'Tactical battle which could have gone either way'
Analysis by Alvin Corneal
These teams both showed each other a huge amount of respect and tactically they were both very strong in defence. It was a tight match and you could say that tactically it was a brilliant display by the two coaches and on the field their players followed suit by making few mistakes.
In the latter part of the first half, Mexico began troubling Argentina by getting behind the back of their defence. However, the Argentinians managed to withstand the flow of balls coming across their goal and you have to give credit to Javier Zanetti and Juan Sorin for their work on the two flanks. They looked to force the Mexicans infield, which took some of the pressure off the Argentina central defence.
Mexico started with Rafael Marquez, playing his first match in this tournament, in front of two central defenders. It worked very well for them initially as he was distributing the ball beautifully from that position. However, Argentina changed in the second half and began playing balls in behind Marquez to try to neutralise his impact.
When it got to 0-0 after 90 minutes you suspected that neither side wanted the game to go to penalties and Argentina certainly looked the stronger team in the extra period. This may have been because of their physical superiority although they were able to change the focus of their attack in the latter stages too.
They had expected Juan Riquelme to provide the link with the attack but when they realised it was not working as planned, substitute Pablo Aimar took over. Argentina have the kind of players who can assume responsibility quite easily and Aimar took on this responsibility as playmaker as Riquelme dropped deeper.
Although Mexico lost, they can be extremely satisfied with their performance. They have not played a bad game in this tournament and here you could say they had a bit of bad luck they hit the post once and on another day could have won. As for Argentina they can now look forward to the final with a lot of confidence. They've been playing very well here in Germany although Brazil will be a difficult test for them.