Venezuela claimed a huge win over Argentina on Tuesday night, beating the Albiceleste 1-0, in the second game of the CONMEBOL 2014 World Cup Qualifiers.
Vinotinto's hero of the night was Fernando Amorebieta, who netted the lone goal of the game in the 61st minute of the match on a corner kick.
A lot of the blame, of course, is being placed on World Superstar Lionel Messi, but let's give the Venezuelan side some credit; they were the superior team on Tuesday night, as they played harder and faster, and kept a constant attack throughout the match. They also disrupted a lot of Argentina's attack that they were trying to build. If it weren't for Argentina's goalkeeper, Mariano Andujar, the Albiceleste might have been embarrassed by suffering defeat by a larger margin.
A loss is a loss, but let's remember something: it's only the second game of the qualifiers. There's still plenty of football to be had. Three years worth, in fact, before Argentine aficionado should panic.
Yes, the Albiceleste were embarrassed by a far superior Germany squad in the 2010 World Cup and yes, Argentina, who hosted the 2011 Copa America, failed to win the tournament at their home but again, this isn't time to panic or point fingers.
Every time the Argentina team fails, fans, journalists and soccer pundits all point the blame on Lionel Messi. They say things like, "Messi isn't good for Argentina," or "How come Messi can't do for Argentina what he does for Barcelona?" Lionel Messi is only one player. He has had a lot of success with his Barcelona club, but the Argentina international squad and Barcelona have two very different teams and styles of play.
Messi does score a lot of goals for his Barcelona side, but not producing goals for his international side doesn't equate to him not playing well or at the level he plays at for Barcelona. Messi is the best player on the Argentine squad, goal or no-goal. He gets double or triple-teamed, so he creates scoring opportunities for his teammates. Was Messi the best player on the pitch in last night's match? Absolutely not. He was average at best. But, is it Messi's fault that Argentina lost? No.
Argentina's new manager, Alejandro Sabella, needs to surround Messi with the best talent Argentina has to offer. And that's a lot. Most of the Argentine players play for top European clubs, so it should not be difficult. Messi has not had a playmaker/passer since Riquelme. Last night's starting XI proved to be ineffective, but there are other players on the Albiceleste who are more than capable of scoring or create scoring opportunities.
Sabella needs to try to incorporate Javier Pastore and Ever Banega into the team because, clearly, last night's starters did not work out.
The new manager should not make the same mistakes that past managers Maradona and Batista have made. Change some midfielders around and see how it works.
Messi is only one player, so let's stop placing the blame squarely on him. He doesn't carry the team by himself in Barcelona, and he won't carry the team by himself for Argentina.