For Argentina, last Monday's Opening Match at China 2007 was nothing short of a nightmare. The recently crowned South American champions had hoped to make headlines against Germany, though surely not for these reasons. Carlos Borrello's charges suffered not only the heaviest defeat in the history of the tournament, but also the most comprehensive defeat of any Argentinian national team in an official competition.
The 11-0 defeat inflicted by the reigning champions in Shanghai has left the Albicelestes with no room for error in Group A, and another slip-up in their next outing against Japan would almost certainly end their interest in the tournament. Coach Borrello, still shaken by the result, was unwilling to draw any conclusions - at least not publicly. "It's difficult and unnecessary to technically analyse what happened out there on the pitch. We weren't expecting that kind of result and have to evaluate things now behind closed doors. We'll look at where we went wrong and improve things for the game against Japan."
After the match, a dismayed Borrello congratulated Birgit Prinz and Co for their performance and admitted that tension had played its part in his side's undoing. "The girls were very nervous. Now all we can do is shuffle our pack and try again. We're disappointed, of course, but we need to recover in time," he said. A quick revival is no foregone conclusion, however.
Next up for the South Americans on 14 September are none other than Japan, the side that literally hit them for six at USA 2003. That said, the coach was backing his squad all the way, saying: "I'm very confident about the character of the players. We've experienced situations like this in the past and we've survived them. We didn't perform as expected (against Germany), but you'll see something totally different in our next game."
With the pain of Monday's defeat still lingering, and a elbow sprain to boot, team captain Eva Gonzalez found it within herself to talk to FIFA.com but made no attempt to hide her disappointment. "We knew we were facing the champions and that they were a force to be reckoned with, but we weren't expecting that kind of scoreline."
However, the defender insisted the team had not regarded the game as being "losable" beforehand. "We went out there to try and play football, but we just couldn't contain them. As well as the enormous physical difference between us, there is also a difference in terms of finishing. When they get a sight of goal, they score. We couldn't hit back after their first goal and after that we were dead and buried."
Gonzalez made no reference to her powerful free-kicks that almost got her side on the scoresheet against Germany, but did warn that the team would have to do things differently to stay in the competition: "We know Japan and we know how to play them. They are a quick side but they're nothing like Germany. What happened in our last game is no longer relevant. We've got to forget about it and move on. Our only option now is to spring into life."