Tevez in smashing form as Maradona's 'gala team' revel in goal rush

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 Argentina forward.

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 30-yard 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 imply changes.

"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 later.

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.

The Mexico coach Javier Aguirre said his team's "boys" had the potential to finally bring joy to his success-starved compatriots after his country's all too familiar World Cup exit in the second round.

Mexico have now exited the past five World Cups at the same stage, and with their best performances coming in 1970 and 1986 when they reached the quarter-finals, the fans are desperate for to get further.

Watch this space, said Aguirre after his team's 3-1 loss to Argentina. "We have to recover, we must continue wanting. There are boys willing to fight for Mexico, it's a gift to be able to do so," Aguirre, who might leave his post as manager after just over a year in charge, told a news conference after the defeat.

"We have a great generation of young players who must be put to the best possible use, I believe in four years they will be at the top. We can look towards a bright future," the former Mexico international added.

In 2005, Mexico won the under-17 World Cup, a light at the end of tunnel for their passionate supporters who 17 years earlier suffered the pain of seeing their side expelled from the international scene by FIFA for two years for fielding over-age players for the 1988 Olympic Games qualifiers.

However Aguirre, who also coached the national team at the 2002 World Cup, warned people not to heap too much pressure on the young generation.

"You need patience. These boys have to grow up. After being expelled we've been going up and up and up," he said.

The former Atletico Madrid manager was upset he could not steer the team to greater heights, but praised the players for their commitment.

"I'm not happy and I have the impression I could not change the course of history. I'd like to thank the players for putting up with my opinions," he said.

Experienced squad members Rafael Marquez, Cuauhtemoc Blanco and Carlos Salcido had said before the tournament that they would retire afterwards but none were certain about their future when asked by media following the Argentina match.

Aguirre himself said he would make an announcement on his future soon.

Arts and Entertainment
Louis Theroux: By Reason of Insanity takes him behind the bars again
tvBy Reason of Insanity, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap
videoThe political parody genius duo strike again with new video
News
Stephen Hawking is reportedly taking steps to trademark his name
people
Sport
Seth Rollins cashes in his Money in the Bank contract to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
WWERollins win the WWE World Heavyweight title in one of the greatest WrestleMania's ever seen
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor