Argentina over gold (flag)

I went into the Argentina/Ecuador game looking forward to seeing Messi and Aguero (incidentally, does anyone know why his City jersey has 'Kun Aguero' on it?) working together up front.  I thought they were the only two players I knew on Argentina, but I hadn't realized Zabaleta was Argentine (I did wonder why I didn't see him playing for Italy).  I've also seen di Maria a couple times, but not often.

For Bosnia, I think Dzeko is the only one with whom I'm familiar (I've probably also seen Begovic play a few times, but I don't know for sure).  He's great, but one man (especially one striker) does not a team make.

Given all that, I expected a rout, honestly.

And when Argentina scored on a lucky own-goal in the second minute, that analysis seemed to be borne out.  Basically, a header off a corner kick went right into a defender, who was unable to get out of the way, and into the far side of the net (relative to the corner).

But it felt like Messi was trying too hard for the rest of the half; giving up the ball too much, and trying some too-long passes.  And while Bosnia didn't have any terribly-good chances, they weren't giving up many, either.

One thing that struck me, tactically, was that neither team was pressuring much towards the middle of the field.  Both were waiting for the other team to get close.

The first half definitely favored the Argentines, probably fairly strongly, in terms of possession.  The second half was much more even (maybe even favoring Bosnia), despite Messi playing much better.

Scoring was more even, as well.  Argentina went up by two in the sixty-fifth minute on a surgical strike by Messi.  He was running across the top of the box, and fired a shot that curled in towards the near post.  His shot was so precise that it hit the inside of the post and bounced all the way across to hit the back of the far post.  The goalie, positioned very well, still had no chance at it.  Very impressive.

And perhaps that goal was part of why the Bosnians were doing better; perhaps Argentina was playing more conservatively.  Regardless of the reason, the Bosnians did play better, and scored in the 84th, Ibišević doing the honors (he had subbed in a few minutes after Messi's strike).

But that still didn't really put the outcome in doubt, as those from the land of silver held on comfortably.  Argentina looks to be in great shape to move on, but I could see any of the other three taking the runner-up position.

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