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WC Qualification South America

  • 12 October 2011
  • • 06:20
  • • Estadio Olímpico General José Antonio Anzoátegui, Puerto la Cruz
  • Referee: Roberto Silvera
  • • Attendance: 37000

Live Commentary

  • Not much more I can say, I'm delighted to be able to share a moment of footballing history with those brave enough to stay up until the wee hours for this game. Thanks for reading, I'm out
  • Well, who'd have thought that? Congratulations are in order to Cesar Farias and the entire Venezuelan team, who have turned them from whipping boys to contenders in little less than three years. Argentina meanwhile must reflect on a game in which they were, no more no less, dominated
  • Uncontrolled joy, fireworks are going off, every single member of the Vinotinto team are embraced in the middle. Some players close to tears, a magical day for a team that is no longer the Cinderella of South America
  • 90' + 3'
    Magical, tense, emotional scenes here in Puerto La Cruz, this stadium is going to explode at the final whistle
  • 90' + 1'
    Awful challenge by Banega on Arango, and a dangerous free kick right at the death
  • 90'
    Just injury time remaining here, three minutes added on and still little sign of an equaliser
  • 89'
    SubstitutionMiku Alejandro Moreno
  • 89'
    The noise now is deafening in the stadium, the Vinotinto crowd sense they are on the verge of something very special
  • 88'
    Cesar Farias is a whirling dervish on the touchline, always moving, always screaming and encouraging
  • 86'
    Desperate, desperate from Mascherano who releases a speculative shot from 35m out, well over the bar.
  • 85'
    The resulting corner headed over by Julio Alvarez, and time is running out for the favourites
  • 84'
    SubstitutionÁngel Di María Javier Pastore
  • 84'
    ALMOST GAME OVER!!!! Feltscher releases a devilish strike from distance, which Andujar has to tip over
  • 83'
    SubstitutionC. González Julio Álvarez
  • 83'
    Just minutes to go here, and against a team seemingly willing to give their lives for victory Argentina need something extremely special
  • 82'
    HIGUAIIIIIIN! Pipita finds some space at the far post, but is thwarted by Lucena who flung himself kamikaze style to block the shot. Took the air out of him, but worth it
  • 80'
    Messi tries to swing a dead-ball in, but the head of fellow free kick master Arango diverts it for a corner
  • 79'
    With three up front now, Argentina are finally taking the game to a Venezuela team content to sit back a bit more. Could be too little too late though, there is still no beating Vizcarrondo and Vega
  • 77'
    Corner here for Argentina, a rare attacking spell. But Vega, again, is peerless in claiming the ball
  • 76'
    SubstitutionRondón F. Feltscher
  • 75'
    SubstitutionJosé Sosa Rodrigo Palacio
  • 75'
    Rondon squares up directly to Demichelis with the ball at feet, but his Malaga team mate withstands and just manages to slip the ball away to Andujar
  • 72'
    Let me just remind you, the way things are going this will be the first time IN HISTORY Venezuela have beaten or drawn against Argentina
  • 71'
    Vega will take those all day. Another aimless cross, this time from Di Maria, is caught by the keeper
  • 69'
    UUUY SALOMON!!!!! True magic from the striker, he dances through the defence and faces Andujar, but cannot get the shot away. Three men left in his wake there
  • 67'
    A promising attack for Argentina stopped dead by a pitiful touch on the left from Rojo, and it's a goal kick. Sabella is furious
  • 66'
    SubstitutionPablo Zabaleta Ever Banega
  • 65'
    Huge, just huge tackling there to stop Sosa in his tracks. The Venezuelans are playing their hearts out
  • 64'
    Absolutely no less than Venezuela deserved, they have dominated the last half hour. Now we will see if Argentina can pick themselves up...
  • 62'
    Venezuelan/ Spanish/ Basque defender Fernando Amorebieta is delighted, he headed in right from the floor after a corner kick from the right
  • 61'
    Goal Amorebieta
  • 61'
  • 61'
    ANDUUUUUUJAR!!!! Another great save, again from the exocet left boot of Arango
  • 60'
    Yellow Card Marcos Rojo
  • 60'
    Another needless loss of possession, this time by Rojo, who compounds his error by giving away a dangerous free-kick
  • 59'
    Yellow Card Javier Mascherano
  • 59'
    No doubt in the slightest who is on top here, Argentina are barely being allowed to cross the halfway line
  • 58'
    And Arango is the next to try his luck, but his shot meets an identical fate
  • 57'
    Cichero tries a very ambitious shot from a long way out, but the ball balloons over the bar
  • 56'
    Almost a disaster for Argentina there! Otamendi gives away an awful ball and Venezuela counter, but Rondon cannot get the shot away
  • 54'
    Di Maria shows off a silky nutmeg on the way to goal, but Rojo's return pass is heavy and runs for a goal kick
  • 52'
    Another top drawer save from Andujar to deny Arango, how long can the Catania man keep out the wave of burgundy shirts?
  • 51'
    Nasty tackle from Zabaleta, and Gonzalez will swing the free kick in from the right
  • 50'
    Eight men back for Argentina as the home side push, a measure of how rattled they are right now
  • 48'
    Cichero takes a heavy but fair challenge from Zabaleta, and he looks in some pain
  • 46'
    Messi and Di Maria kick us off here, 0-0 still
  • Almost ready to go here, can Argentina rediscover the Verve of the first 30 minutes or will it be a Bittersweet Symphony in Puerto La Cruz? Sorry...
  • It was a nervous start from Venezuela, but they lifted themselves in the last 15 minutes and had Argentina very nervous indeed. The key is high-intensity, but can they keep up the tempo in suffocating humidity
  • 45' + 1'
    And that's half time, Venezuela 0-0 Argentina and Cesar Farias' gutsy team deserve to go in on level-pegging
  • 44'
    A very encouraging end to the half here for Venezuela, so close to opening the scoring
  • 43'
    ANDUUUUUUJAR!!!!! A stunning save to keep out Arango's wickedly swerving free-kick, and he is up again to claim a rebound that is pinging around the box
  • 41'
    These last few minutes have been all Vinotinto, pressure is making normally flawless passers like Mascherano give the ball up. Interesting free-kick here after a gifted ball...
  • 39'
    OLE! OLE! Shout the home crowd, delighted at a spell of dominant possession for the hosts
  • 37'
    A long cross from Zabaleta was looking for Sosa and Higuain, but who gets there first? You guessed it... Vega snaffles with glee
  • 35'
    Real danger there. Fedor gets the best of Otamendi and crosses from the right, and Burdisso clears desperately behind under the gaze of Rondon
  • 34'
    Vizcarrondo is of course no novice to Argentine football: he plays in Bahia Blanca with Olimpo. River's Cesar Gonzalez is another Argentina-based player in the Venezuela ranks
  • 33'
    Vizcarrondo is of course no novice to Argentine football: he plays in Bahia Blanca with Olimpo. River's Cesar Gonzalez is another Argentina-based player in the Venezuela ranks
  • 31'
    Oswaldo Vizcarrondo is another titan, and he breaks up yet another Albiceleste advance by blocking a probing Messi ball on the edge of the area
  • 29'
    A brilliant tackle from right back Rosales stops Messi in full flight, and slows Argentina down in what is turning into a frenetic match
  • 27'
    A lot of people on our preview were predicting a walkover for Argentina here, but that's a great disservice to the Vinotinto. They want victory, and are more than capable of taking at least a point
  • 25'
    A rapid counter from Venezuela catches Andujar in two minds, and the keeper decides to head the ball behind in spectacular fashion. Corner comes to nothing
  • 22'
    UUUYYYY!!!! Salomon Rondon is left all alone in the area while the Argentine defence shrugs its shoulders, but heads over the bar
  • 20'
    Even a draw today would be a historical day in Venezuela. The Vinotinto have lost every single game they have played against Argentina, all 19 outings
  • 18'
    GRANDE VEGA!!! Wonderful control from Messi allows him to release another shot, but Renny is again more than equal
  • 17'
    UUUUUUUU!!!! Another well-armed attack this time between Higuain and Zabaleta sent the ball spiralling into the box, but Messi could not reach it
  • 16'
    A quick round-up of today's other WCQs. Colombia took down Bolivia 2-1 in La Paz, Paraguay scored in the last minute to draw 1-1 at home with Uruguay, and Chile won the Pacific Derby 4-2 over Peru
  • 14'
    The capacity crowd here is making a real racket, they're 110% behind the home team
  • 12'
    They'll have to get past Vega though. The Vinotinto gloveman is a beast, and takes a Messi cross like candy from a baby to break up another attack
  • 11'
    All Argentina in these opening minutes, they're taking the game to their opponents and creating early chances
  • 9'
    Pipita!!!! Lovely combination between Rojo, Sosa and Higuain sets the Madrid man up, but again Vega is equal to it
  • 8'
    UFFFF!!! With the home fans indignant for an unseen foul, Messi lets rip from distance but straight at Vega. Lovely jinking tun beforehand
  • 7'
    It's too long though, and Vega covers at the far post
  • 6'
    Here's a bit of danger, Messi is chopped down 35m out and will swing the free kick in
  • 5'
    I was talking to a Venezuelan journalist earlier today, and he was convinced that the key to stopping Argentina was closing down early, especially on Messi. A draw, according to Sr. Leon Aguirre, was well within reach
  • 3'
    Great play by Amorebieta, who comes off best in a 50-50 challenge with Mascherano. The Barca man looks rather troubled, limping back to trotting speed
  • 2'
    Venezuela go straight on the attack, and it's an early corner from Arango. Causes a few problems, but Otamendi scrambles
  • 1'
    And we are off. Venezuela get us started on a balmy evening in the Caribbean, can Argentina take another three points against the Vinotinto?
  • Argentina (3-5-2): Andujar; Burdisso, Demichelis, Otamendi; Zabaleta, Sosa, Mascherano, Di Maria, Rojo; Messi, Higuain
  • Venezuela (4-4-2): Vega; Rosales, Vizcarrondo, Amorebieta, Cichero; Lucena, Rincon, Arango, Gonzalez; Rondon, Fedor
  • The teams are already on the pitch, as good a time as any to find out who they are
  • Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the picturesque beachside city of Puerto La Cruz for Venezuela's test against Argentina. You can follow all the action from this World Cup qualifying clash with me, and it promises to be a cracker