Argentina Dump Mexico With Messi Wondergoal

FT: Argentina 3-0 Mexico (Heinze, Messi, Riquelme, pen)

Argentina cruised into the final of the Copa America tonight after a comprehensive win over a luckless Mexico in Puerto Ordaz.

Argentina took the lead from a Gabriel Heinze flick just before the break and then doubled their lead on the hour mark through a marvellously deft chip from Lionel Messi. Juan Roman Riquelme cheekily made it three from the penalty spot five minutes later after Carlos Tevez threw himself to the ground after a Rafael Marquez challenge.

The scoreline was trifle harsh on Mexico, who hit the woodwork twice. However, although they battled hard and never gave up running Hugo Sanchez’s men were no match for the more experienced Argentines.

The win means that Argentina will face Brazil in the final here in Maracaibo on Sunday. It also leaves Argentina as the only team to win all five of their matches.

Nevertheless, the victory was not achieved with the same ease as their previous wins. Argentina struggled to reproduce their characteristically flowing football as the eager Mexicans harried them at every turn and prevented them from getting into their stride.

Mexico could have taken the lead on several occasions in the first half, with Andres Guardado hitting the woodwork after wrong footing two defenders. Mexico had Nery Castillo playing up front after an injury scare but he did not look as fully fit and he did not trouble the Argentine rearguard.

Heinze’s opened the scoring after dreadful goalkeeping by Oswaldo Sanchez but just moments after the break Mexico hit the wodwork again, this time when Castillo steered a left foot shot against the bar.

That was the closest Mexico came to scoring, however, and as the game went on Argentina, with Cambiasso working hard on the right, gradually took control. Messi scored the decisive goal in 60 minutes with a sublime chip from the edge of the box after a nice through ball from Tevez.

That deflated the youngsters and the game was effectively over five minutes later when Riquelme scored the third from the spot. Manager Alfio Basile made three changes, taking off Juan Sebastian Veron, Juan Roman Riquelme and Carlos Tevez and replacing them with
Fernando Gago, Pablo Aimar and Rodrigo Palacio.

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10 Comments

Filed under Argentina, Mexico

10 responses to “Argentina Dump Mexico With Messi Wondergoal

  1. Bo Duke

    Mexico were simply outclassed by a better set of players playing better as a team. The gulf in ability was clear. And yet the game was lost through individual errors – what on earth was the GK Sanchez doing for the first goal? He’s a great shotstopper, one of the best, but he looked like a blind man swatting flies when the ball floated in. Totally clueless. And *that* second goal was delicious, but give Messi that much time and space and he will come up with something special. Why was the left back rooted to the spot in no-mans land while Sr Messi jogged around the back at will? Even El Maestro Marquez caught the fever, belying his reputation as a cool, elegant defensive general with a crude shoulder barge on Tevez. The Mexican commentators were going nuts, claiming it was ‘only’ obstruction and shouldn’t have been a penno. Hmmm, not sure obstruction really includes lifting your opponent skywards and dumping him on his backside about 1.5m away from the referee.

    Despite their failings being exposed, Mexico should take a lot of heart from the Copa, no shame in being beaten by an Argentina team in this sort of form. They’ve recovered their pride and found some direction under Hugo Sanchez, and they have climbed a long way since their recent humiliation by Honduras in the Copa de Oro. In the same tournament Mexico’s game against Panama was one the worst I’ve ever seen, international or not, and the transformation has been dramatic. I hope they can build from this.

  2. Alex K

    ah, thanks for the summary. yeah indeed horrible keeper error on the first goal!

    any youtube highlights of mexico’s near-goals?

    and i think i agree that the third goal should not have been called a penalty. they both were muscling for the ball and then the argentine fell flat on the ground. need to see it again, though.

    first goal crap, second goal gorgeous, third goal referee error? and too bad mexico hit the post twice.

  3. Alex K

    okay changed my mind that was a pk. wrestling-type move.

  4. I think it was obstruction. The referee should have awarded an indirect free kick.

    I hate to see attackers who throw themselves to the ground like they’ve been shot get penalties.

  5. Jesse G.

    I think that Mexico were largely outclassed. But I also think this game might have turned out very differently if Nery was fully fit.

  6. Yeah Jesse, I agree. And I think Argentina are vulnerable to pace at the back…We’ll see if Brazil abandon their deadly dull tactics so far and opt to run at them. Then we’d see a game!

  7. Bo Duke

    Nery’s fitness, or lack of, was a factor, but it’s always dangerous to be too reliant on one man. Crespo was injured early in the tourney and Argentina haven’t missed a beat. They oozed class all over the pitch, and if Guardado or Nery had scored, I still think Argentina would have won. I was sick when Guardado missed, it was a beautiful move and would have been a stunning goal but for a couple of inches of post, but I don’t think it would have changed the result.

    Anyone else (Mexico supporters that is) spend a lot of the match screaming at Arce to actually do something with the ball apart from ruin half of Mexico’s attacks?

  8. Jesse G.

    I’m not saying Argentina wouldn’t have beaten Mexico anyway or that they weren’t the clearly superior team player by player. Still, as we all know one great performance from a great player can change the complexion of a game. I just think that it would have been a much more evenly matched game and that I would bet that Mexico would have converted at least one of those chances with a fit Nery. I agree though, that Argentina would likely have won anyway.

  9. Jesse G.

    El Arbitro, I agree with you about Argentina’s rearguard. Heinze is especially vulnerable to pace since his injury issues in the past couple of years. It is a little bit sad since before them he was in absolutely sparkling form for both ManU and Argentina. I wonder if he didn’t harm his entire career for by coming back from his injury early to participate in the World Cup.

  10. pondwatching

    bo duke … agree that argentina had teh match under control but saying that it could have been a lot different had Guardado’s gone in, or Nery’s shot off the bar.

    Felt that Sanchez made a mistake coming out for the ball, though it was one of those teasers ! Heinze was never going to get any type of shot off other than the one he opted for … the lob with teh outside of the foot (he still took it with his left … instinct).

    Combined with a pretty solid defensive display by Agr, the Mexicans continually failed with the final ball. Arce, time after time was forced out wide on the right. Too much play went down that right side. The real threat was on the left with Guardado. I would have brought on Morales instead and pushed Guardado a bit inside to give Zanetti a bit more to think of … not sure why Morales didn’t feature more in this touranment.

    While Mexico undoubtedly improved sunstantially from their Gold Cup performances, I’m not convinced that this is down to Hugo Sanchez but more a case of the right players finding their feet. Borgetti getting injured I thought was a plus (for the side as a whole) and the realisation that Blanco is finished at this level. They missed the influence of Pardo’s creativity in the middle, and salcido at the back.

    Had Mexico their full squad in attendance, then you never know.

    Have been pleasantly surprised by them in this Copa, considering how awful they were in the Gold Cup but have been following them since the 2005 Confederation Cup and they looked a useful side then, but whether they can mature and sustain the challenge to 2010 is another matter.

    Irresepective, they were up against a top-notch Argentinian team who have also improved since the WC.

    Right across the americas the quality of the footballl is improving, and I feel will really dominate in the next decade.

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