. Gonzalo Rodriguez is surely better than the players currently being picked at centre back? I’ve been really impressed by him for the last few years but he never seems to figure. So many curious absentees in the Argentina squad i.e Higuain as almost everyone seems to agree.

    The game in the Centenario looks like being an earthquake of a match if both sides go in with 4th spot at stake.

  9. Jaun Riquelme must be recalled in order for Argentina to book place for world cup 2010 in south africa .the guy Jaun Riquelme he suitable for 4 4 2 formation and has ability to control the ball ,vision an skill and he plays the same as lampard and kaka ,he slow ,fast and strong. and every manager in the hole world for him to play 4 4 2 formation he needs player like lampard and Jaun Riquelme

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