Any questions about Argentina now?
The five-time FIFA U-20 World Cup champions put on a breathtaking display of soccer at Frank Clair Stadium, blitzing Panama 6-0 before a wildly pro-Argentina throng of 23,500 last night.
With a four-goal spree in a seven-minute span of the first half, Argentina seized control of the match -- and the Group E standings, to boot. The Cup holders lead the group with four points, and can advance through to the second round in prime position with at least a draw against North Korea on Friday night.
While Argentina showed flashes of its brilliance in an opening 0-0 draw with the Czechs on Saturday night, the finishing touch wasn't there. Coach Hugo Tocalli had vowed that would change, and his charges proved him right last night.
"(Last night) was our day to be the winners," Tocalli said through a translator. "This game gave us more opportunity to show our (talent) and tactics. Now, we are in position to achieve our objective (of reaching the second round)."
The diminutive Maxi Moralez lit the spark last night, depositing a shot into a wide-open cage behind Panama 'keeper Luis Mejia at the 20-minute mark off a perfect setup by Sergio Aguero.
The roar from the thousands of Argentina supporters had barely subsided when Matias Sanchez ignited another wave of cheers with a spectacular play. Sliding to save a free ball off the touch line, Sanchez crossed it to Mauro Zarate, who redirected it home.
Now the train was chugging downhill, and the shell-shocked Panamanians were caught squarely in its path. Aguero and Moralez were the benefactors of more stunningly creative Argentine play, and suddenly a match that was competitive in the early going was blown wide open.
Panama must beat the Czech Republic in Montreal and get some help to extend its stay in the tournament.