Post World Cup 2010 Reports
posted by Jas, 07/06/2010
Tens of thousands of fans welcomed the Argentina team when they returned to Buenos Aires following their exit from the World Cup. Diego Maradona had hinted that he may leave but the fans made it clear that they want him to stay, chanting “Do not go, Diego”. One banner read: “May God let your enemies live long enough so they can stand up to applaud your successes.”
“I never expected people would react this way, but it’s a huge joy,” said Jonas Guttierez. “The fans gave us an incredible amount of support. We are very angry because we wanted to stay in the competition for them, but could not.” “Being managed by Maradona is a unique thing. I would like it if he were to continue, but it is his decision,” Guttierez added.
During the ‘welcome home’ party at the Argentininan FA Lionel Messi, Carlos Tevez and Mario Bolatti spoke privately with Maradona, trying to persuade him to stay on as manager.
Meanwhile a close associate of the AFA president, Julio Grondona, said it was up to Maradona if he stayed or went. “The ideal thing would be for him to see out his contract,” said Luis Segura, chairman of Argentinos Juniors. Segura said none of Maradona’s predecessors had been sacked. “The AFA has never cut a contract short and if Diego decides to carry on, he will carry on.”
Argentina lost their quarterfinal yet again to Germany and Diego Maradona’s future as Argentina coach is unclear after the team’s devastating 4-0 loss to Germany. “I may leave tomorrow, but I’d like that these boys continue showing who they are and keep playing real Argentina football,” Maradona said, looking tired and heartbroken after the match in Cape Town.
Asked to clarify his plans for the future, he said “I’ll have to think carefully about it and talk with my family, and the players. There are many issues here. I’m as disappointed as all Argentines, to see my country lose a football match is very hard for someone who has worn the shirt.”
“Now is not the time to make these decisions,” Gabriel Heinze said. “Surely it would be better to wait until the emotion has cooled. Maradona has worked very well and it would be great for him to continue. I will defend the selection and I will defend this group,” Heinze said. “We can take some positive things from our performances in South Africa. But as always results are the most important thing and we screwed up.”
“We did not fulfil the expectations of many people,” said Messi. “I feel really terrible, and I just want to go home. We played a terrible game [against Germany] and we will have to start again. Thank you for all your support.”
Argentina: Romero; Otamendi, (Gomez 69), Demichelis, Burdisso, Heinze; Rodriguez, Mascherano, Di Maria (Aguero 76); Messi; Tevez, Higuain.
Six days after turfing England out of the World Cup with a magical display, Germany cast their spell on Argentina with a brilliant quarter-final performance.
Argentina were buried thanks to a third-minute goal from Thomas Muller and two second-half efforts from Miroslav Klose either side of one from Arne Friedrich. Even Diego Maradona would had appreciated it had he not been in the opposite dug-out. An imperious masterclass from a side on the march.
Games of this magnitude can often be dull, sterile affairs, where two giants cancel each other out completely. This spectacular never had a chance of being that way. An Argentina team containing Lionel Messi, Gonzalo Higuain and Carlos Tevez, managed by one of the most creative forces there has ever been, is not exactly set up to defend. Germany’s talents are not as well known. But over the past week Joachim Low’s team have made some statement.
When Nicolas Otamendi brought Podolski down by the touchline, the start of what turned out to be a tortuous opening period for the young full-back, Bastian Schweinsteiger curled the free-kick to the near post. Muller escaped Otamendi’s attentions and rose unchallenged.
The youngster should have sent a firm header into the corner. Instead, he got the faintest touch which deceived Sergio Romero, who must have thought he was going to be beaten anyway. It shot off the Argentina keeper’s leg and rolled into the net. For a good 15 minutes, those famous blue and white shirts were seen twisting and turning in all directions as they tried to keep their opponents at bay. Klose wasted a golden opportunity to double the advantage when Muller capitalised on Gabriel Heinze’s error and squared for the veteran frontman. On his 100th appearance, it should have been his 51st goal. But he rushed the opportunity and side-footed over.
Too young to be considered for Germany’s triumphant Under-21 squad at last summer’s European Championships, what a year Muller has had. In reaching the Champions League final with Bayern Munich, he had already confirmed himself as one of the best young players in the world. On successive weekends, both England and Argentina have discovered the 20-year-old is a rich talent as well. Unfortunately, football can be a cruel sport and a harsh booking for handball means the youngster will miss Wednesday’s semi-final in Durban.
After being hurt so badly so quickly, Argentina at least managed to clear their heads and began to respond. The problem was Germany’s defence was rock solid, their movement choreographed superbly. Messi tried to sparkle but he was forced further back to gain meaningful possession, and then surrounded instantly to ensure there was no escape.
Another star name destined to leave South Africa without making a significant mark, or scoring a goal, Messi did his best with the scraps that were offered without making the mesmerising burst or defence-splitting pass his team craved.
On the touchline, Maradona stood, knowing the difference between a great player and the absolute best is their ability to produce when the pressure is at its greatest, as he did in 1986. Since then, Germany have gained revenge, both in the 1990 final and the quarter-final four years ago.
In his amusing dismissal of England, German skipper Philipp Lahm said he wanted to win inside 90 minutes, for his country to finally defeat a big team. It was time for his youthful team-mates to announce their arrival. First, a prone Muller stabbed the ball into space and set Podolski free to present Klose with a tap-in.
Then, pushing forward even though the game was won, Friedrich was on hand to finish from close range after Schweinsteiger had cut through the Argentine defence like a knife through butter. Klose finished the rout and with another four-star performance, Germany roll into the semi-finals with every chance of lifting the trophy.
Preview of Argentina vs Germany match plus today’s headlines. Lionel Messi missed Argentina’s training yesterday because of a cold but has recovered and should be fit to start. On how he would play against Germany, Maradona said, “It would be a sin to change now. I am not going to play 4-4-2.” He also announced that Demechelis will start but is unsure who will partner him in the crucial area of central defence saying, “Samuel or Burdisso? We are still analysing all the options.” Discuss here.
Meanwhile, Batistuta is now back in Argentina, speaking to Ole newspaper he said Maradona is doing a fantastic job, it will be a tough match against Germany.
Argentina will meet Germany in the quarterfinals after beating Mexico 3 – 1 in the round of 16 match. Goals were scored by Tevez (25, 52)and Higuain (33). Maradona brushed aside controversy over Argentina’s opening goal by claiming referees are overlooking “scandalous” treatment of Lionel Messi.
“It’s a scandal what is happening to Messi. When you have three players just trying to kick you…the same thing happened to me 20 years ago. The Mexican coach is as hot-blooded as I am but there is a limit to everything. People don’t even look for the ball with Messi, they look for his legs and kick him.We won a great match, with high tension and both teams played well. We knew very well that whenever we decided to tighten our grip we would be able to gain an advantage. We were superior for 90 minutes, held the ball well and passed well.
Speaking of his two goals Carlos Tevez said, “Yes, they were two important goals. Luckily I opened the scoring. I’m happy. You have to enjoy this victory – it wasn’t easy to beat Mexico. This was an important step. We’re in the quarter finals and that’s what matters – that we played well. The Argentine people are enjoying this World Cup and have every right to be celebrating. Now we have to relax a little ahead of going up against the Germans in the quarter-finals, four years after losing to them.”
Argentina: Sergio Romero, Nicolás Otamendi, Martín Demichelis, Nicolás Burdisso, Gabriel Heinze, Maxi Rodríguez (Javier Pastore, 87), Javier Mascherano, Lionel Messi, Ángel Di María (Jonas Gutiérrez, 79), Carlos Tevez (Juan Veron, 69), Gonzalo Higuaín
Mexico: Oscar Pérez, Ricardo Osorio, Maza Rodríguez, Rafael Márquez, Carlos Arnoldo Salcido, Efraín Juárez, Gerardo Torrado, Andrés Guardado (Guillermo Franco, 62), Giovani Dos Santos, Javier Hernández, Adolfo Bautista (Pablo Barrera, 46)
Controversy reigned again at Soccer City as Carlos Tevez’s opener for Argentina against Mexico was yards offside. However, after Gonzalo Higuain’s second, no-one could argue with his rocket shot that put Argentina three up before Javier Hernandez hit back with his own stunner.
On a day to forget for match officials, the Manchester City striker benefited from an offside decision blunder that was so blatant it ranked alongside the one that denied Frank Lampard in the England game four hours previously.
The offside rule states there should be two players between the striker and the goal – there was not even one when Lionel Messi’s ball found Tevez’s head, and then the net to put Diego Maradona’s side in front. After the replay flashed up on the big screen angry Mexico players surrounded the Italian referee Roberto Rosetti and linesman Stefano Ayroldi but the goal stood. Mexico went into meltdown and a defensive howler by Ricardo Osorio allowed Gonzalo Higuain to make it 2-0.
It was Tevez who sewed the match up in brilliant fashion – and legitimately this time – early in the second half with Mexico left only to savour a stunning reply by Manchester United’s new signing Javier Hernandez.
Until Tevez’s opener Mexico had looked the better side in this clash between the Latin Americans who had fought out a terrific contest at the same stage of the 2006 finals. That went to extra time but once again Javier Aguirre’s men showed themselves to be a classy but unfortunate outfit.
Two incidents within the opening 10 minutes had Argentinian hearts in mouths. First Carlos Salcido crashed in a thunderous drive from 30 yards that Sergio Romero just touched onto the crossbar, then an equally terrific strike by Andres Guardado whisked agonisingly past the post. For Argentina, Messi, still looking for his first goal of the tournament, had two efforts from similar positions on the left of the area, but one was blocked and the other easily held by Oscar Perez. Messi should perhaps have passed to an unmarked team-mate – maybe that elusive goal was haunting him.
Hernandez, who increasingly looks an astute signing by Sir Alex Ferguson, turned away from his marker and slammed a shot wide but then came Tevez’s offside goal and Mexico lost their heads. First, skipper Rafael Marquez earned himself a needless booking for showing his frustration, then there was real calamity when Osorio scuffed a pass across the edge of his own box, Higuain seized onto the ball and kept his cool to round Perez neatly and slide home.
Salcido raised Mexican hopes with another long-range strike, this time parried by Romero, before Angel di Maria and Tevez nearly scored but were kept at bay by desperate blocks.
Higuain really should have made it 3-0 but somehow the Real Madrid striker put a free header wide from only six yards out. There was an unseemly melee around the officials as the teams left the pitch at half-time, with Maradona finding himself in the unusual position of peacemaker.
Any hopes Mexico had ended soon after the restart thanks to Tevez’s 52nd-minute blistering strike into the top corner from 25 yards out, with the striker running to the bench for a wild embrace with Maradona. It was left to Hernandez to rescue some pride for Mexico. The 22-year-old had just sent a header over despite being unmarked, but then he left Martin Demichelis standing with a superb turn and lashed the ball high past Romero to give Mexico a slim lifeline.
It probably shaded Tevez’s strike and will go down as one of the goals of the tournament. Argentina shut up shop after that and Mexico barely had another sniff.
Messi’s increasingly desperate search for a goal continued as Perez denied him in injury time, but he will get another chance to end his drought against Germany in Cape Town next Saturday.