El Diego looking like something from My Big Fat Argentinian Wedding
One of the worst defeats in Argentinian World Cup history was not enough to persuade the AFA to give El Diego the boot. He has been retained as coach for the 2014 World Cup.
Actually this says more about the AFA and its toadying president Julio Grondona who has politicized everything from the broadcasting of the league games to kowtowing to the Argentinian PM, Cristina Kirchher’s demand that Maradona be retained.
It’s all based on sucking up electoral votes for the embattled national party and less on any actual sound football philosophy. Meanwhile, Paraguay and Chile under Argentinian coaches who provide not just inspiration but also tactics have a much brighter future.
The criminal misuse of Leo Messi:
Leo Messi had his best game against Nigeria- that was because he actually played in his position and was well supported by Juan Sebastian Veron. It was only a brilliant Vincent Enyeama who kept Messi from scoring.
Without Veron in the South Korea match, Messi was pushed back deeper beyond the halfline but his solo runs down the left channel found a clinical finisher in Gonzalo Higuain. Against Greece with Veron returning, Messi was back in familiar territory and playing in the opponents half. With the group stage taken care off- Maradona decided he would go for broke.
Taking off Veron and putting Tevez in a three forward set and wide players in Di Maria and Maxi Rodriguez – he increased the workload on Mascherano who now had a huge swath of territory to take care of as the lone holding midfielder. Now, Masch can tackle but he has never been mistaken for a creative presence, as a result Messi was pushed deeper to retrieve the ball to get to more advantageous positions.
The result a helter sketer Messi running into a group of forewarned Mexicans. The Argentinians can consider themselves fortunate against El Tri who were sunk by a refereeing blunder and an moment of madness. But they carried the warning signs against Germany and Maradona again failed to make the necessary adjustments. The result was a black hole in the center as Mascherano was forced to run and defend leaving Messi to start well beyond the half line which suited the Germans just fine.
Maradona’s problem is that he has not evolved beyond 1986 and his predestined successor (there have been many, presently it is Messi) is supposed to do exactly what he did in Mexico. Benign neglect can be considered criminal- Messi needed tactics and support. If Argentina wants a mascot by all means take Maradona but he will never be mistaken for a coach.