Argentina marches on (with a little help from the Italians)

2010-06-27 20:50


Argentina 3
Mexico 1

It was expected that Argentina would

march into the quarter-finals

of the 2010 Fifa World Cup but they really didn’t need a helping hand

from the

officials.

Mexico were hard done by Italian referees before

succumbing to a

3-1 defeat by Argentina.


Officiating at this World Cup started badly and has deteriorated as

the tournament progressed.

After what happened earlier on the day at Free State Stadium in

Bloemfontein in the match between England and Germany, officials were clearly

out to outdo each other.

A legitimate England goal was not given when it was clear that

Frank Lampard’s pile had crossed the line and at Soccer City a goal which wasn’t

was given when Carlos Tévez was miles offside when he headed in a ball from

Lionel Messi in the 26th minute.

This prompted a mini-mass action from the Mexican players but their

protests fell on deaf ears as the goal was given.

That goal took out the sting of Mexico’s game as they had initially

restricted Argentina to play in the midfield. They started so brilliantly with

Carlos Salcido hitting the crossbar in the eighth minute.

It meant they had to push forward to search for an equaliser.

But if the opening goal was a killer punch, the second was a cruel

blow as it was their own undoing and it took the steam out of the

Mexicans.

A terrible blunder by defender Ricardo Osorio gifted Gonzalo

Higuaín a sitter and the Real Madrid striker did great work when he rounded

goalkeeper Óscar Pérez and slotted home in the 33rd minute.

There were no question marks about Tévez’s second of the night as

his brilliant stunning thunder beat Perez, who had no chance whatsoever, in the

52nd minute.

The goal signalled the end of whatever hopes the Mexicans had of

making a great comeback.

Trailing 3-0 against Diego Maradona’s side is like an attempt on

Mount Everest as they don’t let in goals easily at the back. They have conceded

only one goal in four matches since their arrival in South Africa.

But Mexico did pull one back through Javier Hernandez in the 71st

minute to make the score look more respectable. They went down with a

fight.

There is no doubt that Maradona has assembled a formidable side of

high quality players and the manner in which they dismantled Mexico on their way

to the last eight.

But the Mexicans would always look at the first goal as the turning

point of the match and would have a good excuse for losing the game – pointing

an accusing finger at the Italian referees.

Argentina will meet Germany in the quarter-finals in Cape Town on

Saturday afternoon.

What a game it will be.

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