Wednesday, May 12, 2010

argentina's preliminary squad: dear diego

Without going into shadowy conspiracy theories (I'll just say that I broadly agree with the thoughts of Sam over at Hasta El Gol Siempre and move on for now), a few thoughts below.

Goalkeepers: Sergio Romero (AZ Alkmaar, Netherlands), Mariano Andujar (Catania, Italy), Diego Pozo (Colon, Argentina)

Romero has been really impressive everytime I've seen him play (since his days in the youth/Olympic teams), although neither he or Andujar are what you'd call hugely experienced at international level. No bone to pick here.

Defenders: Walter Samuel (Internazionale, Italy), Martin Demichelis (Bayern Munich, Germany), Gabriel Heinze (Marseille, France), Nicolas Otamendi (Velez Sarsfield, Argentina), Nicolas Burdisso (Roma, Italy), Clemente Rodriguez (Estudiantes, Argentina), Ariel Garce (Colon, Argentina), Juan Manuel Insaurralde (Newell’s Old Boys, Argentina), Fabricio Coloccini (Newcastle United, England)

I got two words for you: Gabi Milito. I know, my Cule bias is showing, but is anyone seriously going to argue that Coloccini and/or Burdisso are better options? Also a little worried about Micho, who's had an injury-plagued season.

Midfielders: Juan Sebastian Veron (Estudiantes, Argentina), Javier Mascherano (Liverpool, England), Jonas Gutierrez (Newcastle United, England), Mario Bolatti (Fiorentina, Italy), Juan Mercier (Argentinos Juniors, Argentina), Maxi Rodriguez (Liverpool, England), Angel Di Maria (Benfica, Portugal), Javier Pastore (Palermo, Italy), Jose Sosa (Estudiantes, Argentina), Jesus Datolo (Olympiakos, Greece, Sebastian Blanco (Lanus, Argentina)

I've had mixed feelings about Veron in the NT for sometime. Won't go over them again here, but suffice to say that at least he'll be a staunch ally for Messi in the squad should the need arise. Great to see Di Maria and Pastore on there - I hope they both make the final list. Would have liked Aimar as well, but at least with him I do get why you'd exclude such an injury-prone player. On the other hand, Bolatti instead of, say, Banega (who's had a pretty good season) or Cambiasso (ditto) is far more questionable. And don't even get me started on the eternally scorned Lucho Gonzalez.

Martin Palermo (Boca Juniors, Argentina), Lionel Messi (Barcelona, Spain), Gonzalo Higuain (Real Madrid, Spain), Carlos Tevez (Manchester City, England), Sergio Aguero (Atletico Madrid, Spain), Diego Milito (Internazionale, Italy), Ezequiel Lavezzi (Napoli, Italy)

Great to see Lavezzi on there, even though he's unlikely to make the final list. We all know by now that it's probably going to be Messi-Higuain up there when the first game rolls around, so in terms of alternative attacking options I can sort of understand the inclusion of Palermo. If I squint really hard. Maybe. But if it came down to a choice between him and Diego Milito, there's no question which I'd prefer. (And I swear to you this has nothing to do with my longstanding Riquelme fandom. Really.)

You can follow me on Twitter @blackwhitengrey if you want to see my less rational reactions. Oh Diego, why are you doing this to us?


kamikaze kontiki said...

Playing Veron may not be the best way to enable Messi. He plays too deep and Messi needs
1. An attacking central midfielder to link up with.
2. Support on the right flank outside him to draw at least one defender away.

Among the players chosen by Maradona Pastore seems the option whom Messi would most benefit from but I don't expect him to make the final list.

Not taking Zanetti, Cambiasso, Banega and Milito is criminal!

Linda said...

I agree with all your points. Veron especially is a worry - I very much doubt that Diego has a plan B should that particular connection not work out. (Pastore better make the final list.)

As Zanetti and Cambiasso demonstrated just today, they would have been wonderful assets in SA. Banega I can sort of understand due to his youth and relative inexperience (but based on his level of performance this season really should have gotten a look-in). Milito is just a snub plain and simple, like Zanetti and Cambiasso.

kamikaze kontiki said...

The Argentina jerseys I just bought to wear to the stadiums : Riquelme and Zanetti. :-)

Linda said...

Ha, nice. Honestly, if I bought an Argentina jersey with a name on the back, it would probably be Roman's.

footballfutbolfitba said...

The Champions League final is further evidence of why Cambiasso should be in South Africa.

Read my blog article about Barcelona.

football gifts said...

It will be interesting to see Argentina at the World Cup, history suggests they will be there or there about, but recent form suggests they may capitulate