Wednesday, August 22, 2007

some updates ahead of Argentina's game against Norway

I talked about the squad list when it was announced. There's been a few changes since then.

Unfortunately, Carrizo has had to pull out due to complications over his transfer to Lazio. He hasn't been able to play because his attempt to get an Italian passport has failed, and isn't match fit. His future is uncertain right now, which is quite sad for someone so clearly talented. Excitingly, though, this does hand a first senior start to Getafe's young Oscar Ustari (good friend of Leo Messi) who I'm very fond of.

I've heard good things about how Sosa is settling in at Bayern, but apparently he's injured, so we won't see any of him. Also doubtful is Daniel 'Cata' Diaz of Getafe, who is apparently carrying a knock.

Also on the fitness front, I'm not terribly sure about the Serie A guys, other than that Zanetti at least seems to be alright, but of those who play in Spain, Garay has played a couple of pre-season games, as has Coloccini. The same goes for Maxi and Saviola. As for Lucho, the Portuguese league has already started, so he should be match fit.

On the other hand, Diego Milito hasn't really played for Zaragoza in this pre-season, so he's probably some way from match fitness. His brother Gabi has only played 30 minutes for Barca, so there are doubts over him too, although he's suspended for the first La Liga game anyway, so the match practise might be good for him. Club team mate Messi has played only about 15 minutes more than Milito, but it has to be said that he looks pretty close to match fitness, and could probably stand to play at least half of the game.

Young striker Lavezzi played well for Napoli in the Coppa Italia last week, and given the state of fitness (or lack of) of the rest of the forward line, may get some minutes.

This is apparently going to be the starting line-up:

Ustari; Zanetti, Garay, Burdisso, G Milito; Lucho, Mascherano, Maxi; Messi; D Milito and Lavezzi

Looks good to me, except for the fitness concerns cited above and the fact that poor Gabi Milito will have to fill in at left-back due to Pinola being injured and Heinze being stuck.

Update: according to a new Basile interview, the 11 above are going to be playing 4-3-3, with Messi operating in his no.10 role from the wing (and higher up the field than your average midfield playmaker) like Ronaldinho does at Barca, except of course his domain is the right instead of the left. So I guess that leaves Lavezzi for the left wing. I'm quite intrigued by the prospect of this experiment in formations, actually.


estoverao said...

I can't wait to hear your breakdown of this one. On 'Fox Soccer Channel en Espanol' the Argentinian commentators were livid and in full crisis mode. I saw the highlights, but I didn't get the sense of a team in shambles. Whats your take.

linda said...

I don't think I'm going to bother with a full post, but my thoughts:

* Those who are livid are overreacting.

* This is because, as Basile pointed out before he revealed his call-up list, half his players haven't played a competitive match yet and most lack fitness.

* Not to mention all the absentees through injury or uncertainty about their future.

* I looked at Norway's squad list before the game and went 'oh, damn, Carew.' Even a full strength defence would have had problems dealing with him, as Argentina have in the last few years struggled with big forwards like him, so it's not a surprise that the make-shift backline (Milito at left-back!) didn't do well.

* If this were the extent of our resources, I'd be angry, but it's far from it. Now, if we play like this in the next game...

estoverao said...

I feel u, I decided against a full post about Brasil's breathtaking(sarcasm) 2-0 win over Algeria. I think we both are giving our laptops a rest until this weekend for our beloved LA LIGA to resume.

linda said...

Yeah, plus there's so much La Liga news to talk about! The Real bloggers in particular must be having a hard time keeping up with all the sudden business.