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
Argentina needed a spectacular late strike from substitute Sergio Aguero to get a point out of their opening match against little-fancied Bolivia in La Plata on July 1.
With the temperature dipping below zero on Friday evening Argentina went in to this match expecting to easily overturn Bolivia in La Plata. But, after a spectacular opening ceremony to Copa America 2011, it seemed like the Argentine players were still dazzled by what they had seen prior to kick off and looked unprepared for the tight pressing game of the Bolivians, who always looked to have an outlet upfront through their centre forward Martins.
Excellent work from Ever Banega and several probing Lionel Messi dribbles failed to puncture the Bolivian backline, and it was Bolivia who took a deserved lead through an own goal by the Argentine defence reminiscent of some of the defensive English howlers of the past couple of years.
Bolivia almost went 2-0 up as Martins went one-on-one with the Argentine keeper, but Sergio Romero just managed to get a finger to the ball as Martins sidestepped him. As the ball fell back to Martins he was only able to hit an ineffectual shot at the keeper. Soon afterwards Argentina took off the disappointing Napoli striker Lavezzi and replaced him with Sergio Aguero.
With time running out for Argentina, Aguero hit a spectacular half volley into the roof of the net to save a point for the hosts.
Copa America 2011
A blog from the 2011 Copa America and road trip around Argentina.