Mexico faced Argentina in the round of 16 of the Cup, El Tri started playing well getting the best chances, Salcido hit the crossbar, Guardado sent the ball just a few inches from the post, and Argentina only tried to do something with long balls to the strikers.
But nothing happened, until the 26th minute, when Tévez got the ball inside the box to face El Conejo Pérez, the Mexican goalkeeper deflected the ball, then Messi just chipped it over Pérez and Tévez clearly in offside, scored easily with a header.
The play was very clear, but the linesman gave the goal, a terrible call, but a normal one. I mean, anyone can make a mistake either we like it or not, but the problem was that everyone in the stadium saw the instant replay in the magnificent Soccer City Stadium giant screens.
The players saw it and apparently the referees did as well, so all the Mexican players claimed the offside. The linesman started to talk with the Italian referee Roberto Rosetti, who wasn’t sure what to do, the men in red today talked for a while, in a weird and inexplicable way.
If it was a goal, you don’t need to ask the linesman, and if the assistant referee saw a valid goal, why did he ask to talk with Rosetti?
A scandalous call because it seemed the referee knew it was an offside, the linesman as well, everyone in the stadium knew that too, but anyway the no-technology policy of FIFA cost Mexico to suffer a goal.
The players were not in the game the next few moments, and seven minutes later Ricardo Osorio made a terrible pass that finished on the feet of Higuaín who beat El Conejo to score the second goal.
Argentina controlled the match for the rest of the half, doing it without deserving it and with a two goal advantage. The atmosphere was tense, we saw insults and almost a fight when the players went to the halftime break.
In the second half, at the 52nd minute Carlos Tévez got a big moment of talent and made a fantastic shot from outside the box, to beat once again Pérez and gave Argentina the 3-0 lead.
Maradona’s team had the control of the midfield at times, but until the 60th minute, they only had three clear chances and three goals. The first an unfair one, the second was product of the distractions created by the first and only the third one, was the result of the great Argentinean talent.
Mexico then took control of the match playing good football, creating opportunities, controlling the ball, and generally being better than the almighty Albiceleste.
At the 71st minute, a great play was finished by Chicharito who scored the only Mexican goal, Mexico deserved more, they played a very good second half, but it was too little too late. Argentina went all the way to win the match and advancing to the quarterfinals.
The score, unfair.
The mistake, a normal one.
The fact that Rosetti discussed the goal with his assistant after everybody in the stadium saw it on the screen, and giving the goal for a valid one, a shameful moment in World Cup history.
The fact of Mexico losing to Argentina was something normal, I thought it was something to be expected, but the way it happened is a hurtful and shameful way of losing. The goal is everything in this game, the first one tonight was not fair and it changed the rest of the next 70 minutes.
Argentina is a team full of talent, but this game won’t be remembered for that in the years to come. The mess referees did, is what will be remembered of both matches today.
There are many more things I can say, but at the end, no matter how bad the decision was or how the referees affected Mexico and England today. The results are sealed, and we will need to see what the football authorities will say.
No technology in football hurts the game. The use of replays is not something to be avoided. Rugby, ice hockey, American football and many other sports use this resource to make the sport better. Hopefully, soon we will have someone with the vision to use technology to make this beautiful sport better.
For now this is it, this was the final day for Mexico in South Africa 2010, Argentina will face Germany. For the second time in a row, these historic nations will clash in the quarterfinals.
I almost forget to say something more about the game. For example, was I the only one shocked to see El Bofo Bautista from the start? The 23rd man of Aguirre did nothing and was replaced at the half.
The good things we saw, were the talent and will to attack of the Mexican team, Chicharito, Guardado, Gio, Salcido, Juárez and many more showed a great level during the World Cup. Chicharito is meant to do great things with Man. United.
Some other players surely were watched by big teams across Europe, that’s the good thing for Mexican football, after a very sad night that ended for the fifth World Cup in a row, El Tri’s hopes of getting into the quarterfinals.