Saturday sees Diego Maradona and his men finally get the chance, after a two-month wait, to put well and truly behind them that astonishing 6-1 humping they took in La Paz on April Fools’ Day. They take on Colombia on a pitch in the Estadio Monumental which Diego has said ‘is worse than the one I played on [as a kid in the streets] in El Fiorito’. Assuming there are no injuries in training on Friday or Saturday before the game, the team will be as follows…
Argentina starting XI to face Colombia, World Cup 2010 qualifier, Saturday 6th June 2009 (managed by Diego Maradona):
D. Díaz — M. Demichelis — G. Heinze
J. Gutiérrez — F. Gago — J. Mascherano — J.S. Verón
L. Messi — S. Agüero — C. Tevez
Whilst the formation will obviously be a fluid one with playmaking duties likely be shared, I would think, between Verón and Messi, that does look a rather narrow midfield to me bearing in mind that Verón will be likely to cut inside. The three-man defence seems to be a reaction to the Bolivian result and a wish to experiment with a different system, though given the 4-4-2 being considered for the Ecuador match (see below) it could also be an attempt to combat Colombia’s Radamel Falcao García, whose threat in the air Maradona knows all about from the domestic league. Falcao, who for those who are finding this post through search engines and don’t normally follow Argentine football, plays for River Plate and as such will be the only player on the pitch playing at his current home stadium. If Colombia can exert some pressure down the wings things might get tasty.
The substitute side played Tristán Suárez in a training game on Thursday, as has been the routine since Maradona took charge, and won 7-0 with goals from Nico Burdisso (2), Gonzalo Bergessio (2), Emiliano Papa, Maxi Rodríguez and Lisandro López. They were deployed in a 4-4-2 – Maradona is planning a change of personnel and possible of formation for the match away to Ecuador on Wednesday.