Four high quality goals from Argentina saw them comfortably through to the semis. Peru was completely outplayed as Riquelme started and finished proceedings in style.
Despite no goals being scored in the first-half, Argentina created a couple of chances – the best ones coming off Messi’s boots. The 20 year old is slowly settling into his own with every game – today being arguably his best display.
Riquelme could have put Argentina ahead in the first-half but his tight-angled shot found the keeper. On another occasion, Messi picked up pace after beating a defender but his shot deflected off another and hit the post. Minutes later, it was Messi again, cutting into the box from the left. Having elegantly worked his way through two defenders, he got around
another one before taking a shot only to be denied by a fourth.
With scores levelled at nothing, it was time for Coach Basile to make a change. Tevez was introduced right after the interval in place of Diego Milito. He made his presence felt immediately. Zanetti sent the ball into the box for a diving Tevez header that hit the top post.
With nobody finding the net and pressure building up, someone needed to break the deadlock. It was Riquelme who answered the call. Making the ball his own after some delightful passes, Riquelme moved swiftly from right to centre before unleashing a fiery shot that gave the keeper no chance. Minutes later, Riquelme was again at the ball. Giving the impression he was going to take a shot, he produced one of those brilliant passes that so often make good defences look silly. It was meant for Messi who was more that glad to receive it before calmly beating a defender and the keeper to
make it 2-0.
The third goal was a smart combination play from Messi and Tevez. A cheeky Messi pass opened up Tevez on the left who ran into the area before returning the favour to Messi. The youngster was denied by the keeper but Argentina wasn’t as Mascherano was waiting on the right to pounce on the rebound.
The final goal originated at the other end from the Argentine keeper who cleared a set-piece to find Tevez. Breaking away on the counter, Tevez passed for Riquelme to finish in style.
Argentina now take on Mexico, who hammered six goals against Paraguay, in the semis in what should be a mouth-watering contest. If you happened to see the Arg-Mex world cup classic last year, you know exactly what I’m talking about.