In their final World Cup tune-up, Argentina fielded a light lineup without too much talent against a tough Slovenia and still managed to impress with more than a few above-average substitutions. The final score was 2-0, but do not let that fool you, as this was a decent game to watch.
Ricky Alvarez scored in the first half with Leo Messi connecting with Angel di Maria, and Sergio Aguero put one in during the final half of the match to finalize the scoreline. The latter three all entered the match to add a bit more spice to the attack and it certainly worked as was proved with that goal. Look out for these three to be on the field together quite a bit in the tournament itself.
Goalkeeper Sergio Romero seemed a bit shaky as he jumped off his line a bit late and had trouble passing the ball to teammates and even catching it at times. This makes us question the decision to include him over Malaga’s Willy Caballero, who is older and played in a much tougher league, La Liga.
Regardless, the team as a whole played well, especially since they put Javier Mascherano as the midfield anchor sitting just in front of the back line of four. He had four clutch passes in the first half that could have all led to goals being scored. With his success in this position for the country, coach Luis Enrique should think twice before playing him as a center back for Barcelona next season. He is still going to be breaking up plays in the defensive third, but he could also contribute offensively.
Slovenia played a decent game as they showed bravery going forward, passing the ball accurately and even creating chances. The one trouble they had was halting the runs of Argentina’s best players in their own half as the speed and trickery was a bit too much to bare. They were outmatched for the most part, but the score should still give them confidence as they did hold their own.
With this win under their belt, Argentina heads to Brazil with two-straight wins to give them a boost for the games that will truly matter. This is a team that is expected to make the final and perhaps win it all. If Messi leads the attack and Mascerhano keeps the defense and midfield composed, this team can do anything.