A full 17 years since Javier Mascherano made his Argentina debut, a look back

15

It was on this day in 2003 where Javier Mascherano made his senior international debut for the Argentina national team.

Despite not having played a single match for River Plate’s first team, Mascherano was already making the news. Then national team coach Marcelo Bielsa decided to include the defensive midfielder in the starting eleven when his team played eternal rivals Uruguay.

It was Diego Milito who scored both goals for Argentina but the bigger news wasn’t the double by Milito but that the 19 year old had started. Bielsa had fielded the following eleven for the match at the Estadio Ciudad de La Plata:

Franco Costanzo; Clemente Rodriguez, Daniel Diaz, Gabriel Milito, Federico Dominguez; Luis “Lucho” Gonzalez, Javier Mascherano, Andres D’Alessandro; Cesar Delgado, Diego Milito and Federico Insua

At the time, Bielsa was putting together a team not only for the 2004 Copa America but also for the Olympic games in Greece next year. To no one’s surprise, the defensive midfielder was included in both tournament squads and while the tournament in South America ended on penalty kick heartbreak, the one right after ended with an Olympic gold medal.

He was also part of the 2005 Confederations Cup team which also lost in the final. By 2006, he was a well and truly established starter with the national team. Jose Pekerman had since replaced Marcelo Bielsa at the helm and Pekerman made sure that Mascherano continued in his defensive midfielder role come the tournament in Germany. The team lost on penalty kicks once more but Mascherano was an integral part of that team.

Javier Mascherano has played for some of the biggest clubs in the world. In Argentina, he’s a product of River Plate’s youth system. From there, he made the jump to Brazil where he played with Corinthians. His switch across the Atlantic didn’t start off on the right foot.

Mascherano, along with fellow Argentine Carlos Tevez both joined West Ham United and while the team did not get relegated, the duo soon left Upton Park. Tevez went to Manchester United and Mascherano joined Liverpool. He formed a formidable partnership in midfield along the likes of Xabi Alonso and Steven Gerrard.

Argentina were taking part in yet another tournament, Javier Mascherano’s fourth senior one, five including the Olympics. It was the 2007 Copa America and Mascherano turned into MascheGol! Two goals in the tournament, the first was a match winner. It was on July 5 against Paraguay and Mascherano scored his first goal for his country.

Just two days later, Mascherano turned into MascheGol once more as he scored in the 4-0 win vs. Peru. The great man would have to wait nearly 7 years for him to score his third international goal. The tournament would end once more in tears but Mascherano’s European club career was in full swing.

A Champions League final with Liverpool awaited him that season and while he wouldn’t win that tournament with Liverpool, his next club would give him that chance.

Mascherano would make history in the summer of 2008 becoming the first Argentine athlete to win two gold medals. Argentina went into the 2008 Olympic games in Beijing as heavy favorites and he, along with Lionel Messi, Juan Roman Riquelme, Sergio Aguero, Ezequiel Garay and many otheres helped Argentina capture their second Olympic gold medal in football.

Fast forward to 2010, Diego Maradona was coaching the Argentina national team and Javier Mascherano was the captain. Maradona was once quoted as saying “It’s Mascherano + 10 others”, implying the importance that he had on the team despite the squad boasting such “big” names like Lionel Messi, Juan Sebastian Veron or even Carlos Tevez.

Catalonia would come knocking in the form of FC Barcelona as the Argentina captain joined Lionel Messi and Gabriel Milito at the Camp Nou. Mascherano would have to make do with the double in his first season at the club. A league title along with a Champions League winners medal, his first two trophies in Europe. A last minute tackle against Arsenal allowed Barcelona to advance in the tournament and eventually would go on to eliminate rivals Real Madrid in the semi finals.

What makes the final even more memorable was that Mascherano played as a center back in the 3-1 win vs. Manchester United at Wembley.

He lifted a total of 19 trophies during his time with the club, three of which came in one season when the team won the treble.

With Argentina, he was part of the team which lost to Uruguay on penalty kicks at the 2011 Copa America. Ironically enough, that match was played on July 16, 2011, 8 years to the day where Mascherano made his Argentina debut.

His third goal for the Argentina national team was coming up. In a pre-World Cup preparation match, it was Argentina against Trinidad and Tobago. Messi took the free kick as his effort hit the post and fell to Javier Mascherano. The great man extended his foot and a poacher like goal from the defensive midfielder gave Argentina the 2-0 lead.

The next tournament for Argentina was the 2014 World Cup. While he wasn’t wearing the captain’s armband anymore, Mascherano was still very much a leader. Playing in what were arguably the best seven matches of his entire career, Mascherano is probably best remembered for his last ditch block against Arjen Robben in the semi-finals in Brazil. It was later revealed that Mascherano had torn his anus in the tackle but that helped Argentina reach their first World Cup final in 24 years.

A World Cup final came and went, as did two other Copa America finals and Mascherano was now in his final tournament of his career. The 2018 World Cup with Argentina. Not the same type of preparation which saw them reach the final four years prior, Mascherano still gave it his all and announced his retirement from the team on June 30, finishing up a historic 15 year career.

Playing a total of 147 matches for Argentina, it’s been two years since his retirement and his spot is still very much up for grabs. A wonderful career, a great man and while also making the switch to Hebei China Fortune, Mascherano can still be seen tackling players in the Argentine league with Estudiantes.

Thank you to Javier Mascherano on a great career!

Javier Mascherano: Argentina International Caps – Senior Level

# Opponent Competition Date Result
1 Uruguay Friendly July 16, 2003 Final 2-2 Draw
2 Brazil Friendly June 2, 2004 Final 3-1 Brazil
3 Paraguay Friendly June 4, 2004 Final 0-0 Draw
4 Ecuador 2004 Copa America July 7, 2004 Final 6-1 Argentina
5 Mexico 2004 Copa America July 10, 2004 Final 1-0 Mexico
6 Uruguay 2004 Copa America July 13, 2004 Final 4-2 Argentina
7 Colombia 2004 Copa America July 20, 2004 Final 3-0 Argentina
8 Brazil 2004 Copa America July 25, 2004 Final 2-2 (4-2 P) Brazil
9 Peru 2006 World Cup Qualifiers September 4, 2004 Final 3-1 Argentina
10 Chile 2006 World Cup Qualifiers October 13, 2004 Final 0-0 Draw
11 Venezuela 2006 World Cup Qualifiers November 17, 2004 Final 3-2 Argentina
12 Mexico Friendly March 9, 2005 Final 1-1 Draw
13 Colombia 2006 World Cup Qualifiers March 30, 2005 Final 1-0 Argentina
14 Brazil 2006 World Cup Qualifiers June 8, 2005 Final 3-1 Argentina
15 Angola Friendly May 30, 2006 Final 2-0 Argentina
16 Ivory Coast 2006 FIFA World Cup June 10, 2006 Final 2-1 Argentina
17 Serbia & Montenegro 2006 FIFA World Cup June 16, 2006 Final 6-0 Argentina
18 Netherlands 2006 FIFA World Cup June 21, 2006 Final 0-0 Draw
19 Mexico 2006 FIFA World Cup June 24, 2006 Final 2-1 Argentina
20 Germany 2006 FIFA World Cup June 30, 2006 Final 2-1 Argentina
21 Brazil Friendly September 3, 2006 Final 3-0 Brazil
22 Spain Friendly October 11, 2006 Final 2-1 Spain
23 Switzerland Friendly June 2, 2007 Final 1-1 Draw
24 Algeria Friendly June 6, 2007 Final 4-3 Argentina
25 United States 2007 Copa America June 28, 2007 Final 4-1 Argentina
26 Colombia 2007 Copa America July 2, 2007 Final 4-2 Argentina
27 Paraguay 2007 Copa America July 5, 2007 Final 1-0 Argentina
28 Peru 2007 Copa America July 8, 2007 Final 4-0 Argentina
29 Mexico 2007 Copa America July 11, 2007 Final 3-0 Argentina
30 Brazil 2007 Copa America July 15, 2007 Final 3-0 Brazil
31 Norway Friendly August 22, 2007 Final 2-1 Norway
32 Australia Friendly September 11, 2007 Final 1-0 Argentina
33 Chile 2010 World Cup Qualifiers September 11, 2007 Final 2-0 Argentina
34 Venezuela 2010 World Cup Qualifiers October 16, 2007 Final 2-0 Argentina
35 Bolivia 2010 World Cup Qualifiers November 17, 2007 Final 3-0 Argentina
36 Colombia 2010 World Cup Qualifiers November 20, 2007 Final 2-1 Colombia
37 Egypt 2010 World Cup Qualifiers March 26, 2008 Final 2-0 Argentina
38 Mexico 2010 World Cup Qualifiers June 4, 2008 Final 4-1 Argentina
39 United States Friendly June 8, 2008 Final 0-0 Draw
40 Ecuador 2010 World Cup Qualifiers June 15, 2008 Final 1-1 Draw
41 Brazil 2010 World Cup Qualifiers June 18, 2008 Final 0-0 Draw
42 Paraguay 2010 World Cup Qualifiers September 6, 2008 Final 1-1 Draw
43 Uruguay 2010 World Cup Qualifiers October 11, 2008 Final 2-1 Argentina
44 Chile 2010 World Cup Qualifiers October 16, 2008 Final 1-0 Chile
45 Scotland Friendly November 19, 2008 Final 1-0 Argentina
46 France Friendly February 11, 2009 Final 2-0 Argentina
47 Venezuela 2010 World Cup Qualifiers March 28, 2009 Final 4-0 Argentina
48 Bolivia 2010 World Cup Qualifiers April 1, 2009 Final 6-1 Bolivia
49 Colombia 2010 World Cup Qualifiers June 6, 2009 Final 1-0 Argentina
50 Russia Friendly August 12, 2009 Final 3-2 Argentina
51 Brazil 2010 World Cup Qualifiers September 5, 2009 Final 3-1 Brazil
52 Paraguay 2010 World Cup Qualifiers September 9, 2009 Final 1-0 Paraguay
53 Peru 2010 World Cup Qualifiers October 10, 2009 Final 2-1 Argentina
54 Uruguay 2010 World Cup Qualifiers October 14, 2009 Final 1-0 Argentina
55 Spain Friendly November 14, 2009 Final 2-1 Spain
56 Germany Friendly March 3, 2010 Final 1-0 Argentina
57 Canada Friendly May 25, 2010 Final 5-0 Argentina
58 Nigeria 2010 FIFA World Cup June 12, 2010 Final 1-0 Argentina
59 South Korea 2010 FIFA World Cup June 17, 2010 Final 4-1 Argentina
60 Mexico 2010 FIFA World Cup June 23, 2010 Final 3-1 Argentina
61 Germany 2010 FIFA World Cup July 3, 2010 Final 4-0 Germany
62 Republic of Ireland Friendly August 11, 2010 Final 1-0 Argentina
63 Spain Friendly September 7, 2010 Final 4-1 Argentina
64 Japan Friendly October 8, 2010 Final 1-0 Japan
65 Brazil Friendly November 17, 2010 Final 1-0 Argentina
66 Portugal Friendly February 9, 2011 Final 2-1 Argentina
67 United States Friendly March 26, 2011 Final 1-1 Draw
68 Costa Rica Friendly March 29, 2011 Final 0-0 Draw
69 Albania Friendly June 20, 2011 Final 4-0 Argentina
70 Bolivia 2011 Copa America July 1, 2011 Final 1-1 Draw
71 Colombia 2011 Copa America July 6, 2011 Final 0-0 Draw
72 Costa Rica 2011 Copa America July 11, 2011 Final 3-0 Argentina
73 Uruguay 2011 Copa America July 16, 2011 Final 2-2 (5-4 P) Uruguay
74 Venezuela Friendly August 29, 2011 Final 1-0 Argentina
75 Nigeria Friendly September 6, 2011 Final 3-1 Argentina
76 Venezuela 2014 World Cup Qualifiers October 11, 2011 Final 1-0 Venezuela
77 Bolivia 2014 World Cup Qualifiers November 11, 2011 Final 1-1 Draw
78 Colombia 2014 World Cup Qualifiers November 15, 2011 Final 2-1 Argentina
79 Switzerland Friendly February 28, 2012 Final 3-1 Argentina
80 Ecuador 2014 World Cup Qualifiers June 2, 2012 Final 4-0 Argentina
81 Brazil Friendly June 9, 2012 Final 4-3 Argentina
82 Germany Friendly August 15, 2012 Final 3-1 Argentina
83 Peru 2014 World Cup Qualifiers September 11, 2012 Final 1-1 Draw
84 Uruguay 2014 World Cup Qualifiers October 12, 2012 Final 3-0 Argentina
85 Chile 2014 World Cup Qualifiers October 16, 2012 Final 2-1 Argentina
86 Saudi Arabia Friendly November 14, 2012 Final 0-0 Draw
87 Sweden Friendly February 6, 2013 Final 3-2 Argentina
88 Venezuela 2014 World Cup Qualifiers March 22, 2013 Final 3-0 Argentina
89 Bolivia 2014 World Cup Qualifiers March 26, 2013 Final 1-1 Draw
90 Colombia 2014 World Cup Qualifiers June 7, 2013 Final 0-0 Draw
91 Ecuador 2014 World Cup Qualifiers June 11, 2013 Final 1-1 Draw
92 Guatemala Friendly June 14, 2013 Final 4-0 Argentina
93 Italy Friendly August 18, 2013 Final 2-1 Argentina
94 Ecuador Friendly November 15, 2013 Final 0-0 Draw
95 Bosnia-Herzegovina Friendly November 18, 2013 Final 2-0 Argentina
96 Romania Friendly March 5, 2014 Final 0-0 Draw
97 Trinidad and Tobago Friendly June 4, 2014 Final 3-0 Argentina
98 Slovenia Friendly June 7, 2014 Final 3-0 Argentina
99 Bosnia-Herzegovina 2014 FIFA World Cup June 15, 2014 Final 2-1 Argentina
100 Iran 2014 FIFA World Cup June 21, 2014 Final 1-0 Argentina
101 Nigeria 2014 FIFA World Cup June 25, 2014 Final 3-2 Argentina
102 Switzerland 2014 FIFA World Cup July 1, 2014 Final 1-0 Argentina
103 Belgium 2014 FIFA World Cup July 5, 2014 Final 1-0 Argentina
104 Netherlands 2014 FIFA World Cup July 9, 2014 Final 0-0 (4-2 P) Argentina
105 Germany 2014 FIFA World Cup July 13, 2014 Final 1-0 Germany
106 Germany Friendly September 3, 2014 Final 4-2 Argentina
107 Brazil Friendly October 11, 2014 Final 2-0 Brazil
108 Hong Kong Friendly October 14, 2014 Final 7-0 Argentina
109 Croatia Friendly November 12, 2014 Final 2-1 Argentina
110 Portugal Friendly November 18, 2014 Final 1-0 Portugal
111 Ecuador Friendly March 31, 2015 Final 2-1 Argentina
112 Paraguay 2015 Copa America June 13, 2015 Final 2-2 Draw
113 Uruguay 2015 Copa America June 16, 2015 Final 1-0 Argentina
114 Jamaica 2015 Copa America June 20, 2015 Final 1-0 Argentina
115 Colombia 2015 Copa America June 27, 2015 Final 0-0 (5-4 P) Argentina
116 Paraguay 2015 Copa America June 30, 2015 Final 6-1 Argentina
117 Chile 2015 Copa America July 4, 2015 Final 0-0 (4-1 P) Chile
118 Mexico Friendly September 8, 2015 Final 2-2 Draw
119 Ecuador 2018 World Cup Qualifiers October 8, 2015 Final 2-0 Ecuador
120 Paraguay 2018 World Cup Qualifiers October 13, 2015 Final 0-0 Draw
121 Brazil 2018 World Cup Qualifiers November 13, 2015 Final 1-1 Draw
122 Colombia 2018 World Cup Qualifiers November 17, 2015 Final 1-0 Argentina
123 Bolivia 2018 World Cup Qualifiers March 29, 2016 Final 2-0 Argentina
124 Honduras Friendly May 27, 2016 Final 1-0 Argentina
125 Chile 2016 Copa America June 6, 2016 Final 2-1 Argentina
126 Panama 2016 Copa America June 10, 2016 Final 5-0 Argentina
127 Venezuela 2016 Copa America June 18, 2016 Final 4-1 Argentina
128 United States 2016 Copa America June 21, 2016 Final 4-0 Argentina
129 Chile 2016 Copa America June 26, 2016 Final 0-0 (4-2 P) Chile
130 Uruguay 2018 World Cup Qualifiers September 1, 2016 Final 1-0 Argentina
131 Venezuela 2018 World Cup Qualifiers September 6, 2016 Final 2-2 Draw
132 Peru 2018 World Cup Qualifiers October 6, 2016 Final 2-2 Draw
133 Paraguay 2018 World Cup Qualifiers October 11, 2016 Final 1-0 Paraguay
134 Brazil 2018 World Cup Qualifiers November 10, 2016 Final 3-0 Brazil
135 Colombia 2018 World Cup Qualifiers November 15, 2016 Final 3-0 Argentina
136 Chile 2018 World Cup Qualifiers March 23, 2017 Final 1-0 Argentina
137 Venezuela 2018 World Cup Qualifiers September 5, 2017 Final 1-1 Draw
138 Peru 2018 World Cup Qualifiers Octber 5, 2017 Final 0-0 Draw
139 Ecuador 2018 World Cup Qualifiers October 10, 2017 Final 3-1 Argentina
140 Russia Friendly November 11, 2017 Final 1-0 Argentina
141 Nigeria Friendly November 14, 2017 Final 4-2 Nigeria
142 Spain Friendly March 27, 2018 Final 6-1 Spain
143 Haiti Friendly May 29, 2018 Final 4-0 Argentina
144 Iceland 2018 FIFA World Cup June 16, 2018 Final 1-1 Draw
145 Croatia 2018 FIFA World Cup June 21, 2018 Final 3-0 Croatia
146 Nigeria 2018 FIFA World Cup June 26, 2018 Final 2-1 Argentina
147 France 2018 FIFA World Cup June 30, 2018 Final 4-3 France

15 Comments

  1. Mascherano was the pillar of our defence. He always dropped in between the defence to guard them. One of my favorite moments of him was when he blocked Robbens shoat in 2014 Semis. Always given his 100 percent while playing for the NT. A True No 5.

    But I would have liked to see him play as the CB in our 2018 WC. He may have done better in defence at that time of his career.

  2. Congrats El Loco Bielsa, at last he did it right ! Just bring a good player to compete at EPL, don’t spoil it again with the old textbook or for the sake of beautiful game. Winning is most important now !

    For Masche – El Jefecito, no words is enough to express our gratitude; a player with total dedication, leadership, passion and grit when playing is just an awesome and example needed to be followed by the youths. Truly a legend ! Hope one day you will be the N/T coach

    And congrats Zidane, he deserved well to be the champion. Try to be fair and objective as a Barca fans

  3. Roy, fantastic write-up!

    I love this man. Easily one of my all time favorite players. Incredible leadership and performances for so long. We miss him dearly in the NT today.

  4. Javier Mascherano will be one of my all time favorites. Amazing grit and leadership. He was a coach inside the field. Played like two in one body. Will always be my favorite – el jefecito!!!

    My top 5 all time (purely emotional favorites)

    1. Messi
    2. Maradona
    3. Mascherano
    4. Riquelme
    5. Tevez

    Sometimes I have hated some of them, for their play, or their decisions or their actions, but loved them all through.

  5. Leeds United 5 points clear and sits on the top of the table. 6 Points away from third placed team. Only the lose in remaining 2 matches and 2 out of 2 win for second and third placed teams will prevent Leeds from promoting to Premier League. Bielsa has done it this time.

    • I’m over the moon that bielse is leading
      Leeds utd back to promise land
      If west brom and Brentford fail
      To win their next games Leeds will
      Promoted if not leeds need one point
      Remaining thier two games but I confidently say Leeds will play premier league next season… that is real achievement For bielse for him to guide Leeds bk To premier league after 16 years absence. In case anyone doesn’t know leeds is big club.
      Expect few argies players in Leeds Squad One of them is the promising defender Lucas martinez Quarta..

      • If you haven’t already, you guys should watch a really great documentary series called ‘Take Us Home’. Its about Leeds 2018-2019 season and covers “spygate”, “el loco”, finances and players.

        Bielsa is a genius, very well spoken and his passion for the sport is apparent. He’s even inspired the current titans Simeone, Poch, Guardiola, etc. Will be very interesting if he does end up with Quarta, Buendia, etc. in the Prem next season! Cant wait to see Bielsa vs Mou vs Guardiola vs Klopp

        • “He’s even inspired the current titans
          Simeone, Poch, Guardiola, etc”
          Will add up tata martino, marcelo Gallardo Gaby heinze and many more.
          This men is genius his days as arg nt manager.
          Personally was the best time I enjoy watching the nt was absolutely joy aggressive attack attack
          High pressing… Argentina was best team to watch on his time

          Another thing when pep was teammates with batigol in as roma and want to be football manager.
          Batistusta told pep to go meet bielse
          They had 11 hours chat rest it’s history

          Every English pundits looking forward
          To see bielse in the Premier league
          With Leeds.

      • Yes that’s why I want bielsa in premier league I’m sure he will buy argentines and I hope he buys quarta and buendia and maybe a striker like gaich,bustos or colidio because Leeds biggest issues this season were not able to convert chances they create so many opportunities but fluff it easily costing them matches .

Comments are closed.