Argentina’s victory against Iran in the second game day of the World Cup for the albiceleste left many doubts in the hearts and minds of fans and one clear hero: Sergio Romero.
Monaco’s goalkeeper has been in the eye of the hurricane this last year as Alejandro Sabella has consistently kept his faith in him despite his lack of playing time with the team from the Principate.
There were many who voiced their concerns about how appropriate it was for the National Team starting goalkeeper to be an unused substitute in a team like Monaco, which has only competed in France’s Ligue 1. Plus, the fact that Malaga’s Willy Caballero, has been totally overlooked after having two great seasons with the Spanish side, only made Sabella’s decision more incomprehensible, if possible.
But against Iran, Romero proved that Sabella knew what he was doing when he gave the former Sampdoria goalkeeper the responsibility of guarding Argentina’s net in the World Cup that could crown Lionel Messi as the best player of all time.
Barcelona’s star was responsible for giving Argentina the three points with an impeccable shot at the 91st minute, which beat Haghighi inching towards the upper right hand corner of the Iranian net. But before that, Romero had saved Argentina from what could have been a clear debacle.
In the 7th minute of the second half, with the initial draw still on the scoreboard, Dejagah –Iran’s top performer– took a powerful header that was shunned away by Romero with incredible reflexes.
15 minutes later, it would be Dejagah again who beat Zabaleta in a header that was almost lobbed over Romero, but the Monaco man put his fingertips to it and pushed the ball out to a corner kick.
Argentina kept control of the match, and poured all their efforts in trying to score, but once more Romero had to come to the rescue at the 86th minute. Goochanneijad made the best off a counterattack and, beating Zabaleta on the sprint –once again–, took a shot that was blocked off by the Argentine keeper.
With his beautiful goal in the last seconds of the match, Messi will be remembered as the man of the match and the hero of the day, but the truth is quite far from that.
Argentina has a lot of work ahead of them if they maintain their performances at the level we have seen so far. Even with the lineup everyone deemed as “the right one” — with only four men in the back and Agüero, Higuaín, Messi and Di María together upfront–, the team had a very tough time to beat a much less competitive team like Iran.
Alejandro Sabella needs to do a bit of thinking and try to turn this situation around, since the only positive conclusion he can take away from Mineirao Stadium is that, in fact, giving Sergio Romero the chance to start for Argentina in this World Cup was the best decision he could have made.