Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Argentina looking to get fourth straight win

I'm writing this with less than three hours to kick-off in Bogota and I still have no idea on how will our starting lineup look like.

The weather could change a little bit, but right now, a heavy rain is falling on Bogota and despite the pitch being covered with plastic protection, we could be facing the prospect of playing on a really wet surface.

The important thing is that Argentina will be looking to close 2007 in style. A year in which we played tremendously well sometimes, yet we fell short when we had to jump our highest hurdle: Brazil in the Copa America final.

Because after tonight's match in Colombia, there will be no more official fixtures in the remainder of the year and the next World Cup Qualifying match will be in mid-june 2008, when we'll host Ecuador, three days before travelling to Brazil.

Now I think a win tonight is crucial. The best thing that could happen to Argentina is to get to Brazil with a good cushion and put the pressure on them.

Honestly, I don't think Brazil or Argentina will ever be under pressure playing the Qualifiers with this format (home and away fixtures against every rival in South America). There is no way these two giants could ever be placed under the fourth place in the standings. And if they do, they still have a shot by finishing fifth and facing a play-off with a team from CONCACAF.

It's always a good thing to be on top of your rivals in ANY standings, but we are a long way from that match against Brazil and we need to focus on today's game in Bogota.

Who will start?

From what I've seen in the first couple of fixtures (Chile at home and Venezuela away) Coco didn't use the same starting XI. One obvious reason is that he doesn't want to burn them out.

So I expect some changes tonight.

Pato will be the keeper and the back line could remain unchanged: IBARRA-DEMICHELIS-Gabriel MILITO-ZANETTI.

MASCHERANO, RIQUELME and MESSI are guaranteed but there is no way we will use the three-strikers formation that we used against Bolivia. AGÜERO looks to be the one that's going to be replaced, with Maxi RODRIGUEZ being the favourite to take his place in the starting lineup.

CAMBIASSO and CRESPO were doubts with injuries, but they both responded well in training and Cuchu looks on his way to play from the start. If he is not ready, then Fernando GAGO will take his place.

The other doubt lies on who will join MESSI upfront. TEVEZ and CRESPO will fight for that position.

Not long till we find the answers to all these questions.

But who's your pick as striker?

Are you happy with the rest of the team so far?

Any forecast on what will be the score? Remember...both teams are still to allow a goal in the World Cup Qualifiers...hope we don't share that priviledge with nobody after tonight!



John said...

I agree!!! There is no way that we can employ a three-strike force against Colombia, let alone in their own backyard. That would be suicidal.

If CRESPO doesn’t recover in time, TEVEZ and MESSI will look set to partner up front.

I would like to see more of Fernando GAGO in the central alongside MASCHERANO.

As for the goalkeeper and defense, there is no reason to change them for all the good work that they have accomplished.

My prediction is that we will win by 2-0.

One goal coming from MESSI and the other from RIQUELME.

Seba said...


Maxi and CRESPO stay in the bench.

4-3-1-2 is our formation

MASCHERANO (on the right)-GAGO-CAMBIASSO (left)

Teams are ready. National anthems about to be played.


John said...

Seba, I'm viewing the game through ESPN livescore at my office.

John said...

Red card for TEVEZ!!!! WTF!!!

johnny said...

John-can you tell me at half how to access Livescore ? I am in Florida with no tube !

Seba said...

John...Carlitos got a red card for reacting after one defender tripped him when the ball was far from their position. TEVEZ kicked this guy, the linesman saw it and the referee showed him a direct red card.

I think BASILE will try and hold on with this formation and make changes during halftime.

What I'd do would be replacing GAGO and IBARRA to introduce CRESPO and BURDISSO.

That way I'll move MASCHERANO back to the centre of midfield, ZANETTI will move as right midfielder and I'll play with a back 3 formed by BURDISSO, DEMICHELIS and MILITO.

CAMBIASSO, RIQUELME and MESSI will keep their positions and CRESPO will join Lionel upfront.

3-3-1-2 would be the formation and you keep an attacking threat while you don't lose much on midfield and you can adapt to use four at the back with ZANETTI shifting to be a right back at times.

Seba said...



John said...

Johnny, just go to the following link


Click on the "Gamecast" column

Seba, we need to hold for as long as we can.

I don't think MESSI will be effective all by himself up front.

Seba said...

Quick free-kick by RIQUELME, then MESSI slaloms his way through 4 Colombians before rifling it to the far post.


A difference between good and great players.

In our most difficult moment, he just showed why everybody praise him.

Love you Lionel!

John said...

or did I just spoke to soon.....

Seba said...

John...just when you typed that...he scored an amazing goal!

I was just telling my wife: "This is the kind of match when MESSI will show his class!"

20 seconds later and when the cammera director missed the start of the play, he delivered!

5 minutes to go in the first half.

John said...

The kid seems to know how to prove me wrong....

Just keep doing that MESSI, keep doing....

Seba said...

Despite playing with 10 men, Argentina looks more dangerous than ever. IBARRA made a sensational run and a one-two with RIQUELME but the keeper got there first.

Then Roman combined with CAMBIASSO before he past by two Colombians but his shot was too weak and the keeper controlled.

End of first half.

Argentina 1
Colombia 0

John said...

With a 1-0 lead, COCO should not rush into anything just yet.

He should perhaps maintain this momentum for at least another 10-15 minutes.

I'm sure after that goal, MESSI will be more energize to go out a give another shot.

Roy said...

Messi is not normal. Literally, not normal. Like Seba said, a Maradonian goal. Nearly brought a tear to my eye while I was watching the replay. And Ibarra! What a long run, but unfortunate to just lose the ball at the end in the box.

Tevez I'm disappointed, I really am. He played very good in the last match only to get ejected for a dumb reason. We'll see what happens in the second half, I think we need Crespo though. Especially considering Crespo's record versus Colombia(he seems to always score versus them). Our back line has been tested(sort of) and they've responded well.

John said...

So how did we start the 2nd half?

John said...

They've equalized :-(

C'mmon lets snatch the three points from them!!!

You guys can do it!!!

We believe in you!!!

Seba said...

It was a great free kick by BUSTOS (he scored 13 out of his 15 goals from free kicks).

Now we are holding on with 13 minutes to go. Maxi have just replaced CAMBIASSO, who looked exhausted.

At times we look in control but as soon as we progress further up the field, we've got nobody up there.

MESSI could have score in a counter-attack when we were leading 1-0. It went begging just outside the far post.

Anonymous said...

What else is new, COL@ARG always seem to end 1-1. Lets hope they can get 1 more and get the full 12 points.

Seba said...

Another free kick for Colombia. This is a tighter angle. DEMICHELIS got a yellow for that foul.

Seba said...

BUSTOS hit the wall and we survived that one.

MILITO is down with a knock in his left wrist. Looks OK to continue.

Seba said...

Colombia scored. He was offside when the play started.

MORENO puts them 2-1 up.

Awful refereeing. Awful.

7 minutes to go.

Seba said...

Mr. Walter RIAL (linesman), did not see BUSTOS tripping TEVEZ but saw the Argentine reply to that. So he told the referee.

Now he didn't see that offside.

A yellow to Gabriel MILITO.

CRESPO is getting ready to jump to the field.

Very unfair result as it stands.

John said...

Are defending from conceeding firther goals....

or we going for the equalizer...

Remember Bolivia in 2003??

3-1 down....

then 3-3.

Seba said...

3 minutes to go. Colombia pass the ball around at will.

But we are going for it. MESSI with individual efforts, got a corner out of nothing but we failed to capitalize.

Colombia counter-attacking. 1 minute to go of the 3 the referee added.

Appears to be over.

Seba said...

It's over.

Very unfair result. Tough on our players. Undeserved.

Curiously enough, this was our best performance of the four matches we've played so far. Yet we go home empty-handed.

I'll write about the match in my next post.

Roy said...

I can't believe this. I wonder what the AFA will do about this... Better question, what CAN they do about this? Because we all know how much FIFA hates Argentina. That was in no way shape or form ONSIDE, he was clearly offside yet they allowed the goal. Tevez should not of been sent off(a yellow card at best), no where near a red but what can you do.

Demichelis had a difficult second half and it showed. I don't know if it was the altitude problem or not, but something wasn't right. Also, does anyone know how many games Tevez misses? Is it only 1 or 3 like in clubs. Next matches are versus Ecuador on June 14(my birthday!) and June 17 versus Brazil in Brazil. I'll post more later when I calm down.

Seba said...

Good point Roy. I don't know how many matches will TEVEZ miss. It'll be a huge blow if he can't make it to play in Brazil.