Photo by ISIPhotos.com
By CARL SETTERLUND
Facing the likes of Arjen Robben, Robin Van Persie, and Wesley Sneijder in the World Cup semifinals, Argentina needed a special performance to keep those three away from goal.
While the back line was busy, Argentine midfielder Javier Mascherano stepped up to the task played brilliantly, marking Robben and Sneijder basically out of the game. In particular, he made a great recovery to catch up with Robben and make a key tackle at the left post to deny the Dutchman in the first minute of second half stoppage time.
Although Sergio Romero made two penalty saves, including a great one on Sneijder, Mascherano was the key to stifling the Dutch offense and beats out other standouts such as Romero, Martín Demichelis and Ezequiel Garay for Man of the Match honors.
What did you think of Mascherano’s performance? Which player stood out the most to you?
Share your thoughts below.
Mascherano has been lights out all tourney, this was the role Bradley should have played with Donovan underneath Dempsey.
With Jermaine Jones – where? On the bench? On the wing?
Paradoxically, Jones’s likely and imminent retirement from international play may help by putting MB back into his more appropriate deep role, but JK will still have to figure out the perennial question of a more creative central midfielder. Besides maybe Mix, who are the candidates?
Not at all. What worked best was Beckerman laying back, Jones and Bradley B2B–s a regista and not a trequartista.
An almost regista, I guess. More freedom to follow the play, since he’s got a hammer shot.
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Masherano was immense. He is one of the most under rated players in the world. He was the easy choice.
Amazing how there has been a little bit of everything in this tournament. Goals galore and tense chess matches. Watching those midfield engine rooms gut it out over 120 minutes sure was something.
Excellent point. The total fatigue of the players in the closing 20-30 mins was evidence of the hard work spent keeping all of the dangerous individual talent at bay within a well-understood tactical framework. I won’t watch this game again ever. But I rate it as high quality.
Mascherano was extremely good in this game and made a huge tackle on Robben late but honestly he shouldn’t have been allowed to continue after the clear head injury he sustained. He stumbled and then fell over, it was clear he suffered a head injury and should have been removed. A day of reckoning will one day come for soccer and the way they have handled head injuries and it will not be pretty. The teams will fight it hard but the way it is handled now is clearly not the answer.
agree with everything you wrote. How about the Kuyt hit on Zabaleta? no contact on the head but the jarring motion looked like it knocked him out too, or kind of paralyzed him temporarily
He hurt his jaw and cut his mouth. Don’t think that was brain related
When the head whips like that, it can cause some trauma to the brain. Hard to say from tv replay, but hopefully he and Mascherano don’t have any lasting damage.
I am sure most players at this level would insist on playing on, as Mascherano likely did. But that’s like asking a drunk if he’s OK to drive. The head injury affects his judgment, and of course he is a natural competitor so he would want back on. Twellman mentioned a “neutral 3d party” to assess and determine fitness to continue. Maybe train the refs so the 4th official can make the call (or consult physios/team doctors as needed).