Flawless Argentina give Pekerman selection headache
GELSENKIRCHEN, June 16 (Reuters) Argentina's stunning 6-0 demolition of Serbia &Montenegro in World Cup Group C has left coach Jose Pekerman with a dilemma before Wednesday's showdown with the Netherlands in Frankfurt.
Does he field the team that started the rout and put together potentially the goal of the tournament or kick off with the one that finished it with teenager Lionel Messi scoring on his World Cup debut? Argentina flexed their muscles, after beating Ivory Coast 2-1 in their opener on Saturday, by scoring three goals in each half with a performance which established them as new tournament favourites.
''Argentina have a great squad and they play to win, They also can have setbacks like Lucho's (Luis Gonzalez) misfortune but the team carried on playing well (after he came off),'' Pekerman told reporters.
Gonzalez was substituted after 17 minutes with a groin injury to be replaced by second goal scorer Esteban Cambiasso.
Playmaker Juan Roman Riquelme, voted man of the match, was more forthright.
''It's all the same to us. The team have their ideas clear in their minds and it doesn't matter who plays,'' he said.
''The difference in the second half was that we had a lead of three goals,'' he told the news conference he attended with Pekerman.
''I hope it's not our best game and that we can do things better,'' Riquelme said. ''We have the intention of improving.
''Leo (Messi) did everything well. We know what he can do with a ball and we enjoy watching him.'' Whether Pekerman will grant fans' wishes in later matches will depend on how this pragmatic leader of youthful talent sees Argentina's path towards a possible third world title.
REUTERS MP PM2327