It ended with Carlos Tevez. He wasn’t the last to take a penalty, but he was the only player to miss one during the shootout, as Uruguay beat Argentina and advanced to the Copa America Semi Finals. Lionel Messi? No goals. He scored the first penalty kick, he set up Higuain for the equalizer, but he couldn’t save Argentina who played 11-10 for 50 minutes. They simply choked.
I don’t want to blame it all on Tevez. Argentina have a weak defense and nothing more than decent keeper. They have a head coach who thought that if he has Lionel Messi and Javier Mascherano on his team, he could make it look like it’s the same Barcelona, in different colors. A man stuck in an illusion for two games, that Banega and Cambiasso can easily replace Xavi and Iniesta, if he puts the chess pieces in the right place.
He did wake up from that illusion, but too late, and eventually, non of it was good enough. Four matches, only one win, over Costa Rica. In most countries with the ambitions such as Argentina, that might mean losing your job. I wouldn’t be surprised.
But back to Tevez. I guess most fingers on keyboards will be pressing the M E S I keys, but that’s so last week. Carlos Tevez and his decision to blow everything up – wanting to leave City, hoping to return to his roots or to Corinthians but this general dissatisfaction of being a star footballer didn’t do him and Argentina any good. Batista didn’t call him up for a while. He should have stuck to that. If there’s one position that Argentina are overflowing with talent in, it’s up front.
Bringing in an unhappy employee with his mind elsewhere while the pressure of playing at home was always a negative factor to consider was just a bad move. Argentina looked better without Tevez, but that change didn’t come soon enough. Tevez adds toughness, along with Mascherano being the mean SOB’s on this team. The two goals Argentina conceded during the four games were “soft” goals. Ones that a tough, well formed group of players and defenders doesn’t concede.
I think the biggest loser from all of this is Javier Pasotre and Palermo. If they really do want to sell him, this Copa America showed how un world class he really is, or just not there yet, and any talk of 40-50 million transfer fees should fly out the window. Argentina messed up in so many ways, almost every opportunity they had in this tournament. Still, they only fell through one missed penalty kick, by the man who shouldn’t have been there, Carlos Tevez.