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.


Mexico v South Africa postgame

June 11, 2010

We have the first game of the World Cup under our belts, and…a 1-1 tie.

That’s got to be frustrating for Mexico.  They played remarkably well in their three warmup friendlies, losing to England and Holland but beating Italy.  But the results were somewhat unimportant with shifting lineups.  The point is that they played extremely well.

Mexico came in and dominated the first half.   South Africa got a goal ten minutes into the second half and it made Mexico play with a sense of urgency.

1.   Can someone explain to me why Andres Guardado didn’t start?   I sure hope it was injury, because he played the perfect ball that gave Mexico its goal.

2.  In many ways — and I know I’m a Yank speaking about Mexican football, so I will attempt to speak cautiously — Mexico in this game reminded me of why they have less success than they should, especially against the United States.  They control the ball beautifully but never take chances.  Finally, when they do lose possession, the opponent counter and scores.

3.  While it pains me to say it, I commented to my wife, “Mexico domino el partido, pero verdadamente Sudafrica creo mucho mas chances claros.”   Or that is, Mexico dominated the game, but South Africa created more clear chances.  If clear chances is the measure of the game, Mexico is somewhat lucky to escape with a tie.

4.  No host country has ever failed to advance, including Japan and South Korea, or the analogously prepubescent USA in 1994.  Can South Africa?  It doesn’t look likely.

5.   Can Mexico advance?  On paper, South Africa is the weakest team in the group.  Mexico plays quite well, but sometimes in my opinion thinks that playing prettily is preferable to winning.   In my opinion, France and Uruguay are a touch better than Mexico, although I will admit to being impressed by Mexico in their warmup games.  However, Mexico can definitely play with France and Uruguay better than South Africa can.  Although it’s a tough result for Mexico, I wouldn’t count them out yet.

6.  Cuauhtemoc Blanco.  What was Javier Aguirre thinking?  Blanco looked horrible out there.  His first touch bounced 10 yards away from him.  Obviously he’s slow and almost 40, but wow.   Maybe I missed something, because all I saw was horrible.  There are games where Blanco can be effective, but this wasn’t it.

7.  Javier Aguirre.  I would’ve started El Chicharito (Javier Hernandez) and Guardado.  I definitely wouldn’t have played Blanco in that situation.  Context is important.

8.  Gotta stop the counterattack, El Tri.

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