As you can imagine, I'm very sad about Argentina's exit from the World Cup and there are many questions that will remain unanswered. Why didn't Lionel Messi and Pablo Aimar play, especially in the second half when Argentina needed to have more of the ball? The best players were not on the field of play.
It was a bad match against the Germans. The first 15 minutes were so nervous and there was none of the bursting out of the starting blocks that we saw in the group games against Ivory Coast and Serbia & Montenegro. After the first cautious exchanges, there was a lot of effort from both sides but not much football.
Another question is why didn't Javier Saviola play? Maxi Rodriguez on the right and Hernan Crespo up front were isolated without him. Our goal came from the only way possible, a dead-ball situation, and then we tried to hold on to the lead. When Juan Roman Riquelme was taken off for the vital last 20 minutes, it was a signal that all was not going well. Riquelme's presence is important but he hadn't played well, and was replaced by Esteban Cambiasso, a more defensive midfielder, while Messi and Aimar remained on the bench. From then on, Germany revealed their dynamism, their greatest quality, and deserved the draw. Extra time was more of the same, bad, and then, for me, the most unjust manner to define games - penalties.
I am disappointed because we all know Argentina were a good team, better technically than Germany. But the people back in Argentina are not angry. The team had a style of play they identified with, the traditional Argentinian style of close passing and dribbling and, in the end, maybe we lacked a bit of luck as well. The Argentinian press spoke of "pride" in the team and thought we had played a dignified World Cup.
I think the most passionate footballing countries in the world are Argentina, England and Brazil so I was double sad, then treble sad, with the way the matches went the following day. Maybe for English and Portuguese fans their game was a tense one, but really, for everyone else, it was a match without emotions that won't be remembered in World Cup history. Both teams were very equal, a match without clarity, with nearly all the play in the centre of the pitch, as you would expect of two teams playing with only one up front.
I was hoping for more from England. They had their best team for a long time, with some good individual players, but what a pity that when the moment arrived none of them appeared in their plenitude. The attitude of Rooney wasn't good and England lost all their chances in that moment.
Portugal cannot score and that is an obvious disadvantage if you are trying to win the World Cup. Maybe Scolari is planning to win it on penalties? As I have said before, he is a destroyer of football. His game plan went smoothly - to provoke Rooney and get him sent off.
And then, my final disappointment, Brazil. They didn't have enough hunger in the end and you must be very hungry if you want to win these matches. Neither Ronaldinho nor Kaka had a good world cup. Only Ze Roberto played well. In the last few minutes, suddenly the true Brazil appeared but it was all too late.
Take nothing away from France, though. Zidane and company played well and were positive in every sense. They deserved to win and no one can dispute their triumph. If you are looking for a player of the World Cup, a new man on the scene who can thrill the crowds, then I think we found him in the last two French performances - the reborn Zinedine Zidane.
With Claude Makalele and Patrick Vieira playing just behind him, France have a very balanced midfield and Zidane has freedom, unlike in his recent years at Real Madrid, where he played alongside Beckham and without a holding player. As one of the Brazilians at the match said, "At last we saw some of that jogo bonito [beautiful game] that we talk about so much ... from Zidane." My candidates are France and Italy now - they showed enough evidence they can reach the final.Reuse content