Again a fun match for the neutrals, again a bad bad decision by the referee (albeit his linesman)
First the result – Argentina wins 3-1. The match was much more fun and closer than the result indicates. Mexico played quite well but were unable to convert their chances in the final yards. The one time they did it was a magnificent move by J. Hernandez. Poetry in motion.
On the Argentine side, the first goal was a refereeing error and the second was a defensive blunder the final goal was a blinder of a shot by Tevez. Could the Mexicans have hauled Argentines over the coals last night if the first goal had been disallowed as an offside? They very well might have. However like the match before I believe that the Argentine’s would have won it any which way.
Any chinks in the armor for Argentine? Hell ya! I felt they will have two chinks going into the game with Germany:
1. Messi. Stop! Before you throw your rotten tomatoes hear me out here!
Messi is a master on the field and brilliant – no doubts about it, But he has not scored yet and the pressure is building on him to put the ball into the net. I fear that pressure could make him act more selfishly than is good for the team. Even yesterday in the beginning quarter there were some chances he took which I felt would have been a sure goal if he had passed to either Higuain or Tevez. Maybe I am wrong about my read of the matter but this is one worry for Argentina, in my opinion.
2. Shifting to a lower gear when ahead
In last night’s match once they were ahead Argentina visibly slowed down and tried to play a containing game. This is a very dangerous strategy for them. I do not think they are that great defensively and playing a containing game when ahead could hurt them against teams like Germany
Finally the refereeing. FIFA needs to get some technology into play and some referral system. I think this is nor more a debatable issue. It is an absolute must unless they want to see a referee dead or badly injured due to a bad decision given. I think a max number of challenges allowed would be good enough, like in American football (and I believe in Hockey too). I personally feel that after the first goal the Mexicans were so frustrated that it showed on their game. They were limp till half time. In fact they dangerously skirted getting multiple cards with their protests and were lucky that the referee understood the situation and did not reach for the cards. Also the shameful scene at half-time could have been avoided if the referee was allowed to change his decision.
Anyaway, all in all it was a fun match. Loved the Mexicans but my heart was with the pint-sized Maradona and his jolly men. Hope today’s matches are as much fun but without the unnecessary stress of bad decisions.