Copa Look Back and Forward: America and Argentina

As this year’s Copa America comes to a close, it’s time to look back on the USMNT’s performance and look forward to the future of Argentinian and US international football.

Forgive me if this sounds a bit…harsh. The word that comes to mind is amateurish.

Obviously, the US team is not full of amateurs. I watch their keepers playing in Europe (although not Howard anymore), and several of these players have proven their quality and determination well before this tournament.

What worries me is that this team – most obviously against Argentina, but visible in other matches – does not look like a team. And when you have a team like Argentina or Columbia with a clear game plan and obvious team passion and unity, they look like a bunch of little kids. Against Columbia, the only person I felt truly impressed with was Tim Howard, and don’t even get me started on their match against Argentina.

What’s the answer?

Well, if I knew that, I wouldn’t be sitting here writing a blog and filling out paperwork for my teaching certificate. I’d be jockeying for Klinsmann’s job.

What I can say is, I don’t come away from this tournament feeling a lot of hope for the future. Might we have some? Well, sure. We made it to the semi-finals, and that was expected to be a stretch. Still, no matter what we do to build the men’s game in this country, I feel like we’ve got a tall mountain still to climb to become a proper footballing nation.

Now for the big news to discuss.

ARGENTINA.

Yeah, so. That happened. Messi lost another title, and Higuain could once again be blamed (and is being blamed), although not entirely accurately. Yes, he missed a big chance earlier in the match, and I think he probably asked to be taken off and subbed so he would miss a penalty and be the villain again in Messi’s story.

Don’t worry, buddy. Messi did that for himself.

Messi’s penalty went wide, and I mean, it was stunning. He was a mess, and he looked so dejected. The body language was stunned, embarrassed, and nobody even wanted to try consoling him, and I really don’t blame them.

Firstly, congratulations to Chile. They played well, and I feel like in a way it’s only fair. They didn’t have time to enjoy the perks of winning the title last year, and it would have been devastating to have to hand it over so quickly.

On the other hand, I feel pain for Messi. Especially after all of the crap he’s taken about not having won a title with the senior team, it’s brutal.

So brutal that he has, in fact, announced his retirement from international football. Do we believe him?

Yeah, I actually do. For one thing, several players on Argentina also announced their intent to retire from international football that night, and the Argentinian FA is such a mess that I can’t even begin to get into it. Like, remember how the Croatian fans were exploding flares and various other acts to protest their FA? Croatia got nothing on the problems in Argentina.

If they clean up their act and beg him to return, would he come back?

Maybe. It’s hard to say, and after how he was treated…. I mean, if I were Messi, I wouldn’t have put up with it this long. Why stay where they don’t really want you?

And he’s not old (29), but he’s not young, either. Who knows how long he’s left to play? And who knows how long it’s going to take for Argentina to sort themselves out? He’s adored in Spain, and they would happily have him all to themselves.

All in all, an emotional weekend in the Copa final matches, and I’m so ready to focus on the Euros and just put Copa behind me. I’m sure many of you will second that.

Cheers,

C

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