This morning’s La Nacion in Argentina identifies the 10 reasons behind Argentina’s Copa success:
1. Superiority over its rivals:
In terms of possession, chances at goal, mentality, individual responses, collective support.
2. Patience and ability to wear down its opponents:
The team has always projected serenity and belief in its abilities and resources, even when going behind or when the game was tight.
3. Group Spirit
The squad has not let pass an opportunity to show that there is a commitment to getting Argentina back to winning titles after a 14 year drought.
4. The team’s spine:
Ayala (with Milito not far behind) – Mascherano – Riquelme – Messi. Normally a good spine includes the keeper but Abbondanzieri has not had much to do.
When teams – Mexico and Colombia – sought to knock the side out if its stride with some strong-arm tactics it always kept its head and showed great self-control.
6. The Individuals:
Messi & Riquelme – enough said.
7. Mascherano – Octopus and Lion:
Before the Copa many thought the No 5. shirt belonged to Gago. Now no-one doubts that it’s Mascherano’s, an indispensable piece in the structure. A battler, a wall in the middle of pitch he has great anticipation in the tackle and quick distribution and has popped up to score twice.
8. Changes off the bench:
Basile knows his starting 11 but if he needs to change he can find what he wants on his bench. Aimar was fundamental against the US, Tevez has won a place from the bench in the starting 11. With only three regular starters the team beat Paraguay.
Many of the players have experienced success already with the clubs, many in Europe.
10. It is popular
Even though not in front of its own fans the team can feel the love and support. It won the backing of the public by bringing its best players and for its generous football. It is not just about the results but also about football as something joyful, ambitious and with a commitment to spectacle.