Argentina’s romantic commitment facing a test

September 8, 2008

Basile watches as Tevez walks offTake a look at the standings in the South American World Cup qualifying group and it seems that Argentina are making steady progress towards South Africa. After seven of the 18 games, Alfio Basile’s team are third with 12 points, two points behind the leaders, and only four goals conceded.

On paper, Argentina and their elegant playmaker Juan Roman Riquelme are a purist’s dream, weaving neat patterns around the field with their passing and refusing to resort to the long ball or the physical approach.

Basile himself, who with his slicked-back hair and gravel voice appears to have shot straight out of a classic tango film, is an old romantic, who believes that winning must be achieved with style. Their forwards Lionel Messi, Carlos Tevez and Sergio Aguero need little introduction.

When it all goes right, Argentina can be breathtaking to watch — the 26-pass goal they scored against Serbia at the last World Cup and the three goals in 20 minutes they fired past Mexico in a friendly in June give a good idea of the heights they can reach.

Yet, something is not quite right. Nine of Argentina’s points in the qualifiers came from the first three games. Since then, they have chalked up three draws — including Saturday’s 1-1 stalemate at home to Paraguay — and one defeat. For some reason, the team will not quite click.

Are they too lightweight? Is it all down to the mischannelled aggression of Tevez who on Saturday was sent off in the first half for the second time in three international appearances? Is it overdependence on the notoriously moody Riquelme? Or should they, dare we say it, contemplate returning to the less attractive tactics of the past employed under the likes of Carlos Bilardo.

Hopefully, they can sort themselves out without going down that road. It would be a huge shame if Argentina were to alter style, which is a refreshing contrast to the physical, counter-attack game adopted by their arch-rivals Brazil.

PHOTO: Argentina head coach Alfio Basile gestures as Carlos Tevez walks off following his red card during their World Cup 2010 qualifier against Paraguay in Buenos Aires September 6, 2008. REUTERS/Marcos Brindicci


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Posted by Argentina’s romantic commitment facing a test : Soccer News | Report as abusive

Argentina are sre still a great world force. they’ll be there in the next WC, winning games that matter. Tevez has been overrated for a few years now. he relies too much on his power and work ethic – but that’s a product of playing in the coal mines of english football. had he gone to spain or italy he’d have had a chance to develop his skills like kaka or sergio aguero. t/

Posted by Paolo | Report as abusive

yes, argentina not play biutifull and creative football.
yeah seven games to go.. hope they can turn it when they face Peru

Posted by nothing | Report as abusive

I love the way Argentina play. they were the best team at the last World Cup and the way they played will always be remembered. What will people remember of ITaly?

Posted by Lauder | Report as abusive

who told Argentina played their game in the last WC….
Actually they played good futball at one side rather than remember to clear penalties…Are you agree???

Posted by Vsh | Report as abusive