Round 3: Fight! Yes, fight for regaining the confidence and the hope. Fight for reclaiming the honor of wearing the jersey and representing a victory hungry nation. Fight for gaining the ball in the middle and defending well in the back.
It is not the end of the world, and it is only round three of the World Cup Qualifiers for Brazil 2014, yet every game should be played as if it were the last. If we stand still and only observe the progress we will not see the light at the end of the tunnel by 2014.
Argentina steps again into official competitions and faces Bolivia at home on November 11 in Buenos Aires (kick-off in Estadio El Monumental at 20:00 GMT; 00:00 Dubai Time) before travelling to face Colombia in Barranquilla on November 15 (kick-off at 21:00 GMT; 01:00 Dubai Time). The two games will be the last official ones for Alejandro Sabella troops in 2011. The CONMEBOL qualifiers will not proceed before June 2012 which allows a lot of time for observation afterwards. But for now let’s fight.
The call-ups for the two games are:
Goalkeepers: Mariano Andujar, Sergio Romero, Agustin Orion
Defenders: Nicolas Burdisso, Martin Demichelis, Federico Fernandez, Luciano Monzon, Pablo Zabaleta, Leandro Desabato, Clemente Rodriguez
Midfielders: Ever Banega, Fernando Gago, Pablo Guinazu, Javier Mascherano, Javier Pastore, Jose Sosa, Rodrigo Brana, Ricardo Alvarez
Strikers: Sergio Aguero, German Denis, Nicolas Gaitan, Gonzalo Higuain, Ezequiel Lavezzi, Lionel Messi
(Angel Di Maria and Marcos Rojo withdrew from the squad because of injury and celebrations were everywhere especially because of the latter’s news)
Sabella to Gago: Behind you is a weak defence, help them (Mascherano: I wish there were two of me, one for the middle and one to replace Demichelis)
There has been news about Alejandro Sabella using two different teams in the two upcoming matches, and fielding in the weaker side in the first game. Yet, Sabella has explained that no such decision is made and that they will “play the best ones against Bolivia and discuss who’s right and who isn’t to see if we should make changes (to the Colombia match)”. On the possible starting eleven for the Colombia match, Sabella is pondering the following:
Romero; Zabaleta, Burdisso, Demichelis, Clemente Rodriguez; Sosa, Mascherano, Gago; Aguero, Higuain and Messi.
The formation looks like a 4-3-3 and can be changed into a 4-1-2-1-2. The inclusion of Gago comes on the expense of the injury doubtful Banega and after the former has started playing regularly with his new team; AS Roma. Clemente Rodriguez might stabilize the backline especially when facing a counter attack situation. However, starting Sosa ahead of Pastore, who is in a good form recently, is still unwelcome by everyone. The three starters upfront will be the center of attention and the source of hope. Messi is Messi, Higuain is in a scoring mood, and Aguero is being magical in England.
Winning the game against Bolivia will be vital and the qualifiers are proving strong. Bolivia are last in the group with zero points but Argentina just conceded their first ever defeat by Venezuela so the possibilities for any result are open. You might prefer to watch the Euro 2012 playoffs instead (matches start an hour earlier from Argentina’s), but I promise you goals.
p.s. Thanks for @MundoAlbicelest for being active in providing all Argentina’s news