The fates of Argentina and Hungary were essentially the same

ARDA ALAN IŞIK
ISTANBUL
Published 27.06.2016 22:29

If you have not checked it out before, I strongly advise you find a random Copa America game on the internet and enjoy it while others suffer watching games like Croatia versus Portugal. To be honest, it seems that Europeans have become so obsessed with the notion of victory that they forget how beautiful this game can be. Nevertheless, Diego Simeone's silent revolution in Atletico Madrid has influenced Latin America very differently than Europe, and believe me, South Americans know how to score and they score beautifully.

First of all, unfortunately there was no dominant team like Spain and Germany in Copa America, so there was no evidence of the Latin version of counter-pressing's efficiency against neo-total football. Nonetheless, the pace and the rhythm of the game was superb in most of the games and Copa America clearly satisfied us, poor football beggars.

Until the semi-finals, where four of the best quasi-Atletico Madrid's, the U.S., Colombia, Chile and Argentina met, the tournament was more or less a dogfight between classic counter-attacking and counter-pressing. Unfortunately, Brazil was at the first group of the tournament, a team which has many talented feet, but has no talented game to utilize them. Thus, the new big four of the tournament easily reached the semi-finals, and then it was all matter of speed and strength.

Argentina and Chile were obviously the fastest and strongest teams in the competition, and they faced each other in the finals. But neither of them were able to control the game and maybe for the first time in the tournament, they tasted the bitter side of Simeone's invention. As my fellow readers very well know, I have mentioned the main handicap of counter-pressing many times in my previous pieces, which is the inability to score when the opponent is eager to defend. Thus, when two counter-pressing teams play against each other, which are essentially defensive, the game becomes a totally unpredictable mixture of momentary opportunities.

Given this fact, neither Argentina's glorious victory against the U.S. nor their misery against Chile should surprise anyone. Just like Hungary, which experienced the same issues with counter-pressing on the other side of the globe, Argentina paid the price for the unpredictability of Simeone's invention. When you think what has happened to Hungary, a team that scored six goals in the group stage and then conceded four goals against Belgium, you will see the same misery in Argentina's story. Relying on the opponent's offensive pro-activity and focusing on defense carries you until you have to create and score.

To sum up, Copa America was clearly an entertaining tournament and unlike Euro 2016 even chaotic teams dared to play offensively and made almost every game worth watching. Yes, it can be said that South Americans sacrificed victory for entertainment, but who cares while Europeans play worse and uglier football. We should all be thankful to Latin America for touching the soul of the game, Europeans have a lot to learn from them.

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