From: Marcos Schieda
Subject: Re: Argentina's Strengths (was: Re: England Fans Never Mind...)
Date: 03/12/2001

"jp"  wrote in message news:...
> Dear Marcos,
> Can you give us a good review on Aimar, his strengths, weaknesses, and if he
> will be a starter for the current Argentina squad?
> What are Argentina's major strengths and weaknesses. I appreciate your
> review below, but the majority of it was weakness, and we know Argentina is
> currently one of the top teams in the world, so what are their strengths as
> you see them?
> Thanks.

Hello, JP.

I'll gladly answer your questions:

Pablo Aimar is a very talented player, very skilled, and, also, very
young, so he'll be even better in the future.

His main strength is the dribbling (he has the ability to pass 3 or 4
players, like Ortega usually does), but, unlike Ortega, he is a better
passer (and he passes the ball more often than Ortega, who like to
keep it all the time). In River Plate, he played as an Offensive
Midfielder, even though Bielsa has given him the opportunity to play
as a Forward who helps Veron or Gallardo to feed Batistuta or Crespo.
I think in Valencia his usual position has also been Offensive

He is the kind of player that needs another talented one to play with
(for example, a Gallardo type of player). That's when Aimar's
performances are great. In River (a team fulled of great offensive
players) he could do that. When he is the only responsible to feed the
Forwards or to create plays, he might choke. Ocassionally, he can
score goals, even though he's not a striker. Good free kick shooter.

His main weakness is defence. Even though he's better than Riquelme
(who can't defend anybody), and you may see Aimar once in a while
pressing and stealing balls, that's the exception, not the rule. But
usually this kind of players are not very good at defence, and they
also don't care. Besides, he isn't a player with a big body, so he may
be pushed around quite often, specially against quick, big defenders.
And finally, he hasn't shown too much in the National Team (although
he did play well in the U-21 squad). He has lost his starting job, and
now is a bench player (however, Bielsa likes to put him in during the
second half).

About Argentina, I do think they have quite a few strengths. First of
all, this squad has members that played in World Cups (most of them
played in France), so they have added experience to their skills.
Also, Bielsa has a system that he has never changed since he is the
coach: three defenders, a defensive midfielder in the middle, two
players (some kind of Left and Right Midfielders) who go up and down
all the time, a playmaker (even though Veron isn't one), a striker and
two forwards (left and right, with some defensive responsibilities).
Even though there were players suspended or injured, he continued with
this tactic, trying to substitute them according to the system. This
has brought confidence to the players, and now they know what to do in
the field, as they are used to the tactic.

This allows the players to make short, quick passes, because they know
everybody's position. Even though Argentina can't stay the whole match
doing that, I've seen good touches between the midfielders that
usually ended in goal opportunities. When the team can do that, they
are quite nice to watch, although this squad prefers to be effective
rather than to play beautiful soccer.

Also, the defensive pressing is a major progress from the Passarella
years. In the Qualifications, you may watch at least two players from
Argentina pressing the player from the opposite team who had the ball.
Forwards have helped with this, as for example Ortega has followed
Roberto Carlos when the Brazilian wanted to join the offense. But Kily
Gonzalez, Zanetti and Simeone are the best players for this pressure,
specially the first one.

Besides, Argentina is a team that, when they score the first goal,
they know how to handle the situation (and they hardly lose). In fact,
the only game Argentina lost, we started losing. And this team has won
games when the first goal has been scored by the other squad (like the
2-1 win against Brazil). Even though in that match the team didn't
play well, the attitude displayed (alongside Scolari's ultra-defensive
system) allowed Argentina to tie and finally win the game.

And finally, I think this team has some players that can win a game by
themselves, just making one great play during the whole match. For
example, Ortega or Gallardo or Veron or Batistuta may be playing
awfully, but they just need only one play to justify their presence in
the field. Batistuta can't touch the ball one or two times in a half,
but maybe has scored 2 goals. Ortega and Gallardo may create a
wonderful play either to score themselves or to assist a teammate. And
Veron can make a great long pass from anywhere.

Another weaknesses I see are: As I said, Veron is talented enough to
make great passes, but he tends to make them too often (and he makes a
good one after he did 4 or 5 wrong). Also, this team hasn't a
playmaker: Veron is doing that job, and I think he can't do it.
Gallardo is on the bench, with Aimar, and Riquelme isn't even on the
National Team. And Ortega is too selfish to be a playmaker. That's why
sometimes you see too many long shots to nowhere, even from Ayala or
Samuel, giving the ball to the other team without any reason. And
finally, Lopez and Burgos must stay at home and watch the World Cup in
their homes :).

I hope this could help. I'll answer any other questions you have.

Best wishes,


From: Marcos Shieda
Subject: Re: Argentina's Strengths (was: Re: England Fans Never Mind...)
Date: 04/12/2001

"jp"  wrote in message news:<5HUO7.5718$>...
> Marcos,
> Wow! That was a great review. It seems that Argentina has strength in all
> positions. How would you rate their defence to Italy's or France's? What
> about goalie?
> Aimar impressed me in the only match I watched, and that was Argentina's win
> against Italy in a friendly last year. Will he be ready for next year


Well, I'm glad you liked my review. Argentina has strengths, but also
weaknesses that a good team like France, Italy or England may take
advantage of. About their defence compared to Italy's or France's:

Unlike Argentina, Italy has always considered defence as the key to
win games. Usually our teams tend to have better midfielders or
forwards than defenders. So, I'll say Italy's defence is far better
than ours. I think that players like Cannavaro, Nesta, Costacurta,
Maldini, are great and deserve a place in their National Squad. They
are much better than Pochettino and Berizzo, our reserves. Sensini is
also worse than them, as his age doesn't help him anymore. And they
are better than Vivas, who earned a place because of work ethic, but I
don't think he's too good to start. Ayala and Samuel may be considered
at the same level than those 4, specially Samuel who has a great
future. Ayala is incredibly inconsistent, but both Passarella and
Bielsa like him A LOT, so he is the guy that will lead our defence.

I haven't seen France in a while, but I've heard they are in trouble
trying to find a replacement for Laurent Blanc. Anyway, if they choose
Lizarazu, Leboeuf (or Silvestre), Desailly and Thuram, they are way
much better than Vivas, Ayala, Samuel. But you have to take into
account that Argentina plays with two midfielders that go up and down
all the time (usually Zanetti and Sorin/Kily Gonzalez). The three of
them make the offensive job that Lizarazu and Thuram must do for
France, so this doesn't bother Bielsa (only in free kicks or corner
kicks Ayala and Samuel go to offense; and if Zanetti stays, Vivas can
occasionally attack). But defensively speaking, Desailly is just
fantastic, Leboeuf is very useful and does his job without making
mistakes, and Thuram is also a great at tackling and pressing.
Lizarazu's defensive skills are not that good. In comparison to Ayala,
I'd say that Desailly is much, much better, and I don't know if
Lebouef is, but at least the French is more consistent. Samuel is
usually better than Lebouef, but he still needs to establish himself
to become a truly safe defender. Vivas tries hard but doesn't have too
many skills at defence, besides he's too short to play as a stopper.

Goalies: You may know that I hate Burgos, so I think our keeper
situation just sucks. But anyway, many people say that, and some of
them are from other countries, so this is a reality that Bielsa just
doesn't want to accept.

I don't know who will be the Italy's keeper, but Buffon or Toldo are
way better than Burgos. They are safer, they are solid, they know what
to do and don't try to become showmen and start dribbling or making
difficult saves from easy shots just for fun. Without any doubt, Italy
is better. But that's because Bielsa has chosen this Burgos-Bonano
combo that just can't play for Argentina. Cavallero is OK. Saja or
Campagnuolo are very similar to Toldo, but Bielsa hasn't taken them
into account (only Campagnuolo, who was at the bench against Paraguay
when Cavallero started and Burgos was suspended).

Fabien Barthez is another of those clown keepers that I hate. I
couldn't believe that during France 98 this guy was selected the best
keeper, specially with better ones like Schmeichel, Chilavert or Van
der Sar. And now, his performances in Manchester United have shown
that he is a risky gamble: a great save, or a stupid goal. Well,
Burgos is very, very similar to him. Likes to be the showman, to be
the centre of attention. Burgos is better on one-on-one situations,
though. But this two shouldn't be playing anymore. France and
Argentina could be out of Korea-Japan just because of them.

But if France plays Gregory Coupet, everything changes, as I like this
goalkeeper a lot and is very safe. I don't know much about Rame, the
2nd goalie, but I think he is closer to Coupet's style rather than

Aimar played a very good game against Italy, but it was when he was
still starting for Argentina and he was playing in River Plate. After
he lost his starting job and went to Valencia, where sometimes he
doesn't play (I don't know why), he has turned into an irregular
player who shows his skills just for moments. However, I think he's
still young and will be in this World Cup just for experience. But
he'll also get some minutes during second halves. I guess this World
Cup will be for him something like USA '94 was for Ortega.