Mexico put us under real pressure early on and Carlos SALCIDO hit the bar from outside the area. It looked like Sergio ROMERO completely misjudge that ball's trajectory but it also appeared to me that he did manage to touch it just a little bit. Maybe enough to deflected against the bar. Then Andrés GUARDADO sent a shot just wide and again we were lucky for Mexico not to score.
And without attacking that much or that clearly, we found the opener courtesy of a Carlos TEVEZ header and thanks for the referee that didn't see that clear offside position.
It looked like the linesman wanted to have a word with the referee and I was ready to punch a wall or something because I clearly saw the linesman running towards midfield with his flag down (a clear sign that he saw no offside) and then it looked like he watched a replay and thought differently. Had they ruled that goal out, it would have been an even bigger embarrassment for FIFA, because they don't allow the use of technology in those kind of plays and had the ref taken a decision based on how the linesman saw the play on the big screen, it would have make matters really worst for FIFA. Especially coming from a terrible blunder that costed England the chance to equalise and get back in the game earlier against Germany.
After that, Rafa MARQUEZ seemed to have lost his mind and got a really quick yellow for a foul on Lionel MESSI. He was clearly frustrated for that call.
It looked like after that opener, Argentina would destroy Mexico with counter-attacks and when Ricardo OSORIO tried to step on the ball to change the direction of the play and simply gave it away to non-other than Gonzalo HIGUAIN it sure looked like game over.
Pipita was incredible and with a sweet step on the ball (that's how it's done, Señor OSORIO! That's how it's done!), he left Oscar PEREZ lying on the ground and prompt me to shout: "GOOOOOOOL" a good few seconds before he even hit that ball with his left foot.
He is now alone at the top of the goalscoring charts with 4 goals in 3 matches played. Not bad, Pipita.
The second half saw Argentina happy with the 2-goal difference and sit back a little too much for my liking. But Diego's team got lucky to find a third goal right after the break. With seven minutes gone, TEVEZ tried a through pass for HIGUAIN but was blocked. Right after he noticed the ball was still on his reach, he never thought twice about it and he sent a beautiful rocket into the top right corner. 3-0. Second goal for TEVEZ in this game and his third in World Cup matches (reaching Maxi's level, slightly behind of Pipita's four).
After that, it was more of the same. We were not controlling the ball and we let Mexico came at us. You can't fault them for not trying, but it was clear they didn't have the individual talent to reach the level of effectiveness in front of goal that Argentina were showing.
Diego then introduced VERON in place of TEVEZ, who looked clearly frustrated as he really wanted more. I liked Diego's idea of sending VERON onto the pitch to try and get more possession, but I though TEVEZ was on fire and he should have stayed. Maybe replacing HIGUAIN and releasing TEVEZ and MESSI upfront would have been a better way to make the most out of TEVEZ happy day and move your star man a little more forward for him to try and finally get his personal goal and have that problem out of the way.
We looked shaky at times and DEMICHELIS was again at fault in the goal we conceded. Second goal we concede in this tournament, second clear mistake by DEMICHELIS. No. This was not even close to the mistake he made v. South Korea, but he let Javier HERNANDEZ turned him inside out and he allowed the new Manchester United signing to have a clear shot on goal that was just too much for ROMERO to defend.
That is a concern. That is a real concern going forward. Germany have a lot more talent than Mexico up front. They have very intelligent players in OZIL, PODOLSKI and MULLER and they have a hit-man that knows what he is doing and is getting closer and closer to RONALDO in his quest of becoming the top scorer in the history of the World Cup. Miroslav KLOSE got another goal today against England and he is now at 12 compared to RONALDO's 15.
Yes, England scored two (though only one was allowed to stand), hit the post once (though DEFOE was unfairly judged offside) and forced Manuel NEUER to a couple of crucial saves. All of this, even with the Three Lions playing an average game and showing nothing even closer to the firepower Argentina have in the final third of the pitch.
My man of the match was TEVEZ (not only because the two goals he scored but also for his movement and for what he did especially in the second half), but very close to him I have to put Gabriel HEINZE! What a performance today. As I always say...when the team is in the middle of chaos, the more chaotic players will shine (examples: PALERMO v. Perú; HEINZE v. Mexico today -especially in the second half-), but that doesn't take anything away from El Gringo. He made a couple of goal-line saves that were fantastic and saved us from a nervy finish. He was very solid, made no mistakes in his marking and he even gave us a classic moment when he hit that cameraman when he was celebrating with TEVEZ and HIGUAIN after our second goal.
This marked the first time we win a knock-out World Cup match in regulation since we defeated Brazil in 1990! Yes. You heard me! After that, we advanced v. Yugoslavia and Italy on penalties. Then lost to Romania in the round of 16 in 1994, defeated England on penalties in the same round in 1998 (before losing to Holland in the QF) and defeated Mexico in extra-time in 2006 before losing to Germany in the following round.
That was a terrible streak and I'm more than happy to see it end. It goes to show how hard it has been for Argentina to advance deep in the World Cup recent history.
Another run? Last time we lost a World Cup match (not on penalties) was back in 2002 when England beat us 1-0. Since then: a 1-1 draw with Sweden (though it meant we were eliminated); wins v. Ivory Coast and Serbia & Montenegro, a draw v. Holland, a win v. Mexico, a draw with Germany and then these four consecutive wins in South Africa. That is the longest run we ever had in the history of the World Cup with 10 matches without defeats.
We move on, but we need to improve if we want to avenge our team from 2006 and beat Germany as a pay back we've been waiting for during the last four years.
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