Saturday, June 06, 2009

Argentina v. Colombia - The big match preview

Last time we saw Argentina in action, we witnessed history in the making when MARADONA's team got thrashed 6-1 in the altitude of La Paz against Bolivia. On Saturday in Buenos Aires, Diego and his players will have an opportunity to start re-writing their personal history and defeat Colombia to take an important step towards South Africa 2010.

I remember one particular match in 1993 like if it was yesterday. A talented Colombian side, powered by Carlos VALDERRAMA, Freddy RINCON and Faustino ASPRILLA amongst others, came to Buenos Aires and played Argentina off the park in a 5-0 historical win.

Diego MARADONA was watching the game from his seat at the Estadio Monumental and that heavy result was perhaps the one that prompted his return to competitive football with Argentina. He was called upon for the vital playoff matches against Australia, we got to USA 94 and we all know what happened there.

Things look different now. Colombia are sitting 6th place, 5 points below Argentina.

A win from them will launch them straight into contention for a place in South Africa 2010, but most importantly, it'll dent Argentina's chances and most definitely create a horrible scenario for Diego and our players for the rest of the WC Qualifiers.

A win from Argentina will widen the gap between the two teams to 8 big points (with 5 matches to go -15 points-) and will help the Albiceleste Army to travel to Ecuador with a lot of fresh oxygen to breath in the altitude of Quito (even more so if Ecuador fails to win all three points in Perú on Sunday -which will mean that Argentina with a win can separate 7 or 8 points from Ecuador as well-).

You can read team news from Argentina in previous posts here at Mundo Albiceleste or you can also listen to the podcast in which the tactics and the formations are discussed.

Here's a quick reminder of our formation and our lineup:

Mariano ANDÚJAR;
Daniel DIAZ, Martín DEMICHELIS, Gabriel HEINZE;
Javier MASCHERANO, Fernando GAGO, Jonás GUTIERREZ, Juan Sebastián VERON;
Lionel MESSI, Carlos TEVEZ and Sergio AGÜERO.

A humble and brief scouting report on Colombia

This is Colombia's probable lineup (4-4-2 formation):

David OSPINA (a 20-year-old goalkeeper who plays in Nice, France);

Luis Amaranto PEREA (Atl. Madrid and former Boca Juniors player)
Cristian ZAPATA (currently at Udinese, Italy. Wanted by Arsenal?)
Mario YEPES (knows the Monumental as he played for a few seasons at River Plate)
Pablo ARMERO (the only Colombian in the current squad who plays in Brazil -Palmeiras-)

Juan Camilo ZÚÑIGA (Siena, Italy, where he plays as a defender)
Fabián VARGAS (defensive midfielder who plays for Boca Juniors and always risk getting a red card by making hard tackles)
Freddy GUARÍN (used to play for Boca Juniors youth teams -2 appearances for the senior side-. Now he is with Lucho, Licha and the rest of the Argentines at FC Porto in Portugal)
Vladimir MARÍN (currently at Libertad, Paraguay. He used to play in Argentina for Independiente. I've seen him always play left back for Independiente, although he can be used as a midfielder on the left);

Wason RENTERÍA (scored 6 goals in 28 matches for SC Braga in Portugal)
Radamel FALCAO (currently playing for River Plate. He'll be the only player out of the 22 who will star the match that will actually play at the stadium where he plays every day!)

This formation, but especially the names, suggest to me that it will be a very combative Colombia and by the looks of it, it seems RENTERÍA and FALCAO will be pretty isolated. It goes without saying that we will need to be careful and watch out for their counter-attacks.

A little bit of history...

Argentina and Colombia have played a total of 11 times in World Cup Qualifying matches.

Argentina won 6 (16 goals scored), Colombia 3 (13 goals) and they drew 2 times.

In Buenos Aires, Argentina won 3 (scoring 6 goals in total), Colombia won one in that famous 5-0 trashing and they drew the other.

Last time these two teams played in Argentina, it ended 1-0 for Argentina with Hernán CRESPO scoring (30 March, 2005).

Here's a YouTube clip but it only has the audio commentary from the great Víctor Hugo MORALES -the same from that historical commentary on Diego's second goal against England-. There are no footage from that game, but the audio sure gets me going!

The only players from that match that are still playing for Argentina are: Javier ZANETTI, Javier MASCHERANO and Gabriel HEINZE.

In the current WCQ campaign, Argentina lost in Colombia after getting ahead on a superb strike by Lionel MESSI. The Albicelestes got reduced to 10 men after Carlos TEVEZ saw the red card and Colombia turned the game around to win it 2-1. BASILE was our manager back then. Rubén BUSTOS and Daylor MORENO (none of them starting today) scored Colombia's goals.

Watch those goals with Colombian commentary:

And it was all yellow?

We've discussed this in previous editions of our podcast. With the ridiculous rule that automatically suspends a player for one game after he gets his second yellow (in different matches, of course!), a lot of our footballers will be facing a dilemma: should they get the yellow card today and skip the trip to Ecuador in order to be clean again to face Brazil and Paraguay in the next two rounds?

Here's what I'm thinking right now. If Argentina are winning the match with ease today, I wouldn't be surprised and I wouldn't be angry if I see some of our players getting a yellow on purpose (wasting time, not keeping distance in an opposing free-kick, etc.).

MARADONA has been testing a whole different starting XI that could very well be the one we'll see at Quito and I don't think it'll be a good idea to risk losing through a second yellow some players that will be irreplaceable against Brazil or even Paraguay.

Here's the list of Argentines that'll play with one yellow and will start today against Colombia: Lionel MESSI; Daniel DIAZ; Gabriel HEINZE (I wouldn't mind if he gets 4 straight red cards in one game!); Javier MASCHERANO and Fernando GAGO.

There's more. Waiting on the bench, these players will also risk suspension if they see some action today: Javier ZANETTI; Emiliano PAPA; Maxi RODRIGUEZ and Sebastián BATTAGLIA (all of the included in the potential starting XI for Ecuador).

Pay attention to those names (especially the starters) and don't be surprised if they see yellow today (also...don't get angry if they do. It will mean that they'll be clean to play against Brazil and Paraguay, where there are chances for us to clinch our berth in the next World Cup).

How can I watch it?

First of all, you need to check your local time.

The match will start at 6 PM Buenos Aires. To check your time and to make sure you don't miss it. Click here.

To watch it, there'll be plenty of options.

Here's one great option that won't require you to download or install any software.

I'm sure as the match gets closer, our readers and friends will be posting other links and options to follow the match live.

As we always finish this kind of posts here on Mundo Albiceleste, we've got to say: VAMOS ARGENTINA!


p2bn said...

Haha Seba. I wouldn't mind if he gets 4 straight red in a game. :-D very funny. Well Masche will surely get a yellow, proly Gago and Diaz. Messi will be harder to get yellow. Btw is the rule for a player who gets yellow in two straight games or any other game? If its any other game, thats freaking ridiculous. Anyways, I seriously hope we will win or we are pretty (beep). Cya guys in the start of match when I will come running from work.

Vamos Argentina

Sebastian said...

It's any game. Doesn't have to be consecutive games. I too think it's utterly ridiculous. That's why I don't see nothing wrong in players getting intentional yellow cards to adapt to this ridiculous rule.

I'm currently watching Los Pumas against England at Old Trafford. We're up 3-0 thanks to a lovely drop kick from The Wizard Juan Martín HERNANDEZ.

He kicked it over the bar as if he was PARK Ji Sun or NANI on any given Sunday at Old Trafford. Only this time it was worth 3 points for Argentina.

It's 3-3 now after 8 minutes.

Anonymous said...

here's some links for the game, it's at 10pm Uk time and 11pm Europe time:

argentina will win


John said...

Man! I can't wait for the match to start. It's been a long time since I have interract with you guys during a game. I'm sure we will have a kick @$$ time.

I feel good about this match and I'm sure we will get the three points. Let's just focus on this game and then we start headbangin about the trip to Quito. It's important to win at home no matter what the circumstances is.

Okay, it's 2.45 am now and just 10 minutes before the Uruguay/Brazil match. I'll be back for the real thing, if ya know what a mean.

Rune said...

I am so excited now. We will win, I guess. But will we play a really good game? Really hope so. Gago playing out of position worries me a lot. And I have to be honest: I think it's a bit embarrassing that a player like Jonas plays for our NT. And it even looks like he's one of Diego's favorites. He starts every game now. Jonas is very mediocre, no tecnique. He is a sub in a team that got relegated in the PL. Why is he playing for Argentina? But we will win. I have a feeling this will be Tevez' game. 3-1 for us, two goals from Tevez. Vamos!!! This is what we long for all year. These games are very important. If Uruguay beat Brazil, we are #5 in the table before kick off in our game. I hope for a draw both in Montevideo and in Asuncion. What do you guys think? Do you want Paraguay to beat Chile? I think a draw in that game would be fine for us.

johnny said...

Jonas-great work rate, smart and not a jerk. A digger. Team player. Works for me.

FYI-Gabriel Milito underwent another arthroscopic procedure on his truly messed up knee yesterday. Good luck to Gabriel.

Rune said...

Yeah, looks like Gabriel will miss the next season as well. And there goes the world cup....

Anonymous said...

Some of those sites will be down quick. JumpTV has the rights in North America and the games are getting put down real quick. Other scores, Brasil is beating Uruguay 1-0 thus far. This maybe historic because I do not think Brasil has ever beaten Uruguay in Uruguay.I think it will end in a tie!


Anonymous said...

Well Brasil scored again, now it is 2-0


johnny said...

2-0 Brazil now.

messidona19 said...

I'm pretty excited about this match and I hope that we get the 3 points. Most important thing is to score in the first 30 minutes, then i'll be relieved a bit. I hope Messi will have an amazing game linking up with Veron and the 2 other strikers.

johnny said...

Another goal from Brazil. So much for Brazil's 30 odd years of frustration in Montevideo.

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