A full 17 years since Javier Mascherano made his Argentina debut, a look back

It was on this day in 2003 where Javier Mascherano made his senior international debut for the Argentina national team.

Despite not having played a single match for River Plate’s first team, Mascherano was already making the news. Then national team coach Marcelo Bielsa decided to include the defensive midfielder in the starting eleven when his team played eternal rivals Uruguay.

It was Diego Milito who scored both goals for Argentina but the bigger news wasn’t the double by Milito but that the 19 year old had started. Bielsa had fielded the following eleven for the match at the Estadio Ciudad de La Plata:

Franco Costanzo; Clemente Rodriguez, Daniel Diaz, Gabriel Milito, Federico Dominguez; Luis “Lucho” Gonzalez, Javier Mascherano, Andres D’Alessandro; Cesar Delgado, Diego Milito and Federico Insua

At the time, Bielsa was putting together a team not only for the 2004 Copa America but also for the Olympic games in Greece next year. To no one’s surprise, the defensive midfielder was included in both tournament squads and while the tournament in South America ended on penalty kick heartbreak, the one right after ended with an Olympic gold medal.

He was also part of the 2005 Confederations Cup team which also lost in the final. By 2006, he was a well and truly established starter with the national team. Jose Pekerman had since replaced Marcelo Bielsa at the helm and Pekerman made sure that Mascherano continued in his defensive midfielder role come the tournament in Germany. The team lost on penalty kicks once more but Mascherano was an integral part of that team.

Javier Mascherano has played for some of the biggest clubs in the world. In Argentina, he’s a product of River Plate’s youth system. From there, he made the jump to Brazil where he played with Corinthians. His switch across the Atlantic didn’t start off on the right foot.

Mascherano, along with fellow Argentine Carlos Tevez both joined West Ham United and while the team did not get relegated, the duo soon left Upton Park. Tevez went to Manchester United and Mascherano joined Liverpool. He formed a formidable partnership in midfield along the likes of Xabi Alonso and Steven Gerrard.

Argentina were taking part in yet another tournament, Javier Mascherano’s fourth senior one, five including the Olympics. It was the 2007 Copa America and Mascherano turned into MascheGol! Two goals in the tournament, the first was a match winner. It was on July 5 against Paraguay and Mascherano scored his first goal for his country.

Just two days later, Mascherano turned into MascheGol once more as he scored in the 4-0 win vs. Peru. The great man would have to wait nearly 7 years for him to score his third international goal. The tournament would end once more in tears but Mascherano’s European club career was in full swing.

A Champions League final with Liverpool awaited him that season and while he wouldn’t win that tournament with Liverpool, his next club would give him that chance.

Mascherano would make history in the summer of 2008 becoming the first Argentine athlete to win two gold medals. Argentina went into the 2008 Olympic games in Beijing as heavy favorites and he, along with Lionel Messi, Juan Roman Riquelme, Sergio Aguero, Ezequiel Garay and many otheres helped Argentina capture their second Olympic gold medal in football.

Fast forward to 2010, Diego Maradona was coaching the Argentina national team and Javier Mascherano was the captain. Maradona was once quoted as saying “It’s Mascherano + 10 others”, implying the importance that he had on the team despite the squad boasting such “big” names like Lionel Messi, Juan Sebastian Veron or even Carlos Tevez.

Catalonia would come knocking in the form of FC Barcelona as the Argentina captain joined Lionel Messi and Gabriel Milito at the Camp Nou. Mascherano would have to make do with the double in his first season at the club. A league title along with a Champions League winners medal, his first two trophies in Europe. A last minute tackle against Arsenal allowed Barcelona to advance in the tournament and eventually would go on to eliminate rivals Real Madrid in the semi finals.

What makes the final even more memorable was that Mascherano played as a center back in the 3-1 win vs. Manchester United at Wembley.

He lifted a total of 19 trophies during his time with the club, three of which came in one season when the team won the treble.

With Argentina, he was part of the team which lost to Uruguay on penalty kicks at the 2011 Copa America. Ironically enough, that match was played on July 16, 2011, 8 years to the day where Mascherano made his Argentina debut.

His third goal for the Argentina national team was coming up. In a pre-World Cup preparation match, it was Argentina against Trinidad and Tobago. Messi took the free kick as his effort hit the post and fell to Javier Mascherano. The great man extended his foot and a poacher like goal from the defensive midfielder gave Argentina the 2-0 lead.

The next tournament for Argentina was the 2014 World Cup. While he wasn’t wearing the captain’s armband anymore, Mascherano was still very much a leader. Playing in what were arguably the best seven matches of his entire career, Mascherano is probably best remembered for his last ditch block against Arjen Robben in the semi-finals in Brazil. It was later revealed that Mascherano had torn his anus in the tackle but that helped Argentina reach their first World Cup final in 24 years.

A World Cup final came and went, as did two other Copa America finals and Mascherano was now in his final tournament of his career. The 2018 World Cup with Argentina. Not the same type of preparation which saw them reach the final four years prior, Mascherano still gave it his all and announced his retirement from the team on June 30, finishing up a historic 15 year career.

Playing a total of 147 matches for Argentina, it’s been two years since his retirement and his spot is still very much up for grabs. A wonderful career, a great man and while also making the switch to Hebei China Fortune, Mascherano can still be seen tackling players in the Argentine league with Estudiantes.

Thank you to Javier Mascherano on a great career!

Javier Mascherano: Argentina International Caps – Senior Level
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Opponent
Competition
Date
Result
1
Uruguay
Friendly
July 16, 2003
Final 2-2 Draw
2
Brazil
Friendly
June 2, 2004
Final 3-1 Brazil
3
Paraguay
Friendly
June 4, 2004
Final 0-0 Draw
4
Ecuador
2004 Copa America
July 7, 2004
Final 6-1 Argentina
5
Mexico
2004 Copa America
July 10, 2004
Final 1-0 Mexico
6
Uruguay
2004 Copa America
July 13, 2004
Final 4-2 Argentina
7
Colombia
2004 Copa America
July 20, 2004
Final 3-0 Argentina
8
Brazil
2004 Copa America
July 25, 2004
Final 2-2 (4-2 P) Brazil
9
Peru
2006 World Cup Qualifiers
September 4, 2004
Final 3-1 Argentina
10
Chile
2006 World Cup Qualifiers
October 13, 2004
Final 0-0 Draw
11
Venezuela
2006 World Cup Qualifiers
November 17, 2004
Final 3-2 Argentina
12
Mexico
Friendly
March 9, 2005
Final 1-1 Draw
13
Colombia
2006 World Cup Qualifiers
March 30, 2005
Final 1-0 Argentina
14
Brazil
2006 World Cup Qualifiers
June 8, 2005
Final 3-1 Argentina
15
Angola
Friendly
May 30, 2006
Final 2-0 Argentina
16
Ivory Coast
2006 FIFA World Cup
June 10, 2006
Final 2-1 Argentina
17
Serbia & Montenegro
2006 FIFA World Cup
June 16, 2006
Final 6-0 Argentina
18
Netherlands
2006 FIFA World Cup
June 21, 2006
Final 0-0 Draw
19
Mexico
2006 FIFA World Cup
June 24, 2006
Final 2-1 Argentina
20
Germany
2006 FIFA World Cup
June 30, 2006
Final 2-1 Argentina
21
Brazil
Friendly
September 3, 2006
Final 3-0 Brazil
22
Spain
Friendly
October 11, 2006
Final 2-1 Spain
23
Switzerland
Friendly
June 2, 2007
Final 1-1 Draw
24
Algeria
Friendly
June 6, 2007
Final 4-3 Argentina
25
United States
2007 Copa America
June 28, 2007
Final 4-1 Argentina
26
Colombia
2007 Copa America
July 2, 2007
Final 4-2 Argentina
27
Paraguay
2007 Copa America
July 5, 2007
Final 1-0 Argentina
28
Peru
2007 Copa America
July 8, 2007
Final 4-0 Argentina
29
Mexico
2007 Copa America
July 11, 2007
Final 3-0 Argentina
30
Brazil
2007 Copa America
July 15, 2007
Final 3-0 Brazil
31
Norway
Friendly
August 22, 2007
Final 2-1 Norway
32
Australia
Friendly
September 11, 2007
Final 1-0 Argentina
33
Chile
2010 World Cup Qualifiers
September 11, 2007
Final 2-0 Argentina
34
Venezuela
2010 World Cup Qualifiers
October 16, 2007
Final 2-0 Argentina
35
Bolivia
2010 World Cup Qualifiers
November 17, 2007
Final 3-0 Argentina
36
Colombia
2010 World Cup Qualifiers
November 20, 2007
Final 2-1 Colombia
37
Egypt
2010 World Cup Qualifiers
March 26, 2008
Final 2-0 Argentina
38
Mexico
2010 World Cup Qualifiers
June 4, 2008
Final 4-1 Argentina
39
United States
Friendly
June 8, 2008
Final 0-0 Draw
40
Ecuador
2010 World Cup Qualifiers
June 15, 2008
Final 1-1 Draw
41
Brazil
2010 World Cup Qualifiers
June 18, 2008
Final 0-0 Draw
42
Paraguay
2010 World Cup Qualifiers
September 6, 2008
Final 1-1 Draw
43
Uruguay
2010 World Cup Qualifiers
October 11, 2008
Final 2-1 Argentina
44
Chile
2010 World Cup Qualifiers
October 16, 2008
Final 1-0 Chile
45
Scotland
Friendly
November 19, 2008
Final 1-0 Argentina
46
France
Friendly
February 11, 2009
Final 2-0 Argentina
47
Venezuela
2010 World Cup Qualifiers
March 28, 2009
Final 4-0 Argentina
48
Bolivia
2010 World Cup Qualifiers
April 1, 2009
Final 6-1 Bolivia
49
Colombia
2010 World Cup Qualifiers
June 6, 2009
Final 1-0 Argentina
50
Russia
Friendly
August 12, 2009
Final 3-2 Argentina
51
Brazil
2010 World Cup Qualifiers
September 5, 2009
Final 3-1 Brazil
52
Paraguay
2010 World Cup Qualifiers
September 9, 2009
Final 1-0 Paraguay
53
Peru
2010 World Cup Qualifiers
October 10, 2009
Final 2-1 Argentina
54
Uruguay
2010 World Cup Qualifiers
October 14, 2009
Final 1-0 Argentina
55
Spain
Friendly
November 14, 2009
Final 2-1 Spain
56
Germany
Friendly
March 3, 2010
Final 1-0 Argentina
57
Canada
Friendly
May 25, 2010
Final 5-0 Argentina
58
Nigeria
2010 FIFA World Cup
June 12, 2010
Final 1-0 Argentina
59
South Korea
2010 FIFA World Cup
June 17, 2010
Final 4-1 Argentina
60
Mexico
2010 FIFA World Cup
June 23, 2010
Final 3-1 Argentina
61
Germany
2010 FIFA World Cup
July 3, 2010
Final 4-0 Germany
62
Republic of Ireland
Friendly
August 11, 2010
Final 1-0 Argentina
63
Spain
Friendly
September 7, 2010
Final 4-1 Argentina
64
Japan
Friendly
October 8, 2010
Final 1-0 Japan
65
Brazil
Friendly
November 17, 2010
Final 1-0 Argentina
66
Portugal
Friendly
February 9, 2011
Final 2-1 Argentina
67
United States
Friendly
March 26, 2011
Final 1-1 Draw
68
Costa Rica
Friendly
March 29, 2011
Final 0-0 Draw
69
Albania
Friendly
June 20, 2011
Final 4-0 Argentina
70
Bolivia
2011 Copa America
July 1, 2011
Final 1-1 Draw
71
Colombia
2011 Copa America
July 6, 2011
Final 0-0 Draw
72
Costa Rica
2011 Copa America
July 11, 2011
Final 3-0 Argentina
73
Uruguay
2011 Copa America
July 16, 2011
Final 2-2 (5-4 P) Uruguay
74
Venezuela
Friendly
August 29, 2011
Final 1-0 Argentina
75
Nigeria
Friendly
September 6, 2011
Final 3-1 Argentina
76
Venezuela
2014 World Cup Qualifiers
October 11, 2011
Final 1-0 Venezuela
77
Bolivia
2014 World Cup Qualifiers
November 11, 2011
Final 1-1 Draw
78
Colombia
2014 World Cup Qualifiers
November 15, 2011
Final 2-1 Argentina
79
Switzerland
Friendly
February 28, 2012
Final 3-1 Argentina
80
Ecuador
2014 World Cup Qualifiers
June 2, 2012
Final 4-0 Argentina
81
Brazil
Friendly
June 9, 2012
Final 4-3 Argentina
82
Germany
Friendly
August 15, 2012
Final 3-1 Argentina
83
Peru
2014 World Cup Qualifiers
September 11, 2012
Final 1-1 Draw
84
Uruguay
2014 World Cup Qualifiers
October 12, 2012
Final 3-0 Argentina
85
Chile
2014 World Cup Qualifiers
October 16, 2012
Final 2-1 Argentina
86
Saudi Arabia
Friendly
November 14, 2012
Final 0-0 Draw
87
Sweden
Friendly
February 6, 2013
Final 3-2 Argentina
88
Venezuela
2014 World Cup Qualifiers
March 22, 2013
Final 3-0 Argentina
89
Bolivia
2014 World Cup Qualifiers
March 26, 2013
Final 1-1 Draw
90
Colombia
2014 World Cup Qualifiers
June 7, 2013
Final 0-0 Draw
91
Ecuador
2014 World Cup Qualifiers
June 11, 2013
Final 1-1 Draw
92
Guatemala
Friendly
June 14, 2013
Final 4-0 Argentina
93
Italy
Friendly
August 18, 2013
Final 2-1 Argentina
94
Ecuador
Friendly
November 15, 2013
Final 0-0 Draw
95
Bosnia-Herzegovina
Friendly
November 18, 2013
Final 2-0 Argentina
96
Romania
Friendly
March 5, 2014
Final 0-0 Draw
97
Trinidad and Tobago
Friendly
June 4, 2014
Final 3-0 Argentina
98
Slovenia
Friendly
June 7, 2014
Final 3-0 Argentina
99
Bosnia-Herzegovina
2014 FIFA World Cup
June 15, 2014
Final 2-1 Argentina
100
Iran
2014 FIFA World Cup
June 21, 2014
Final 1-0 Argentina
101
Nigeria
2014 FIFA World Cup
June 25, 2014
Final 3-2 Argentina
102
Switzerland
2014 FIFA World Cup
July 1, 2014
Final 1-0 Argentina
103
Belgium
2014 FIFA World Cup
July 5, 2014
Final 1-0 Argentina
104
Netherlands
2014 FIFA World Cup
July 9, 2014
Final 0-0 (4-2 P) Argentina
105
Germany
2014 FIFA World Cup
July 13, 2014
Final 1-0 Germany
106
Germany
Friendly
September 3, 2014
Final 4-2 Argentina
107
Brazil
Friendly
October 11, 2014
Final 2-0 Brazil
108
Hong Kong
Friendly
October 14, 2014
Final 7-0 Argentina
109
Croatia
Friendly
November 12, 2014
Final 2-1 Argentina
110
Portugal
Friendly
November 18, 2014
Final 1-0 Portugal
111
Ecuador
Friendly
March 31, 2015
Final 2-1 Argentina
112
Paraguay
2015 Copa America
June 13, 2015
Final 2-2 Draw
113
Uruguay
2015 Copa America
June 16, 2015
Final 1-0 Argentina
114
Jamaica
2015 Copa America
June 20, 2015
Final 1-0 Argentina
115
Colombia
2015 Copa America
June 27, 2015
Final 0-0 (5-4 P) Argentina
116
Paraguay
2015 Copa America
June 30, 2015
Final 6-1 Argentina
117
Chile
2015 Copa America
July 4, 2015
Final 0-0 (4-1 P) Chile
118
Mexico
Friendly
September 8, 2015
Final 2-2 Draw
119
Ecuador
2018 World Cup Qualifiers
October 8, 2015
Final 2-0 Ecuador
120
Paraguay
2018 World Cup Qualifiers
October 13, 2015
Final 0-0 Draw
121
Brazil
2018 World Cup Qualifiers
November 13, 2015
Final 1-1 Draw
122
Colombia
2018 World Cup Qualifiers
November 17, 2015
Final 1-0 Argentina
123
Bolivia
2018 World Cup Qualifiers
March 29, 2016
Final 2-0 Argentina
124
Honduras
Friendly
May 27, 2016
Final 1-0 Argentina
125
Chile
2016 Copa America
June 6, 2016
Final 2-1 Argentina
126
Panama
2016 Copa America
June 10, 2016
Final 5-0 Argentina
127
Venezuela
2016 Copa America
June 18, 2016
Final 4-1 Argentina
128
United States
2016 Copa America
June 21, 2016
Final 4-0 Argentina
129
Chile
2016 Copa America
June 26, 2016
Final 0-0 (4-2 P) Chile
130
Uruguay
2018 World Cup Qualifiers
September 1, 2016
Final 1-0 Argentina
131
Venezuela
2018 World Cup Qualifiers
September 6, 2016
Final 2-2 Draw
132
Peru
2018 World Cup Qualifiers
October 6, 2016
Final 2-2 Draw
133
Paraguay
2018 World Cup Qualifiers
October 11, 2016
Final 1-0 Paraguay
134
Brazil
2018 World Cup Qualifiers
November 10, 2016
Final 3-0 Brazil
135
Colombia
2018 World Cup Qualifiers
November 15, 2016
Final 3-0 Argentina
136
Chile
2018 World Cup Qualifiers
March 23, 2017
Final 1-0 Argentina
137
Venezuela
2018 World Cup Qualifiers
September 5, 2017
Final 1-1 Draw
138
Peru
2018 World Cup Qualifiers
Octber 5, 2017
Final 0-0 Draw
139
Ecuador
2018 World Cup Qualifiers
October 10, 2017
Final 3-1 Argentina
140
Russia
Friendly
November 11, 2017
Final 1-0 Argentina
141
Nigeria
Friendly
November 14, 2017
Final 4-2 Nigeria
142
Spain
Friendly
March 27, 2018
Final 6-1 Spain
143
Haiti
Friendly
May 29, 2018
Final 4-0 Argentina
144
Iceland
2018 FIFA World Cup
June 16, 2018
Final 1-1 Draw
145
Croatia
2018 FIFA World Cup
June 21, 2018
Final 3-0 Croatia
146
Nigeria
2018 FIFA World Cup
June 26, 2018
Final 2-1 Argentina
147
France
2018 FIFA World Cup
June 30, 2018
Final 4-3 France

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