Argentina are fortunate to still be in the Copa America after a dreadful performance against Columbia.
There was a much improved atmosphere from the opening match in La Plata with noisy fans in the terraces behind each goal at the Colon Santa Fe stadium upping the sound levels and painting the ground blue and white prior to kick off.
Argentine manager Batista decided to stick with the seemingly out of form Lavezzi despite having the likes of Higuain, Sergio Aguero and Milito on the bench; players that would surely make the starting line-ups in most national teams.
The game should have been over by half time, with Ramos missing from six yards out and then Moreno guilty of the miss of the season as he failed to side foot the ball into an empty Argentine net from just 10 yards out. It was the kind of miss that should have galvanised Argentina but, aside from Lavezzi's one-on-one chance with the Columbian keeper, it was a solid and well-drilled Columbia that continually threatened to steal the points with chance after chance; Argentina's Sergio Romero and some disappointing finishing the difference in the end between Argentina remaining in the Copa America.
The Columbian man-of-the-match must surely have been central midfielder Carlos Sanchez, who played Lionel Messi out of the game, barking like a terrier at Messi's heels every time the world's number one had the ball. On this evidence Sanchez will be snapped up from French football by one of the top European clubs.
The match ended 0-0 with Argentina booed off the pitch and Batitusta openly abused by the Santa Fe fans. Argentina look short of ideas and ended the match with four strikers in a puzzling line-up that lacked balance and a midfield ball winner. They will likely need to beat Costa Rica by several goals in their last group game to have any chance of progressing to the quarter finals.
(C) Justin Walley & morethanagame.info
The Santa Fe Union stadium is an absolute gem of an old school football stadium. The club is now over 100 years old and reflects the true football pedigree and traditions of Argentina. Here are images of the stadium and the Columbian national team training…
(c) Justin Walley & morethanagame.info 2011