Argentina squad, schedule and talking points ahead of World Cup Qualifiers

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Argentina are making a tough work for themselves so far in the World Cup Qualification process and they are up for two crucial matches in the coming week in the CONBEMOL division. 10 matches are already played in the qualification round, and with just 8 to play it’s pivotal that the runners up from Brazil in 2014 really intensify their race for the automatic qualification spot.

Setting the Scene:

Argentina are 6th in the table, one place below the Play off spots but just 1 point away from 3rd placed Ecuador. The competition in South America has been more stern than ever and the narrowest of margins may determine the fate of the teams. So Argentina will have to play well and get some points now to avoid any nerve wracking time in the latter stages.

They are without a win in their last 3 qualification matches. They drew with Venezuela and Peru, before loosing at home against Paraguay in October.

Matches and Schedule:

Argentina travel Belo Horizonte to face Brazil and then they host Colombia at San Juan.

Brazil vs Argentina,        10th November (05.15 am,11th Nov in IST)

Argentina vs Colombia,   15th November (05.00 am,16th Nov in IST)

Squad:

Goalkeepers: Sergio Romero (Manchester United), Mariano Andujar (Estudiantes), Nahuel Guzman (Tigres)

Defenders: Facundo Roncaglia (Celta), Mateo Musacchio (Villarreal), Ramiro Funes Mori (Everton), Emmanuel Mas (San Lorenzo), Julio Buffarini(Sao Paulo), Martin Demichelis (Espanyol), Pablo Zabaleta (Manchester City), Gabriel Mercado (Sevilla), Nicolas Otamendi (Manchester City)

Midfielders: Guido Pizarro (Tigres), Javier Mascherano (Barcelona), Lucas Biglia (Lazio), Marcos Acuna (Racing Club), Ever Banega (Inter), Javier Pastore (PSG), Enzo Perez(Valencia), Fernando Belluschi(San Lorenzo), Angel Di María (PSG)

Forwards: Lionel Messi (Barcelona), Angel Correa (Atletico Madrid), Lucas Pratto (Atletico Mineiro), Sergio Aguero (Manchester City), Ezequiel Lavezzi(Hebei China Fortune), Gonzalo Higuain(Juventus)

Players to Watch:

Argentina will be boosted by the return of Messi. Also Higuain, Aguero all are in imoressive forms and on their day they can absolutely tear opponents apart.

In the midfield they have the pacey Di Maria and veteran Belluschi who can be effective. Mascherano’s shielding will be important for them as he can orchestrate the midfield.

They opted to drop both Garay and Rojo and they have selected 28 year old Julio Buffarini which is a bit surprising. The Manchester City pair Zabaleta and Otamendi will be key.

Match Preview and Prediction:

The match against Brazil will be tough for them. But they may just sneak a point given the quality they have while going forward. Containing Neymar will be important for them and Javier Mascherano will be playing a major role in that.

Brazil 1-1 Argentina

Argentina’s match against Colombia can be equally difficult as Los Cafeteros are playing extremely well and currently 4th on table. The  Numero Uno of the world will have to produce a top notch performance to get all the 3 points. With Falcao, Bacca and James Rodriguez in the opposition side, it may well prove to be hard for Los Albicelestes to grind a victory and they may have to settle with sharing the spoils.

Argentina 1-1 Colombia

Photo by jikatu

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