Argentina Mexico report

June 29, 2010

1. By now, everyone knows Carlos Tevez was offside. It was a pretty massive error in a goal that came clearly against the run of play. At that point, Mexico (Salcido) had hit the cross bar and (Guardado?) had a banana shot headed directly into the goal, only to swerve out at the very last second, maybe kissing the post as it did. Argentina was quite fortunate to have the game at 0-0.

Not as big an error as England’s goal against Germany, in my opinion, but pretty grave. The linesman got caught game-watching while out of position. As far as offsides calls go, this one wasn’t close to the hardest. Linesman are usually prepared to put up their flag when the goalie is out of the net, because they know offsides is much more likely.

2. Any goal is crucial, but especially the first goal. It changed the course of the game. Not many countries can beat Argentina when they suffer a misfortune that big. Adding insult to injury was watching Tevez’ offside score on the jumbotrons in the stadium. That certainly might have affected the huge error that gave Argentina their two goal lead.

3. I thought the Mexicans were pretty classy given what they suffered.

4. Great goal from Tevez. El Chicharito’s goal for Mexico was pretty stunning as well, equally for the turn on DiMichelis as for the finish. I think he showed himself well this World Cup, and Alex Ferguson is grinning inside for buying Javier Hernandez for a mere 10 million. Price would’ve been higher now.

5. I didn’t like the Veron for Tevez substitution. Tevez always seems to play better when he is involved in the flow of the game. He had been backtracking and winning balls in the midfield, belying Argentina’s supposed formation. Pulling him out for Veron was one of the factors that led Mexico to dominate the last 30+ minutes of play. That doesn’t matter too much when you’re up 3-0, but is the sort of thing that can bite you in a closer match.

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What I watched this weekend

April 12, 2010

It was almost inevitable that after starting a blog about football and saying “I watch tons of football” that  I would hardly watch any this weekend.

On Saturday, I got home in time for the Real Madrid v Barcelona Clasico kickoff, but couldn’t find it on TV.  What?  Surely in Argentina they will be showing Leo Messi playing in the Clasico, right?  No.   All the online feeds I found weren’t cooperating either, until I found a good one with about 5 minutes left to go in the first half.  Hmm.  What I saw suggests that it could have been a 5-3 game.

Xavi (of the Hernandez variety, not of the Xabi Alonso flavor) played a number of perfect through balls, including the two that Messi chested down to have one on one’s…the first of which was the first goal, but the second of which was a nearly unexcuseable missed opportunity because Messi had so much time alone in the box.

While Barcelona certainly dominated the game and deserved to win, football can be funny like that.  Statistics have shown that time of possession is not a very good predictor of victory (I haven’t read the study yet, I plan to this week, but intuitively it doesn’t surprise me.)  Certainly Madrid had some opportunities when it was 1-0, and if they’d converted one or two of them, it would have been an entirely different game.

I didn’t watch any Italian football but did note that Roma has taken over the points lead.  Inter is a point behind, and AC Milan is 4 behind with 5 games left.  I won’t analyse schedules, but it’s interesting that Inter has slipped after it had a pretty large lead (12 points, was it?) earlier in the season.

On Sunday, I caught bits and pieces of Manchester City v Birmingham and Portsmouth v Tottenham.  For the latter game, though the score remained 0-0 when I had to leave, Tottenham looked firmly in control.   The FA Cup is funny like that though, it seems.  Chelsea v Portsmouth in Wembley:  1st vs last place in the Premier League for silverware.  It would be amusing if Portsmouth won silverware after managing just 14 points this season.  As for Man City v Birmingham, a fairly dodgy penalty against Scott Dann led to Carlos Tevez converting the penalty to make the game 1-0 in the 38th minute.  In the next 5 minutes, 3 more goals were scored.  Philip Dowd changed the game completely as referee.   Man City ended up winning 5-1, but I wish I could see the game without that penalty being called.  Birmingham was playing City fairly even.

Meanwhile, the other 3 EPL games in England were 0-0, just like in Argentina: three 0-0 ties was the Sunday action.   Sportscenter has to be frustrated when things like that happen.


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