JOHANNESBURG - As Lionel Messi dazzles
fans with his skills while waiting for his first goal of this
World Cup, a marvellous complement of strikers is carrying
Carlos Tevez made his scoring bow in Argentina's fourth win
of the tournament when they beat Mexico 3-1 in the second round
on Sunday and Gonzalo Higuain took his tally to four, making him
top scorer at the finals so far.
"I needed a match like this to restate that I'm in form,
that I have hunger for glory with this shirt," said Tevez after
an opening goal that appeared to be offside and a sublime
25-metre drive that effectively ended Mexican hopes.
When the strikers are not scoring - and Messi, playing deep
to escape tight marking, has come within a whisker at least once
in each of the four matches - there have been set pieces to
secure the goals.
Coach Diego Maradona put out what he called his 'gala team'
and he will be looking to do the same against Germany in Cape
Town for Saturday's quarter-final though that may
"We have to try to find the best team, the 'gala team' to
play against Germany," he said of the nation he faced as captain
in successive finals, winning in 1986 but losing four years
Germany and Argentina are the highest scoring teams in the
tournament. The Germans took their tally to nine when they beat
England 4-1 on Saturday and Argentina increased theirs to 10.
Argentina's goals-to-chances ratio, however, makes up for
some deficiencies in defence where left back Gabriel Heinze
twice came to the rescue clearing Mexican efforts off the line.
Argentina have controlled their matches while wobbling at
the back and a question mark hangs over young goalkeeper Sergio
Romero, one of four Olympic gold medal winners in the team.
"I didn't like giving the ball (to Mexico) so much in the
second half when they don't have the skill we have," Maradona
said at the post-match news conference.
"If we'd grabbed the ball the match would have been more
tranquil and we could have increased the score."
To that end he sent on midfelder Juan Sebastian Veron to
help captain Javier Mascherano in the ball-winning and holding
department but still the speed of the Mexican forwards had
Argentina in constant trouble if not outright danger.
Germany's young side showed against England how quickly they
can break on the counter-attack and Maradona knows Argentina's
midfield will therefore have to concentrate more on protecting
the defence if his team are to reach the semi-finals.
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