In Case You Were Wondering: Argentina vs. Costa Rica U-22 LiveBlog

Today, regardless of afflilation (unless you’re Costa Rican in which case I understand but you’re still The Enemy so you can just sit in the naughty corner over there wherever you are), we stand by Messina…! Argentileo…? WHATEVER. It’s Leo Messi Doomsday: Argentina Copa America Riot style ft. some sMasching. Kids should stay home and play with their Legos and Yaya action figures. The rest of us? Let’s do this.

Argentina lineup looks something like this OMG NO TEVEZZI!: Romero; Zabeleta – The Terrible Twosome* – Zanetti; Fernando Lady Gago – Mascherano – Messi; Aguero – Higuain – DiveMaria

*Burdisso, Milito

Vamos Messi carajo!

By Kari

Just your neighbourhood Barca fanatic


    1. Both teams are playing with a b line-up, both are already qualified. Could be a boring match. Sanchez, Vidal, Isla, Valdivia, Guerrero an Vargas are all not playing :/
      Since it’s 0.20 am here right now, I’ll go to sleep ( maybe I’ll stay up tomorrow to keep my fingers crossed for Ecuador against Brazil! 🙂 ).

    2. True, but I’ve gotten in the habit of watching every game, so I’ll be watching it anyway.

    3. Not anymore! (Was in Japan for 3 years, but now on the USA east coast) Barca games are during the afternoon, it’s amazing.

    4. It’s ok, Helge was right: it’s a pretty boring game. 😆

      El Chupete just can’t do anything right.

  1. Not sure why everyone thinks that 40m for Sanchez is madness. First of all its not all cash, secondly thats the market. If you want a quality player than you have to pay, simple as that. In fact if Sanchez wasnt so damn set on Barcelona then he prob would have ended up at City for closer to 50m.

    Comparing Villa to Sanchez is also a bit unfair. Villa is much older and at best has 2-3 years left in him, in which he is very unlikely to improve and it is fair to assume he will slowly decline. Sanchez is one of the hottest prospects in world football, he may not be the finished product and he may still have a lot to learn, but he is definitely a player that has the potential to play at the highest level for Barca for 4-5 years. I know a lot of people think that he isnt worth 40m because he isnt the finished product yet, but if he was the finished product, if he was a sure bet then he would cost 60-70m, not 40m. So we pay 40m now and hope we can mould him into the player we want him to be instead of waiting for him to blossom at another team and then pay 20m more.

    He has all the attributes to be a great Barca player; First touch, skill, speed, strengh, passing, fitness and workrate. In the right hands (Pep) and with the right players around him I think it is a reasonably safe bet to make.

  2. In 2003 we took a chance & paid €30million for Ronaldinho – who had scored 17 goals in 55 games for PSG but was unproven at the highest level. This fee was based on his POTENTIAL.
    At the same time EE paid €35million for David Beckham – the former UEFA Club Footballer of the Year, Champions League Winner, 6-time Premier League winner & England captain.

    Who got the best deal?

    I say Hola to Sanchez – he could be our new Ronaldinho…

    1. haha i had actually wanted Ronaldinho to join Barça ever since I’d seen him score his first ever goal for Brazil 🙂

  3. To continue the whole Sanchez price thread with Kevin and Josep up there. Kevin, when Josep points out that Sanchez is worth way more than 20mil in the current market as you said, that’s not the same as saying he is worth 40mil. So arguing that no he’s not worth 40mil has nothing to do with that he’s worth way more than 20mil. There’s 25mil, or 30mil, or 35mil, or a whole load of stuff between 20 and 40. So making your argument for how he’s not worth more than 20mil by saying he isn’t worth as much as a proven top top player like Villa was or not worth 40mil is just silly or obscuring the point.

    When someone says he’s worth more than 20mil, that might be 28mil or 32mil or 25mil or 34mil or anything. It’s not either 20mil or 40mil no other options, so arguing he’s worth no more than 20mil by saying he’s not worth 40mil is a whole unrelated set of arguments.

    Personally I think a fair value would be around 28mil or so, considering his upside and demand and youth and clear ability, but also considering the pros to getting him. Not worth 40mil in my opinion. Worth more than 20mil for sure, also, in my opinion. Recall even before the Galactico II market inflation and City coming on into the scene, Milan were paying 25mil for a great prospect but unproven outside of Brazil and raw like Pato, and Fiorentina was paying 15mil for a reliable but not great goalscorer Gilardino in a non-inflated Serie A, for example. It’s not like transfers pre-City/Ibrahimovic/Galacticos were 10mil for a good player and 20mil for a great prospect. By those standards even, 20mil for Sanchez would have been considered a steal after his WC and club season- now market has inflated and his price is supposedly around 40mil which is way too much, but even his ‘fair’ price is definitely clearly above 20mil.

  4. And once again as a tradition Peru loses the game on the last minute, with an own goal from a corner. Shame on us.

    1. hey man, if i were from the country where they prepare olluco, ceviche and papa a la huancaina i am would not even be sad over what is indeed a “doh-not-again” football tradition :p

      best food in the world, bro, word!

    2. I have a friend from Peru. Last summer I watched her eat a suicidal snake that threw itself into our campfire. Just saying.

      *cough*guinea pigs*cough*


    3. Guinea pigs —> cuy cchactao (it’s suppose to be a well known dish, but I have never tried it)

    4. It is great food! nice of you to say that, thanks! Coach Markarian said in the press conference he was angry that some people in media made statements saying that the peruvian squad now, plays defensive football (we were known for possession, and attacking football before). I think Markarian is doing a great job, building a disciplined team, that with squad full of subs, could give a fight to a great time as Chile. With Guerrero, Pizarro, Vargas, Farfan, Zambrano, Ramirez, Cruzado, Balbin, and Fernandez (all of them didnt play today) we may had another story. I hope this is the beginning of something freat!

    1. thanks for this blitzen…was just there. its neat to see our players having their own site.
      His and iniesta’s are pretty cool!

    2. I find Iniesta’s site hilarious. That picture of him with the toothbrush! 😆

    3. Fan of Valdes?…inasmuch as he’s my favorite keeper…but not a fangirl of him. You know that I’d only go fangirl over Xavi 🙂

      That being said, some of those personal pics…dang! Thanks, Blitz. And I’ll visit any of our guys’ sites.

      Someone talk Xavi into fashion shoots…nah, that would ruin the whole sports-geek xaviesqueness of him.

  5. Uruguay are missing a whole host of chances. Imagine if Mexico sneak a goal in and tie it up?

  6. Argentina plays Uruguay in the next round. They just barely beat Mexico, not exactly looking convincing.

  7. Kinukinu,

    Sorry – didn’t see your question before on Argentina. I posted some thoughts over on zonal marking that are relevant to your questions. I’ll repost them here just to make things easier:

    Argentina’s shape was very interesting. Given the limitations of their full backs in getting forward an asymmetric 4-2-2-2 was a surprising way to play. It puts them at risk for losing width, especially on the right hand side as ZM points out.

    One can imagine a tactically astute defense playing very narrow against Argentina and finding success with that approach. Even against Costa Rica that was a problem, particularly in the first half – ARG became too narrow and that played into Costa Rica’s own defensive shape.

    But ARG made up for that lack of width with their fluidity and dynamism. Yesterday’s match was a good example of how the dynamics of a system can compensate for it’s structure. The interplay between the front four was impressive, as was the support by Gago.

    Whether or not they can thrive with that shape and that selection of players against better teams is an open question. Their midfield play will be especially tested – they could functionally lose numerical equivalence against a three man midfield due to how much movement is needed up top (especially with Di Maria being required to support play out wide on the left flank in addition to his central role). Batista needs to reconsider using Pastore as it would give them better control and focus for circulating the ball in midfield.

    Higuain has hardly played much at all this past year – and from his finishing it showed. He was useful in occupying the full backs. But I think Argentina would be best suited to playing Aguero, Messi and Di Maria in a front three with Masch, Gago and Pastore behind them. Di Maria could provide width on the right and support Zabaleta defensively. Aguro and Messi could link up in more central regions. When Messi drops deep Pastore could exploit that open space through runs forward. If Batista wants to enhance his system’s dynamics that set of players would perhaps provide the greatest opportunity for playing in that style.

    I don’t think Messi playing in an advanced central role for ARG can be deemed a failure based on how he functioned alongside Tevez and Lavezzi. Tevez and Messi is a poor combination given overlaps in their game and the space they seek to play in. And Lavezzi is better on the left. Messi was brilliant in controlling play yesterday but ARG missed his ability to finish from more advanced positions.

  8. From @Barcastuff : Benaiges (ex-youth coach): “Cesc didn’t want to leave but his parents decided. Arsenal took advantage of the elections at Barça.” [la sexta]
    That could be true especially if we consider that Pep send him a no4 shirt of his signed when cesc moved to london. You probably don’t do that to someone who wanted to leave…
    *raisingsomecesclove* 🙂

    1. His parents also signed his many and long contract extensions every now and again 😛

  9. So it will be Argentina v Uruguay in QF’s of Copa. Its a mouth watering clash.

    Even with last result of Argentina, i have to say that Uruguay have the edge in this one. They have been a good team for quite some time and have excellent fire power up front. I would say that Argentina has better attack, both teams have similar midfields and Uruguay has better defence.

    I would in fact like to see same formation as against Costa Rica with Milito replaced by some one/anyone else. I do not think Batista will make the change though. I think having Higuain up front is a requirement so that defenders do not crowd Messi out, at least for now. Maybe in long run, Pastore-Messi combo will be better but it needs time and QF’s of competition against strong opposition is not the time to experiment. I just hope Higuain brings his radar with him this time.

    I hope we get a open match but likely it will be a tense derby as always between two neighbours.

    1. True. Higuain is not finishing his chances right now but he is creating space with his runs. And to be fair, he can’t keep missing them all, now, can he?

      The bigger question remains how will they play against a strong opponent? Last World Cup they looked greeeat until Germany destroyed them. This does lead us to a maybe even bigger question: could it be that for the first time in South America’s history, there isn’t really a “strong opponent”? Honestly believe that both Brazil and Argentina don’t match up against Europe’s powerhouses right now (being at the moment, Spain, Germany and Holland I guess)

    2. Re: Euler’s response to my questions above:
      Wow—thanks! I aspire to know half as much as you someday…

      Using Messi as a playmaker certainly takes away from his ability to score goals, but he created more chances than perhaps any of his teammates might have been able to. Kinda reminds me of the everyman/superhero duality of Clark Kent/Superman and Peter Parker/Spiderman; he can contribute something of value from either vantage point but one role takes away from the other, as, sadly he can’t be in two places at once.

      It was fascinating to watch him adapt to this (dare I say?) almost Xavi-like role for Argentina, and in some ways it was an even more gratifying response to the cynical Argie fans than if he had scored a hattrick all by himself. His unselfishness in feeding opportunity after opportunity to his teammates proved his skill and his loyalty in one fell swoop.

      if he continues to develop in this role, I wonder if/how it will affect/add depth to his Barca game?

      I’m both nervous and excited to see how it all plays out against Uruguay. Both teams controlled their last respective games but squandered so many chances to score. And both teams have gotten a psychological boost from sudden drastic improvements. Would love to know your thoughts on how they will approach this potentially electrifying matchup…

      Euler? Euler?

    3. “It was fascinating to watch him adapt to this (dare I say?) almost Xavi-like role for Argentina”

      some people try to say that Xavi is better or more important to Barça than Messi, but I have always maintained that if he played at Xavi’s position he would be even better than Xavi. Problem is we would have no-one to replace Leo.

    4. I would say that Xavi is still a tiny bit better at keeping the ball and distributing. But not by much, and considering Xavi is the best at what he does, Messi being that close when it’s not his position is pretty crazy.

    5. Messi’s passing would be as accurate but I’m not sure he’d see the game as well as Xavi does.

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