Thursday, May 07, 2009

Future friendlies: Russia confirmed. Spain, Nigeria possible. Plus: A new name for Diego's "B Team"

Jack, one of our loyal readers, broke the news in the comments' box, so I'm here to increase on the information he gave us.

After checking with more than three sources, I can confirm that Argentina will play a friendly match against Russia in Moscow on 12 August.

Depending on how the World Cup Qualifying campaign goes from now on, and if Argentina seal their ticket to South Africa 2010 without having to face a CONCACAF team in a playoffs, there will be a further two friendly matches against high-profile opponents that Diego MARADONA could use to start the team's preparation for the World Cup.

If everything goes according to plans, MESSI will have another chance to shine at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium, only this time he'll have to play against Barcelona team-mates Xavi HERNANDEZ and Andres INIESTA as the reigning European champions, Spain, will host Argentina on 14 November.

A visit to Africa is also in the plans only four days after the friendly against Spain. Nigeria would be hosting Argentina in Lagos on 18 November.

These fixtures add up to the other confirmed friendly that will be played on 20 May in Santa Fé.

Guillermo TOFFONI, a FIFA agent working for the company World Eleven, who is in charge of organising friendlies from Argentina outside of their country, has confirmed the friendly against Russia and provided the information on the possibility of arranging the matches against Spain and Nigeria. He said he has nothing to do with the organization of the friendly against Panamá.


A concert in Montevideo, proved to paved the way for central midfielder Sebastián PREDIGER to be called up by Diego MARADONA to be a part of the Argentina squad, entirely formed by players competing in the local league, that will face Panamá on 20 May in Santa Fé, Argentina.

Why that concert had a saying in PREDIGER's destiny? Simple. Boca Juniors were scheduled to play today (Thursday, 7 May) against Defensor Sporting of Uruguay in their first leg of the Copa Libertadores' eight-finals round, but the Centenario Stadium was already booked by an Uruguayan duet called "Los Olimareños" and therefore, Defensor's authorities asked the CONMEBOL to postpone the match for one week in order to be able to use the Centenario Stadium and be able to cash in and sell more tickets.

Are you following? OK. There's more. Since Boca had four players called up in the original squad list MARADONA announced a few days ago and now they will be tied up with the second leg against Defensor Sporting being played at La Bombonera the day after Argentina face Panamá, Diego had to call up more players to make up the numbers.

Apart from the obvious case of Ezequiel MUÑOZ (injured), no Boca players will be able to make it for the Panamá friendly (MARADONA had called BATTAGLIA, PALERMO and FORLIN), but the Estudiantes footballers Diego called up (goalkeeper ANDUJAR, ANGELERI and VERON) will know their fate one their Copa Libertadores tie is decided. If they win, they won't be with Argentina. If they lose, they'll be available (because their second leg will be played on 14 May, one week before the friendly).

Martín PALERMO's fans will have to wait to see him back wearing the Albiceleste (unless he gets a red card in the first leg of the tie against Defensor. Hmmm...would that happen?).

Here's the list of 23 at the moment, that could be down to 20 if Estudiantes progress in the Copa Libertadores. In italic those players pending confirmation. Bold for those players added lately.

Mariano ANDUJAR (Estudiantes de La Plata)
Cristian CAMPESTRINI (Arsenal -Sarandí-)
Diego POZO (Colón)

Emiliano PAPA (Vélez Sarsfield)
Matías CARUZZO (Argentinos Juniors)
Nicolás OTAMENDI (Vélez Sarsfield)
Alexis FERRERO (Colón)
Ignacio CANUTO (Argentinos Juniors)
Marcos ANGELERI (Estudiantes de La Plata)

Hernán BERNARDELLO (Newell´s Old Boys)
Juan Sebastián VERÓN (Estudiantes de La Plata)
Sebastián BLANCO (Lanús)
Franco ZUCULINI (Racing Club)
Daniel MONTENEGRO (Independiente)
Matías DEFEDERICO (Huracán)
Fabián RINAUDO (Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata)
Sebastián PREDIGER (Colón de Santa Fé)

Mauro FORMICA (Newell´s Old Boys)
Maximiliano MORALEZ (Velez Sarsfield)
Milton CARAGLIO (Rosario Central)
Gonzalo BERGESSIO (San Lorenzo)
Eduardo SALVIO (Lanús)
José SAND (Lanús)


Sebastian said...

My first reaction is: "YESSSSSSSS! Bring it on, baby!"

Russia, Spain, Nigeria!

I love it!

Really good teams there. Teams that will also give us the chance to see how we do against them and will provide us with tough tests in different areas.

Russia with HIDDINK and his tactical genius. How will we defend against a combination of a quick forward like ARSHAVIN and a strong target-man like PAVLYUCHENKO. How will we deal with ZHIRKOV in the middle of the park. How will our little guys do against strong physical defenders.

Spain and their impressive team. European champions, undefeated on their way to South Africa 2010. In my opinion they are the best national team in the world. And we'll probably have the chance to face them in their capital. Just the thought of going face to face against Iker CASILLAS, Xavi HERNANDEZ, Andrés INIESTA and Fernando TORRES (amongst others) is making me salivate ahead of a very very tasty menu.

Nigeria will also put us to the test, as they have always done with us. They are always strong and very fast and to add to that, they also bring talented players to the table. If I'm not mistaking (perhaps some of our followers from Nigeria can confirm this), this friendly could mark the first time in which the senior squad of Argentina will visit Nigeria.

I'll look forward for such a historical occasion.

Here's hoping Argentina can qualify to the World Cup avoiding the playoffs so we can confirm this series of very exciting friendly matches before the end of this year.


Anonymous said...

Great news. Since Argentina is not going to the Confederations Cup this is just as good for me(almost). 2 powerhouses teams from their respected continents. And playing a Russian team who finished top 4 in the Euro's. I really am looking to the Russia and Argentina game. Spain and Argentina is also amazing if and when it happens. It will be a tactical and stylish game. Some beautiful game will be played I hope. And traveling to Nigeria a few days later is going to be like a tourney for the team.


Roy said...

I'm looking forward to the Spain match. Russia can be exposed(Spain beat them twice at Euro2008). Their defence isn't exactly World Class(then again, ours isn't either), but I think if we can contain Arshavin and Pavlyuchenko than we should be good.

Spain is going to be an interesting one. We played them in 2006 and lost 2-1 if I'm not mistaken(Basile's second match in charge). Xavi, Iniesta, Torres, Puyol, Casillas... Should be a hell of a match.

We have a good record against Nigeria on senior level(1994, 2002). They're just incredibly fast.

Anonymous said...

Why people are so impatient to see our team thrashed by Spain? :D

Seriosuly though, not sure what to think of it.

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