Ezequiel Lavezzi, Erik Lamela, and Victor Cuesta all got on the scoresheet as Argentina beat Bolivia 3-0 in front of 45,000+ at CenturyLink Field in Seattle, Washington on Tuesday. Argentina finished the match with 86% possession and scored all of their goals before the half-time whistle. Manager Gerardo Martino will be satisfied that his second-string players put in a dominant performance even though it was a meaningless game for both sides. Argentina finished the group 3-0-0 (win-loss-draw), and advance to the knockout round to take on Venezuela, one of this tournament's surprise teams. Argentina was able to rest numerous starters and star forward Lionel Messi put in an active 45-minute shift, so one can assume that the La Albiceleste will be favored to beat Venezuela on Saturday and move on to the semifinal round.
Player ratings (1-10, with 10 the best)
GK Sergio Romero, 6 -- Made one save during his ninety-minute shift.
RB Facundo Roncaglia, 7 -- Very active shift from the 29-year-old right back. His beautiful cross led to Argentina's second goal, and he was always ready to join in on the attack. Didn't need to do much defending.
CB Nicolas Otamendi, 7 -- Completed almost all of his passes and won a number of aerial battles. Subbed off in the 75th minute so he could rest for Saturday's quarterfinal match.
CB Victor Cuesta, 8 -- Lunged to tap in a fierce Lavezzi cross to give Argentina a comfortable 3-0 lead. Earned a late yellow card, but didn't put a foot wrong.
LB Ramiro Funes Mori, 7 -- Supported left winger/forward Kun Aguero every time Aguero surged forward. Looked comfortable in the left-back role, even though he normally plays as a center back.
CDM Ever Banega, 7 -- His cross-field passes are always on point, and he displayed his passing acumen on Tuesday. Earned a professional yellow card in the 27th minute, and was replaced at half-time so he could rest for Saturday's match.
CDM Matias Kranevitter, 7.5 -- Very composed display from the 23-year-old. Kranevitter quickly switched the point of attack and didn't lose possession of the ball once. He may not start on Saturday, but his professional display shows just how deep Argentina's squad is.
RW Ezequiel Lavezzi, 9 -- Argentina's man-of-the-match. The Hebei China Fortune man was involved in all three of his team's goals. He won the free kick which led to Lamela's free kick goal, pounced to tap in his team's second goal, and assisted on the third and final goal of the game. His first touch needs to be refined, but it was a sterling display from the right winger.
CAM Erik Lamela, 8.5 -- The 24-year-old enjoyed a breakout season at Tottenham FC, and his good form continued against Bolivia on Tuesday. His free kick was deflected into the back of the net in the 13th minute, and he linked up well with Kun Aguero and Lavezzi during the first half. He had less of an impact in the second half, but Argentina was in cruise control by then.
LW Kun Aguero, 7 -- Aguero played less as a left winger and more as a second forward to support Gonzalo Higuain up top. He won numerous fouls but didn't put any of his shots on target. Linked up well with left back Funes Mori and ran circles around Bolivia's defense.
CF Gonzalo Higuain, 7 -- His bullet header off of Roncaglia's cross led to Argentina's second goal, but the Argentine could not get on the scoresheet against a vulnerable Bolivia defense. Did a lot of good defensive work and finished with two shots on target. Replaced by Lionel Messi at half-time.
DM Lucas Biglia, 7 -- Replaced Banega at half-time. His rasping shot was parried away by Bolivia goalkeeper Carlos Lampe, but Biglia did most of his work in his own half. Rarely lost possession and worked well with Kranevitter to win the midfield battle.
FWD Lionel Messi, 6.5 -- The man everyone came to see replaced Higuain at half-time and did not disappoint the tens of thousands of Argentina fans in attendance. Dribbled around two, sometimes three Bolivia defenders and always wanted the ball at his feet. Nutmegged the 'keeper after being flagged offside, which drew loud cheers from the crowd. Butted heads with Bolivia midfielder Jhasmani Campos late in the match but escaped without a yellow card.
DF Jonathan Maidana, 5 -- Replaced Otamendi in the 75th minute and had very little to do during his 15-minute appearance.