There are some positives to take away from Argentina's 1-1 draw against Peru.
Not everyone would have accepted a draw prior to the match against Peru, but I probably would have said yes. On paper, we have a much more talented team, there is no doubt about it. However, people tend to forget that Argentina plays in South America and not Europe. They don't play against the likes of Georgia or Cyprus when trying to qualify for the World Cup. South America is a different animal. If Spain, England or any other team from Europe would have had their bus attacked like Argentina, they would have sent in a complaint to FIFA. In South America, this is a recurring thing. I'm not saying it's right, but it's one of the many differences which seperates the two continents.
The match itself was brutal to watch. Peru pressured Argentina and credit to them for it, but that is where I draw the line. It was dirty play with fouls coming in every second. There is a difference between playing physically and down right dirty. Peru was down right dirty. Marcos ROJO got a flying kick to the head. The type of kick you would see in a Street Fighter video game while Fernando GAGO had to be substituted off due to an injury. The referee was very kind to Peru as there should have been a red card or two issued to them.
DI MARIA didn't know what to do. His positioning was off. He didn't know if he should track back and defend (and one of the times when he did, he gave away a penalty kick) or if he should stay in Peru's side of the pitch and attack. Peru did their homework and attacked Argentina from the left on ROJO's side. GARAY and FERNANDEZ were under pressure the whole match and for me, FERNANDEZ was the better of the two. Not to say GARAY was bad, because I don't think he was, but FERNANDEZ was our best defender in that match. CAMPAGNARO was troubled at times but I thought for the most part did well enough.
MESSI was completely marked out of the match and a lot of it was because he had to drop very deep to get the ball. And once on the ball, he was hounded by Peruvian players all around him which left him no other choice but to pass the ball right away. There was one counter attack in the first half where a Peruvian player ran into him from behind but the referee didn't give the free kick.
I said there were some positives to take away from the match and I meant it. Sergio ROMERO was one of the positives from the match. His penalty kick save at the beginning gave Argentina the chance to stay in and not chase Peru from the second minute. He also made a key save in the second half which kept the score tied. Whenever ROMERO does a mistake, he is quick to be crusified, but people tend to forget that he has saved Argentina countless times already. He didn't have the best of World Cups and was at fault for some of the goals, but since that tournament, he has done very well. His first match for Argentina was against Paraguay in 2009 and he was by far our best player on the pitch. He made great saves in that match. Against Colombia at the Copa America, again, it was ROMERO. If it wasn't because of him, Argentina would not have made it out of the group stages of the tournament.
Someone made a comment in one of the posts about how this Argentina team, physically, is pretty soft. And I tend to agree. Argentina used to strike fear in the eyes of opponents. SIMEONE and AYALA would not have stood for what Peru were doing. They would have fought back. The team allowed themselvse to be bullied and that easily attributed to the loss. Credit to the team for not getting red carded and keeping their cool, but some bite would not have hurt. There were four players who did not look scared by Peru. The first one was MASCHERANO. He fought for every ball and was fouled when he had it. He spent the entire match running after Peruvian players and did not look tired.
Ezequiel LAVEZZI is another positive. In the first half, he was Argentina's most attacking player and was constantly fouled. He had the assist on HIGUAIN's goal and did not look intimidated or scared by the Peruvian players. He kept fighting and chasing every ball and that was missing in a lot of the players.
HIGUAIN scored the only goal of the match and really there was not much else he was able to do. He had one chance the entire game and took it. He, along with MASCHERANO, LAVEZZI and the person I will talk to about next (I know you will all want to kill me for this) didn't look intimidated and fought for every ball.
The fourth Argentine player who did not look afraid and was not scared was Pablo GUINAZU. Laugh it off, call me an idiot, but this match was designed for someone like Pablo GUINAZU. A tough, hard nosed player is precisely what Argentina needed. I'm not saying start him in every match, but if you're going into a match and you know it will be a physical 90 minutes, a player like GUINAZU is needed. When he came on, he did what MASCHERANO was doing the entire match. He ran after the ball and didn't stop. I'm not saying if he would have started Argentina would have won the match, but they probably would not have been bullied around as much. Another positive is the exclusion of Jose SOSA. He did not play a minute in both matches and it's possible that his inclusion in the team is coming to an end.
Argentina has let in the first goal against Colombia, Brasil and Peru and they have gone on to win the matches against Colombia and Brasil and got a point against Peru. Before, when Argentina used to let in the first goal, they would go in their shell and hide until the match was over. Now, it does not seem to be the case which is a positive.
You can't expect Argentina to go on and win every match. They went on a 6 game winning streak. They defeated Colombia, Switzerland, Ecuador, Brasil, Germany and Paraguay. They drew against a Peru team in a match where the referee was letting everything go. SABELLA has a lot of work ahead of him. For all the positives, he has to look at this match and look at what went wrong. The team was not able to string 3 passes together and we've seen what happens when MESSI is not able to produce his magic. The bench was not a strong bench and it showed. SABELLA has to look at all the problems and quickly because Argentina plays against Uruguay and Chile next month.