Monday, June 16, 2014

Argentina beat a fighting Bosnia Herzigovina 2-1

An unfortunate deflection off the foot of Kolasinac at the far post was all Argentina carried into half time. It was a cagey start from both side, but Argentina pushed the ball around to calm their nerves and impose their game while hoping to intimidate the debutants of the Fifa World Cup in Bosnia Herzegovina. The newcomers retreated only up to the centre line and then tried to bite at that point. They pounced when the ball moved and withdrew with each failed attempt to win the ball.

A combative right back felled Aguero on the left. Lionel Messi curled the ball to the far post. The free-kick brushed Aguero’s head and descended to the left back’s feet and went past a desperately diving goalkeeper for the most unfortunate goal of the games so far.

Argentina were duly unsettled by the pressure of the settled European side who did well to look past the unlucky goal. They started to depend on counter attacks and long-range shots as they failed to pick up the second ball outside the penalty area. Despite the compact, composed and concentrated defensive behaviour, they were too slow in attack.

Messi tried too hard and easily gave away the ball, sometimes in dangerous areas as the defence doubled and sometimes tripled on him. Bosnia seemed to enjoy the experience, showing no fear or respect for the former champions. They closed all entry to their penalty area and kept Aguero under lock and key. They grew careless towards half time as the decision-making became poor in the final third. Few men were committed to attacking duties at that point.

For an experienced side, Argentina began to be sloppy and there were too many loose balls in midfield. Play became scrappier as the minnows were guilty of losing concentration in attack, with too many stray passes in midfield. The quality of their final ball was masked by a few corner-kicks later in the half. Six players stayed on or before the penalty spot and rushed to attack the ball as soon as it was in flight.

The beginning of the second half saw a panicking Argentinian defence as the novices turned on the screw. They pressed up field just outside the 18-yard area as they got committed to winning the ball early near the Argentinian goal. They squandered a few fair chances. The forays upfront triggered a reaction and spurred the South American attack.

The big moment came when the ball was won on the right of the midfield where a short dance took place. Captain Messi took off in full flight and exchanged passes at the D area with Higuin, waltzed past a few challenges, keeping his balance and composure, and curled a low hard drive around the sprawling goalkeeper. The ball hit the left upright and rolled across over the line for a memorable goal by the Barcelona maestro. Henceforth, Messi and company stamped their authority in the match and starte to dictate the terms of operation with ease.

Bosnia still had some fight left and they refused to throw in the towel. Their efforts drew a few fantastic saves from Romero, each attack encouraging the next. Their rear became exposed badly as Messi produced several trademark runs from midfield into the attacking third. Di Maria and Aguero were a little extravagant as they wasted a few chances to stretch the lead.

Bosnia Herzogovina were to be rewarded with their maiden goal when they won the ball on their left, threaded a weighted pass into the penalty area for Ibisevic to run to and drive it between Romero’s legs which reduced its pace but the ball agonising trickled past the goal line for a memorable goal.