Archive for June 24th, 2010
Up to this point, Argentina has had quite a nice ride so far into the World Cup. Either the South Koreans, the Greeks or the Nigerians were too much of a rival for the South American squad guided by no other then the soccer legend and the somewhat controversial Diego Maradona.
But this time around they are going to face a Mexican squad that has been playing very well in their group stage. The Mexican have had to very difficult games in the round robin stage. First they defeated France with an outstanding 2-0, and then, on their last game they lost to Uruguay by 1-0. Still they managed to leave host South Africa out of the competition by finishing second in Group A.
If we have to take into consideration which squad has been tested the most, we would definitely have to put our chips on the Mexican side of the table. Argentina has proved resilient and quite clever on the midfield and the offensive ends. Still, the strikers have had some trouble scoring despite their many opportunities up front.
So one could only wonder what would happened if Argentina faced a team that had a much solid and well organized defense. It gets harder once you move up in the World Cup Bracket. Can the Mexican defense keep the talents of Lionel Messi, Carlos Tevez, and Juan Sebastian Veron from taking shots or making passes to the strikers Angelo di Maria, or Gonzalo Higuaín?
The Mexicans have proved to be solid. If their head coach Vincente Aguirre can find a way to conjure the talent and experience of Cuauhtémoc Blanco with the explosiveness and freshness of Giovanny Dos Santos, the Argentinean defense, that up to this point has not really been tested, might just end up not being as bombproof as their fans would like.
There is one extra little detail for this game. This is sort of a revenge for the Mexicans. On this exact same round back in Germany World Cup 2006, the Argentines won their previous game to Mexico in overtime, and sent the squad back home. Could this be their chance for revenge or is Argentina really as strong and powerful as it looked against weaker competitors?
As of press time, sportsbook industry leader BetIAS.com has made the Argentine squad favorite by ML-200 in the World Cup Daily Matchups. The Draw is at ML+275 while Mexico has a comeback at ML+530. It is certainly a very tough betting scenario. At such a high comeback, Mexico seems quite a tantalizing pick. Yet history, statistics and tradition are well behind the Argentine team.
They have the manpower not only to win this match, but to go on and win the tournament. The main question is: can the inexperienced, and quite frankly unprepared as a coach, Diego Maradona make a World Cup winning team from such a talented group of individuals? If he can’t do it with this team, he will not do it with any other team.
There is one last detailed that might give Argentina yet another advantage over the Mexicans. Maradona had the luxury of resting some of his starters on last game of the round robin stage against the Greek. Mexico, on the other hand has pushed with all their might to make it into this round. It’s hard to say if rest is better then momentum for these soccer players. One thing you can really count on. This is going to be one heck of a match.