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Sunday, June 27, 2010
Don't cry for Argentina

By Leander Schaerlaeckens
ESPN.com

Argentina's scorched-earth policy continued as it trampled all over Mexico. While the game was marred with yet another bad call, giving Carlos Tevez a goal that should have been deemed offside, Argentina was still the dominant force. Here are the grades:

Carlos Tevez, Argentina: A-

The striker found the net twice today, although the first goal clearly has an asterisk over it. Still, Tevez worked hard and frequently bullied his way into the box, creating space for teammates. His second goal, the third of the match, was a rocket -- and a joy to behold.

Ricardo Osorio, Mexico: C-

The Mexican defender had a nightmare first half, pulling several gaffes out of his hat. He helped doom his nation's World Cup campaign by gifting the ball away to Gonzalo Higuain for Argentina's second goal. To his credit, Osorio played better for the remainder of the game, but the damage was done.

Gonzalo Higuain, Argentina: B+

The Real Madrid man put on another clinic, taking what he was given and boosting his goal tally to a tournament-leading four. While you could chalk his first goal up to luck, Higuain's knack for being in the right spot at the right time is unparalleled.

Javier Hernandez, Mexico: B+

El Chicharito stuck away a handsome goal. And while it was of little use to his team, since it was already down by three, it gave a glimpse of the bright future for this Mexican side that has a young core of players in Hernandez, Carlos Vela, Andres Guardado and Giovani dos Santos.

Lionel Messi: C+

The wee fella had little to show for his night other than a shot that rattled the crossbar. Messi hasn't been disappointing in this tournament -- except for this game, perhaps -- but Argentina would have welcomed a little more magic from Messi's feet.

Linesman: F

It was a dismal day for FIFA and its officiating crews. First the shambolic "goal that wasn't" in the England game. And then Tevez's offside goal. Will this be the tipping point that convinces FIFA to adopt goal-line technology?

Leander Schaerlaeckens is a soccer writer for ESPN.com. He can be reached at leander.espn@gmail.com.