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Posted by Sebastian Garcia on 06/22/2010

What a frustrating match of football that was! From every angle you look at it.

I thought Greece would have had the need to try and get something out of this game. I thought they would attack or at least try something to get what they needed from this meeting with Argentina. They gambled on getting a draw and shutting down Argentina and then on getting a result go their way from the other match in our group. Well...I'm glad it didn't pay off for them. Not only because we won, but also because I can't believe how negative they played tonight. It felt like they didn't want to be there in the first place. And I don't like it when teams that don't want to play football stay alive in the competition.

That brick wall they built was enough to keep us at bay for a long time, but I'm glad we kept trying and we kept attacking when if any of the teams could have had the luxury to take it easy that was Argentina. But no. We refused to take it easy and we kept going forward. That's what we do. That's what we like to see.

It was tough, but in the end we managed to find a way to get all three points and make it 9 of a possible 9.

I was pleased to see the goal came from Martín DEMICHELIS. He was having another nightmare at the back. He made a couple of mistakes that could have costed us and he was not looking confident. Then he found a goal, opened things up for us and settled down. I'm glad for him because we need him.

I wasn't pleased to see how the goal keeps evading MESSI in this tournament. He did a lot in all three matches to find the back of the net but it's just not coming for him. It was ENYEAMA in our first match, then the post denied him from scoring against both South Korea and today Greece.

Don't worry, I'm not going to skip the point in which I speak about Diego MILITO! haha!

The first thing I feel I have to say is that given the circumstances, he didn't play bad at all. In fact, I think he played a good game. He was unfortunate the referee didn't give us a penalty kick when he was pulled back by KYRGIAKOS. We were playing in blue but we are not Italy to be given those calls, are we?

He didn't have clear chances to score but always tried to get involved in the game and always fought the big centre-backs from Greece. He was involved in our first goal (though he didn't mean to) and he could be given an assist in those fantasy games we play! And then I knew he was going to be replaced and not play 90 minutes! It must be just his luck.

And what Diego MILITO lacks, Martín PALERMO has. And tons of it! Great one-two between MESSI and DI MARIA and the Barcelona star is denied one more time by TZORVAS only for the rebound to fall right into PALERMO's path. He couldn't miss from there and he didn't! His emotions after the game were great to see. As I have always said, I have nothing against PALERMO and I think he is probably one of the best guys there is in football. I still think he is nowhere near the level of MILITO and HIGUAIN and I don't want him starting at all for Argentina in this World Cup, but he has already shown he's got that super-sub X-factor.

I'll wait for Dave's player ratings but I think I have to say I was really impressed by Clemente RODRIGUEZ.

I guess it was good to see we never lost our patience and we kept going for it. We showed we really wanted to get three points even when we didn't really need them. Greece? They just showed me they didn't want to stay in South Africa enough. Will they say they don't have as much talent as we do? Not a valid argument. If this was the first match in the group, then fair enough. I can see why they would be happy with a draw. But knowing the draw was not enough and still playing like that? That's just bad. Very bad for them but also for football.

We still need to improve and we have to think that the game against Mexico won't be the same as this one, but we have to be prepared for our rivals to come and play against us with a bus parked in front of their goal and with 11 men behind the ball. We need to be able to break them all. One by one.

Join us at Mundo Albiceleste, to hear what hundreds of fans of the Albicelestes from all over the world have to say!


Posted by Umang on 06/22/2010

Hi Seba,

Today morning only I commented on your other blog entry. I was awake whole night just to watch the Argentina match (the opponents dont matter to me).

I read your analysis, I may not have enough knowledge of football as you have, but I thought Greece played well. They knew their game, it was long balls and counter attack with only one man and they almost succeeded in that too, though for sure it wouldnt have been a fair result given the way we played.

To me, Milito played a good game, though, I missed Mascherano very much, he would have made that bit of a difference in our defence.

The focal point for the whole match was the strike by Palermo, and even more the celebration and the real joy that you see on his face, it is that joy, that love for the football and country that's difference between Argentina 2010 and Argentina 2002 or 2006 that is different.

I am working in Australia, and it made my night that I spent awake(couldnt sleep) in anticipation.


Posted by richie on 06/22/2010

Don't jump on the Argentina band wagon yet ppl. Ask yourself this question. Which team in group B seriously challenged the Argentinians. Is their defense fully tested? Let's see in the knock out stages. anyway though they look great going forward and they are the best attacking force in the competition. Sad to say but they will not win the world cup

Posted by Imo on 06/23/2010


At the same time dont be so quick to write this team off. You cant underestimate the influence of individual brilliance in the World Cup. This isnt a year long league competition that rewards consistency and endurance. This is a tournament that last 7 matches and a squad loaded with match winners, Argentina are a team you can't write off! Look at what Zidane did for Dominech's France team four years ago. They were average without him (some big names, but no team) and he took them all the way to the finals by firing in the knockout stages.

Im not saying they will win, but i am saying you'd be mad to bet against them going all the way.

Posted by Greekfreak on 06/23/2010

Kudos to your team, but you have to call a spade a spade--an all-out attack by Greece would have been suicide (see Switzerland/Spain for a more recent example of how defensive tactics can work), and we would have copped at least 3 more goals.

What you should take notice of is how well Messi was man-marked in this match by Papastathopoulos, and come on; when you're playing a European team, they're automatically going to be more physical and more dirty than other teams.

I think your side is deep with quality and I salute the win--but you've got some defenders that nearly did the team in against a solitary striker in Samaras. Something needs to be done before they come up against a Ghana or Germany, who are equally good at keeping possession.

Posted by sam on 06/23/2010

Felicitaciones!! To all the Argentinians around the world! The 9 points harvested in this initial stage are more than well deserving for the passion and respect for the spectacle shown by every single player in your squad. There might be criticisms about the performance of individual players, but in all, the lineup presented only proved the enviable depth of the Albiceleste's team.

I have to appologize for over-criticizing "Bad Diego" in the past, and now I understood why, probably, he is worthy to lead this monster squad. Maradona proved that he transmits to the players, happiness, passion, attitude and most of all, love and respect for the game he so much enjoys. Sometimes, those aspects are much more important than tactics, strategies, statistics, history, etc.

Its a priviledge to watch Argentina play, no matter what country we root for. More than the needy details of yesterday's match, I applaud the overall energy and beauty constantly presented by your squad.


Posted by Gonzalo, Melbourne on 06/24/2010

I agree with you Seba, you are right on the money. It was a very frustrating game to watch and one would have assumed a different approach by Greece given the circumstances.

I think it is very commedable the way in which Maradona sent the team out to attack....and attack they did, the whole game, until the goals finally came.

We must give credit to Greece for their defensive display and yes, Messi was marked out of most of the game. However Papastathopoulos should not receive any special mention, as it was Messi vs. 3 or 4 players whenever he had the ball. It is impossible to achieve any kind of fluidity against those kinds of tactics. All credit must go to 'La Pulga' for his effort and persistence, as always, he had a 'never say die' attitude.

I was really impressed with Pastore. His link up play with Messi was much better than Veron achieved throughout the whole game. Veron I thought was very poor. No improvement from the Nigeria game. Play Pastore!

Aguante Argentina!!!

Posted by PANOS on 06/26/2010

IF Greece had a different coach and pushed for a early goal against a wobbly defense and then closed up shop it could have been a little different,
also Verons tackle on Karagounis how low was that.
the goal was hand ball but I geuss hand ball is allowed today.......
I LOVE DIEGO and Argentina is always my second team after Greece naturally and I really enjoyed the match but Otto did not give Greece a chance with one forward just ridiculous anyway with Ninis and Socratis Greece has a bright future beware Argies we coming see you in Brazilllllllll

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Sebastian Garcia was born just a few blocks from the place where a certain Diego Armando Maradona first kicked a football. Regretfully, Sebastian had to make do with punching some keys and writing about football. He worked for Clarin newspaper and ESPN in Buenos Aires before taking part in Press Operations in several major sporting events such as the Beijing Olympics, when Argentina won gold at the Birds Nest.

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