The Argentines began their Copa America opener brightly, reigning World Player of the Year Lionel Messi at the heart of the action, his trademark run and lay-off for Manchester City forward Carlos Tevez almost gave their side an early breakthrough. However, as the match progressed, Batista’s men looked increasingly lacking in front of goal, and were rattled even further when Edvaldo flicked a corner to the near post, creeping agonisingly over the line to give Bolivia a shock lead.
However, as Messi, Tevez and Ezequiel Lavezzi struggled to find the breakthrough, Batista was able to call upon another addition to the fine Argentine attacking arsenal, introducing the much sought-after Sergio Aguero. A reported target for the likes of Juventus, Chelsea and Real Madrid, the introduction of the Atletico Madrid man brought about the goal that spared his nation’s blushes, with a stunning volley from Nicolas Burdisso’s chested lay-off – a fine example of the ability prospective suitors will have noted.
While other members of an undoubtedly talented squad will be looking to improve on a disappointing first showing, this disappointing early result could prove to be but a minor disruption to Argentina’s quest for Copa America glory. While the Argentine faithful will be hoping for improvement, the early setback could be the catalyst for improvement throughout the tournament, beginning with the next Group A encounter with Columbia. Although the previous result will be the cause of much pessimism, Argentina are not the first elite nation to look to kick-start a campaign after early disappointment. After defeat in to Switzerland in their opening World Cup match in 2010, Spain went on to add the trophy to their European crown, to begin an on-going era of world football domination.
Ahead of Argentina’s upcoming fixtures, Sergio Batista will undoubtedly be looking to ways in which to improve on his side’s previous display, be it tactically or with a change of personnel. While Messi, Tevez and Lavezzi will feel they have more to offer in the tournament, Batista has an embarrassment of riches at his disposal, particularly in attacking areas. In addition to his previous starting attack, the opportune arrival of Aguero and the added options of Inter forward Diego Milito and Real Madrid’s Gonzalo Higuain give the Argentina camp plenty of reason to be optimistic ahead of their upcoming fixtures. Given their recent struggle in front of goal, finding the most effective combination of their vast array of attacking talent will prove vital as Argentina look to progress through to the latter stages of the tournament, and beyond.