I don’t want to take anything away from a team that’s sitting in first place in their group with two wins in two matches, but I can’t help but be slightly underwhelmed by the job Argentina has done so far in this World Cup. With the draw they got, they should have those six points, but I just feel like they should be crushing this group, and they’ve barely escaped two ties because of two brilliant goals by Lionel Messi–today’s in the 91st minute. Things just don’t seem to be clicking for them.
During their first Group F matchup–against Bosnia and Herzegovina–the Argentines took a 1-0 lead in the third minute on an own goal by Sead Kolašinac. They didn’t score a goal of their own until the 65th minute, when Messi got open at the top of the box on a beautiful give and go and hammered one into the lower left corner past goalkeeper Asmir Begović. I will take nothing away from Messi, as he is in the conversation for best in the world and his goal was brilliant, but the rest of the team did very little to help him. When Bosnia and Herzegovina scored in the 85th minute, all of a sudden things got a little hairy. Argentina managed to hold on, but they would have had one point there instead of three if not for Kolasinac’s error.
Today against Iran, they seemed to come out a bit flat too. Iran didn’t dominate or anything, but that might have been because they didn’t try to. Coach Carlos Quieroz basically sent his team out there to draw three times in this group stage, and it may have cost him and his team three points today. Argentina seemed a bit sloppy and unable to finish, and was almost caught off-guard a couple of times by the Iranians. Only Iran’s lack of attack, and a great save by Sergio Romero, kept this a nil-nil game for as long as it was. As I mentioned earlier, the three points were rescued in the 91st minute by another amazing goal by Messi. (Check it out below).
Coming into this tournament, Argentina was heralded as one of the favorites to take home the Cup. Supporters pointed to their “Big Four”–Messi, Gonzalo Higuaín, Sergio Agüero and Ángel di María–as the unstoppable force that would carry Argentina to glory. So far, I’ve only seen Messi’s brilliance, as he has almost single-handedly netted them four extra points in the group standings.
All that being said, Argentina is still a brilliant team, they have six points and will be moving on to the round of 16. Nobody can argue with those results. Also, you get the feeling that they’ve been kind of playing down to their competition as well. You have to imagine that, as the competition heats up in the knockout stages, the real Argentina is going to come out, and they’ll start raising their level of play in order to make a deep run in this tournament. Although they haven’t made it out of the quarter-finals since 1990, so they shouldn’t rest on the laurels of the “Big Four” for too much longer.
Messi’s Goal Against Bosnia and Herzegovina:
And the Game Winner Against Iran Today:
Featured image courtesy of: Abedin Taherkenareh/EPA
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