Argentina is advancing in the Confederations Cup. The other night they played Australia in an entertaining match in which Luciano Figueroa scored a hat trick in a 4-2 win.
It’s the first time I’d seen him, and frankly ever heard of him, but he was so devastating on the ball that I wanted to make mention.
He’s clinical, a lot like Manchester United’s Alan Smith but with more pace. Smith is more polished in general, as Figueroa is a bit overcommitted to attacking by trying too many runs through the course of buildup play. That said, he did score 3 goals.
He’ll be more effective when he gains a touch better feel. He doesn’t look for balls at the edge of the box. There he’d be integrated and able to 1-2 more often with the midfield.
As a more finished striker, he may only have scored 2 goals against Australia, but the team may have gotten 5.
He, like Alan Smith and Chelsea’s Mateja Kezman is just not quick enough to play that way. Notice their productivity in England. Figueroa got 3 the other night but it would fail if he tried it in the UK, clearly the fastest paced football league in the world.
24 year old Figueroa scored twice in a World Cup qualifying win against Bolivia in March. Playing club football in Spain for Villarreal, he is surely a contender to play versus (maybe I’ll show up, maybe not) Hernan Crespo and the stout, uni-browed Carlos Tevez.
Interestingly he was a Birmingham player in 2003, only played a single match and was loaned to Mexican club Cruz Azul. Back now in Europe, he’ll have Champions League football to play along side Diego Forlan with Villareal next year.