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Stade Jean Bouin

“It was the best of games (Argentina). It was the worst of games (USA).” Apologies to Charles Dickens.

Los Pumas routed an ineffective Eagle squad 36-0 in what ranks as the USA’s poorest showing on the sevens’ circuit this season. Whereas Argentina played smartly and cohesively – especially, on defense – the Eagles made mistake after mistake, seemingly playing without a game plan.

Again, the USA made serious and damaging errors including the recurrent bugaboos of faulty tackling, no tackling, errant passes, knock-ons, and a porous defense.

Argentina scored immediately after the kick off, converted, and the Eagles were down 7-0. A kick ahead to Perry Baker produced a pretty run, and all expected the speedster to score to even up the result. He was stopped in front of the posts, and Argentina recovered, sped up field to score, making it 12-0. A pass intercepted let the Pumas advance to 17-0 at the break.

Whatever Mike Friday said to the team at halftime produced no change in play, as Argentina continued the rout, putting 19 second period points on the scoreboard. The whistle blew and Los Pumas ended 36-0.

Aside from Baker’s solitary run, the USA never advanced into Argentina territory. For every pass out to the wing, Eagle runners encountered two or three defenders.

Here’s the charge for the USA if they are to make a run for the Cup: defeat France and Canada and pray that Argentina also beats the French. The optimum pool result would be:

Argentina 3 -0, USA 2-1, France 1-2, and Canada 0-3.

The USA have dug themselves into a minus 36 point differential scenario and not easy to rack up points against the host nation and our northern rival.

At twenty minutes past high noon Paris time, the Eagles will meet a French squad that demolished Canada 42-5.

Was yesterday night a onetime Eagle aberration? Saturday’s two matches will answer that question.