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How Argentina Works

Argentina seems to have benefited from Veron's injury. His absence sped them up considerably, and since there was no designated ball distributor, Messi and Tevez had to come back even deeper for the ball, pulling up the Korean defense with them, only to come back down relentlessly, often turning to the left which allowed Higuain to be open on the right side of the box. He scored all three goals from practically the same position, the ball coming to him from the left wing. The left side of the Korean defense appeared to have a day off.

The impressive part of Argentina's game was how Messi and Tevez (and then Aguero) kept coming back to the center line to get the ball and then running at the Koreans. The 4-3-2-1 formation, whereby the 2 come back for the ball, rather than waiting for it deep in the Korean half, stretched their defense and opened up avenues for Messi's sprints. It was beautiful to watch. Maradona's approach is outscoring the other team, rather than simply avoiding defeat. And God (and the Koreans) know they can score a lot of them. Imagine Maradona putting Milito in, rather than indulging Kun Aguero's desire to play.

At the same time, Demichelis showed again that he is a liability, as is the entire defense. Furthermore, there was a stretch of the game when the Koreans pressed the Argentines very high up the field and quickly broke up their possession. Even though that was deflated by the third goal, it showed the way to stop the Argentines. The team that is going to beat them would have to do it the entire game and few teams can keep that up. Germany is one of them. Another way to beat them would be to close down all the running lanes with two holding midfielders (much like what Mourinho did with Inter against Barcelona) and that happens to be the way Brazil plays under Dunga. The way things are going, Brazil could only meet them in the finals, and then all bets would be off.

And let me also state the obvious: Even without scoring, Messi is the player of the tournament at this point.