Argentina lost to Japan for the first time in their history on Friday, thanks to an 18th-minute goal from Shinji Okazaki. Only Lionel Messi and Javier Mascherano really did themselves any sort of credit, and a side clearly as worn out by the long voyage from Europe as were Spain when they travelled to Buenos Aires last month left the pitch deflated. Diego Milito, Esteban Cambiasso and Mario Bolatti were all injured. Seba over at Mundo has some thoughts on what this means for Sergio Batista as manager, and here are the match highlights for your viewing pleasure (if you’re Japanese, or Diego Maradona, that is).
International friendly: Japan 1 – 0 Argentina
Batista of course should still be given longer in the job, but there won’t be a shortage of people in Argentina prepared to read too much into this scoreline. As Batista points out, ‘if we’re going on results, I’m still 2-1 up,’ but he was visibly irritated by the defeat. Diego Maradona will no doubt jump on this as part of his never-ending campaign to regain the job, but how can I put this… a 1-0 away defeat to a decent side after a long journey, just a week after midweek European action… it’s not as if they’ve lost by some improbable scoreline against a side who were nowhere near World Cup qualification is it? Say, 6-1 to Bolivia, for instance…
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Photo taken from ole.clarin.com