Argentina 1 - 0 Paraguay
Goals: Mascherano (79)
- Abbondanzieri looks much more confident, although he didn't exactly have a lot to do
- Zanetti is having a brilliant tournament. I can't praise him enough.
- Burdisso looks like a solid backup for Ayala and Gabi Milito.
- Cambiasso has improved massively.
- Palacio: he works hard, he's got pace, he can cross, and he can hit a ball. Not bad, although it's clear he needs a more traditional center forward to play off.
- Tevez looked very lively and created some danger.
- Messi's supersub performance. (And the fact that he's not injured, despite being hacked at every time he runs with the ball.)
- Mascherano. Not just a brilliant holding midfielder, but what a goal.
- Ibarra and Diaz were decent but one can see why they're not first choice.
- Gago looks out of sorts. Mascherano's a different class to him right now.
- Someone else who looks out of sorts: Lucho Gonzalez. Dear Lord. I really wish we had Maxi Rodriguez fully fit now.
- Aimar showed some spark, but also that he's better as an impact sub or a supporting midfielder than the starting playmaker right now. We definitely missed Riquelme.
I was very impressed with their defensive effort. They play a 4-4-2 with the two rows of four retreating very quickly and leaving little space everytime Argentina went forward, and it works very well. Offensively they were limited to counter-attacks or long balls up to their two forwards, but then they didn't have to win. If they can defend like this against Mexico, I think they have a chance.