WC2010 review: Argentina

Things were looking good for Diego Maradona’s Argentina early in the tournament with a near-perfect group stage performance and an attacking brand worthy of at least a semi-final appearance.

But as has been the case for La Albiceleste in recent times, things fell to pieces when the going got tough.

A 4-0 smashing at the hands of Germany in the final eight spelled an end to South Africa 2010 for Argentina who promised so much early on.

Gonzalo Higuain followed up his brilliant season with Real Madrid, netting a hat-trick against South Korea, whilst Lionel Messi dazzled defenders with his vast array of tricks and the defence led by Gabriel Heinze and Martin Demichelis was solid enough until they came up against the formidable Germans.

The end result will be a disappointment to Argentine people everywhere but not as much as it disappointed Maradona who said the Germany loss was the hardest day of his life.

“I am totally disappointed," he said.

"We will go back and that is difficult after losing but we will sit down and figure out what happened. I don't think anybody can be happy with the result. We live and breathe football and no-one will be glad we lost 4-0.

"The day I stopped playing football could have been similar to this. The sadness is really strong, it is tough. We had a wish to go beyond today and be among the four best teams in the world. We had this dream and the opposite happened.

"I lived through this in 1982 as a player. I was a boy and didn't realise. Today, I am 50 in October and mature, and it is the toughest day of my life. This is like a kick in the face. I have no more energy for anything."

Finished: 5th
Record: Wins – 4; Draws – 0; Losses – 1; Points – 9
Matches: Nigeria (1-0), South Korea (4-1), Greece (2-0), RO16-Mexico (3-1), QF-Germany (0-4)
Goals: 10
Against: 6

tribalfootball.com’s Star Man
Lionel Messi (Not going out on a limb here as Messi was the man who set up and created most of Argentina’s goals)

Official statistics

Minutes played
Lionel Messi 450
Sergio Romero 450
Martin Demichelis 450

Top scorers
Gonzalo Higuain 4
Carlos Tevez 2
Martin Palermo 1
Gabriel Heinze 1
Martin Demichelis 1

Total shots
Lionel Messi 30
Gonzalo Higuain 15
Carlos Tevez 11
Angel Di Maria 9

Pass Completion Rate
Nicolas Burdisso 88%
Martin Demichelis 86%
Maxi Rodriguez 81%
Javier Mascherano 80%

Most Fouls
Javier Mascherano 14
Gonzalo Higuain 8
Nicolas Otamendi 6

Yellow cards
Jonas Gutierrez 2
Javier Mascherano 2
Gabriel Heinze 1
Mario Bolatti 1
Nicolas Otamendi 1

Red cards
none

Saves
Sergio Romero 7

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