Stage: 1/16th Final
Winner Plays Versus: Germany
Time: 1600h GMT +1
Venue: Soccer City Johannesburg - where the camera work has not been so good so far... because its too big. This will be the site of the final...
Roberto Rosetti.(Italy) – a very very strict referee known for not putting up with showboating superstars. He should be relatively clinical.
Date of Birth: 18.09.1967 in the province of Piedmont, Italy.
Height : 190 cm
Occupation: Hospital manager
Mother tongue: Italian
Other languages: English, French
International since: 2002
First international: Tunisia-Cameroon (11.01.2002)
Hobbies: Tennis, movies, books
Fondest memory: UEFA European U-16 Championship 2000/01; FIFA World Youth Championship UAE 2003; FIFA Confederations Cup Germany 2005; FIFA World Cup Germany 2006; UEFA Euro Austria-Switzerland 2008
Overview: Overshadowing the more famous rivalry of today, Mexico and Argentina have something of a World Cup history. In 2006 in Germany the Argentines were heavy favourites, and beat Mexico 2-1 with a dramatic goal to go on and play the hosts. But Mexico are a decent team, who with Argentina’s defensive weaknesses have a chance here.
This game is set to be an entertaining, magnificent encounter.
Suggested Menu With Your Game:
Appetizer: Hard shell tacos... the hard corn shell symbolizes the Mexican defence, and the mince meat what Argentina is capable to do with any defence. They should off course be very spicy, as Argentines can hold their spice as much as Mexicans.
Main Course: A proper Argentine parrillada complete, with chinchulin (tripe), chorizo (sausage), and 3-4 cuts of succulent beef.... a fantastic meal except if you are vegetarian.
Drink: A good Argentine Shiraz wine, preferably from 2006 to represent the potential tannins and class of this game.
Desert: Lots of tequila will be needed after this game.. mixed with lemon and salt.
Unofficial Theme Song to Accompany Style of Play:
A real sentimental piece of Argentina “Rock National” .... the Piojos with Verano ’92 to keep the rhythm and good team spirit up. This piece is really a vintage piece of Buenos Aires music.... let it play to about 1:45 before it gets really good.
Tactics: Maradona is no tactical genius, his strength is in team building and atmosphere, but even that seemed doubtful. The Argentine secret weapon might be the emblematic coaches hugging after they do something positive, but the fact remains that his players seem to be finding their winning spirit while some other large teams are not.
Tactically Maradona plays a 4-4-1-1, and he really gambled playing midfielder Jonas Guttierez at right back... although rumour has it he will use the young Ortamendi who is a natural in that position tonight... if he doesn’t the right defence is an obvious weakness for Argentina.
Strengths: Super technique, and superb passing, Argentina are a classic attacking team who always impress. The midfield is able to retain position relatively well, but not as well as previous Argentina teams.
Weakness: The goalkeeper Romero is not the best in the world, but not bad at all. There is a shortage of defensive substitutes. If the stars are tired and wasteful, the team integrity could come apart.
Key to beating Mexico: Argentina is capable of overwhelming them with attacks, and not allowing them to get forward very often. HOWEVER, France didn’t manage and Uruguay didn’t have an easy time so this is a big task.
Key Squad Members:
Goalkeeper Sergio Romero is good... but this capable young talent has not made waves. His selection as number 1 comes after a lot of more renowned keepers like Andujar, Carizzo, Abondanzierri and others were disappointing of late. He has preformed fine so far, but he could falter.
Defender Walter Samuel and his defensive partner Martin Demichelis have been solid so far, but Demichelis, despite being very skilled, made a horrible mistake against South Korea, and is known for sometimes having lapses of concentration. Nicolas Burdisso could start if Samuel is still injured, he is a bit more mistake prone.
The captain Javier Mascherano has all the dirty defensive midfield work on the pitch, and there is no real substitute for him. He is great, but has in the past lost his head in big games... can he see Argentina through to later stages?
Leo Messi of course, everyone is waiting for him to score, after much improved performances for Argentina in the group stages over qualifying. His dribbling ability and movement speed is second to none... probably ever.
Maxi Rodriguez is almost certain to play against Mexico, given the impressive, historic goal he scored against them in 2006 . He is a clever midfielder, with loads of experience very good at scoring.
Carlos Tevez will be back for this match, and the Manchester City ex-United man can really weave the Mexican defence into unsalted pretzels if given a chance. He hasn’t really shone yet this World Cup, but its hard to imagine he won’t.
Unnoficial theme song to accompany style of play:
Lots to choose from in the rich Mexican musical culture... but the official song of the Mexican team during the 2010 World Cup is still the ancient classic which expresses the Mexican soul best: “Ayayayaya sing don’t cry” ..... “Canta y no llores”
Tactics: Mexico are exceptional at getting the ball forward down the wings or through the center. Giovani dos Santos has been exceptional in varying the ways of going forward against all three opponents so far. Mexico are also exceptionally good at counterattacking in their 4-4-2 formation... varied with a diamond or two defensive midfielders depending on the situation. Gerardo Torrado plays an important no vital holding midfield role for Mexico for nearly a decade already, and Mexico stopping Argentina has to stop with him, that’s why he could get support from another defensive midfielder like Israel Castro.
Strengths: Mexico are a team that is fine in every department, but really brilliant on the wings only. Their wingers, even the substitutes are among the best, and Mexico resembles Denmark in theory, but they dribble more and are less disciplined by direct comparison to the Danish in practice. The Mexican attack is really underrated, and I would not be surprised to see Mexico able to score against any opponent, as they have in most World Cup finals, most famously defeating Germany in 1998.
Weaknesses: Mexico is not good at sitting back and defending. They take goals almost always, and are a score-one-more-than-your-opponent type of team... that is slowly changing over the years but for now Mexico can fall apart in defence at least once every 90 minutes.
Key to beating Argentina: Get forward, flood their defence for no minute less than 90.... and don’t give them too many chances in your own half.
Key Squad Members:
Oscar Perez the “rabbit” or “el conejo” is called that because of his reflexes in shot stopping and his bald head. He is Mexico’s number 1, and contrary to widespread knowledge there is a lot of good competition for that slot. He is a big game keeper, and could be key here.
Rafa Marquez is very well known for his Barcelona exploits, but has found his groove with Mexico only recently. Leo Messi’s club mate is probably the only man on the planet who knows how to stop the Argentine prodigy.
Gerardo Torrado is Mexico defensive midfield linchpin, and he is the man that sets the defensive and offensive posture of the team... and has been doing it marvellously for a decade and still going strong.
Javier Hernandez the young striker prodigy has already signed his contract with Manchester United, but his impressive year continued into the World Cup with his goal against France. Nobody heard of him 18 months ago, and now he is slowly becoming the great hope of Mexican football... this is the game to shine in Javi.
Andres Guardado is one of the best players that Mexico has ever produced but he has not yet had a chance to show that in South Africa. His wing play on the left is ornamented with lacy dribbling and pinpoint crosses. His Cross to Rafa Marquez created the goal against South Africa.
Expected Result: Argentina outstretches and beats Mexico squarely 3-0.
A Slight Surprise: Mexico give them a tough game for a 2-1 in extra time like in 2006.
A real shocker: Mexico wins.
Obi Wan Asterix Says: Mexico will want revenge, Argentina are not as strong as in 2006… this could be a historic match.