Copa America 2011: Who will you support?

In 2007, we had the last Copa America and, of course, I tuned in because it was conveniently on my TV and it sated my Messi obsession. The first full match I happened to watch was Argentina vs Mexico (I get the feeling that Mexicans must really hate meeting Argentina. They always seem to lose *dodges flying objects* I’m just sayin! Please don’t kill me! *runs away*) and I got to see this Messi golazo:

Although I actually like the Spanish commentary better (actually, I just love that commentator. I swear, he’s the Ray Hudson of Spanish commentary. “Welcome to the jungle!” 😆 ).

Anyway, the point of this is, Argentina will be looking to win the Copa (the only title Maradona didn’t win apparently) on home turf and I will be supporting Messi and therefore Argentina by default. The last time around they lost 3-0 to Brazil in a final that featured Dani who I knew fudge all about and who also happened to score. Funnily enough, the U-20 tournament I seem to mention every other day was also underway and Aguero’s Argies had won their semis. Brazilians took this time to blare their car horns downtown near Landsdown Park (the stadium that the games were played at). I’m not sure what I’m trying to say by telling you all this, so I’m going to move on.

Argentina are in Group A and, as hosts, play the first match tomorrow against Bolivia at 8:45pm EST under huge, huge pressure to perform. Sergio Batista took them to a Olympic gold in 2008, but there will be no Riquelme or…Riquelme this time around. Their squad features Aguero, Pastore, Mascherano, Milito and a whole host of names. I can imagine the pressure Messi must feel, considering the shaky relationship with Argentine fans, but he thrives under pressure. Vamos Leo!

Bitter rivals Brazil (or should I say, Brasil) have Dani and Adriano in the squad and they’ll be looking to rain on Argentina’s parade by defending their Copa title and traumatizing the poor Argentine supporters for life, especially the fans of Los Millonarios. They really will cry a River. (Sorry, couldn’t help it). The Next Robinho Big Thing out of Brazil Neymar, Santos teammate Ganso and Sao Paulo FC midfielder Lucas will have Robinho as a big brother to guide them though their first Copa.

“Ronaldo always gave me advice on and off the field. All that good advice given to me, I am passing on to young Neymar, Lucas and Ganso” said Robinho.

[Insert smart remark here].

God help the Brazilian team. They get their party started Sunday at 3:00pm EST against Lev’s Venezuela. 😛

A Marco Bielsa-less Chile will look to overcome the loss of the Argentine and wow the world like they did last summer with their vibrant, attacking football against a JDS-less* U-22 Mexico on Monday at 8:45pm EST. They have our transfer target Alexis Sanchez, Villarreal-reject Mati Fernandez (Matigol!) and Bayer Leverkusen’s Arturo Vidal to boost their chances at being the first Chilean team to win the Copa.

*If you don’t know JDS has been a bad boy and won’t be in the Mexico squad for the tournament. He and 7 other players have been dismissed from the squad and suspended for 6 months for allowing hookers into their rooms, who also stole their stuff. Sigh. Jona, you were supposed to be better than your brother by getting into the first team, not messing up your career faster.

The joint third best team in the world according to the last WC Uruguay start their quest to slap Argentina in the face by winning the Copa (which, I guess, is what everyone wants to do. Stop bullying los Albicelestes!) against Peru on Monday, while the-team-who-almost-knocked-out-Spain (Paraguay) take on Ecuador a day previous.

The Copa America 2011 kicks off tomorrow and in the words of Messi;

¡Aguante, Argentina, la c de tu madre!*

Full Schedule for Group Matches (all times in EST):

Group A

Argentina vs. Bolivia – July 1st – 20:45 – La Plata
Colombia vs. Costa Rica – July 2nd – 14:30 – San Salvador de Jujuy
Argentina vs. Colombia – July 6 – 20:45 – Santa Fe
Bolivia vs. Costa Rica – July 7 – 18:15 – San Salvador de Jujuy
Colombia vs. Bolivia – July 10 – 15:00 – Santa Fe
Argentina vs. Costa Rica – July 11 – 20:45 – Córdoba

Group B

Brazil vs. Venezuela – July 3 – 15:00 – La Plata
Paraguay vs. Ecuador – July 3 – 17:30 – Santa Fe
Brazil vs. Paraguay – July 9 – 15:00 – Córdoba
Venezuela vs. Ecuador – July 9 – 17:30 – Salta
Paraguay vs. Venezuela – July 13 – 18:15 – Salta
Brazil vs. Ecuador – July 13 – 20:45 – Córdoba

Group C

Uruguay vs. Peru – July 4 – 18:15 – San Juan
Chile vs. Mexico – July 4 – 20:45 – San Juan
Uruguay vs. Chile – July 8 – 18:15 – Mendoza
Peru vs. Mexico – July 8- 20:45 – Mendoza
Chile vs. Peru – July 12 – 18:15 – Mendoza
Uruguay vs. Mexico – July 12 – 20:45 – La Plata

Quarterfinals

1st Group A vs. Best 3rd S1 – July 16 – 15:00 – Córdoba
2nd Group A vs. 2nd Group C S2 – July 16 – 18:15 – Santa Fe

1st Group B vs. 2nd Best 3rd S3 – July 17 – 15:00 – La Plata
1st Group C vs. 2nd Group B S4 – July 17 – 18:15 – San Juan

Semi-final

Winner S1 vs. Winner S2 G1 – July 19 – 20:45 – La Plata
Winner S3 vs. Winner S4 G2 – July 20 – 20:45 – Mendoza

3rd Place Game

Loser G1 vs. Loser G2 – July 23 – 15:00 – La Plata

Final

Winner G1 vs. Winner G2 – July 24 – 15:00 – Buenos Aires

———————

*It sounds really derogatory if you take it literally (Spanish speakers can attest to that) but it should be taken as “Let’s go, Argentina, God damnit!”.

Also, I dunno if there will be a LiveBlog for the match. Or if we’re actually going to cover the Copa. I doubt it.

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291 Comments

  1. Dani_el
    July 1, 2011

    How many balls has dive maria lost? come on! that dude is awful, I know he got an assist, but really..he takes too long with the ball, and he doesnt have messi’s or kun’s talent to base that fact..

    • Dani_el
      July 1, 2011

      I think the assist went to burdisso

      • July 1, 2011

        Yeah. The chest down was Burdisso who’s been awful.

      • Dani_el
        July 1, 2011

        And if they would play a 4-2-3-1 as spain? with masche and cambiasso as defensive midfielders, kun messi tevez, and higuain as a big 9 to set both opossing central defenders? messi would be the play maker, argentina just cant play like barça, thats way too difficult, they have extraodrinary “automatismos”, as Julio Cesar Uribe (peruvian ex football player and now commentator) said: Barça is the ideal way of playing

      • July 1, 2011

        They need a link between the attack and defense. I’d have a midfield of Pastore, Mascherano and Banega. Messi dropping off a forward line of Aguero – Higuain.

  2. blitzen
    July 1, 2011

    Tevez misses a golden chance again.

  3. July 1, 2011

    Well, all things considered, I’ll take a 1-1.

    If Kun doesn’t start the next game…

  4. July 1, 2011

    feels like messi’s feelin frustrated…
    i definitely am…

    • can_we_go_Xalvies
      July 1, 2011

      Now start the Media onslaught on Messi…

      • July 1, 2011

        ah, crazy… it’s not his fault if his team has bad defense, while others just dive, can’t even pass or can’t even hold on to the ball for more than 2 seconds…

  5. blitzen
    July 1, 2011

    Commentator says “They did not play as a team”. Exactly.

    • blitzen
      July 1, 2011

      Oh, and he blamed Messi. 🙁

      • July 1, 2011

        Aaaaaaand just like that, his opinion goes from 0 to somewhere in the negatives on the Things That Matter scale.

      • BarcaGirl_Indo
        July 1, 2011

        who doesn’t? after that own goal, I told my friend,

        “just wait until people blame Messi for that own goal…it’s all Messi’s fault”

  6. July 1, 2011

    1-1 FT

    Kun gives Argentina the draw with a sah-weet volley after a Burdisso chestdown.

  7. Justin
    July 1, 2011

    thoughts on the game

    1. Arg needs to have people around messi who can create, at the start it was all messi and some effective midfielders and finishers.

    2. This means aguero needs to start, as does possibly pastore in midfield.

    3. I would play a 4-3-3 with messi at the false 9, pastore in midfield (with banega and amsch) and tevez wide left and aguero wide right

    • Justin
      July 1, 2011

      to elaborate

      their defense is atrocious, this means that tehy need to be deadly upfront, with messi and a defensive midfield (as well as tevez and lavezzi who are not very creative) they will struggle to score enough to make up for their terrible backline

      • July 1, 2011

        Oh no, all Argentina need is for Messi to step up. Him playing his, Xavi and Iniesta’s roles aren’t enough. He needs to play LB, CB, RB too. Add GK to that, since it’s all his fault goals are scored against his team.

        /sarcasm.

      • blitzen
        July 1, 2011

        But then they will say “Messi always plays on his own, not with the team.” 🙄

      • Justin
        July 1, 2011

        O my bad i forgot that messi was the one spraying crosses into the stands :), or messi was the one missing open nets,

        it’s amazing that anyone could think that was messi’s fault, he was surrounded all night

  8. BarcaGirl_Indo
    July 1, 2011

    God, I love Kun Aguero… he MUST NOT go to Evil Empire… just don’t…

  9. July 1, 2011

    Games like these are why I love the Copa America. One of the least talented teams in the tournament takes on the hosts Argentina “tu a tu” and scores a cheeky goal from a corner. And Argentina responds by bringing in striker Kun freakin’ Aguero from the bench, who scores an absolutely marvelous goal to tie it up. And even toward the end, either of the team’s could have walked away with the three points.

    Still, decent results for both teams. Argentina doesn’t start off the tournament in a hole, and Bolivia gets a crucial point which might end up being the *only* point anyone else gets from Argentina in this group.

    • July 1, 2011

      Also, if you see someone placing much blame on Messi for this result, relax. That’s a clue that lets you know they didn’t even watch the match. 😛

      • Jnice
        July 1, 2011

        Lol, fans interviewed after the match blamed Messi. Someone called Mascherano a disaster, too.

      • July 1, 2011

        Idiots.

      • July 1, 2011

        urgh! preposterous!

      • July 1, 2011

        Messi is not a magician.

        I wouldn’t get stressed out over this yet. Important thing to remember is that come the end of the tournament, Messi will be judged on one thing alone: whether Argentina won the Copa America or not. The probability of that happening is no lesser today than it was yesterday. What comments come tomorrow won’t matter in a month.

  10. y2k156
    July 1, 2011

    Last 20 minutes were interesting. Argentina looked quite good going forward and were aweful at the back. Aguero is really a good player. I do not hope to see Lavezzi again in this tournament. Whenever i have seen him play, he has pulled some nice moves but never enough to merit start over Aguero or even Higuain.

    I agree with someone from above that Argentina do need two def mid’s as their defense is so bad. Two other things that were really jarring me during match were quality of passing and worthless shooting. Quite a few Argie players were unable to even pass directly to their team mates. Guess passing is not as easy as Barca make it to be:). And DiMaria, Tevez and Lavezzi were all guilty of trying to take too many low percentage or simply hopeful shots. And i remember some blaming messi for some shots.

    I think Argentina should go with 4-2-3-1 with front 4 being, Tevez, Messi, Aguero and Higuain. If Argies are going to win this, they have to do it by scoring more than opposition. They do not look likely to win too many matches 1-0.

    I do not know if i should be happy or sad that Argentina drew with Equador and i am feeling relieved.

    • July 1, 2011

      Ecuador?

      • y2k156
        July 1, 2011

        Oh Shucks. It should be Bolivia. Guess the Ouzo from last night is still in the system:).

  11. BarcaGirl_Indo
    July 1, 2011

    Important thing to remember is that come the end of the tournament, Messi will be judged on one thing alone: whether Argentina won the Copa America or not.

    true, Jose… it doesn’t matter if Argentina make 3 own goals in one game, or Ms. Maria keep shooting the ball to nowhere…
    if Argentina lose, that’s because Messi never show up when he wears Argentina shirt… end of story…

  12. July 2, 2011

    Batista has such little confidence in his backline that he has elected to turn midfield into a completely defensive zone.

    He is essentially reducing the attack to three players and expecting Messi to make up for all of these deficiencies in both midfield and across a front line that is isolated.

    What’s really remarkable about all of this – is that Batista has turned Argentina into a kind broken formation. This is what happened under Maradona. Argentina’s formation is broken in a different way – but it’s still broken.

    There is no link through midfield to the front line.

    This is no way to structure a team. In trying so hard to make up for the team’s weakness Batista is diminishing it’s greatest strength. In turn Argentina play in a style where they aren’t outstanding at anything.

    Their football is just muddled. It’s disjointed and it is very unclear is it can work.

    And it seems like Batista has completely caved to public opinion with regards to not only suddenly having Tevez back on the team – but also with playing him.

    Long ago Batista should have put this team on the footing which could have given it the best chance to win a world cup. And the way to do that was to actually take a risk and play Pastore behind Messi and play Kun alongside of Messi.

    Instead he has played it extremely conservatively. And it’s in the midfield where he really sucked the life out of the team. The issues actually goes past Pastore alone.

    • Humphrey Bogart
      July 2, 2011

      So it is just a question of which risk you take: playing to your weaknesses with 2 DMs or playing to your strenghtes with your offensive fire power. The irony is that when he took a bigger risk by taking Cambiasso out (even if it not was for Pastore) they conceded straight away one of the most stupidst goals I have ever seen,

      Anyway I hope that Juan Brau is with Leo, he really needs support here as we all know that it will not be Banegas fault for this own goal nor Lavezzi/Tevez for missing chances and stupid crosses nor Dive Marias for loosing the ball all the time, it is of course all Leos fault

      • July 2, 2011

        Argentina didnt play with two DM anyways. Cambiasso was exercising a role that Pastore can do 10 times better. Before the match, I had a discussion with Zonalmarking on twitter insuring the need to play Pastore instead of Cambiasso. He wasnt that excited about the choice for the same reason I guess Batista had: Settling to what’s obvious.

        I think it is more about keeping things on the safe side by picking the default choice of players. Starting Patore ahead of Cambiasso need courage, which is not the common trend between national coaches. Pastore keeps Messi closer to the opponent’s box and link with him perfectly. In such combination the front line used in the game could have worked better. Or else, use Messi as a 10 and start Aguero and Tevez/Hiquain in front. Horses for courses. Most importantly, forget about the “playing like Barcelona” obsession.

        And the defense…Don’t get me started…

  13. July 2, 2011

    According to Elmundo now our offer for Cesc is 29+6
    and for Sanchez 26+11. For the wildness of the market I’m ok with these prices as long as the variables are not “he plays at least 2 games” or smth…
    lets see what is going to happen in the end…but from how I see it only negotiators know what is going on!

    • Jnice
      July 2, 2011

      If that’s our true offer for Cesc, I seriously doubt Arsenal will accept.

      As for Sanchez, I have no guesses on that one.

  14. mom4
    July 2, 2011

    Got around to watching last night’s game after work.
    What the hell heck is Lavezzi doing on the squad much less starting!
    Teves, Messi, El Kun
    That is all!

    No, that is not all. The team needs to wake up at stop mucking around waiting for Messi to pull a rabbit outta his hat, there’s little hope for the defense so I’m not even gonna complain about them, Ever should NEVER be allowed anywhere near a post defensively again, you have Patore on the roster and the rest of the midfield looks like crap-why not try him, Messi cannot play all positions at the same time. 🙄

    Ya know what, if Messi’s gonna be expected to play creative midfielder, then why not put him in there with three decent forwards to feed?
    Romero
    Zanetti, Burdisso, Milito, Rojo(can’t help the back line problem)
    Messi, Masche, Pastore
    Teves, Hiquain, Aguero
    it couldn’t hurt?!?

    Oh, and I agree with Blitz about Bolivia’s #9! 😉

    • Justin
      July 2, 2011

      I agree completely with this lineup, the defense sucks argentina has to outscore their opponents. they need to attack all game, this means playing goal scoreres and creators around messi. Pastore and aguero can both provide additional creativity and aguero tevez and higuain provide scoring.

      • July 3, 2011

        He came on as a substitute in one of the matches.

  15. Humphrey Bogart
    July 2, 2011

    It seems what I feared most, did actually happen. The press in Argentina has identified the culprit for this deseaster: is it Banega and his ridiculous own goal? Is it Tevez/Lavezzi for missing the most easy chances? Is it Batista for his coaching errors? No, it is of course Leo Messi. Got this from the Guardian comment section:

    Just read a synopsis of the Argentine press and there’s little love for Messi.
    According to Olé – which splashes with the headline: “Who are you?” under a pic of him – Messi was ‘lost’ and was ‘without doubt not a leader and far, very far from his best’.
    La Nación says that “Leo was everywhere and nowhere but Messi’s star never shone’.

    Ungrateful bastards! Look at us, we had Roy Keane and treated him as a national hero despite his crying off for friendlies and away competitive fixtures in places such as Georgia and Iran. Yet Messi travels thousands of kilometres around the globe to play meaningless friendlies against the Algerias and Albanias of this world and they slate him

    • blitzen
      July 2, 2011

      I would like to ask these people what exactly they would have liked Messi to have done differently? He worked his butt off and got very little support from the other players. He fed Tevez several times when that was the better option, made himself available everywhere for passes that never came because the midfield couldn;t hold onto the ball, and even supported Di Maria who chose to fall down every chance he got instead of trying to actually set up a goal.

      He seemed to be building a good relationship with Kun. Maybe if Kun starts the next game they can actually put something together.

      • Humphrey Bogart
        July 2, 2011

        He could score a Hattrick in the finale and they would still prefer Tevez, just because he is “the local Boy”. It is detestable and cheap how they treat Leo, it must be really terrible for him, he gives his all and gets nothing than negatives back, Tevez was playing like sh*** and he can do no bad

      • blitzen
        July 2, 2011

        Not to mention how frustrating it must be to play with a team that is frankly, just not good enough for him. Going from a team where every player works for every other, where they rarely lose the ball, where he can count on the ball being where he needs it to be, to…what we saw yesterday…no wonder he doesn’t look like he is enjoying himself when he plays with them.

      • can_we_go_Xalvies
        July 2, 2011

        Exactly, Messi has to play a role where he has to create everything for the rest, he has to be “the leader” and his teammates give him nothing, add on top of that every opponent has atleast two players within a 3-4 foot radius of Messi at all times.

    • Vj
      July 2, 2011

      I wonder if he said ‘Mucho murro’ somewhere..

    • K_legit
      July 2, 2011

      Love how Cucho comes in and just swats the Bolivian dude away like a fly

  16. messi_fan
    July 2, 2011

    Stuff like this makes me wish Messi had opted to play for Spain

    • Humphrey Bogart
      July 2, 2011

      I have the same thought, with him they would be unstoppable for years to come. Hopefully he is not to depressed because of all this hatred he gets.

      • Ryan
        July 2, 2011

        True, but considering the last 2 tournaments, I think Spain have been doing all right!

      • Nav
        July 2, 2011

        Holy christ Spain would be unstoppable with Messi. Hey maybe Iker would like him a little too. 😛

  17. Rao
    July 2, 2011

    Can someone send me a video of Argentine defence?.That’s quite 👿 of me but I’m really curious to see why you guys here loathing their defence.

    Btw,Wanna have a laugh?.Then read this article.Don’t go by the URL of it.The content is as ridiculous as the title.

      • xavi
        July 2, 2011

        Barcelona idiots like Puyol and Pique come out with comments on the situation more often than they play games.

        😆 He forgot to mention it’s inevitable Fabregas speaks more of his desire to return home than he plays too because he is injured all the time 😛

        HATERS GONNA HATE!!!

      • July 3, 2011

        I get that blogging gives everyone a voice, but comeone!!!!! he is not even informed,, he sounds like a bitter fan. Just makes me appreciate BFB so much more…

  18. blitzen
    July 2, 2011

    According to the official squad list, Masch, Cambiasso, and Banega are all listed as defensive midfielders. Not an attacking midfielder or playmaker in the lot. And that was the starting midfield. 🙄

    • July 2, 2011

      This is the thing. Neither Banega nor cambiasso played as a DM in this game. So while I totally understand the need of Banega who had a very good game despite the own goal, the presence of Cambiasso was unfortunate as he was doing a Hlebbed Pastore.

      • Humphrey Bogart
        July 2, 2011

        Agree with you with exception that Banega had a good game. He hardly came to the defence to get the ball and help them to release pressure and instead of passing and getting the ball to Leo, he tried a lot of fruitless dribbles

  19. July 2, 2011

    New post up.

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