Thanks to the guys at Soccer Mad In America (great blog, by the way, very informative and entertaining) us non-Spanish speakers can get a better idea of what Argentina coach Alfio Basile is planning for his new team. For an hour Basile spoke about the players and his approach. My thoughts on the whole thing, laid out in simple good/bad form:
The Good: He sees the light about Messi! Thank God. If he continued playing Messi as a striker I would have had to spend a lot more time writing blog posts about why it was madness. If I'm reading his words correctly, he's likely to give the Barca youngster more of a free role directing the attack, which would be just about perfect.
The Bad: He says that he'll probably play 4-4-2. A lot of teams play very exciting football using that formation, but somehow it just doesn't seem very Argentinean to me, perhaps because it might mean no single playmaker.
The Good: He wants a traditional central striker there to put away the chances.
The Bad: He hasn't got one in the squad against Spain.
The Good: Generally lucid comments on the status of players such as Aguero and Maxi leads me to think that he's been paying close attention to their club performances.
The Bad: While his comments about Mascherano were correct, it left the poor guy in a difficult position, PR-wise.
The Good: He'll only use one holding midfielder.
The Bad: He doesn't like wing-backs. Bye bye Juan Pablo Sorin and Javier Zanetti.
The Good: He wants to get a group of players together to train often in preparation for Copa America.
The Bad: These would be players based in Argentina. Nothing wrong with that, but most of my favourite Argentinean players are based in Europe and it would be sad if the team was deprived of their talents because of a location problem, especially for young players who moved abroad recently or who are just about to move - Aguero, Biglia, Zabaleta, Paletta and probably Gago.
So to sum up, I'm excited by Basile's ideas but apprehensive about how he's going to go about them. Am currently trying to figure out how what he described above would fit with a 4-4-2 and the players he's called up. This combined with what I've since read about Spain's change of formation (to a counter-attacking 4-4-2, sadly) means that I'll have to rewrite my preview post. We'll see what happens as the match inches closer.