5 Things for Argentina Fans to Look Forward to After Win vs. Bosnia-Herzegovina
Argentina got off to a great start to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil by defeating a determined Bosnia-Herzegovina outfit 2-1 in their opening game on Sunday.
The bad news for Albiceleste fans is that the performance was not 100 percent convincing. The good news is there is room for improvement.
The side has three points in the bag, and Lionel Messi scored a spectacular solo goal.
Things are looking positive for Alejandro Sabella's men.
Here are five things to look forward to in the wake of the win.
Messi with His Tail Up
For much of the encounter against Bosnia-Herzegovina, Messi appeared either nervous, overwhelmed or just off his game.
He misplaced passes and lost possession as a bevy of defenders surrounded him at all times.
However, the Argentine captain's sensational 65th-minute goal should relieve a great deal of pressure from his diminutive shoulders.
It was clear to see he was playing with more freedom after his strike.
Now that he has proved to himself and others that he can produce the goods at this level, he will surely offer up more of the same as the tournament progresses.
No More Experimentation with the Formation
Coach Sabella offered up something of a surprise by sending out his team in a 5-3-2 formation from kick-off rather than the 4-3-3 that has been his favoured tactical setup for the past two years.
Perhaps the decision had something to do with the fitness of Gonzalo Higuain and Fernando Gago, both of whom were returning from injuries.
Even though Argentina went ahead in the early stages thanks to a Bosnia-Herzegovina own goal, the formation really didn't work.
At half-time, Sabella realised he had to make a change. He brought on Higuain and Gago after the break and switched to the scheme that had served him so well in qualifying.
The difference was clear. Argentina played a lot better, and Messi was able to exert more of an influence on the game.
Sabella is unlikely to go back to the 5-3-2 in Brazil.
Attacking Trident in Full Stride
With the introduction of Higuain after half-time, arguably the most fearsome attacking unit at the World Cup was back to full strength.
Higuain, Messi and Sergio Aguero join attack-minded midfielder Angel di Maria in forming a truly formidable offensive armada.
Their dangerous play in the second term should ensure that Sabella will use them from the start in Argentina's next game. Fans can expect to be entertained.
Easier Opponents in the Remaining 2 Group Games
Though neither Iran nor Nigeria will be easy targets for Argentina, according to FIFA rankings, both are less formidable opponents than Bosnia-Herzegovina.
While the Europeans are currently ranked 21st in the world, Iran and Nigeria are 43rd and 44th, respectively.
Argentina have potentially played their toughest game of the group stage, then, and should expect to earn enough points from the remaining two games to finish top of the table.
A Defence That Is Not as Shaky as Many Expected
Though Argentina conceded one goal on Sunday, that was the result of a late goalkeeping error rather than any huge failing in defence.
Sergio Romero's lack of match fitness may be a problem, but the defence in general held up well against the attacking talents of Edin Dzeko, Miralem Pjanic and company, both in the first half when a five-man back line was used and in the second when it became a back line of four.
Bosnia-Herzegovina did create chances, but overall, the rearguard for Argentina can be given a pass mark.