If you can look past Gonzalo Higuain’s hat trick—gifted to him by a generous and generously brilliant in the open field Lionel Messi—the crib sheet on Argentina emerged solidly in their 4-1 romp over South Korea. They score, they score again, and sometimes they burp up the ball in their own backfield and risk forfeiting all the offensive wizardry to defensive negligence.
Messi was in fine form even though he didn’t score, threading the ball through South Korean defenders to find his teammates (especially Higuain) forward, and Carlos Tevez ground away with his usual manic work rate, and yes they scored four goals and looked spectacular doing so. When it all congeals it is the tastiest flan this year’s World Cup can offer, especially coming off the gilded toe of Messi.
What the skeptic will say, however, is that the Argentines have a habit of smoking carelessly amidst all that high-powered ammunition they have. Sometimes this results in the careless goal surrendered before the half, or on the goalkeeping gaffe and defensive breakdown that could have surrendered an equalizer just before they recovered and drove down for a quick and decisive third goal.
Make no mistake: they are magnificent moving forward. So was Spain, and they got an Alp dropped on them yesterday by the Swiss, a cautionary tale the Argentines should note moving forward into the knockout stage.