Post Match View – Argentina v. Nigeria FIFA World Cup 2010

Much like South Africa yesterday, Nigeria could have been blown away in the first half. Defensive blunders, tactical ineptitude, poor concentration, take your pick. The Nigerian defence was guilty of all of the above.

Unlike South Africa though, they did not claim a point from the match. It’s not like they didn’t have chances. Taiwo went very close and Uche was just a mess in front of goal. His miss on 82 from a fine cross by Yakubu is not what would-be footballers day dream about. We see ourselves placing that shot in the 90.

Diego – who looks as comfortable in a suit as I would have looked in the No. 10 shirt – started Gonzalo Higuain instead of Diego Milito. Higuain did very little to help the world understand that decision.

Carlos Tevez was uncharacteristically quiet. Lionel Messi was typically active. He was too much for Danny Shittu and Joseph Yobo but they were rescued time after time after time by Vincent Enyeama. The Nigerian keeper stopped everything Messi threw at him. He was the difference between an embarrassing score line and a respectable 1-0 reverse.

Some people hate Diego Maradona. I think he’s funny. And with a guy who breathes football and lives for it with such passion, it’s hard for me to see him in so serious a light that I would judge him as anything but a footballer. I enjoy his enthusiasm. Football is about emotion. Diego embodies that.

As for Nigeria, Yakubu and Martins are a handful for any defence. Lagerback must play them together from the opening whistle. And if he really wants to advance, he must keep the awful Peter Odemwingie off the pitch.

South Korea and Argentina look set to advance from this group but if Enyeama can keep the form he showed today, if Yobo and Shittu get their act together, and if Martins can work with Yakubu from the start, Nigeria could still be in it.

One thing is for sure, they can use a Jay Jay Okocha. This team has no playmaker. If they had someone controlling midfield, Argentina would have suffered a bit more than they did.

England v USA next. I’m looking forward to a memorable one here folks. If the US score first, England could be in trouble. Overall though, I sense that Wayne Rooney is going to leave a mark on Bradley’s men that they will not forget.

Chat later.

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