Tuesday, February 28, 2012

International Friendly / Switzerland - Argentina

Argentina goes to Switzerland today to play its first match of 2012, a year where some important World Cup qualifiers games will be played.
Coach Alejandro Sabella will be on Argentina's bench for the 9th time since he replaced Sergio Batista after last Copa America fiasco, with a record of 4 wins, 2 draws and 2 defeats.

The expected starting lineup for Argentina, using a classic 4-4-2 formation is:

Sergio Romero (Sampdoria); Hugo Campagnaro (Napoli), Ezequiel Garay (Benfica), Federico Fernández (Napoli), Pablo Zabaleta (Manchester City); Jose Sosa (Methalist Karkiv), Javier Mascherano (Barcelona), Rodrigo Braña (Estudiantes), Maxi Rodríguez (Liverpool); Lionel Messi (Barcelona), Sergio Agüero (Manchester City).

The other called players are: Gonzalo Higuaín (Real Madrid), Daniel Diaz (Getafe), Fernando Gago (Roma), Erik Lamela (Roma), Rodrigo Palacio (Genoa), Luciano Monzón (Nice), Mariano Andújar (Estudiantes), Eduardo Salvio (Atlético de Madrid).

Angel Di Maria (Real Madrid) and Marcos Rojo (Spartak Moscow) were called but are not available due to injures.

It's obvious that Sabella is looking to renew Argentina's defense, the team's weakest point the last years, as he has called Campagnaro for the first time and will use Fernandez and Garay, two players with good potential but little international experience.

Braña, as Fernandez and Sosa, have been coached by Sabella when he won Copa Libertadores and a Argentine league championship with Estudiantes so it's not surprise that he called them and will use them in the starting lineup.

On paper it looks like defensive minded team that will depend on Jose Sosa having a good day to play as the link between midfield and Messi/Aguero, but there are enough options on the bench to make it more offensive if needed.

The quality difference between both teams is obvious, but Argentina has been so disappointing the last few years despite having a team with an enormous potential, that the game could be more open than expected.

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