Messi not himself for floundering Argentina

Last Updated: Friday, July 8, 2011 - 00:00

Santa Fe: Lionel Messi has become an even more isolated player for Argentina at the Copa America than he was at the 2010 World Cup, a forlorn figure missing the telling passes of his club mates Xavi and Andres Iniesta.

Messi, mesmerising for Barcelona, has had limited influence in the hosts` first two matches in Group A, a 1-1 draw with Bolivia and Wednesday`s 0-0 stalemate with Colombia.

Coach Sergio Batista preaches a game that is centred around Messi but it is not working in a competitive context in the way it appeared to flourish in friendlies.

Argentina have been thwarted by two well organised sides with Colombia`s Hernan Dario Gomez showing the extent of his nous as a coach in his near-flawless tactics against Batista`s.
Had Colombia`s attack put away one of several chances, the game plan would have been perfect but they were profligate while Argentina`s Sergio Romero had a man-of-the-match game in goal.

The best thing Messi did in the 90 minutes against Colombia was the brilliant through-ball to Ezequiel Lavezzi in the first half that the winger should have buried in the Colombia net.
That is not, however, the role Batista really has for Messi. He wants to see Messi receiving such passes and putting away the goals himself.

Bureau Report



First Published: Friday, July 8, 2011 - 00:00

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