ARGENTINA â€“ what was wrong with the tactics?
The main problem according to me that Messi was coming back too deep to get the ball. While they have three defensive minded midfielder and coincidentally all of them were doing there defensive duty to the fullest â€“ which kept Messi alone in the whole midfield. In this situation, see Messi was behind
the half line to collect the ball and start running towards the empty place. Lavezzi on the far right is his only choice as both Banega and Mascherano were way behind at their own half. Tevez is no near the ball to compensate the huge gap between midfielder and attackers. On the next situation we can see when Messi passed the ball to Lavezzi and Lavezzi made a run towards goal, Cambiasso slowed down his run to the box expecting a minus. But see Tevez's run here. He was coming towards the 'D' from the left flank, where very easily he could see Cambi was approaching for the same place. Tactically he should have continued his run towards the red cross mark to meet the cross and give the formation more width.
It was one more time when Messi skipped pass two and had three defenders before him. Banega and Cambi yet again falling behind not making them available for interchanging passes. The left full back also was not advancing to provide a man advantage. Surprisingly watch Tevez's movement here. Rather moving away from the defender he is running towards the defender making the attack converging. Definitely he was not looking for a final pass. If so, he could have moved towards the red cross and started running horizontally deceiving the defender for a through ball. But Messi always looks for final through balls in this situation â€“ which Tevez failed to judge. Eventually he failed to draw the defender away from Messi's path. If you run towards the goal vertically like the black line its hard to use your stronger right foot. Rather if Tevez made the horizontal run (like the red line) and met Messi's through it would be a more open net for the right footer.
Lets go back to the Argentina vs USA match â€“ a couple of months before. Argentina played with same formation 4-3-3 (effectively 4-1-2-3) with Lavezzi as the left forward and DiMaria as right wide forward. No Tevez on the team, and Lavezzi had a pretty decent job at the same place.
If you watch the formation here, you could see the right back made a overlap to give more width and allow Lavezzi to cut in with the ball to made a more heavy midfield and play one-twos with Messi. The other very convincing thing was position of Banega and Cambi. They took risk and showed aggression and keep working on linking the midfield-forward line â€“ which actually helped Messi to play just above the final third â€“ not below that. On the next situation you could see Rojo's overlapping run again which allow Lavezzi's presence inside the box and created a 3 vs 3 scenario. Cambiasso also pressed hard to cover the final third.
This is an excellent example of the positioning of a wide forward who has a creative player behind him.
See how wide Lavezzi was positioning himself while Messi had the ball in the midfield to give him choice. Note that Lavezzi was not running towards the defender unlike Tevez but he was roaming away from the defender which put the defender in dilemma. Mark Lavezzi or not! If he tried to mark Lavezzi it would create a void in front of goal which can be heavily punished else Lavezzi can easily receive the ball and had enough time to play back towards the running Messi. Also the presence of Banega up the field made the midfield heavy and he did the task of linking the midfield to attackers pretty decent. Messi was completely wasted last night as mostly he was busy in this linking job.