A LEVANTARSE RÁPIDO

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Argentina no se estrenó de la mejor manera en las Eliminatorias rumbo a Rusia 2018: como local, cayó 0-2 ante Ecuador y las críticas a Gerardo Martino comenzaron a caer. Preguntas y respuestas de un ciclo que no termina de convencer y debe mejorar rápido.

De antemano se sabía que reemplazar a Alejandro Sabella no sería una tarea sencilla. Principalmente, porque «Pachorra» logró lo que nunca en la última década: armar un equipo que se haga fuerte desde el colectivo y no desde las individualidades. Ante este panorama, Martino arribó y no dudó en intentar darle su impronta al Seleccionado. Lógica: cada entrenador tiene su idea, su manera, sus pretenciones. La Copa América significó el inicio de un nuevo ciclo, y allí, la principal novedad pasó por la inclusión de Javier Pastore, de fútbol vistoso y elegante. El cordobés pregona lujo, pase preciso, pared, juego asociado. Esto también llevó a que la Selección intente llevar a cabo un juego de mucha posesión. Así, ganó todos los partidos hasta la final con Chile, incluso superando con autoridad a rivales como Uruguay, Colombia (no desde el resultado) y Paraguay (goleada). Messi, al fin tuvo un socio que lo libere de responsabilidades a la hora de bajar hacia mitad de cancha para tomar contacto con la pelota. Aguero, debió acostumbrarse a jugar más entre los centrales, marcar diagonales de manera constante y ser más goleador.

Pero el inicio de las Eliminatorias obligó a buscarle variantes a la ausencia de Messi, y también marcó ausencias importantes en la defensa: Zabaleta y Rojo. Martino optó por darle la confianza a Ángel Correa, el juvenil que la rompió en el Sub-20 y comienza a afianzarse en Atlético Madrid. Había mucha ansiedad por verlo estrenarse de manera oficial en la Selección. Por su parte, Di María se volcó al carril derecho, donde alguna vez supo acostumbrarse en Real Madrid. Facundo Roncaglia fue el encargado de ocupar el sector derecho, y la decisión no fue una sorpresa: el defensor de Fiorentina ha sido convocado por Martino en muchas oportunidades. ¿Hay otras opciones? Quizás en el fútbol local Gino Peruzzi y Julio Buffarini hayan demostrado buenas condiciones, pero para el debut oficial en Eliminatorias, el «Tata» optó por quien ya venía practicando junto al resto de los compañeros. Mientras que en el costado izquierdo, las opciones eran de características más ofensivas: Milton Casco -de flojo nivel en River Plate– y Emanuel Más, quien finalmente acabó siendo titular, aunque sin completar una buena actuación, ya que mostró debilidad en el mano a mano y estuvo algo imprudente. Ningún debut es fácil, claro. En el horizonte se vislumbra al lateral de Independiente, Nicolás Tagliafico, de gran momento y como una muralla en el equipo de Mauricio Pellegrino. Pero el problema fue mayor al observar que Roncaglia fue superado toda la noche por el habilidoso Jefferson Montero. La defensa, lo mejor de la Era Sabella, no fue garantía. Y esto también se debió al flojo partido de la dupla Mascherano-Biglia, víctimas de la superioridad numérica del mediocampo ecuatoriano, y también en deuda a la hora de ser pasadores.

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Con el correr de los minutos Ecuador fue jugando el partido que quería: lejos de su arco, firme en el mediocampo, sagaz para jugar a espaldas de Mascherano-Biglia y dinámico para ganar en el mano a mano por las bandas. Para peor, Argentina sufrió la lesión de Aguero cuando más se esperaba de él por su gran momento en el Manchester City. El ingreso de Tévez no cambió la ecuación: Carlitos estuvo lejos de sus compañeros y viendo pasar la pelota por el aire.

En el segundo tiempo, y con el correr de los minutos, Argentina fue dejando aún más en evidencia que no sabía qué hacer con la pelota. No lastimaba ni se acercaba al arco ecuatoriano. Biglia y Pastore desconectados, Di Maria errático y Correa poco usado. Martino movió el tablero con el ingreso de Lavezzi para ubicarlo por el sector derecho. «Fideo’ pasó a la banda izquierda y el atacante del Atlético Madrid formó una especie de doble punta con Tévez, dándole a éste más libertades y participación en el juego. Cuando menos lastimaba, Ecuador pegó por la vía aérea y se puso en ventaja. Argentina no tuvo siquiera tiempo para reaccionar, porque tras quedar mal parado en una contra, sufrió el 0-2 que significó la primera derrota en la historia como local ante Ecuador.

Martino deberá trabajar y mucho. Ver cómo logra que Pastore entre más en contacto, Correa no se ate a la banda y principalmente, que la defensa recupere la solvencia que tuvo en los tramos decisivos del Mundial 2014. En el banco hay opciones: Lamela, Gaitán, Kranevitter, Dybala. El camino recién empieza y la derrota no debe dejar de lado las cosas positivas que se lograron en 2014. Pero sí debe servir de autocrítica: ¿Sirve Tévez como delantero centro? ¿No merece Higuain volver a ser llamado tras su buen momento en Nápoli? ¿Qué tan productiva le ha resultado al equipo la verticalidad de Di María en los últimos partidos? ¿Cuánto, cómo y para qué ha tenido la pelota Argentina? ¿Qué hace cuando la pierde y dónde se falló para que Ecuador doblegue en tantas oportunidades? El eterno de dilema de cómo formar un equipo equilibrado, esta vez, será una consigna para Martino, que ya es víctima de la famosa mirada de reojo tras perder su primer partido oficial.

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1994. Si no rueda una pelota me siento incompleto. Cuando sea grande diré que vi jugar a Messi. Disfruto de leer y escribir.

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