World Cup 2010 qualifying: Paraguay 1 – 0 Argentina

Verón sees red
Verón sees red

We’ve been here before, and there’s not a lot else more to say. In Asunción on Wednesday night, needing a point to remain in the automatic qualification spots for the 2010 World Cup, Argentina slumped to a defeat which sees Paraguay qualify for South Africa. Seba Verón was sent off early in the second half and when a target man was finally sent on, Maradona looked not to ‘Licha’ López, not to Diego Milito… but to Martín Palermo. ¡Andate ya, Diego!

Argentina began the match in fifth place following Ecuador’s comfortable win, 3-1 away to Bolivia (reading this, Diego?), a couple of hours before. They could have been sixth had Colombia not fallen 3-1 to Uruguay in Montevideo, where Argentina will have to travel for their final group match. As on Saturday, they went forward with gusto early on. As on Saturday, they seemed to lose confidence after failing to test their opponents’ goalkeeper early on.

As on Saturday, they fell behind midway through the first half. Controlling a long ball forward with the sublime technique he displays regularly for Club América de México, Salvador Cabañas wriggled through two challenges with consumate ease before playing a through ball down the left channel for Nélson Haedo Váldez to run onto and finish low past Sergio Romero. The Estadio Defensores Del Chaco exploded. Any remaining confidence the Albiceleste had imploded.

Little else was mustered before the break as Argentina limped, shellshocked, to half time, but after the break it didn’t seem very much of substance had been said, aside from the decision to replace Jesús Dátolo, less blameless than most of his more oft-capped teammates, with Napoli’s Ezequiel Lavezzi. In the 52nd minute, Juan Sebastián Verón, the reigning South American Footballer Of The Year, saw red for a second yellow card which could, from some other referees, have drawn a straight red – his tackle was closer to his opponent’s knee than to the ball.

Thereafter Paraguay were able to hold at bay their opponents, who had no ideas, little energy and, if they were motivated by the idea of travelling to next year’s World Cup, didn’t show it. Lionel Messi tried to do too much, and the thought occurs to me that perhaps Barcelona’s trick is to tell him to go and enjoy himself, whilst for Argentina the pressures of his country are laden onto his shoulders. Sergio Agüero, anonymous throughout, was substituted after an hour.

Clearly, Maradona had finally seen the need to play with a proper #9, a centre forward who could get amongst the opponents’ defence and cause some problems. Lisandro López wasn’t on the bench. Neither was Diego Milito. The reason for those exclusions was unknown. Agüero’s replacement, then, was Martín Palermo. Had it worked, some sections of the Argentine media might have praised Maradona’s masterstroke. It almost did – late on Palermo’s fellow pensionable substitute, Rolando Schiavi (who swaps a centre back for a centre back when chasing a game? Maradona) just failed to connect with a Palermo header across goal.

In the end, though, Paraguay had their win, and become the second South American nation to book their ticket to South Africa. Argentina’s next match, against Peru, is one they really ought to win. But then, we’ve said that plenty of times already during this campaign, both before and since Maradona’s appointment. Two matches remain, and automatic qualification is no longer in their hands.

World Cup South Africa 2010 qualifying, 9th September 2009: Paraguay 1 – 0 Argentina

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19 thoughts on “World Cup 2010 qualifying: Paraguay 1 – 0 Argentina

  1. Salvador Cabañas looked so good on that play. Superb footballer, he is.

    I am sure we are all asking the same questions, Sam: Schiavi at that point? Palermo not Melito? Good chance to win against Peru now?

    Yo, Adrian. Even a stupid-ass American who had never watched more than 5 mins. of soccer until he was 35 – soy yo – can feel the poor use of resources by Maradona and the now clear mis-judgment of Grondona to place a naive DT in charge of Argentina’s super-star pibes de oro. Por dios!!!!!

    The thought has crossed my mind more than once these days that I hope Argentine fails to qualify in hopes they practice EVEN JUST SOME more practical management and return to the intimidating, skillful winners that I NEED NEED NEED them to be.

  2. Argentina played so great.

    They have so much heart.

    They play with so much guts.

    They’re Winners.


    Heartless ? Check.

    Gutless ? Check.

    Losers ? Check.

    See you in ’14.

  3. A shambles. Painful to watch. I’d boot Maradona when the sun rises and find almost anybody to replace him for the showdowns with Peru and the hand to hand combat to follow in Montevideo.

  4. Isn’t it an irony that both the coaches of paraguay & chile are argentines! They are far less glamorous than faggot maradona but they are DISCIPLINED. Only a disciplined man like PECKERMAN can coach argentina’s world-class superstars.

  5. Maradona still talks about qualifying & not resigning . I haven’t seen such a lying,hypocrite,brainless muppet in my entire life. What a pathetic joker! He has turned Argentina into a ‘joke’ with his circus coaching. All big-false promises & no delivery . When I want to scream with anger, I can’t help laughing when I remember this fat muppet! AFA : learn from ENGLAND. They sacked muppet Mclaren & appointed capello. Otherwise, go 2 hell.

  6. I can’t believe what i saw last night, talk of messi goin to be better than maradona Huh what a joke!!!! On last nights showing he is not fit enough to lace el diez’s boots!!! A fit maradona in his pomp would have pulled his team up by the socks and would have by hook or crook been able to get a result last night. I think to many people are ready to jump on the bandwagon and have a pop at el diez, how about the players taking some responsibility for there ineptitude and shambolic performances.
    I thought romero did ok a bit david james like wanting to always come out but he did ok.
    Zanetti i think is better goin forward than defending.
    Heinze- more a hatchet man who should have been sent of for a crude challenge around the knee with studs showing.
    Dominguez- Dominguez who I rest my case
    Papa- did ok but would like to have seen fabian monzon given a chance.
    Veron- had a good game up until the sending off looked lively wnated the ball tried to create.
    Gago-should have stayed in madrid or said to maradona that i think u should play lucho instead of me!!!!!
    Datolo- this boy is gonna be a fixture for years in the albiceleste team.
    Mascherano- i think being captain is quite a burden on his shoulders doesn’t look half the player he is with liverpool.
    Messi- i have made my feelings known enough said!!!
    Aguero- can’t quite make my mind up about him think he needs a few more games to show his worth.
    Lavezzi- looked very lively when he came on but not sure hes worthy of taking datolos place.
    Palermo-what can i say martin i saw him play in the audi cup at the allianz arena and i think he goes quicker when hes running backwards than he does forwards (i’m a boca hinchada)!!!
    Schiavi-If maradona was going to make a change from the brazil game then he should have taken out dominguez and started with schiavi.
    Overall as i say everyone has got there opinions about who should play and why was this guy was left out and why didn’t he play. But the albiceleste have so many class players its untrue but a majority of them are in the attacking areas, and as we all know quality teams start from the back which is where the albiceleste are/were lacking through injuries and selection. For what its worth injury permitting i would have played the following


    zanetti demichelis garay monzon

    messi lucho mascherano datolo

    lisandro higuain

    enjoy and heres hoping the boyz make it to sud afrika 2010!!

  7. Breaking news: Gabriel Batistuta alias “Batigol”has been recalled to the Argentine squad. Diego is the worst coach of the year!!! after 6 hours we have another breaking news: Argentina Football association try to bring Raymond Domenech to replace Diego Maradona… news will be continue.

  8. Palermo did create a chance with a header, but overall he looked like what he is, a good club player past his best and not good enough for important competitive internationals. It’s not his fault he was picked though.

  9. I agree with atul b – as culpable as Maradona is in all this a large portion of the blame also has to go to the players. In 180 minutes of football vs Brazil and Paraguay I hardly saw the so-called best player in the world (Messi) do anything.

    Now you can blame that on lack of help/service etc, but players like Cabanas aren’t playing with particularly world class stars and they have still managed to stand out. The likes of Aguero, Tevez, Messi, Heinze – all of them have been awful and need to accept as much as the flak as Diego is getting.

  10. the name-calling is really disgraceful, and Diego’s job limitations are not his fault any of us wouldnt think twice about coaching any national sides. This team is lacking in confidence really bad and the overall attitude of both the press and the general public is only making it worse imo

  11. My unles friends sister in law is a cleaning lady in the AFA and she swears she overheard Grondona saying they are replacing maradona with stan staunton and Steve Mclaren as his trusty side kick.
    I Agree with Abel. Its not Diegos fault he was offered the job. Of course he was going to accept it. Its sad to see the great man looking and sounding so inept. Anyone who loves the beautiful game wants him to succeed but it looks very unlikely.

  12. They compared maradona on an irish radio footabll show last night to Tony Montana!!! Its pretty accurate. All these brash bravado statements about how the world is out ot get him but basically F*** them all. Maradona says he doesnt care what the Argentine media say as theyve been out to get him since he was 15. Then he goes on to say that no one has the huevos to criticise him. Which is it Diego??

  13. Now diego has stated he won’t call up some european argies b’coz of lack of effort. Hey diego, maybe they don’t seem interested b’coz they can compare ur crappy coaching with their club coaching & realise how pathetic ur system & team selection is. Watch copa america ’07 highlights & learn. That is the best system we play. We are at our best when we hold the possession & dictate midfield tempo ala barcelona. Jesus man, r u nuts ? Messi is a winger not a striker. Again, watch copa ’07 for god’s sake.

    1. I’m not a huge fan of international football, but I loved Argentina’s performances in WC06 and Copa 07… so what that they lost to more workmanlike teams, they played beautifully and left wonderful memories – and, unlike club football, the international stage should be about this as much as results.

      I don’t think Argentina will fail to qualify, simply because Uruguay lost in Peru. Had Uruguay got even a point from that, I think Argentina would be gone, but I reckon Ecuador will beat Uruguay, and Argentina will scrape past Peru, so Uruguay can’t catch them, and then past Costa Rica or Honduras in the play-off.
      But Argentina plays horribly now. Argentinos should be proud of their side, win or lose, but how can they be proud of that??! Bilardo played horribly but got results, as does Dunga, but Diego doesn’t even get get points.

      Surely AFA knew what they were appointing – a coaching failure. He failed at Racing, he failed at Mandiyu. Sometimes, great players realise that they’re not going to make great coaches and keep their reputations up by other roles in the game – Bobby Charlton, Platini (love him or hate him) etc. I’m astonished Diego didn’t quit after these results, he would still have had the love of the Argentine people, perhaps even more so for his honesty in admitting this is not for him.

      He wants to pick more players from the domestic league, well I’ve been watching this league for fifteen years, and this is the lowest standard I’ve seen in that decade and a half. Velez may be champions, but they are not a great side in the international scheme of things, so why base the defence on them? Otamendi has a great future for maybe 2014, but not now.
      Same with Estudiantes, a lucky side, but not a great one.
      If Argentina had gone to 94, 98 or 02 WCs with home players, they wouldn’t have looked out of place (River’s 96 side, the really good Bianchi teams etc), but this division is nowhere near the standard of the European leagues everyone else picks from – which is why a group of kids who nearly got relegated two months ago are top of it.

      Also, why does Maradona seem to make such random changes? I didn’t see the Paraguay game, I really couldn’t motivate myself to stay up, but I saw the Brazil one, and Veron seemed to be having a good game in the centre of midfield in the first half. So why did DM seem to put him out wide to replace Maxi, and accommodate the ineffectual Aguero? Veron did nothing in the second half.
      Putting Palermo and Schiavi on against Paraguay suggests someone who has taken leave of his senses. So although Argentina will qualify, if Maradona coaches this team, they will become the biggest WorldCup joke since Ally McLeod and Scotland in 1978. Diego’s coaching mentality seems to have a lot in common with McLeod. If Argentina qualify, he will become chief cheer-leader, whipping up everyone to believe that the World Cup can be won, but imagine this team in a group with, say, Spain (top seeds), Denmark (third seeds) and an African nation as bottom seeds. How many points can you see from that? 2 at best, I’d say.
      I can name five coaches from the domestic league who could organise and motivate these players better than Diego, and that’s not including Bianchi. Honestly, I actually think Turco Mohamed or, ahem, R. Caruso Lombardi would have a better chance of getting results in a four-week tournament. I don’t agree with personal abuse of Diego, but am disappointed he doesn’t seem to see his limitations when nearly everyone else does.

      I feel particularly sorry for Messi, he may not have the chance to go down in history if his team is so badly coached. Maybe in 2014, though, with the likes of Forlin, Monzon, De Fed, Pastore… and a good DT.

  14. I completely agree with the following combinatiion and surely such is the winning team;
    Zanetti Demichellis Garay Monzon

    Messi L.Gonzalez Mascherano Datao

    Lisandro G.Higuain

    anyway,we will not be in South Africa betting on almost local players like Palermo or others ( with great respect for them ). However , MESSI should be at his best ,playing in such position with those players. Defenders like Samuel or why not Colochinni should not be put away in my , please AFA FOR THE GREAT RESPECT I HAVE FOR MARADONNA ,He could not continue to act as coach , we need to make changes for ARGENTINA. WE HAVE THE WINNING TEAM.lets prove it with Peru with a great win to challenge Uruguay then. GO ARGENTINA , YOU ARE THE BEST…

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