Argentina starting XI away to Uruguay

The moment of truth arrives tonight. At 8pm local time (7pm in Argentina; 11pm British Summer Time) Argentina will take to the pitch in the Estadio Centenario, the site of the first ever World Cup final back in 1930. They need a result against their oldest rivals to secure qualification for South Africa 2010. A loss could – depending on the result of Ecuador vs Chile – see them fail to qualify for the first time since Mexico 1970. Read on for the possible outcomes, as well as the Argentine starting lineup.

The biggest change Diego Maradona makes to the side that so thrillingly beat Peru on Saturday night is that Vélez Sársfield centre back Nicolás Otamendi is in at right back – Pablo Zabaleta’s injury having rendered the squad without a right back, remember. Gabriel Heinze is shunted out to left back, possibly in the hope he won’t harm the defence too much if he’s not in the middle of it. Jonás Gutiérrez is moved forward to midfield (having played at full back against Peru) to replace Enzo Pérez, and Pablo Aimar is replaced by Juan Sebastián Verón, who’ll be playing central midfield rather than in Aimar’s more advanced role. In a blessing for common sense, Gonzalo Higuaín retains his place up front ahead of Martín Palermo. I am actually surprised.

S. Romero

N. Otamendi —- R. Schiavi —- M. Demichelis —- G. Heinze

J. Gutiérrez —- J. Mascherano (c) —- J.S. Verón —- A. Di María

L. Messi —- G. Higuaín

The only way Argentina can fail to qualify altogether is if Ecuador beat Chile a little earlier in the evening, and then Argentina lose to Uruguay. That would put Uruguay through automatically and Ecuador into the playoff. There’s one unlikely exception: an Ecuador win combined with a draw in Montevideo would put Argentina into the playoff, unless Ecuador’s win was big enough to swing the goal difference in their favour (Argentina’s is +2, Ecuador’s is -3).

If Ecuador don’t win (Uruguay’s goal difference is +9), then the match in the Centenario becomes a straight battle for automatic qualification – a draw or an away win hands it to Argentina, a home win would put Argentina in the playoff and send Uruguay to South Africa.

Of course, there’s one other possibility: a draw in Santiago combined with an Argentina win by nine goals or more would swing the goal difference Ecuador’s way and put them in the playoff at Uruguay’s expense. I wouldn’t bet my house on that outcome, though.

Bookmark and Share

4 thoughts on “Argentina starting XI away to Uruguay

  1. “Gabriel Heinze is shunted out to left back, possibly in the hope he won’t harm the defence too much if he’s not in the middle of it.”

    Okay, I am really getting sick of everyone blaming Gabriel Heinze for every problem with Argentina that has ever existed. I read the line and immediately labelled it as the most utterly unfounded and ridiculous thing I have ever heard. Gabriel Heinze is the only leader in the Argentina national team and the one who should be rightfully wearing the captain’s armband. He is the most passionate player I have ever seen and even when Argentina were 6-1 down against Bolivia, he was just about the only player still trying. This man would die for Argentina and yet all bullshit-talking journalists do is bad-mouth him as if he’s the cause of every problem from Argentina’s defence frailties to the recession. Javier Mascherano is a good player, but he is not a captain. I watch every Argentina match and I never see him talk to his players or give hem any guidance. The same with Maradona; the man hasn’t a clue what he is doing and he does nothing but make stupid jokes and stand on the touch-line trying to act as if he’s capable of thinking. Meanwhile, Gabriel Heinze spends the whole match trying to organise the team, while doing the most heartfelt and dedicated job in defence. If you would actually bother to observe, rather than criticising without reason or proof, you would see that Heinze is giving a team talk every match after they come back onto the pitch following half-time. I wouldn’t actually be surprised to find out that he does the half-time team-talk as well. The one game Maradona actually made a decent decision and gave the armband to Heinze, it was constantly said by the commentators of that match that Argentina looked so much more organised that night and that for once everyone seemed to know what they were doing. Yes, they lost 2-0, but if you care to look, the first goal was a wondergoal- one of those things that just happen, no matter how well you are playing- and the second goal? Only happened a literal couple of minutes after Heinze was subbed and the commentators specifically (and rather truthfully) said: “Argentina have really lost their shape since Heinze went off”.

    So, whoever wrote this atrociously inaccurate comment within this article, would you kindly learn to not criticise without evidence and to not just label a player a “bad” because you’ve heard it off others. Have you ever seen Gabriel Heinze play? If you have, you would see the most passionate player giving everything for his country while trying to bring some organisation to the scrambled mess that is currently the Argentina national team, despite this not being his job. The man plays with an unrivalled determination, no matter how bad the situation and keeps out every ball he is humanly capable of getting to. And yet, when the defence as a whole does not perform, it is Heinze who takes the blame.

    Give Heinze the captain’s armband, because he is the true captain at heart anyway. And next time, get your facts right before you decided to publish anything else so utterly unfounded.

    1. Now there’s a passionate defense of Heinze ! I still think Heinze is a defensive liability, but he has always had the fire. One thing Joanna’s post does point to is the lack of player leadership on the NT. Maradona is too inept and nuts to be a leader, Mascherano was on record as not wanting to be the captain and had it forced on him by Diego. And as for the rest of the players, who looks like the clubhouse leader ? Hard to say, and another reason why Argentina is in such poor shape. I’d venture to say that every successfull team has strong player leadership, in any sport. Not much of that in evidence with Argentina.

      1. Heinze is not a defensive liability! You all act as if every goal scored against Argentina is solely his fault. It’s the structure and organisation of the defence that is a problem, not one damn player!

        You want a leader? Give Gabriel Heinze the damn captaincy then! He’s always giving team-talks anyway- as the only one who bothers- so why not make it official? At least he damn well knows what he’s doing, which is more than can be said for Maradona.

    2. Have I ever seen Gabriel Heinze play? Well, yes. I’m a Manchester United supporter. I saw him play when he actually merited his place in the national side.

      Furthermore, I didn’t ‘blame Gabriel Heinze for every problem with Argentina that has ever existed.’ I’ve been more than happy to criticise Maradona, Grondona and Bilardo as well, here on HEGS and elsewhere, as well as pointing out the folly of picking second division players (Gutiérrez, Coloccini), denying Gonzalo Higuaín his rightful place in the side for so long whilst continuing to call up Fernando Gago, and more generally the fact that beyond Martín Demichelis, Argentina don’t seem to have any proper centre backs any more.

Comments are closed.

Blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: