The friendly between the United States of America and Argentina in New Jersey on Saturday evening saw the visitors dominate and produce moments of really nice play, but eventually only get a draw against a well-motivated American side. After a great team move saw Lionel Messi cut to the byline and pull back a ball which, eventually, was stabbed in by Esteban Cambiasso for Argentina’s goal, the States rallied in the second half, improved a lot, and got their equaliser on the hour when Mariano Andújar dropped a free kick onto the foot of Juan Agudelo. The highlights are right here.
International friendly, 26th March 2011: United States of America 1 – 1 Argentina
Goalscorer Cambiasso afterwards accepted that failing to win had been frustrating for Argentina, but insisted, ‘the result isn’t going to throw us off course. We know how we want to play, and a draw [instead of a win] doesn’t change that way of doing things… a[nother] goal would have given us a bit of confidence and allowed us to keep our play at the same level it was in the first half. Sadly they were able to equalise from a dead ball, but we’re in a process of forming [an idea] and we’ll stick to that idea. The United States were respectable opponents, as all opponents are, but we feel we’ve done a good job, and that we deserved to win.’
Sergio Batista, the Argentina manager, was clearly happy to hear a key member of his side toeing the party line. ‘The players are convinced we’ve got the right idea,’ he told the press conference. ‘You’ll never see this team hurrying towards the opposing goal. The first half was brilliant, they played to the system we’re aiming towards. They’ve all got the idea well.’ Quite rightly, he plans to assess how the players feel tomorrow before finalising his side for the match against Costa Rica on Tuesday. ‘Some of the players are accustomed to playing two matches in quick succession. I don’t think about friendlies by looking at the result, I’ll evaluate the performance and take conclusions from that.’ When asked about the continued absences of Sergio Agüero and Carlos Tevez, both of whom he’s rumoured to have frozen out of the squad after they privately stated their preferences for Diego Maradona to remain as manager, he was blunt. ‘I’d rather speak about the match.’
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Photo taken from ole.clarin.com
the highlight was that Batista is going to be forced to bring Tevez and Aguero back into the NT.
You reckon? Why so?
I wouldn’t hold my breath on it, if I were you.
I was there. Argentina were exceptional in the first half. A great effort by all. The team played like they played together every day. Great positioning, awareness and passing. When he had the ball, Messi had the it glued to his foot. His ability to work in small spaces was great and he was combining well. Un mago. The US finally started to play some football in the second half. Their passing was calmer and they used their wingers well. They were very tough physically. More US possession swung some momentum their way, naturally. They had a few shots and got their goal, from Andujar’s hands to the North American’s foot. Argentina had a glaring problem all night – the inability to put shots on frame.
Another mediocre performance from Argentina. This idea of playing Messi with Lavezzi and Di Maria is fated to be a disaster. I’m all for Messi being the big cog in the attack, but he must have some crafty assistants. Di Maria and Lavezzi are both dolts and both should come off the bench, if at all. For the love of God when are we going to see Messi, Pastore and some combination involving attacking players other than Lavezzi and Di Maria. If not the in the duplex doghouse where Tevez and Aguero sit, then Lisandro Lopez, Higuain, Gaitan, whomever ! Somebody with a modicum of football sense. Hell, I’d take Saviola and/or Crespo and/or Aimar right now over Di Maria and Lavezzi.
When Di Maria needlessly interjected himself into the argument between Biglia and Dempsey I was hoping somebody was going to slap the living snot out of him.
I think you’re alone in thinking the first half performance was mediocre, Johnny, but I do agree that it could be so much better if Tevez and Agüero weren’t frozen out, or if any of the other numerous alternatives to Lavezzi and Di María were used. That being said Di María seems to be a fixture in the selección whatever the system.
Gonzalo Higuaín is training again at Madrid, and I’ll be very interested to see how Batista fits him in when he’s fit again. The new system with Messi used as a ‘false nine’ is getting some very good performances out of him, and it’s difficult to see where Higuaín would fit into that system, but let’s not forget Messi also played very well against Spain, alongside Higuaín.
I could do without Di María’s stupid goal celebration, as well, but that’s another matter.
Awright Sam, I’ll withdraw “mediocre” and replace it with “fair”. Argentina was given so much space to work with by the USA’s lack of marking up the field, that they couldn’t help but look half impressive if they could string a few passes together. But yes, they are more than capable of doing that and they did so pretty well and with few mistakes.
As for the false 9 Messi-it certainly gives him a ton of liberty to create and be Messi, but I think the jury is out as to how effective it’s going to be when Argentina moves from friendlies to playing for keeps. I’d much prefer utilizing Pastore and letting he and Messi feed off one another. But, maybe that will happen in the natural course of things if Batista ever sees fit to put both of them on the pitch at the same time for more than 20 minutes.
I was there and I thought Argentina played very well in the freeeeeeezing cold in the first half. I didn’t see much from Di Maria cause he was on the other side. They barely used Lavezzi at all, so I would hold off on commenting on him yet. It’s hard to nitpick at Messi but he didn’t pass to a couple of open players on some attacks. He went 1 vs 4 or 5 a couple times in the 2nd half and really tried to do too much by himself.
I will say that BANEGA was AWESOME!! With Masche, Banega and Messi straight up the middle Argentina has a great core! Banega was so calm and in control in extremely tight spaces all game. I thought, will all respect to Messi, that Banega was the best player of the game!
As for the US, Altidore might as well not have played. He was horrrrrrrible! When the US finally gets a decent performance out of their forwards they’ll have a decent team. Right now, it falls too much on Dempsey and Donovan and the rest of the midfield to do everything. Altidore was lost out there and it looked like his team didn’t trust him cause they never got him the ball in good areas.
Tim Howard is a stud. Switch the goalkeepers and Argentina wins this game 4-0 or 4-1.
I’m holding my breath because I can’t take much more of this. I have to believe one of those two guys will make the Copa squad.
Every Batista match 1 goal (except for 2 in Portugal, one of which a penalty, and 0 in Japan) with one major exception the match against Spain–the only time Batista played Messi, Tevez, Higuain. Then again Spain’s not the powerhouse the USA is in international fútbol.
I could care less if Messi is the one who puts the ball in the net or if he does all the hardwork and lays an easy tap in for Higuain.
I couldn’t agree that they should be in the squad, but as we’ve discussed at length in the last couple of episodes of Hand Of Pod, there are non-footballing reasons why they’re not. That’s why I was advising you not to hold your breath…
I’m just going to just take a nap until July 1. Wake me up before then if all this childishness and behind-closed-doors tomfoolery ends before then.
I love Tevez to death but I always worried he’d get himself iced out of the NT for his unfiltered ramblings.
Aguero on the other hand hasn’t done anything (publicly at least) to warrant his exclusion and I’m sure he’d say all the right things in front of the microphone if he was included in the NT.
Argentina NEED to play with a true number 9. Lavezzi is more of a dribbler than a goal scorer, so is Di Maria. When Messi is being shut down, I think we need a number 9 to be open in the right place to make chances. There were so many crosses that just cut through the area with no one getting to it. All in all I think Messi, Tevez and Higuain is the best combination, Pastore is a good attacking midfielder but his passing isn’t too convincing YET.
Argentina played a great first half and Tim Howard was a beast.
Conor (can’t reply directly beneath your last comment, as WP doesn’t allow them to nest that deep, annoyingly): Agüero may have been publicly quiet, but he’s Diego Maradona’s son-in-law. And the player(s) frozen out have reportedly been so due to agitating behind the scenes for Maradona to remain as manager even after Batista was confirmed in charge. So given that Agüero has been left out of the last two squads, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to deduce that it’s for that reason…