As I explained in an earlier article, Argentina play a lop-sided formation that forces their right back to patrol the right flank on his own. This was always a weakness in the formation regardless of who was playing at right back. Gutierezz came in for criticism when playing this role(but I defended him) and was replaced by Otamendi but the same problems remained. Today this weakness was ruthlessly exploited by Germany and all their goals came from the right side of the Argentine defense.
In the first half, Otamendi had to deal with Podolski as well as Ozil drifting out to the left and Boateng pushing forward to support the attack. This is too much for any player and he was forced to foul Podolski, with the resulting freekick leading to the first goal. After the goal Otamendi gave Podolski a lot of space as he was worried about getting beaten for skill again. Unlike Gutierrez, Otamendi is not comfortable in possession so was not much use in attack
In the second half Di Maria was moved to the right, possibly to try and help Otamendi. This had the desired effect of preventing Boateng pushing forward but it left Lahm on the other side free to move forward at will. Argentina were clearly getting over-run and needed to introduce an extra midfielder but this was not done. To make things worse Di Maria stopped tracking back as Argentina lost their shape and discipline, leaving the right flank once again exposed. Germany exploited the weakness by creating passing triangles around Otamendi and Demichelis, leading to the second goal. For this goal, Demichelis was pulled out of position as he followed Klose, leaving a huge hole in the defense for Podolski to run onto. This is a problem I have noticed before.
Otamendi was then taken off for a midfielder, leaving the right flank even more exposed than before. Once again Germany exploited this and scored two very similar goals. At this point Argentina were not even pretending to defend but Germany must be applauded for noting their opponents weakness and being ruthless.
Argentina’s formation during the World Cup has been unbalanced in an attempt to accommodate their 3 forwards. They got away with it against weaker teams and I expected a change in formation when playing strong teams like Germany but this did not happen and they were punished. Maradonna did use a more defensive formation against Germany earlier this year in a friendly and had success but it seems he became over-confident and chose to stay the course. Like Gutierrez before him,Otamendi was asked to do too much and the whole team suffered as a result.