Colombia beat Bolivia 2-0 on Sunday to finish top of Group A in the Copa América Argentina 2011, and were joined in the quarter-finals on Tuesday night by the hosts, who finally played well and won a match in this tournament, breezing past Costa Rica 3-0. Early nerves were clear but once Sergio Agüero put them into the lead, Argentina never looked back. In the second half Lionel Messi was inspired, laying on two assists as Agüero got a second before Ángel Di María completed the scoring. Messi was given the man of the match award, and is finally getting some praise here in Argentina. The goals – Colombia’s as well as Argentina’s – are right here.
Copa América Argentina 2011, Group A
Sun 10th July, Colombia 2 – 0 Bolivia
Mon 11th July, Argentina 3 – 0 Costa Rica
You can follow the latest news from the selección in the buildup to the Copa América direct from Buenos Aires with HEGS on Twitter. If you’ve not signed up yet you can do so here. You can also join the official HEGS Facebook group, to keep up to date with the latest posts on the blog and discuss things with other fans. You’ll find it here. And remember to bookmark Hand Of Pod, our Argentine football podcast, or if you prefer you can subscribe to it on iTunes here.
Photo taken from ca2011.com
i’ll give them praise when they perform well against a team that isnt an U-23 squad. anyways, i thought gago was fantastic tonight (took the shot that lead to the first goal, made the stop in the midfield that lead to the second goal, and made some nice passes as well).
Gago was surprising. Nice to see Messi playing well and receiving some love from his countrymen.
’twas a nice relaxing evening of futbol against a deer-in-the-headlights and very inexperienced Costa Rica. Chile/Uruguay or whoever Argentina will see in the quarters will pose a much stiffer test. But at the very least Argentina got one good practice game in before the knock-out stages.
Diego Latorre was on fox sports last night talking about about how Gago’s passing, how crisp and quick his passes were, had a major effect on the nice flow that Argentina was able to get going. It’s surprising he doesn’t play at all in Real Madrid, but I also didn’t think he was the entire difference. He was nice, or course, but Aguero and Higuain were MUUUUCH better than Tevez and Lavezzi, especially in complementing Messi. I also thought Di Maria was kind of lost. I would have rather seen even Cambiasso there, especially when up against a strong offensive team. Mascherano and Milito were a bit too on the edge for playing against an inferior Costa Rica. I think Cambiasso helps calm them down if that makes any sense.. Di Maria, even with a goal, didn’t do much for me. He falls down when anyone just breathes on him. madness….
Great to see the victory, Messi playing well and happy, and the added boost to Argentina’s confidence. On the other hand, Costa Rica offered up so much space that one could argue that the victory might have been fool’s gold. Kudos to Gago for taking advantage but it won’t be like this from now on. In addition, how many chances were squandered ?! Higuain was terrible. He adds something as a more traditional #9, but he must finish ! And Di Maria is still infuriating.
Batista avoids the shame of being booted out early. I guess that means he’ll be the coach until the WC qualifiers. Bad news for the NT.
What are Argentina’s other options at #9? It’s like we’re still searching for someone to replace Batigol after all these years. Still, he’s right there, all he needs is to finish. But then again, how is that any different from Lavezzi and Tevez the first two games where Messi practically, in my opinion, played the same and gave both of them very good opportunities to score? anyway, somebody give me a rundown of the top 10 argentino #9’s currently playing. I’d love to see it. I think Higuain is probably the best option going into the WC qualifiers.. All the attacking players are still very young though, so that’s a good thing I guess..
Mascherano and Milito worry me still. Masche because he’s one hard tackle from getting sent off. And Milito we all know.. But again I ask, who are the top 10 central defenders Argentina has to choose from?
Higuain blew his chances, but I thought he did a great job getting into space and getting good looks…especially compared to Tevez and Lavezzi. All in all I thought it was encouraging, because he wont miss them like that most games.
Diego Milito can be played instead of Higuain but Batista hasn’t given him match practice.
Exactly Vir ! D Milito is the last man on the bench but still a talented guy.
I saw parts of the game again and I have to calibrate my comments about Di Maria. He is certainly frustrating with all his diving. But he actually didn’t play all that bad. He was generally a very good complement to Gago and Mascherano in the midfield. Kind of surprising actually. If he can keep it up, you never know, he and Gago might just be the right kind of players to link together the team…
Isn’t it ironic with all the Barca-Madrid connections? Messi & Masche, and Gago/DiMaria/Higuain and Aguero ;-)