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Round of 16 - Argentina vs. Mexico


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#1 Zososoxfan

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Posted 24 June 2010 - 02:03 PM

The rematch from 2006 - when Argentina beat Mexico 2-1 on a godly overtime strike from Maxi Rodriguez. This game pits The Diego's superb offensive attack and mistake-prone centerback Demichelis against a hungry Mexico team with a lot to prove. I haven't watched much of Mexico, but they're captained by Rafa Marquez who's excellent in the air, but can be shaky on defense at times (just ask Barca supporters) and their attack is led by dos Santos, Vela, and Hernandez who all ply their trade in England. Vela took a knock in the group stage and as far as I know, is a ? for this match. Any talk of Mexico is incomplete without mentioning the ageless Guatemoc Blanco. He's usually gassed by the 50th minute and makes Juan Veron look like Maicon. I'll leave the rest of the Mexico analysis to Bosoxen or someone else. I have plenty of bad things to say about the Mexican team, but I expect them to come out attacking and play futbol and I would respect them if they choose to do that.

As for Argentina, Diego has lit a fire under this team's ass. These guys kill for one another and their country. I'm including an email from my Unlce in Buenos Aires at the end of this post and it captures how the entire nation has so much passion for this team - it's really touching, actually (getting a little dusty in here...). Throw it into a translator if you don't speak Spanish.

Tactically, there are a few things Argentina can do to make themselves more dangerous. In order of importance:

1) Don't let Veron on the field.

2) Don't let Veron on the field.

3) Don't let Veron on the field. My evidence, you ask? Against Nigeria and Greece, with Veron in the lineup, Argentina scores 3 goals. Against, by far the 2nd best team in the group, SKorea, with no Veron, 4-1. It would be one thing if this was purely tactical, such as he can't join attacks because he's old and he takes away from the creativity Argentina need to break down opposing defensive formations, but the man can't complete a 5 yard pass. He also doesn't defend well. At all. In my recap of the Greece game, I blame him for the stagnated offense because Bolatti basically has to play 2 positions to cover for Veron's shortcomings. Honestly, if Veron doesn't see the pitch, I feel very confident in an Argentina win (barring any Diego bouts of psychosis - always in play).

Real 2) If Samuel is healthy, play him and Burdisso in the back. Demichelis may have scored the opener against Greece, but he has certainly been a negative presence for the defense. Samuel was playing extremely well and Burdisso has acquitted himself well in Samuel's stead.

3) The use of Messi. Against SKorea, Messi was needed to play a traditional #10 role as a CAM and really shined. Against Greece, who clogged the middle worse than I clog my toilet after Ana's Taqueria, Messi should've been put on the outside to draw defenders and open up space like he does on Barca - Argentina has enough talent to pull this off as well.

4) Beware of Heinze. He is slow and prone to mistakes. Because Jonas Gutierrez is a workhorse and Diego has smartly placed him across from Heinze in the back, Heinze can play basically as a 3rd centerback. Keep this the same.

5) Good setpieces. All tournament, Argentina has rarely wasted setpieces, scoring on 2 corners and looking dangerous on free kicks.

6) Other lineup moves. I was very impressed with Pastore in limited time against Greece. If Diego insists on starting Di Maria across from Maxi (who has to be included in the XI for fear factor alone), Pastore should be off the bench if either is underperforming.

If Argentina plays to its potential, I don't think Mexico has a chance. Tevez and Higuain have to keep the good times rolling up top, Mascherano needs to continue being the best defensive mid in the world, Messi should do something magical, and Gutierrez should continue running marathons.

#2 nvalvo


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Posted 24 June 2010 - 03:20 PM

This isn't analysis, but I once saw a younger Cuauhtémoc Blanco, playing for Club America, clutch the ball between his feet and bunny-hop over a tackle to start a breakaway. That guy is kind of a genius. But yeah, isn't he like fifty?

#3 Billy R Ford


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Posted 24 June 2010 - 03:58 PM

QUOTE (nvalvo @ Jun 24 2010, 04:20 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
This isn't analysis, but I once saw a younger Cuauhtémoc Blanco, playing for Club America, clutch the ball between his feet and bunny-hop over a tackle to start a breakaway. That guy is kind of a genius. But yeah, isn't he like fifty?


Ah yes, the Cuauhteminha.



#4 nvalvo


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Posted 24 June 2010 - 05:23 PM

QUOTE (Billy R Ford @ Jun 24 2010, 01:58 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Ah yes, the Cuauhteminha.



Awesome, thanks for finding that.

Yes, that's precisely what I was talking about; so I guess he does that a lot?

#5 Billy R Ford


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Posted 24 June 2010 - 06:11 PM

QUOTE (nvalvo @ Jun 24 2010, 06:23 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Awesome, thanks for finding that.

Yes, that's precisely what I was talking about; so I guess he does that a lot?


Not so much any more I don't think, since like you said he's older and, well, heavier. Maybe he can't get lift-off anymore laugh.gif

#6 Warning Track Speed

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Posted 24 June 2010 - 10:44 PM

The '06 game was pretty compelling. The aforementioned godly overtime strike:



#7 Bosoxen


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Posted 25 June 2010 - 09:40 AM

In the run-up to the World Cup, Mexico was plagued by two very obvious issues:

1) Vulnerable to set pieces
2) Unable to finish scoring opportunities

The former appears to be mostly squared away at this point, but that still remains to be seen. No one in their group had the proven ability to score on set pieces like Argentina does, so that'll be a big test for the Mexican defense.

The latter still appears to be an issue, however. Giovani Dos Santos has been doing his job by creating space and generally wreaking havoc with his speed and ball handling ability. But the issue is that they don't have a true, proven sgoal scorer. They've been playing with Guillermo Franco who is, shall we say, sub par. The only guy on their roster who has the potential to be a true goal scorer is Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez (he's the guy who scored the break away goal against France). But the problem is that he's young and still unproven at this stage, so he'll continue to be used as a second half sub.

One other potential negative is Oscar Perez. Personally, I prefer Memo Ochoa between the posts, but Aguirre apparently sees something in Perez (or Ochoa banged his daughter). I think Perez appears unsure at times and doesn't secure the ball as much I would like. He appears to prefer to punch the ball out 90% of the time, even when it's not exactly necessary. One thing that's interesting to me is that Ochoa made a bad mistake in one of the warm up matches. But if memory serves, it was the first match where they used the Jabulani. It seemed like that was his death sentence, but we all know how some keepers have struggled with that damn ball.

Anyway, this brings me to Cuauhtemoc Blanco. He's old, slow and fat. But he's a national icon and that's why he's on the squad. That's the only reason. The other day I saw an interview with Ricardo Lavolpe. In that interview, he very bluntly said that Aguirre made a mistake by allowing himself to be saddled with Blanco. And he's right because he's pretty much useless at this point. The only role he fills on this team that someone else can't do better is that of taking penalty shots. But that's not really worth it.

So that's the bad. Here's the good:

They can control the midfield very well. This is their biggest strength. They've also been doing pretty well in set pieces and creating runs up the wings (Efrain Juarez and Ricardo Osorio are very good in this role), creating good scoring opportunities - which, of course, they haven't been finishing with great frequency. They will need to continue this to have any chance of winning.

In the end, there is one undeniable fact: Argentina is more talented than Mexico. They are, quite simply, not a good match up. Mexico's weakness is its defense, which is prone to mental mistakes and lapses in concentration. That's a death sentence against a team that can score at will, like Argentina has proven it can do. So Mexico will have to play a near-perfect game to be able to win. But this is a team with a bunch of kids that were members of the team that won the under 20 World Cup recently. So it's not completely impossible for that to happen. But they'll definitely have to play better than they did against Uruguay.

I can't wait. I'll be watching this with my dad, brother and cousin who is in town from Mexico City. I may or may not be wearing pants.

Si se puede!!

#8 Bosoxen


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Posted 25 June 2010 - 10:32 AM

On the injury front, it appears that Carlos Vela was at practice on Wednesday. I still haven't seen word whether he'll play or not but that's a positive sign. If he does play, it'll likely be as a sub or starting with the intention of him coming out for a sub in the 2nd half. He's never really been a 90-minute guy anyway and with the injury, it'll be even less likely.

#9 Zososoxfan

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Posted 25 June 2010 - 12:06 PM

QUOTE (Bosoxen @ Jun 25 2010, 10:40 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
So that's the bad. Here's the good:

They can control the midfield very well. This is their biggest strength. They've also been doing pretty well in set pieces and creating runs up the wings (Efrain Juarez and Ricardo Osorio are very good in this role), creating good scoring opportunities - which, of course, they haven't been finishing with great frequency. They will need to continue this to have any chance of winning.


Thanks for this analysis Bosoxen. If these are indeed the strengths of Mexico, I see the game coming down to how Mascherano plays in relation to the fullbacks and how Argentina align their attacking midfield players.

As I've said before, Heinze is weak at left fullback, but because Jonas Gutierrez runs the pitch well and is actually quite good at defense, Heinze becomes a stay-at-home fullback (see what I did there, combining hockey and soccer terms? ok, I'm done). If this match is tied and it gets late in the game, I could see Mascherano or the fullbacks getting caught upfield and Juarez/Osorio getting in behind.

Argentina's attack should control this game, though. The game should be played on Mexico's side of the field and I'm very interested to see how they defend. When you talk about defending Argentina though, you have to understand the offense.

With regards to Messi, he'll either play wide to draw 2 marking defenders and get the CBs attention to his side, or he'll play as a CAM and facillitate the middle. Lately, they've let him roam between the two, which I love. Mexico has to collapse on him when he's in the middle and double mark him on the outside to limit his touches in space. The game could swing on how well he does in these [likely] limited opportunities. Argentina has terrific balance in terms of left-right attack because with Heinze staying home, the left mid (likely Di Maria, hoping for Pastore) basically becomes a full attacker with few defensive responsibilities. Part of the reason I like Pastore more than Di Maria in this situation is that he's a better passer and is more inclined to come middle and play with his back to goal, whereas Di Maria is more of a prototypical dribbling winger. On the right, Maxi gets a lot of passing lanes and space because Gutierrez is involved in almost every attack.

So, what do you do if you're Mexico? I think you keep Argentina out of the middle and force them to the flanks because they're most dangerous with through balls in the middle. You have to play a tight formation and force Argentina to cross often because Tevez and Messi aren't going to win many headers over Rafa. Osorio/Juarez need to attack Heinze at pretty much every opportunity and try and catch Gutierrez out of position. If they manage to keep some possesion, swinging the ball often to keep Mascherano moving will start to peel the defensive layers, but if Burdisso and Samuel are back there, prospects don't improve much. If Demichelis is there, pass him the ball and pounce on the inevitable mistake.

NO VERON = ARGENTINA VICTORY

Also, here's part of an email that my Argentine uncle sent me a couple of days ago:

Hola Lenny
Creo que con el triunfo de USA sobre la hora y primero del grupo debes estar muy contento. Ahora en octavos pueden pasar a Ghana y llegar a cuartos entre los 8 mejores del mundo. Seria fantastico. (Double bonus for him not hating on the US)

Aca estamos todos muy optimistas con el team del "Diego". Ganamos los 3 partidos y el domingo le toca a Mexico. Hay muchas banderas y todo es celeste y blanco. Se vive con mucha intensidad. Cuando se juegan los partidos queda el pais parado. Las fabricas y los shoppings las escuelas, todos hacemos un stop.Todos queremos ver el partido y festejar. Esperemos seguir en carrera y llegar a la final el 11 de Julio. Te mando un abrazo grande y suerte para todos. Salud Tio Carlos


#10 Tony C


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Posted 25 June 2010 - 01:10 PM

I love "celeste y blanco" -- didn't realize celeste was sky blue in Spanish, damn that's pretty.

Still rooting for Mexico, though.


#11 Bosoxen


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Posted 25 June 2010 - 01:25 PM

QUOTE (Tony C @ Jun 25 2010, 01:10 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I love "celeste y blanco" -- didn't realize celeste was sky blue in Spanish, damn that's pretty.

Still rooting for Mexico, though.

Yup. In fact, Uruguay's team's nickname is La Celeste.

#12 Bosoxen


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Posted 25 June 2010 - 01:34 PM

For a description of Mexico's tactics, much more in depth than I'm capable of, check this out:

http://www.zonalmark...net/tag/mexico/

It has a break down of their tactics prior to the World Cup and for each of their group stage matches. Good reading if you like that sort of thing.

They have all of the other World Cup participants, as well.

Edit-After reading through it, I realized that I goofed. It's Salcido that plays the wing well, not Osorio. For some reason, I always get those two mixed up and I have no idea why.

Edited by Bosoxen, 25 June 2010 - 03:35 PM.


#13 ifmanis5


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Posted 27 June 2010 - 12:20 PM

Maradona on the field before the game, ignoring his team and mugging for the cameras and blowing kisses to the fans. Hilarious. He's not concerned about over-coaching that's for sure.

#14 Bosoxen


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Posted 27 June 2010 - 12:35 PM

I don't like the lineup for Mexico. Bautista is a butcher. I would have preferred Barrera over the injured Vela. I like that Hernandez is in for Franco but Bofo (Bautista) really bothers me.

Edit-And I don't like that Perez is back in goal. I've seen enough of him to know that Ochoa is simply better.

Edited by Bosoxen, 27 June 2010 - 12:43 PM.


#15 ifmanis5


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Posted 27 June 2010 - 12:49 PM

Get ready for some serious vuvuzela sound in this match. It's already deafening.

#16 cjdmadcow

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Posted 27 June 2010 - 01:36 PM

Argentina v Mexico line-ups

Argentina: 22-Sergio Romero; 15-Nicolas Otamendi, 2-Martin Demichelis, 4-Nicolas Burdisso, 6-Gabriel Heinze, 14-Javier Mascherano, 20-Maxi Rodriguez, 7-Angel Di Maria, 10-Lionel Messi, 11-Carlos Tevez, 9-Gonzalo Higuain.

Mexico: 1-Oscar Perez; 16-Efrain Juarez, 2-Francisco Rodriguez, 4-Rafael Marquez, 3-Carlos Salcido, 5-Ricardo Osorio, 18-Andres Guardado, 6-Gerardo Torrado, 21-Adolfo Bautista, 17-Giovani Dos Santos, 14-Javier Hernandez

Referee: Roberto Rosetti (Italy)


#17 ifmanis5


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Posted 27 June 2010 - 01:44 PM

Lots of chances so far. Great pace.

#18 shawnrbu


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Posted 27 June 2010 - 01:56 PM

More brutal officiating.

The theme of this World Cup.

#19 Morgan's Magic Snowplow


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Posted 27 June 2010 - 01:56 PM

Yikes. Way offside.

#20 Freddy Linn


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Posted 27 June 2010 - 01:56 PM

Another one. Jesus, this is horrible.

#21 Maalox


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Posted 27 June 2010 - 01:56 PM

Horrible missed call.

#22 ifmanis5


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Posted 27 June 2010 - 01:56 PM

Credibility on the line here...

#23 shawnrbu


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Posted 27 June 2010 - 01:57 PM

Pull the team off the pitch.

#24 Infield Infidel


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Posted 27 June 2010 - 01:57 PM

This tourney is devolving into an officiating quagmire.

If I was Mexico, I'd leave the field

#25 gaelgirl


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Posted 27 June 2010 - 01:58 PM

That was awful. Really terrible. FIFA looks bad for "we can't use technology" over and over and over and over and over and over and over again. And that's just in this World Cup.

#26 shawnrbu


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Posted 27 June 2010 - 01:59 PM

QUOTE (Infield Infidel @ Jun 27 2010, 01:57 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
This tourney is devolving into an officiating quagmire.

If I was Mexico, I'd leave the field


They need to stay out at Half. A message needs to be sent that criminal officiating will not be tolerated by the rest of the world.

#27 cjdmadcow

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Posted 27 June 2010 - 01:59 PM

This is getting ridiculous now. Once the replay had been shown on the screen, the linesman realised he'd made a mistake but couldn't change his mind because the rules don't allow instant replay.


#28 Ahriman


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Posted 27 June 2010 - 01:59 PM

Technology is losing the battle.

We have a Blatter problem.

#29 Freddy Linn


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Posted 27 June 2010 - 01:59 PM

"We can't use technology", but our guys are wired with earpieces and microphones. Klinsmann hammered on this just half an hour ago.

FIFA sucks as much as the IOC.

#30 bankshot1


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Posted 27 June 2010 - 02:00 PM

QUOTE (bankshot1 @ Jun 27 2010, 10:40 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Jim Joyce is looking better!!!

and better

#31 URI


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Posted 27 June 2010 - 02:00 PM

I give a lot of credit to both Ian Darke and Martin Tyler openly mocking the technology position of FIFA. Sepp's lack of coherent leadership really should be talked about more openly.

#32 DukeSox


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Posted 27 June 2010 - 02:00 PM

QUOTE (Freddy Linn @ Jun 27 2010, 02:59 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
"We can't use technology", but our guys are wired with earpieces and microphones. Klinsmann hammered on this just half an hour ago.

FIFA sucks as much as the IOC.

Bing-fucking-o.

#33 Tony C


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Posted 27 June 2010 - 02:02 PM

QUOTE (ifmanis5 @ Jun 27 2010, 10:56 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Credibility on the line here...


what a joke of a sport. what other sport has about 25% of its goals either be illegitimate or illegitimately disallowed? utter crap. why bother every sport has bad reffing, and every sport can have calls at key moments that swing a game. but I've never watched a sport which is more disproprotionately affected by bad calls.



#34 cannonball 1729

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Posted 27 June 2010 - 02:03 PM

No blown call there.

#35 SumnerH


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Posted 27 June 2010 - 02:03 PM

Hahaha. That was a huge gaffe.

#36 Ahriman


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Posted 27 June 2010 - 02:03 PM

That one is inexcusable. Brutal defending.

#37 ifmanis5


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Posted 27 June 2010 - 02:03 PM

Potentially great game totally spoiled.

#38 Zomp


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Posted 27 June 2010 - 02:03 PM

Heinze hitting the camera is my favorite moment of the tournament so far.

#39 Morgan's Magic Snowplow


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Posted 27 June 2010 - 02:05 PM

Osorio should take a long vacation out of the country after this World Cup. He might get Escobared.

#40 gaelgirl


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Posted 27 June 2010 - 02:05 PM

Well, Mexico truly allowed that piece of crap in. For fuck's sake.

Also, get the balloons off the field. And the buffoon referees and linesmen.

#41 Maalox


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Posted 27 June 2010 - 02:05 PM

That missed offsides is a pisser, because this Argentine goalie definitely looks beatable.

#42 gaelgirl


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Posted 27 June 2010 - 02:08 PM

It's really difficult to determine how things "would have been," both in this match and the England-Germany match, had the right calls been made. But they right calls should be fucking made. At least use the hockey-style goal line technology. It's instant and doesn't disturb the flow of the game in any miniscule amount.

Mexico is a total mess. They would have been better off if they actually did leave the pitch.

#43 Ahriman


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Posted 27 June 2010 - 02:08 PM

That fucking laser pointer is back. I knew I wasn't seeing shit on the first night of group play.

#44 ifmanis5


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Posted 27 June 2010 - 02:13 PM

I was really looking forward to these games today and they've both been ruined by the refs.

#45 Infield Infidel


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Posted 27 June 2010 - 02:16 PM

What would have happened if Mexico left the field? There's absolutely no way Sepp could have let this game become a forfeiture.

edit - The best thing about the goal being allowed is that they always show the replay of allowed goals in the stadium (as opposed to disallowed goals). Everyone there knows about it, including the ref and the assistant

Edited by Infield Infidel, 27 June 2010 - 02:17 PM.


#46 Maalox


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Posted 27 June 2010 - 02:18 PM

Mexican offense is good.

This is a real unfortunate game. Mexican defense went to pieces for a while after the fake goal - I am not convinced that the second goal was 100% unrelated to that.

Argies have a better team than Mexico, but not by all that much. And they are a bunch of floppers. I hope the Germans beat them by four goals, and then gas their asses.

#47 bankshot1


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Posted 27 June 2010 - 02:24 PM

QUOTE
I hope the Germans beat them by four goals, and then gas their asses.


I'm pretty sure the real hardcore Nazi's bolted Germany and moved the showers, Zyklon B, and ovens to South Ameica.

#48 ForceAtHome

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Posted 27 June 2010 - 02:24 PM

QUOTE (gaelgirl @ Jun 27 2010, 03:08 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
It's really difficult to determine how things "would have been," both in this match and the England-Germany match, had the right calls been made. But they right calls should be fucking made. At least use the hockey-style goal line technology. It's instant and doesn't disturb the flow of the game in any miniscule amount.

Mexico is a total mess. They would have been better off if they actually did leave the pitch.


What is hockey-style goal line technology that is instant?

Edit: Are you referring to a goal judge or instant replay?

Edited by ForceAtHome, 27 June 2010 - 02:25 PM.


#49 SeoulSoxFan


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Posted 27 June 2010 - 02:25 PM

QUOTE (Maalox @ Jun 27 2010, 03:18 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Mexican offense is good.

This is a real unfortunate game. Mexican defense went to pieces for a while after the fake goal - I am not convinced that the second goal was 100% unrelated to that.

Argies have a better team than Mexico, but not by all that much. And they are a bunch of floppers. I hope the Germans beat them by four goals, and then gas their asses.


All my horses are out of the tourney, and left with rooting for Mexico, Uruguay, and the Germans. Anyone but Argentina and, heh, Ghana.

#50 Maalox


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Posted 27 June 2010 - 02:25 PM

QUOTE (bankshot1 @ Jun 27 2010, 03:24 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I'm pretty sure the real hardcore Nazi's bolted Germany and moved the showers, Zyklon B, and ovens to South Ameica.

maybe they're the ones bribing the wop judges