The Stadio del Mare in Ravenna looked resplendent as Argentina overcame an early shock from Oman to run out 3-1 winners in the opening match of Group B. The two teams were greeted on to the pitch by enthusiastic fans, bright sunshine and temperatures of 30 degrees Celsius.
Both teams qualified for the event by being runners-up of their respective confederations; Argentina to Brazil and Oman to Japan and so, perhaps predictably the contest was a tight one.
Oman shocked the South Americans with one minute on the clock when Jalan Al Sinani’s right-footed rocket flew into the net. The Argentinians, shellshocked by the start, took a full five minutes to settle down and create their first goalscoring opportunity.
The west Asians were still ahead four minutes into the second period, but Argentina drew level when their No10 Javier Vivas blasted a low, powerful shot into the bottom corner.
A further four minutes later, the Albiceleste went ahead with the move of the match when German Spinelli escaped his markers to get in the end of Vivas’ pass before executing an inch-perfect lob.
Argentina put the game beyond doubt in the third period when Sebastian Larreta headed home a pass which came direct from the goalkeeper.