Argentina 1 – 0 Paraguay
The favorites have proven their worth tonight in a matchup between what might be the best two teams in Copa America 2007.
Argentina behind a sensational goal by Javier Mascherano (his first goal ever for his country) beat a feisty Paraguay in a close game that started with both coaches putting all their subs in the lineups but ended with all the stars on the field. With the win Argentina finishes perfect in group play with 9/9 points and will face Peru in the second round, while Paraguay get stuck with a tough Mexican team.
A lot to be happy about for Albiceleste fans
Accostumed to seeing 4 goals per game a 1-0 win might seem weak, but I felt this was Argentina’s most convincing performance in the tournament. All their players performed well or extremely well. Tevez was sensational, getting off howitzer strength shots at will. ManU fans should be licking their chops. The Hare Krishna, Rodrigo Palacios was excellent on the wings. Aimar was great orchestrating the team and passing the ball fluidly. Gago was impressive controlling the play at back and moving forward with some great shots on goal. Cambiasso and Zanetti played their best games of the cup. And the little guy Mascherano played solid all game and scored a great goal. The ball appeared in front of his feet and instead of blasting off a quick shot, he just let it sit there for a second, as if it had to marinate before cooking it softly, slowly but with a sniper’s accuracy onto the far post. A gem of a score and it could have been more but the goalposts and the Paraguayan keeper Bobadilla wouldn’t have it.
Paraguay who had their own merits, played for the tie for the most part but came alive in the second half. Roque Santa Cruz came in with 10 minutes to play but it wasn’t long enough to secure a point which would have helped their chances in the next round.
Carlos Tevez. F, Argentina.
The press, the media, the fans all love Messi, but Tevez is the real star of this team now that Crespo is gone. He was on fire tonight and deserving of a goal or two but it wasn’t meant to be.
The Ugly Duckling
Edgar Barreto. M, Paraguay.
The Guarani and NEC – Holland midfielder came in as a late sub and baffled everyone including his coach when he didn’t take a clear opportunity for a shot on goal. The team was trailing and Barreto chose to pass the pass off to his right where nothing materialized. Bonehead move, only followed up by a quick yellow card which led to time wasting by the Argentinians.