Julio Olarticoechea hasn’t had much time and several of the first choice picks were withdrawn from the squad but on the evidence of Thursday’s goalless draw with México, Argentina don’t look like gold medal contenders at this summer’s Olympics.
Another laboured performance from the under-23 side was fortunate to leave Puebla with a draw after México certainly enjoyed superiority for much of the 90 minutes and should have led when Gerónimo Rulli made an uncharacteristic mistake when coming to punch a ball clear only for the referee to bail him out with a forgiving free kick.
Manuel Lanzini’s injury has further robbed Argentina of creativity in midfield and with Olarticoechea fielding a three of Santiago Ascacibar, Lucas Romero and Mauricio Martínez there is not enough forward mobility to support the attack.
Alfredo Talavera in the Mexican goal had very little to do over the course of the 90 minutes and certainly Argentina will need to get more service to Jonathan Calleri if they are to progress in Rio de Janeiro.
Vélez central defender Lautaro Giannetti was sent off late on for a wild challenge, having been booked early on, and perhaps the amount of aggressive challenges from both sides provided more talking points than any of the actual action.
Argentina begin their Olympic campaign next Thursday against Portugal.
Argentina: Rulli; Magallán, Giannetti, Cuesta, Soto (85′ Vega); Martínez (87′ J. L. Gómez), Ascacibar, Romero (56′ Lo Celso); Correa, Calleri (87′ Arzura), Espinoza (56′ Simeone)