An interesting list yet again from Basile. (He watches a lot of La Liga, doesn't he?) 'Coco' is limited by the injuries to players like Lionel Messi, Carlos Tevez, and Pablo Zabaleta, and I was very keen to see how he'd respond to the losses of players who were present in his last 2 games.
Goalkeepers: Roberto 'Pato' Abbondanzieri (Getafe, Spain), Leo Franco (Atletico Madrid, Spain)
Pretty straight-forward. Both have been in excellent form, although Pato as always would get my nod for the way he transmits calm to his defenders.
Defenders: Roberto Ayala (Valencia, Spain), Gabriel Milito (Zaragoza, Spain), Nicolas Burdisso (Inter, Italy), Javier Zanetti (Inter, Italy), Gabriel Heinze (Manchester United, England), Fabricio Fuentes (Villarreal, Spain), Rodolfo Arruabarrena (Villareal, Spain)
Interesting choices. Ayala, Milito, Burdisso and Fuentes are primarily centerbacks, which gives him a lot of choice in defence. Burdisso played right-back at the World Cup, but I can't see how Basile can call up a right-back like Javier Zanetti (finally!) and not play him. Besides, Burdisso is much better operating in the center. Heinze has played centerback a lot for Argentina, but I would prefer to see him on the left, since Arruabarrena can be unconvincing and isn't getting any younger.
Midfielders: Fernando Gago (Real Madrid, Spain), Aldo Duscher (Deportivo La Coruna, Spain), Esteban Cambiasso (Inter, Italy), Luis 'Lucho' Gonzalez (Porto, Portugal), Leandro Somoza (Villarreal, Spain), Pablo Aimar (Zaragoza, Spain), Jonas Gutierrez (Mallorca, Spain)
Gago is rewarded for his solid showings for Real Madrid. This is his first call-up, and about time too, since there's a Mascherano-shaped hole in the defensive midfield that needs filling. Not sure what Duscher is doing there - bit of a blast from the past there, but I guess experience is always good to have. Cambiasso is a logical call-up: he's been a regular for a long time, and after missing the first 2 games of Basile's time in charge through injury, it would be nice to have him back. Not sure about Somoza - Villarreal have been so erratic it's a bit worrying to see so many of their players in the list. Still, a solid player who doesn't make too many mistakes is handy.
Lucho Gonzalez has had some pretty good games this season, so he should have been called up even if he wasn't already a regular. Aimar's call-up is a given - he's been playing so well for Zaragoza it would have been a travesty otherwise. He should start. I have to admit, I don't know much about Jonas Gutierrez, but apparently he's been Mallorca's most effective player for quite a few games this season, so I guess we'll see.
Forwards: Javier Saviola (Barcelona, Spain), Sergio Aguero (Atletico Madrid, Spain), Diego Milito (Zaragoza, Spain), Hernan Crespo (Inter, Italy), Lisandro Lopez (Porto, Portugal).
Saviola fully deserves to get his starting spot back. He's on fire right now. Trouble is, so is Sergio Aguero, and Aguero offers more creative options up front. Then there's Lisandro Lopez, who's having a pretty good season with Porto. Choices, choices. Crespo should probably get his first start under Basile, having missed out previously due to various fitness related reasons. It's good to see Diego Milito get a call-up, though, and I hope he get some minutes in. To me, he's Crespo's direct successor in the short term.
Of Basile's 3 squads so far, this is the one I'm most pleased with. It's sad that players like Messi and Zabaleta have to miss out, but if you look around Europe, I think this is a pretty good selection of Argentinean talent. Whether they'll make a good team is a different question altogether, considering some of them have never even met.
So what do you guys think? How about line-ups (given that Basile uses 4-4-2)? This is what I'd want as the starting defense:
But from there it gets difficult. For me, Aimar needs to start, and the play needs to build around him. Maybe Saviola and Crespo should resume their World Cup partnership up front, since those two wouldn't need to get used to each other - time the team won't have. But which other midfielders would best compliment Aimar? Or would you prefer it if the team was built around Aguero instead? Exciting times.
The kid has good timing. According to respected French daily L'Equipe, Real Madrid forward Gonzalo Higuain will choose Argentina over France. Welcome to the family, lad. I assume he's now allowed to go to all those Argentinean player get-togethers in Spain that I've heard so much about.