Wednesday, July 02, 2008

BATISTA names Olympic squad

They've got a mission. They have to defend the gold medal Argentina won four years ago. They are 18 men and now, finally, we've got their names!

Sergio BATISTA announced the entire and definite Olympic squad that will represent Argentina in the football tournament in Beijing in August.

The AFA lost the battle with Bayern Munich and with Real Madrid and Argentina won't be able to count with Martín DEMICHELIS and Gabriel HEINZE.

I can't imagine what DEMICHELIS must be feeling after PEKERMAN left him out of a World Cup that was going to be played in his backyard in Germany and now after being denied by his employers when he looked poised to participate in this big tournament. Hopefully, Martín will get his revenge in 2010 (will it be in South Africa?).

HEINZE was not allowed to join the team by Real Madrid so the 3rd over-23 player that will be joining Javier MASCHERANO and Juan Román RIQUELME will be Inter defender Nicolás BURDISSO.

Here's the rest of the squad:

Goalkeepers:
Oscar USTARI (Getafe, Spain) and Sergio ROMERO (AZ Alkmaar, Holland).

Defenders:
Pablo ZABALETA (Espanyol, Spain), Ezequiel GARAY (Real Madrid, Spain), Federico FAZIO (Sevilla, Spain), Nicolás BURDISSO (Internazionale, Italy) and Luciano MONZÓN (Boca Juniors, Argentina).

Midfielders:
Fernando GAGO (Real Madrid, Spain), Ever BANEGA (Valencia, Spain), Javier MASCHERANO (Liverpool, England), Juan Román RIQUELME (Boca Juniors, Argentina), Angel DI MARÍA (Benfica, Portugal), José SOSA (Bayern Munich, Germany) and Diego BUONANOTTE (River Plate, Argentina).

Forwards:
Lionel MESSI (Barcelona, Spain), Ezequiel LAVEZZI (Napoli, Italy), Lautaro ACOSTA (Sevilla, Spain) and Sergio AGÜERO (Atlético Madrid, Spain).

There are also 4 stand-by players that will be able to replace any of the 18 in case of injury: Nicolás NAVARRO (goalkeeper, Napoli, Italy); Lucas BIGLIA and Nicolás Pareja (midfielder and defender, Anderletch, Belgium) and Emiliano INSUA (defender, Liverpool, England) .

On 29 July, Argentina will face Japan in Tokyo in a friendly match and from there, the team will move to China where they will play 2 of their first round matches (Ivory Coast and Australia) in Shanghai and the third one (against Serbia) in Beijing.

As well as being gutted for Martín DEMICHELIS missing out because a decision by his club, I'm absolutely thrilled to see BATISTA made justice and called up Lautaro ACOSTA. After all, he was the one who scored a dramatic winner against Uruguay in the last minute of injury time to give Argentina the chance to reach the Olympics and defend the gold medal.

What are your thoughts on this list and Argentina's chances to win it all?

17 comments:

Seba said...

It's only now that I've noticed Gonzalo HIGUAIN is not in this squad and he is not even listed as a stand-by player!

Let's face it, it's an embarrassment of riches BATISTA has to face and there were always going to be great players suffering from the fact that only 18 get to go to the Olympics.

Any of your favourites also missing out?

I've got to say I'm quite happy with the way BATISTA shaped up the list but I think we could be missing a powerful striker up front to go along with all those little speed demons (MESSI, BUONANOTTE, ACOSTA, LAVEZZI and to some point Sergio AGÜERO -he is not the fastest, but he is quite short-).

HIGUAIN would have been an option. Hopefully, we won't be having problems to find the back of the net!

Seba said...

Boca Juniors came up with a ridiculous petition. They don't want to release defender Luciano MONZON because they argue they have a lot of commitments in the Apertura tournament and the Joan Gamper cup!!!

They have no problem letting RIQUELME join the team (I wonder if they really have no problem or if it is the player who's putting pressure on them because he wants to play).

I mean...the rules are that clubs cannot oppose to release U23 players when they are called up to the olympic team (see MESSI's case as an example). They can, however, stop their players from going if they are over-23 (see DEMICHELIS and Bayern Munich).

So...what's do Boca's officials really think the Copa Joan Gamper is more important than the Olympics? Do they not see that MONZON will live an incredible experience and eventually increase his value by playing in Beijing?

On the other hand, what about RIQUELME. Are Boca officials going to tell me that they have no problem releasing their most important player while they are blocking one of their youngsters' dreams of fighting for the gold medal?

You see...is this tendency Boca have of thinking they are bigger than our national team that I really hate!

johnny said...

Bad Boca !! It is a strange decision given the Riquelme situation. Also, Monzon is a fine young player, but Morel Rodriguez starts ahead of him when he is healthy and there are no injuries to the regular centerbacks (Caceres and Paletta). I hope Boca listens to reason.

Anonymous said...

My favorite quote on quote unknown player Angel Di Maria in the line up!!! I can not wait to see him set the world on fire(ok thats a bit cheezy but I think he can be amazing I just hope he gets some time). Is anybody else a bit upset that Argentina dropped to #6 in the World Rankings since last month!

Jack!

allan ng said...

Maxi Moralez is not going? Why? He was wonderful in the World Youth Cup last year!

Seba said...

I'm happy for you Jack! I know DI MARIA is your favourite player and I always think of you when I see him or read about him!

FIFA World Rankings are useless (I always say so!) I only consider it to be important when it comes to choosing the seeding teams in the World Cup, but I think it's rubbish.

Argentina were above Brazil, we draw at home and away (Ecuador and Brazil) and they lost away (Paraguay) and were held at home in the only two fixtures since last month's rankings. Now Brazil are above Argentina and I just ask myself how is that possible.

Spain leading is fair enough. They won a very prestigious tournament and they are undefeated in more than 20 games in a row!

Allan, regarding Maxi MORALEZ I must say I've suffered watching him at Racing Club. He is not at his best at the moment and I think he was great in Canada AGAINST U20s! When he is up against big and strong defenders, he can suffer a lot.

He did score the goal that kept Racing in the first division but his performances overall during the league were subpar and sometimes just very very poor.

principe said...

The bad news is: No HIGUAIN AND ZARATE!

Ok I understand we can only take 18 players, but come on... Not only Higuain scored 2 goals in the last 5-0 victory against Guatemala , but he also had 1 or 2 assists in that game and was the MOM! What's wrong with them? Do they want Higuain to play for France or something?

They said that they didn't take Zarate or Higuain because they are too similar to Aguero.... my question is... really?? Maybe Zarate yeah... a bit, but not a 184 cm Higuain (Crespo's size)!

When I saw Higuain playing #9, I was like... OK... he would be our future #9. Maybe he's not a pure #9, but he's got what it takes to be a great #9.

What surprised me too is no Demichelis. I heard that Munchen didn't let him go. OK... Burdisso is fine. It amazes me, though, that we only take 5 defenders to Beijing.

Batista said that he would play 4-2-2-2 (ala Brazil of 2002)... a very attacking line up with 2 offensive midfielders (Messi and Riquelme) and 2 striker (Aguero and Lavezzi). So that means that we would play with 4 defender each time. What if more than 2 of them are unavailable? We have only 3 available defenders then?

I like the midfield a lot, but Escudero who played amazing against Guatemala (a left back/left midfielder) also isn't in the squad. What is this?

I think with Riquelme and Messi almost certainly start in every game, we take too many offensive midfielder. One of them should be sacrificed for a defender.

Monzon is a surprise addition.

Best starting line up:

(4-2-2-2): Ustari; Zabaleta, Fazio, Burdisso, Monzon; Mascherano, Gago; Riquelme, Messi; Aguero, Lavezzi.

Forza_albicelestes said...

I was wondering the same thing seba.How is it possible that the Brazucas are ahead of us despite us getting better results in the recent qualifiers.

Fifa is CRAP

James said...

No Higauin is very dissapointing, I thought he linked up very well with Roman and Lavezzi against Guatemala. He didn't play well against Catalunya but he was used on the flank and wasn't helped much by Messi and Aguero's selfish play.

John said...

I always like Sergio BATISTA teams selection. Much more than Coco's one as well. But no Gonzalo HIGUAIN, now that is worrying sign.

I've got to agree with others that Pipita has all the ingredients to become our future No.9. He did showed plenty of that kind of promise in the match against Guatemala.

From the looks of it, Checho is going to implement on tactics to keep the ball on the ground rather than in the air.

Overall, it is still a very strong team by any Olympic standards especially when it comes to football.

Now we'll just have wait and see, what does the Boys in Yellow have in mind.

Anonymous said...

I have the same opinion.Why Higuain was not called up.What would it be if we face the tall and strong country like the team from African or Europe .If we had him ,We have more choice of attacking .

Tonymed

p2bn said...

Hmm..nice team selection and nice discussion. I just am happy to see our team without Cruz or Pato. Guys! belive me, this is as strong as we can get for olympics. We have so many players that we can make like 4 international standard teams and some good players will always miss. Lets just hope someone selected in their place can fill their place. But overall, i am happy with the team and really belive we can cruise through like we did last time. I am just being impatient already for it to start. Around one more month now.

Fifa rankings, lets not even discuss about that. Pure Crap.

Vamos Albiceleste

Anonymous said...

principe- I can understand what you mean about Argentina needing Pipita. Just not enough room it is very simple. He rubbed A LOT of poeple the wrong way when he said " I will make a decision between Argentina or France, also last year he did not want to go to Copa America because he wanted a vacation. So yes he has played vs Guatemala but the game does not really count as a "A" national game and is still is eligible to play for Le Blues but he already turned them down so lets not really worry about that part+ even if he came to the Olympics and played for Argentina he still would be eligible for France if I am not mistaken. He will likely be called for the next game for Argentina which is Peru in Sept, FIFA shows they will play Belarus but I do not see any stamp of approval on that, because the date is Aug 20th and 90$\% of the team will be in China. Sure Argentina size up front might hurt and lets not hold our breaths for Argentina front line scoring goals with their head like Caniggia did vs the Italians in 90. Hey I am waiting to see how good Franco Di Santo is going to be for Chelsea, he is about 6'4 and did a good job in Chelsea's reserve games, scoring 7 goals in 8games or so. You recall the days when Crespo&Batistuta were playing together and the issue was play them together or not, now those players are all but gone.

Jack!

Anonymous said...

As for Zarate, this one is a tough one to bite. If people want size then he should not be called up, take a look of "small strikers" Messi,Aguero,Tevez,Lavezzi and even Palacio they all in a way mirror one and other.Lets keep our eye on Denis former Independiente player who now is with Napoli, he is big and strong. But I think all of us can agree on that we are all happy with NO PATO and NO Cruz. If Pato or Cruz are in the starting line up for 2010 the team is toas, both are too much of a liability.I am happy that Ustari and Romero will be the GK in China.


Jack!

Jack!

allan ng said...

Brazil just announced their squad. They have picked Ronaldinho and Robinho as two of their overage players. Anderson of Man Utd and Pato of AC Milan will play as well.

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