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