Maradona is to blame for Argentina’s struggles

By Online Editorial
Diego Maradona (Image via Wikipedia)

Diego Maradona (Image via Wikipedia)

The Argentina coach singled out three players after defeat to Brazil on Saturday but Richard Aikman believes the match exposed Maradona’s short-comings as a tactician.

Can Messi and co. get their campaign on track against Paraguay later this week?

Considering they may well not even be in South Africa next summer, Argentina’s status as fourth favourites to win the 2010 World Cup – at odds of 8.8 – makes for bizarre reading.

La Selección’s fortunes have continued to slide under the suspect guidance of Diego Maradona and the morale-sapping 3-1 home defeat to fierce rivals Brazil on Saturday night has left them contemplating the unthinkable; failure to qualify for the World Cup finals for the first time since 1970.

Argentina were outthought, outfought and outplayed in Rosario on Saturday night, despite making a promising start to the match.

Maradona refused to blame his players, saying: “I won’t send anyone to jail.” He then singled out three of them. “Unfortunately, we had some chances in the first half with Maxi [Rodríguez] and [Carlos] Tévez but we couldn’t score. We shouldn’t heap all the blame to [Lionel] Messi because he wasn’t the only one playing.”

The chief culprit here, though, is Maradona himself.

The fact that he identified Dunga’s Brazil as being a threat from set-pieces, worked on it with his players in training (“we practised high balls because we know Brazil are very good at this”) and then watched helplessly as his side shipped two basic goals has highlighted his own inadequacies as coach.

The first goal was a classic case of poor communication as Gabriel Heinze and Sebastián Dominguez – questionably making his debut in a match of such high importance – both decided to mark Lúcio, giving Luisão the freedom of the city of Rosario. The second was also an exercise in static defending.

Maradona has admitted that qualifying will now be “complicated.” His side’s grip on the all-important fourth place is weakening, with Colombia and Ecuador just two points adrift and Argentina heading for a tricky trip to Paraguay on Wednesday.

The Albicelestes must then negotiate a seemingly straightforward home match against Peru before finishing with an arduous trip to Uruguay.

Paraguay, meanwhile, ended a four-match winless streak with a 1-0 win over Bolivia on Saturday, are back on track for South Africa and will qualify with a win over Maradona’s men on Wednesday.

Los Albirrojas lie joint-second on points with Chile, thanks to Salvador Cabañas’s match-winning penalty and the 29-year-old playmaker will be rubbing his hands at the prospect of exploiting Argentina’s frailty on dead-ball situations. As will his Argentinian coach Gerardo Martino.

El Tata, as he is known in his adopted homeland, has managed to rebuild an ageing squad since taking over in February 2007 and created a well-balanced, attack-minded team, which has learned to live without the injury-prone Roque Santa Cruz.

Since being thrashed 6-1 by Bolivia, Argentina have beaten Colombia 1-0, lost 2-0 to Ecuador and been taken apart by Brazil.

Their home match against Paraguay 12 months ago ended 1-1 and, when you bear in mind how close Paraguay came to beating Brazil in Recife in June before losing 2-1, there’s little to suggest Maradona’s outfit have what it takes to secure the all-important win.

Reproduced with permission from © The Sporting Exchange Limited


MORE: The latest football transfer news

MORE: Meet the Premier League's most stylish footballers

MORE: Do you know the top Muslim footballers in the Premier League?

MORE: Man United latest news

MORE: Arsenal latest news

MORE: Chelsea latest news

MORE: Liverpool latest news

Rotterdam Open
The Sport Review
Rotterdam 2018: Roger Federer back on top of the world, ‘That’s what I came for’
The Sport Review
Top 50 most stylish footballers in the world in 2017: Arsenal, Man United, Chelsea, Liverpool stars feature
The Sport Review
Top 40 Muslim footballers: Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Man United stars feature
The Sport Review
Top 25 footballers’ cars: Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Real Madrid players feature
The Sport Review
Top 20 Nigerian footballers in Premier League: Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool stars feature
The Sport Review
Arsenal player wages 2017: Do you know how much Xhaka, Ozil and Coquelin earn each week?
Rotterdam 2018
The Sport Review
Rotterdam 2018: Federer beats Seppi to set title bout against Dimitrov
The Sport Review
Frank Lampard delivers verdict on new Liverpool FC signing
Rotterdam 2018
The Sport Review
Rotterdam 2018: David Goffin forced to retire after freak accident; Grigor Dimitrov into final