Last night Australia played Argentina at the MCG in a match that I had tickets for but didn’t attend. This was the game that was meant to be played in early June and it was only after 9 of us had purchased our plane flights and accommodation that they decided that the timing was wrong if they wanted to play their best Argentinian side. Great for Australian football but not so great for us since it meant we couldn’t go. I have to say I’m dissapointed that I didn’t get to see players like Lionel Messi, Zanetti and Tevez in the flesh but I probably had a better view of their skills on the tv.
As for the game, even though Australia lost 1-0 it could have easily been a draw. Marco Bresciano was precision man with his free kicks but the woodwork was not kind to us when the ball bounced off it twice, hitting the keeper in the back twice and then bouncing off to the side of the goal. 9 out of 10 times that would go in. There was no Viduka, Kewell or Emerton so instead we got to see players like David Carney (an A league player) and Nicky Carle line up against the second best team in the world. For me Carney was the most outstanding player doing double duty against Messi. Not only did he have to defend against the guy but seconds later he’d be running down the wing places crosses in the box for Josh Kennedy to try and head in goal. Carney was responsible for the foul that allowed Argentina to score from a free kick so it was unfortunate that it was his only real mistake. A big aussie talent for the future.
Messi was as good as they said he was and he was a joy to watch with his tricks, turns of speed and ability to get out of spaces a claustrophobic would be screaming in. Messi also had a powerful strike hit the post – the wood was not generous at the MCG. Tevez wasn’t allowed the space he required which I think was down to the fact the Lucas Neill used to play with him at West Ham so probably knew all his strengths and weaknesses.
When the goals are few and far in between in soccer you get your enjoyment out of individual skill levels and last night there was ounces of skill. If Australia had played like that at the Asian Cup we would have won it but alas, we can’t go back in time.