Angel Di Maria named Man of the Match for Argentina in win vs. Paraguay

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Angel Di Maria was named the Man of the Match for Argentina following the team’s 1-0 win vs. Paraguay.

Back to being a starter for Lionel Scaloni, Angel Di Maria was one of the best players on the pitch for Argentina. So much so that he was literally named the Man of the Match.

Di Maria was everywhere for Argentina and silenced many of his critics who said he couldn’t cut it anymore for his country. From holding up the ball, to driving at the Paraguay back line to his sublime assist to Alejandro Papu Gomez, Di Maria had his best performance in an Argentina shirt in some time.

Following the match, Di Maria commented on the team’s performance:

“I believe we deserved the win. We had a lot of chances but we were only able to convert once.”

Another one who had a solid showing was Alejandro Papu Gomez. After not playing a single minute in Argentina’s string of matches the past few weeks, Papu Gomez found himself in the starting eleven for Lionel Scaloni.

And the Argentine repaid Scaloni with the match winner. As mentioned earlier, Di Maria played the through ball which found Gomez following a great run by the Sevilla man and a lovely little dink over the goalkeeper.

Papu spoke about his opportunity and goal after the match:

“I’m very happy, I was waiting for this chance. I’m very happy for the win. I think about the family, the friends. The effort goes through your mind. I had the patience to wait for my opportunity when it wasn’t my time.

“The assist by Angel was so good. All I had to do was put my foot under the ball and finish. The team is back to winning and that gives us a lot of confidence. Now to rest and to prepare for what is coming.”

While those two connected for the goal, the back line had a say in the win and clean sheet. Molina, who at times struggled in the first half, showed up very strong in attack. And defensively, he improved a lot in the second half as Paraguay insisted on attacking through his side. However, the Udinese man was up for the task.

Cristian Romero put out many fires and playing alongside Pezzella, the two were able to block shots to make sure that Emiliano Martinez did not have too much to do.

Who would you select as your Man of the Match for the win? Would it be Di Maria, Papu Gomez, Molina, Romero or perhaps someone else?

75 Comments

  1. First of all, its impossible for us to not rely on Messi, such is his caliber and his talent. It’s obvious that most of the burden will eventually come on his shoulder till he plays for us. Saying that he needs rest this is a good time to give him rest, the next match is not so much of high stakes, we already have 7 days rest, but we need as much rested Messi for us in the Knock outs. Messi was losing so much of balls. If it was Paredes or Molina or anyone else, we would have ripped that player apart. Only thing is Messi was losing it at more advance positions but mistake is mistake.

    Start Papu and Di Maria again for next match. Papu has shown flashes of his brilliance even though he didn’t have much impact after the Goal. But he was tracking back to like Nico Gonzalez was doing, that may have nullified his creative contribution. But he is someone who can play on both sides of the pitch. Can take shots from outside the box and score too.

    2 players who impressed me was Molina and Di Maria. Molina had been tested by Almiron and surprisingly he did good apart from few hiccups. Di Maria have some huge lungs,he is a bundle of energy and is still playing like he was 5 years back himself. Finally, he is being consistently played on the right side where he is far more lethal (remember the match vs Germany after the 2014 WC where he wreaked havoc on the Right Side) Di Maria can start in place of Messi for the Next match. Hope he carries on this MOM performance to the knockout stages too and creates a nice selection headache for Scaloni. But Nico is still the starter for me. He is young and is a much bigger goal scoring threat than Di Maria. Di Maria can be a super sub in the Knock Outs.

    • As LoCelso, and Palacio are still not fully fit… another 4231 will be coming(and Paredes is on yellow card too).

      I expect below lineup;

      Guido Dominguez
      DiMaria-Alejandro-Nico
      Aguero

      Aguero will play his 100th match.

  2. This is who we are now..a team we love, team that is not pleasant to watch when they play…..a team that is more scrappy and less classy, lots of turnovers, mis-controls, bad first touches and lack of desire to win the ball back..completely dominated by Paraguay (a team that was mocked in this very forum). A team that is happy with their first goal and is prepared to be beaten down the rest of the game with barely a threat…outpossessed, outplayed, outwitted by Paraguay..let me hear from those that said Scaloni shouldn’t respect Paraguay in prematch conference…

    Yes We won..like we always do nowadays…just barely..not how my Argentina is used to winning..

    Messi was Messi..everyone else was just OK… this team needs to find its top-gear quickly…or else we are TOAST

  3. Lots of valid points, I will just make one about a single player, aguero. If the name on his shirt said Juan Gomez instead of Kun Aguero everybody would say this guy shouldn’t be out there. But because his name is Aguero, we think there is something there. There is nothing left in the tank with this guy. He is fat, slow, out of shape and he has NO football left in him. He is living off his past accomplishments. Please don’t call him up anymore. This guy is way past his prime. I would actually prefer Higuain at this point than Aguero.

    • Most objective people know that it was Agueros first game so are more patient. You want to criticize, then do it after a few games, not the 1st one when the entire team struggled with double pivot, that was obvious. And yes, his name does carry weight as being one the best forwards this generation. Last copa and world cup Aguero was great. Anyone thinks otherwise just bias as fuck.

      • Did he look like he could run to you? You make the point I am trying to make exactly. His name is fucking Aguero, so give him a pass. Bullshit. He has been injured on and off for 2 years, Guardiola was on his ass for being fat and out of shape, and he is living off of past glory. Sure give him a shot against Bolivia. Maybe he will score. But that’s the problem these days with Argentina fans. They romanticize what we are and aren’t. What we aren’t is very good. We haven’t won anything in 20 plus years. I’m actually old enough to tell you I was in the stadium when we won the World Cup in 1978. This new generation, is soft as pudding, and we keep giving these guys a pass for what they do at their clubs. There was a day that what you did for your National team was more important. I guess not anymore.

        • you skipped over several key points.

          1) the entire team was a fucking mess. To lay blame on Aguero given disastrous midfield is not correct imo. put in Correa no different. Put in Martinez, no difference either and he’s out of form right now too.
          2) he was rusty af because of no playtime. My point about his “name” is that he has PROVEN over and over again so no shit people will think hes do well after few games as he has done for the past decade.
          3) Aguero was easily one the best players in wc and copa.

    • Don’t even say for joke that Higuain is better than Aguero… Higuain’s name is a curse word in my house for what he did (or didn’t do) in the WC

    • Broo! higuain!!!! No way sir. I agree that aguero is past his prime & outta shape. But u cant say higuain jajajaja. I rather play with ten players..

  4. Lets start with the positives first

    1.Defense looks quite strong. I dont think Emi had to make a single save this Copa
    2.Emi Martinez–He just exudes confidence. A beast
    3.Molila + Romero + De Paul—-The right side looks quite sturdy/Fast/Hardworking
    4.Di Maria—-Looked extremely dangerous on the ball
    5.Guido Rodriguez—Occupied a lot of space in front of the defence. Decent with the ball as well. Must Start

    Now the negatives

    1.Physicality—This team doesnt look like it has any stamina at all bar the players mentioned above
    2.Misfiring strikers—Strikers primary job is to score. If he can track back and press ,that’s good. But he has to score
    3.Messi—Looks like he is waiting and walking for a set piece oppurtunity.Never have I ever been so disappointed with a Messi performance
    4.Tagliafico—-WTF is he doing. He is primarily a wing back whose job is to provide width. WTH was he getting in to the box .Stay wide and provide width for crissakes . Learn from the player at the other wing. Pathetic from Tagliafico
    5.Paredes—WTH is he doing???Absolutely shambolic.

    Angel correa needs to be given some minutes to show what he can do and this team needed Lucas Alario

      • The way this team is playing .A strong striker with aerial ability is the need of the hour.
        Dybala will have no place in this team. Who would he replace??
        And Icardi is just a luxury player nowadays and we cannot afford too many of that

    • its messi’s play that is creating the scoring chances…I agree with everything you said…but now it’s time for players like lo celso, parades to step up and provide some creativity from the center…apart from messi, nico, lo celso and di maria no one is trying to be creative and also are losing the ball pretty easily…emi buendia could have made a big difference by replacing lo celso after the half time…lo celso is classy but he is not able play full 90 mins

    • in their club level every players are playing very well with energy, technically, scoring and assisting the goals. but for eg. emi martinez whenever he playing for his club he used to ball play from back line. when he play in afa shirt he used to kick the ball in the air. so the mistake is not from players which is from entire coaching staffs. scaloni wanted to save his position and he do not know how to organise and play collective football like germany. technical and physical training staffs are useless while training. you can understand when they are in training. group of scaloni team is dump and garbage.
      somebodies are saying scaloni is build up the team for copa and wc22 since 2018 around there years majorly he won their friendly with small teams.
      when it comes to brazil – tite who is using new players all the time but his team is winning. most of the players are out (coutinho, arther, fernandinho, alves, willian, douglas,) who are played last copa.
      since 4yrs of scaloni team is not growing but players age, beard, injury and etc are growing….
      scaloni has created the players mindset one goals is enough to win and after that start defend and protect the opponent goals scorng.i

    • Yaa i was really disspointed with messi with all respect to him he has many chances to give through ball to aguero but he didnt i felt he is desperate for a goal whers as in barca he makes killer passes with extra ordinory vision and killer through balls. May be he is tired he needs rest.
      Nb:- Make no mistake critics not means i hate messi i am his biggest fan ever since 2006wc

  5. I watched the game three times, and every time the camera was on the ref I was laughing about @Vikin‘s post “the referee looks more like Molina than Molina” lol

  6. I wish LoCelso, Nico and Lautaro benched/rested for the last game too. We need them in full fitness/form in QF. I wish Messi too get much needed rest. Let other players show their value.
    Aguero played against Paraguay. Let him start against Bolivia too. If he can perform..we have two options at CF role. If he can’t perform the way we expect…let Lautaro play the QF. He will be fresh too.
    Let Alejandro and DiMaria too get another start against Bolivia.
    I am okay with any formation against Bolivia. This team have a squad that can play almost any formation.

  7. What I like about the this year Copa team is the back ups are just as good as the starters. Montiel, Tagliafico, Paredes, Lo Celso, De Paul, Nico Gonzales were the starters when the tournament began.

    Then suddenly Molina, Acuna, Guido, Papu, and Di Maria show that they are not worse than the first choices.

    I don’t think Aguero was that bad. He was average but definitely not worse than Lautaro’s 2 previous performances. See how the back up playing with a chip on their shoulder?

    Pretty much only Ex Palacios, Joaquin Correa, Angel Correa who have yet to show up among the rotation players. Everybody else shows they deserve to wear the Albiceleste jersey.

    It is getting positive guys. In WC 2018 it was completely the opposite, almost everyone was shitty and we could hardly find anyone who was decent enough.

    • I agree about Kun, he looked bad simply because nobody set him up to score. The team simply stop pressing & attacking after the first half. Aguero missed one good chance which he had to turn 180 degree without lookinh at the goal, its an instinctive type of chance, not the kind of chance which Lautaro & Nico keeps wasting in previous 4 games (qualifier includes)

      I mean, the whole team was just focusing on defending in second half and Messi himself lost plenty of possession.

      • The team simply stopped pressing and attacking after the first half. So true and that is not a positive. I don’t mind not winning possessions at the end of a game, as long as it’s a win, but you can’t overdue that to the extent it happened against Paraguay. At least stay in the high 40%, 45-49 is fine. You can’t be dominated that much against anybody, let alone Paraguay, we’re talking about Argentina after all even tho, it’s true, the other team is full of Argentina born players and it’s even coached by an Argentinian. The individual ability of players on The Albiceleste is always there and high. Scaloni must then find a way to solve that problem, we must be able, very capable of that btw, to press and KEEP the ball away from an opponent for a respectable portion because against a much more skilled team they’ll be able to threaten more and possibly score. The team looks solid, the defense is definitely stingy and it’s time to move to that next level where we can also keep the ball, which inevitably translates into more chances. We know who is looming ahead down the line, definitely not beating Brazil with scoring just one goal, gotta be able to convert more. Every time we step on the field we’re also playing against Brazil, in a way, and so far they do look steps ahead, they’re scoring plenty goals. Vamos Argentina!!

        • Yes, some people blaming Aguero, even though the team lstopped creating clear chances after that early goal . Its ongoing pattern with Scolani’s team. Scores early and then the rest of 45-60 minutes we’re on the backfoot defending like England does all the time.

          Gives Aguero as many chances as Nico and Lautaro got in previous 4 games, how do we know he couldnt score? Di Maria’s shot which led into a goal that was cancelled by VAR , was the only good chance we had in the remaining of the game. Messi lost plenty of possesion and nobody makes a big deal about it. In fact, Messi hasnt been clinical in front of goal from open play for like 15 games. Oddly enough he had no trouble getting 30 goals in the league, even scores a rocket against PSG. This is no doubt due to match fatigue, which is why he should be rested entirely against Bolivia.

          The Bolivia game would be crucial for Nico, Lautaro or Aguero to gets some goals and gain back their confidence in front of goal. A draw is enough to secure top 2 finish, we’re not under any preasure this time. If they still cant score, we’re probably fcked.

          Tagliafico shouldnt start at KO stage, he offers a little and Acuna looks alot more lively and could burst forward in counter.

  8. Welp, i can say that we are the best team on earth for the first 13 and half minutes :). It’s a shame the game is played for 90, wish they change it to 14 minutes.

  9. No idea who my man of the match was. No clear winner for me.
    Molina was good managing almiron for most parts. Although some parts of the media suggested he was struggling.
    Di Maria’s assist was brilliant. He didn’t do his usual running down blind allys or bump into on coming defenders.
    Messi was disappointing for me. Didn’t pass in time or with any convictions towards the end. Other than his turn and run in the build up to the goal, he was trying too hard to be the solo artist.
    Aguero was useless. Heavy touch and lack of enthusiasm. His back to goal chance in the 2nd minute has summed up his season.
    Paraguay didn’t create clear cut chances that would’ve made us worry. In fact, with all that ball possession, we kept them at arms length and we could be satisfied with the performance, if the plan was to soak in the pressure and hit them on the counter.
    Which is another concern, we cannot counter if our life depends on it. With all that talent we seem to falter and panic when the game opens up. Shame.

    • And that is a problem. More adept teams, and if you let them keep the ball for that long, will find a way. This is really coaching, I think Scaloni is a so so Coach. How can you have so much talent at your disposal and yet look so lethargic keeping the ball? He needs to really work the team on that aspect, what the team does in the first 13 minutes it should be able to do for 30-40 minutes, in whatever order or time. If you shrink starting at the 13 minutes then come back in the 20s and put 5-10 top minutes and so on. I’m telling you man, this team will need to improve or else we will be disappointed again because if it’s a really capable opponent we’ll need to elevate. We’ll take the Ws, the great defense. Kudos for that, at the same time however, improvements must be in order. I hope we can rehearse against Bolivia, a 2+ goals win will be great.

  10. The good news!!!!!
    Defense wins championships!!!!!
    We found a right side with romero and Molina!!! Molina is fast enough to keep up with neymar or whomever else.
    Also… DePaul plays with Molina in serie A and the three of them together (romero, Molina and DePaul in midfield) SOLID!!!
    And of course Emiliano is a beast thus far!!!

    Acuna is still better than tagliafico and Rodriquez is limited offensively and slow with distribution yet is better defensively than parcedes.. pick your poison at the #5 position.

    Bad news … we can’t keep possession for shit!! And our counters are missing the proper timing !!!
    Aguero is usually better but he has been out a long time … let’s give me acouple days…
    We need him scoring if we are going to win this thing!!!

    • I think we can’t keep possession because Lo Celso was not available and Palacios is not at his best currently. When at least either one of those two is healthy and in top shape, our midfield clicks.

    • Molina couldnt even keep up with Almiron untill get got help from 2 extra argentine players. what makes u think he can hang with neymar? only guy we had that had speed to hang with neymar was foyt

  11. Di Maria has always shown up at tournaments for Argentina; from the U20 world cup, Olympics, Copa America and world cups. He was very young and inexperienced at the 2010 world cup and the coach at the time was inexperienced too. The same for the UCL, sad how Di Maria was caught up between Neymar and Mbappe personal ”next best player award” duel which cost PSG a UCL title. Di Maria is world class, you put a world class player on the pitch they will at some point outclass the opposition even if they’re not having a blast of a game.

    Yesterday I stated, start Gomez because he is World class, he can shoot from outside the 18 yard and dribble past the opposition. Football is not that difficult, he is world class, like Di Maria and Messi, all he needs is one moment to outclass the opposition.

    You don’t see this in guys like Joaquin Correa, he is young and in his prime, he should be leaving these defenders in the dust with his pace every time he’s in the attacking 3rd but this hasn’t been the case with him. You can put several of the other players in this category.

    Messi has been off in back to back games not his usual self but I understand his frustration of wanting to score because every time Ronaldo makes a goal scoring headline Messi will always want to respond with his own record breaking headline.

    Taglifico and Parcedes are the two most underwhelming players on the pitch, both of them are limited players.

    I don’t follow these players but Molina is decent, he can become a good solution with the right development. He has pace, something you rarely see in Argentina defenders. Mascherano and Rojo are the two exceptions. Molina’s inclusion gives Di Maria more options especially on the wings. I said after the WCQ game against Chile, when Di Maria has the ball in and around the opposition 18 yard box there is usually no overlapping outlet for him to make a pass. If Molina continues to mature and grow in the tournament, Argentina’s attack will improve especially if he and Di Maria and Messi build up a decent chemistry between themselves. Fix the midfield, take out Parcedes and Taglifico out of the starting XI, two so, so players. Guido is not great but at least he can hold is own unlike Parcedes

    • “when Di Maria has the ball in and around the opposition 18 yard box there is usually no overlapping outlet for him to make a pass”

      that is true on both wings, Scaloni needs to address that

  12. I am seeing everything for qatar 2022,because that is the ultimate goal, But We have to win the copa America by hook or crook, because imagine this team has new faces who does not have the horrible memory of 3 finals and wc 2018. This young lads are on a 16 game unbeaten streak and if we win the copa we will reach qatar as South American Champions. Just imagine the confidence and positivity the team would be having.
    That will boost our chances for qatar 2022.
    Just keep working and Know one thing that the main objective is qatar and to win it there we have to first start from here.

  13. Yes, This should be the last Tournament for Di maria in Argentina Colours, I don’t think Kun should be removed now because he will be building chemistry alongside Leo for two seasons until World Cup. But the question is Should we have two strikers of 35 years of age in world cup. This is a tricky situation because messi is geeting old, You have to admit it, He needs to be well rested. Last Season He literally played full 90 mins in every game. I think he should be subbed at hour mark or less than it like iniesta did in his last years. Messi knows better than all of us that this last 1 year is very important for him to be fit for World Cup. We need to keep this unbeaten streak going to give players Confidence.

    • from 2018 world cup , only messi ,lo celso,acuna and di maria from the current team should be there for world cup 2022. we should start finding replacements for kun,otamendi , armani and tagalifico.

  14. “I BELIEVE WE DESERVED THE WIN. WE HAD A LOT OF CHANCES BUT WE WERE ONLY ABLE TO CONVERT ONCE.”

    As always Argentinian players and staff live in another reality….

    The last opportunity for Argentina was the canceled Own goal at the 30th minute. After ? Nothing. So im really curious what are the “lot of chances” Di Maria speaking about …

    • 1. Aguero’s chance in the first 10 minutes was a golden chance
      2. Messi FK in the first half was a golden chance
      3. The own goal of Paraguay
      4. The goal itself

      Those are the chances Di Maria talked about.

      • So 3 occasions (a own goal is not a occasion if it’s offside) in 30 min is “a lot of chance” ?

        Come on … the paraguayen keeper didnt touch the ball in the second half

  15. I think most people here need to chill out and analyze the situation. Our team is composed of players that are key factors in many of the clubs and are rarely rested most of the season. The strategy to defend the lead is to prepare for what lies ahead and not overexert ourselves in early matches. Against Germany wc final 2014 we had a day less of rest and played an extra 30 minutes in the semis. These factors can add up in a quick tournament such as ours currently. Instead of harshly criticizing you should analyze the situation as a whole and wait to criticize when we aren’t getting results.

  16. Seen some real determination in Di Maria this month..even when he came on as a sub he was great..man of the match for me tho is Nahuel Molina ..we know the threat of almiron..in last year’s qualifiers our defenders couldn’t deal with his trickery and he won a pen..Molina was superb against him today every challenge well timed…even in attack seem some very good overlaps by him..his ball retention is also very good today ..should be the main right back for the rest of the tournament

  17. Di Maria deserved it along with Papu Gomez. This will definitely boost Di Maria’s confidence for knockout matches. Hopefully he remains injury free tru-out the tournament.

  18. For last match.. bring back lautaro in place of messi. Drop parades for de Paul.
    Lautaro Aguero ADM
    Papu Guido De paul
    Lisandaro/Acuna Pezzela Romero Molina
    Martinez.

  19. Angle Di Maria has changed his style of play with age like everyone else and this style will suit most of the teams in the world and Argentina is one of them.
    I think it would be better for Argentina to play Brazil in semi-final rather than final because yellow cards are not carried forward to semi final.
    I believe this Argentina defence never felt Argentina can concede goal vs Uruguay and Paraguay.

  20. Di Maria played very well to everybody’s surprise, he was passing, tracking back, defending and in the mix from start to finish.

    Look, the win last night was not pleasing to the eye BUT they got the win, 16 games in a row without a loss and if you want to be mad at somebody then be mad at the AFA and not Scaloni.
    He was given the job because they couldn’t afford anybody else and he did and doing the best with his coaching ability.

    There are a bunch of things to consider here:
    Coaching ability or limitation, this is what you’re going to get for now.
    Players are older and slower…..you’re not going to get the same Messi, Di Maria, Kun (given his performance last night and it hurts me to say it but he is a bench warmer now and should not be called in the future).
    Fatigue, players are TIRED, Messi is TIRED…….3 competitive games in 1 week…..need I say more???!
    Player’s chemistry is still not there.
    I believe the strategy for the last 2 games was, score and sit back unless the opportunity allows it self and you can see how they pulled back once they scored when they were attacking well up to that point.
    They moved into the knockout stage where anything is possible, Messi and some others can skip the last game if its needed.

    Brazil this and Brazil that, Look its been the same system, somewhat same players, same COACH for many years now and the teams they played thus far were either depleted because of Covid or injuries and their luck seems to be endless, now they’re going to play Colombia without James because he was never called up because of fitness issues …need i say more?
    If ARG meets them in the final with a FAIR/PARTIAL REF. then anything is possible in that just one game where they can throw everything they got at them.

    • “in just one game where they can throw everything they got at them” So from where chemistry will come if they save everything just for one game. Argentina have to play continuously with best playing eleven ,build chemistry it will help immensely.

      • That is not what I meant, I was simply stating that in one last game where they can throw everything they have without holding back like they did in the last 2 games.
        Obviously, they would have more chemistry than they do now should they make it to the final.

      • if after Copa, Armani,j Correa, and Kun are not called up it would be better for the team. in defence foyth ,polmino along with the two most promising new players Senesi and nehuen perez should be tried. we need to find a better-left wingback than taglifico. in forward line ocampus and Dybala are needed.in mid field we are ok .

    • im interested in seeing brazil play colombia to compare what argentina did against colombia although all teams havd had more practice since that argentina vs colombia game now. but yeah let brazil keep getting all the hype, let them keep scoring 4 goals against covid back ups and injuired teams. Lets see what happends.

  21. Yes, ADM is having a good time today; it will be great if he will got a chance to play and optimize his role on the first half or as subs. so do Papu Gomez and Kun Aquero. just for this Copa not for WC

    • I guess it’s becos he played in his best position, it’s not often he gets to play on the right.
      I liked Gomez better though, disciplined and keeping it simple, you don’t see that from Argie wingers, it’s usually headless chicken stuff lead by Di Maria himself in the past. I want Gomez stuck in that position till we win the WC.

      • I’ve been asking for gomez to start for like 4 years now. He plays happy, he makes the plays that are available and keeps it simple.

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