Saturday, 12 June 2010

Argentina 1 Nigeria 0

Diego Maradona’s men have come through their first game with minimal fuss and 3 points. They should have won more comfortably but for the efforts of the Nigerian keeper Vincent Enyeama who made 4 or 5 world class saves to deny Messi and Higuain.

The early signs indicate that Argentina will be fantastic to watch going forward but look vulnerable at the back where a distinct lack of pace could cost them against some of the better sides in the competition. They have so many options going forward in Messi, Tevez, Higuain, Milito, Agoura and Palermo that you cannot envisage them struggling for goals. If they come up against a side with quick wingers they could have problems defensively where Samuel will have to continue his Inter Milan form if they are to be triumphant in the final on 11th July.

Higuain had a poor game and I would opt for Milito in the game against South Korea on Thursday. He has been in phenomenal form this season for Inter Milan and would give Messi and Tevez someone to supply in the box more often. There were times in this afternoons game when Higuain, Messi and Tevez were all operating outside the box when attacking which meant some of the play was simply too intricate. Having said that when you have Leo Messi running at players for fun there is always a feeling that the ‘flea’ will somehow emerge through the smallest gap and then advance on goal.

If Argentina are to win the World Cup they will do so by outscoring teams rather than being great defensively. It will be fascinating to see whether Maradona will attempt to bolster the defence in the coming games or will stick to the current game plan. One hopes that their attacking flair will be what is called upon in the coming weeks.

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