Maradona plan unravels with no solution in sight
By Rex Gowar
CAPE TOWN (Reuters) - Diego Maradona's Argentina, having promised so much at the World Cup, find themselves back at square one with the same problems which plagued them in the South American qualifiers.
Argentina's four wins at the finals, scoring first in them all, hid frailties subsequently exposed by Germany in their 4-0 rout in Saturday's quarter-final at Green Point Stadium.
The attack was unable to bail them out. In fact, in 13 competitive matches under Maradona, Argentina never came back to win after falling behind.
FIFA player of the year Lionel Messi, touted as the potential player of the finals, retreated deeper into midfield in each of Argentina's five matches.
A puzzled Maradona, who is regarded as having almost single-handedly won Argentina's second world title in Mexico in 1986, said: "It's different now ... I think players used to play much more for themselves and today players are more practical, more team oriented ...(that is) the new fashion.
"We had players who would carry the team on their shoulders."
On Saturday, Germany coach Joachim Loew had the answer to Maradona's tactics.
"Argentina are a team divided between the defense and the attack. That was the key to be able to control the midfield and from there build our victory," said Loew, a contemporary of Maradona's, not in the same league as a player but clearly more than his match as a coach. Continued...