Argentina prevailed 3-0 against Trinidad and Tobago in a match that was more like a 90-minute practice session than a tough World Cup quality test. The real opponent might just have been the injury bug, since Rodrigo Palacio left the match with a left ankle sprain and Martín Demichelis injured his right ankle. However, in Demichelis’ case the gravity of the situation doesn’t seem to be as severe as in Palacio’s case.
If Palacio is out for, let’s say, two weeks or less, odds are that Alejandro Sabella will keep him in the 23-man roster.
However, if the prognosis is three weeks or more, would he still go to the World Cup? If he does, Ezequiel Lavezzi would be the only healthy forward on the bench until he comes back, while healthy options such as Carlos Tevez, Mauro Zarate and Franco Di Santo watch the tournament on TV.
Without further ado, here are the grades for Argentina’s comfortable, ultimately forgettable win over Trinidad and Tobago, on a scale of 1 to 10.
Sergio Romero (6): Can’t excel or disappoint as a goalkeeper against an opponent of this caliber, but his second straight shutout is reason for optimism.
Defense (3): When you think it can’t get any worse, it does. Shaky at best, terrible at worst, there is no semblance of anything resembling a solid performance. The most worrisome part of it all for Sabella is that if there aren’t any guarantees against a third rate opponent like Trinidad and Tobago, what will happen against Bosnia and Edin Dzeko? That could be a true nightmare if the Argentines don’t come up with a solution in the next 10 days.
Midfield (8): Good to see Maxi Rodriguez score by following up the play and not giving up on it after Palacio almost lost the ball, as well as Javier Mascherano’s ability to get a goal once in a blue moon. Everyone got a chance to contribute and that is a positive aspect of the match as far as preparation for the World Cup goes.
Forwards (10): Palacio would be a starter for 27 of the 32 World Cup teams. In Argentina he is the fifth forward in the rotation. Unbelievable. “The Jewel” had an outstanding match and showcased his versatility once again by scoring Argentina’s first goal with a header. Lionel Messi didn’t score, but he did hit the post with the free kick that led to Mascherano’s goal.
Argentina will play Slovenia in its last friendly on Saturday before heading off to Belo Horizonte on Monday and set its sights on Bosnia on Sunday, June 15.