Wednesday, May 19, 2010

23 to respect, love, support, cheer and all that

I think that's a headline that explains what will happen from now on. We all have our differences with Diego's choices and we all would have come up with a different list.

From now on, even though we would still have some of our favourite players out of the World Cup squad, the time to support the team unconditionally and until the very end has come.

For all the differences we could have with Diego, his methods, his decisions, his ways of doing things, I can guarantee you that there would be no bigger fans of Argentina than those of us doing Mundo Albiceleste and more importantly, those of you visiting and commenting and living each game with us.

Now is the time to leave everything behind and support the team.

We will continue to discuss tactics, formations, players picked and all those things we love to argue about. And I hope the day we stop doing that never comes! It's one of the beauties of football. To be able to discuss about everything that has something to do with this wonderful game.

In the next few days, you will see a profile of each of the 23 players that Diego has chosen to represent Argentina in the World Cup.

You will get a new podcast edition (we recorded one last week but we were unable to upload it and now it's old!) and we will be here on Monday to live with you our friendly against Canada. That friendly is announced at 4 PM Buenos Aires. Check your time-difference with our capital city and be here for the live chat.

All that said...here are my initial reactions after I heard about the final World Cup squad.

I'm not going to go through each player one by one.

What I will say is that from that list of 30, Diego got pretty much the best 23 he could have gotten.

It wasn't a great list of 30 to begin with and that made things difficult. More than the names included, what I saw last week was a list that gave Diego a very small margin of error.

Not too many experienced guys or players with the ability to cover many positions.

In some cases it looked like Diego had to make a decision between players of different positions. It looked like he had to choose between taking one more midfielder or keep his favourite 6 forwards. With a stronger and a better list of 30, the only choices he would have had to make would have been between players of the same position (or playing in the same area of the pitch).

What he did was to end up with a list of 3 GK; 7 defenders; 7 midfielders and 6 forwards.

If Diego is planning on using a 4-4-2 formation, those 6 forwards seem excessive and 7 defenders and 7 midfielders could look like too small a number.

Even though my favourite players at that position are all out (Javier ZANETTI, Pablo ZABALETA and to a lesser extent Emiliano INSUA), it's refreshing and comforting to see Diego will be taking natural born full-backs. Clemente RODRIGUEZ can play in both flanks and so can Ariel GARCÉ, the surprising call-up. I feared Diego would have been adamant in only using centre-backs to cover all four positions at the back at all times, meaning he wouldn't have had a Plan B or a different option when you need to support your midfielders or your forwards in certain moments during a match.

BURDISSO, OTAMENDI and HEINZE can all play either CB or FB, so he's got options. Barring suspensions and injuries, Diego should be covered at the back and he could have a flexible bunch of guys to deputise in different positions. The question remains on the unproven players and whether the stage proves to be too big for them or not.

The midfield line is probably the most intriguing and the one which raises more questions and criticism amongst fans.

A blend of experience (VERON, Maxi, MASCHERANO) and youth (PASTORE -20 years old, the youngest in the entire squad- and DI MARIA) could pay huge dividends, but it's the lack of depth at some key positions what really worries me.

It's true that if Diego wants, he can switch to a 4-3-3 and bring one more forward to the mix, giving this bunch of midfielders a break. It's true that he could use TEVEZ, AGÜERO or MESSI a few metres behind the forward line and join our midfield, but on paper, I'm worried to think what could happen if MASCHERANO or VERON are not ready to go?

Jonas or DI MARIA? If one of them can't go, Maxi could cover any of them as he can play on the right or the left with no problems.

But, will PASTORE be up for it if VERON is not ready to go? What about BOLATTI's ability to fill in for MASCHERANO?

What if two of the starting midfield stars is unavailable? What if their unproven replacements are not up for it (though I'd like to think they are)?

It remains my main concern. I know I said we shouldn't bring up the ignored players anymore, but since I'm analyzing the list, I have to point out that I think it's exactly in this situation in which I value CAMBIASSO or even ZANETTI as highly as I do.

CAMBIASSO could have covered for both, MASCHERANO or VERON and he could have also played a role in place of DI MARIA (especially if we want to protect a lead or get stronger in defense). I don't see a midfielder in this list with that ability to cover any position and it worries me.

Up front? I tell you what...any manager going to the World Cup would kill for a lineup like that. I'm confident enough to say we are the best team when it comes to depth on offense. And we are even leaving behind players of the caliber of Lisandro LOPEZ or Ezequiel LAVEZZI.

My only fear before the list was announced was for Diego MILITO to miss out. I think it would have been incredibly unfair. Now I don't know if he will see any action in South Africa, but the fact that he is there is comforting enough.

I wouldn't have chosen Martín PALERMO and I think I would have taken Lisandro instead of I would have closed the list with only 5 forwards (with the former option being favourite as I would have used three forwards as starters in most of my matches and I would have needed more cover in that area).

No major complains here as these forwards are amongst the best in the world and Martín PALERMO could bring the X-Factor to the table and be used as a role player in certain moments.

If anything, I think Diego's biggest challenge when it comes to his forwards is to try and find a good chemistry level amongst all of them. If they link together well, the sky is the limit for Argentina.

27 comments:

King Aguero said...

I personally think this is th ebest lineup considering his selections


----------Romero
Jonas--Demi--Samuel--Heinze
-------Masche--Veron
Messi------Aguero----Di Maria
-----------Higuain

Allan said...

I think as I have said before, midfield is our main weakness. Veron is too old and he needs a back up. No way he can play 90 minutes in 7 games (if we go that far). I am not comfortable with the idea we can use Gutierrez to cover for him, because we don't hear Brazil, Spain or England talk about needing other players to cover for Kaka, Xavi or Gerrard.

Defence we are not bad. I am sure we can all name better players than Heinze, but we really are not bad. We just need to be better organized.

The forward line is probably the best in the world and give me the most confidence. After all, so long as we score more than the opposition, then where is the problem? They just need time to work together and develop their teamwork.

Maybe this is the year when Messi repeats Mexico 86. I certainly hope so.

Anonymous said...

congrats king aguero. you are 500,000 person to post their own line up.

Rune said...

Lavezzi should be there in stead of Palermo, of course, but that was never gonna happen anyway. It’s just a massiv relief to see the names of Milito, Maxi and Pastore among the 23 names.
Garce in stead of Coloccini? Maybe a bit strange, but Coloccini is not a great player either so this is not a big problem for me.
The big problem is Bolatti. He is not a natural replacement for Masch, we simply have NO replacement for Masch now. Tragic. Demi can play there, but it’s not like his natural position. Bolatti is more like a replacement for Veron….but the problem is just that Bolatti is pure shit and nowhere near the level of Veron. AND Veron himself is not a great player anymore either…….So the midfield choices are strange and our midfield looks very unbalanced. Masch will pick up cards, what happens then?
Pastore is not a sub for Veron, he is too offensive. In Diego’s(stupid)head Pastore is probably a sidemidfielder……
Maxi could be the KEY. He can play on both flanks AND as a #8. I would use Maxi in stead of Veron, to be honest. I am just extremely happy that he is in.

What can we say? When it comes to dropping 7 names, he did a good job, to be honest. No Datolo, Coloccini, Insaurralde, Sosa, Blanco and Mercier. Good work, Diego.
Lavezzi would be better than Palermo cause he can play in several positions. Speedy and can attack down the flanks. Now we’re going to the wc with a forward that doesn’t move at all. Hahaha. Gotta love it! But like I said, we’ve got 5 great forwards so I am not gonna make a big deal about the 6th forward. The midfield is the main problem here.

LaTiNo said...

So let me be nr 500.001 then ;)

----------Romero
Jonas--Demi--Samuel--Heinze
-------Masche--Veron
Tevez------Messi----Di Maria
-----------Higuain

I agree there is not enough 'recambio' for Veron/Mascherano/Di Maria. Cambiasso would have been the perfect player for this.

btw, the Dutch have a very strong offence too:

Van Persie
Sneijder
Van der Vaart
Robben

Anonymous said...

This is how the Argentina team:
1. Sergio Romero
2. Martin Demichelis
3. Clemente Rodriguez
4. Nicolas Otamendi
5. Mario Bolatti
6. Gabriel Heinze
7. Angel Di Maria
8. Juan Veron
9. Gonzalo Higuain
10. Lionel Messi
11. Carlos Tevez
12. Mariano Andujar
13. Walter Samuel
14. Javier Mascherano
15. Nicolas Burdisso
16. Javier Pastore
17. Jonas Gutierrez
18. Maxi Rodriguez
19. Sergio Aguero
20. Diego Milito
21. Ariel Garce
22. Diego Pozo
23. Martin Palermo

Coach: Diego Maradona

Tactic: 4-2-2-2

Starting line up:
-------------------Romero
--Otamendi-Demichelis-Samuel-Heinze
-------------Veron----Mascherano
Gutierrez---------------------Di Maria
------------Messi----Higuain

Substitutes:
----------------Andujar
------Garce----Burdisso---Clemente
---------------Bolatti
---------Maxi----------Pastore
----------Aguero-----Tevez
----------Milito----Palermo

Substitution order (players likely coming off the bench):
12. Carlos Tevez
13. Clemente Rodriguez
14. Martin Palermo
15. Mario Bolatti
16. Javier Pastore

Extra goalie: Diego Pozo

Team captain: Javier Mascherano

FK takers (in order):
1. Lionel Messi
2. Juan Veron
3. Carlos Tevez
4. Maxi Rodriguez
5. Angel Di Maria

Corner takers:
1. Juan Veron
2. Lionel Messi
3. Angel Di Maria
4. Maxi Rodriguez
5. Carlos Tevez

Penalty takers:
1. Lionel Messi
2. Juan Veron
3. Diego Milito
4. Carlos Tevez
5. Maxi Rodriguez

Principee

Anonymous said...

I definatly think jonas should be played as a full back rather than a midfielder. When I saw him play against germany he worked hard getting up and down, but did barely anything to contribute attack and did everything to stop balls getting to the defence. Waste of a midfield spot whe you think we could be playing cambiasso or any other great midfielder that's missing out. Riquelme anyone???


James Kahn

Nadeer K said...

So thats it.our team.i'm satisfied with this.it was a perfect cut by maradona...letz predict the line up for the korea match...
Romero
Gutirez_demi_samuel_heinze
Mascherano_ veron
Pastore_ dìmaria
Messi_
Higuaine
Reasoning for this selection:
1.gutierez for otamendi:maradona is critisized for the stillnes of back4.evemthough gutirz too was bad against nigeria.maradona again says'warrior'excuse.
Pastore:maradona accepts the fact after nigeria that argentina lacked creativity,but he's not ready to accept veron's age!!!
Messi:Is droped to creator after maradona finding the most latest fact that'he's not an "in&out striker"after two superb assists(he was statue in the first half nd after conceding the goal he was forced to come mid for his first touch on the ball)...
Final score:3-1 with goals from higuaine(2) nd messiah

Anonymous said...

i asked this question on the other tread, PLEASE answer:

how tall is romero? and how tall are the defenders? please don't tell me they are all smaller than 6 inches! 2006 Argentina has the shortest squad of all, and maybe the payback was kloses header, when he beaten the most shorter sorin.

and is there a really good freekick and corner taker like riquelme? veron is not the same class, is he?

Vitalij

ARGENTINIAN 777 said...

hey guys i really love this blog coz u bring out the positive things often not always but ya really luv u guys!!! n wow sm1 is of palermo, i never thought that!! :D but ya hope palermo does sm thing nice!!! but ya really liked this article bro!! keep up the good work!!

Nadeer K said...

I'm a fan from pailipuram,kerala(state)_india.here our village is decoratf by albiceleste fluxes.munneroo(vaamos)argentina

Mohd said...

Vitalij-->

i am not sure if you are asking someone specific but i will give you my answer.

i do not have exact numbers but both romero and the defenders to start are REALLY tall. romero is like a giant and both demi and samuel who will start at center defence are monsters. heinzi size is good and has a good jump while otamendi is also tall.

size is not to worry about for the defenders, its speed. they can be ripped appart if caught under spaces.

as for the free kicks, no noone is even close to riquelme. back in his days Veron was the best in free kicks, even better than Riquelme ever was. but since veron lost every single quality that he once had with age, free kicks gone too.

i think the best free kick taker is Tevez. he is not great but just good.

Anonymous said...

Here is the tallest:
1. Andujar 6'4 (194 cm)
2. Romero 6'3 (191 cm)
3. Pozo 6'3 (190 cm)
4. Bolatti 6'2.5 (189 cm)
5. Martin Palermo 6'2.5 (189 cm)
6. Veron 6'1 (186 cm)
7. Demichelis 6'0.75 (184 cm)
8. Higuain 6'0.75 (184 cm)
9. Gutierrez 6'0 (183 cm)
10. Samuel 6'0 (183 cm)
11. Di Maria 6'0 (183 cm)
12. Pastore 5'11.75 (182 cm)
13. Burdisso 5'11.75 (182 cm)
14. Milito 5'11.75 (182 cm)
15. Otamendi 5'11 (181 cm)

We have a very tall squad this time for our standard. 8 others are 180 cm (5'11) or less. Messi, Tevez, Aguero, and Clemente are the only ones shorter than 5'7 (170 cm).

Principee

Abs said...

I have this nightmare:

Maschy would get injured, and we are going to get screwed. No replacement for him. Coz Bolatti can only cover Korea's game. And if Maradona is really thinking about Guti and Demi to cover up for Veron and Maschy then we are in big troubles.

I am not routing for Cambiasso nor Zanetti -I am actually happy not to see them in the list- but another DM should've been called up !!

rey said...

have argentina started their training yet--???????????

england have already gone to austria and are training..????

Mohd said...

Abs-->

you're happy not to see Cambiasso and Zanetti in the list?!
can you please explain your tactical reasons?

GK said...

Any more information on Monday's friendly with Canada? Will this match be the squad that is travelling to South Africa (minus Milito, Samuel & Demichelis) or will it be another B squad from the domestic league?

Anonymous said...

glad to hear that the players are not small! i hope they are training set pieces like crazy, this is more important than messi-tevez-aguero dribbling + running, at least my opinion.

but it is strange to hear that Veron lost his dead ball ability. i thought that this is th ONLY one ability a footballer never loses with age. i still believe that he can deliver it, he is the only survivor from 1998, my favourite Argentine team.

Vitalij

Anonymous said...

Maradona journalist accidentally hit by car

http://g.ar.sports.yahoo.com/futbol/mundial/noticias/-maradona-atropella-accidentalmente-periodista-auto--deportes-maradona-atropella-accidentalmente-periodista-auto-20052010-2.html

Anonymous said...

No warning for Coloccini
Communication breakdown for Magpies defender

http://www.skysports.com/football/world-cup-2010/story/0,27032,12026_6164785,00.html

Anonymous said...

Diego Maradona runs over cameraman at World Cup squad announcement

• Argentina coach insults injured journalist
• Paramedics attend cameraman in Buenos Aires

http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2010/may/20/diego-maradona-cameraman-world-cup

Anonymous said...

love respect and support thats all that has to be said..... i will always love and follow my country no matter wat... 21 days to go.. its show time.... now we pray and hope...

viva argentina..... te amo

lucas

pablo.d said...

strange how people thought diego would bring in some messis friends to help him settle but no g.milito,usteri and aimar, sometimes i get the feeling diego wants messi to fail.

Abs said...

Mohd:

Well, my tactical reasons are simple..

Zanetti: he sucked big time during the qualifications.

Cambiasso: to me Cambiasso is just like Gago when it comes to the national team. Out of position and always leaving a space behind him while he go out attack.
Any way, he never had the chance to play under Maradona and it won't be fair to add him on the list and not include one of the 104 Maradona already tried.

salvio supporter said...

Oh man cut that "Diego wants Messi to fail" off. Maradona has to win this WC at any cost, he knows it. He won't let his reputation get any lower. He's egocentric, and he's worried about his reputation. If Messi fails, he fails. So there you go.

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