In ten minutes, Argentina vs Canada will kick off in the Estadio Monumental, and Diego Maradona’s starting XI looks a little different to that which, following the Germany friendly last year, he’d insisted would be his starting lineup for the first match of the World Cup against Nigeria. It’s also similar, in midfield and attack, to the team I said I’d draw up myself if I was forced to pick a squad from Maradona’s initial list of 30. For those reason, I think it’s worth recording here. Canadian fans, I must apologise but I can’t offer your starters – La Nación‘s website only gives the back four for some reason (and unless the Canadian squad sport some very peculiar shirt numbers for their positions, I don’t think it can possibly be correct), whilst Olé, along with everything else on my internet connection at the moment, is taking pigging ages to load.
International friendly, 24th May 2010: Argentina starting XI vs Canada (manager: Diego Maradona)
Gutiérrez —- Burdisso —- Otamendi —- Heinze
M. Rodríguez —- Mascherano (c) —- Di María
Higuaín —- Messi
The defence, at least, is bound to change by the time the World Cup starts because Maradona’s two preferred centre backs, Martín Demichelis and Walter Samuel, were both involved in the European Cup final on Saturday and as such aren’t being made to play today right after getting off a plane. Diego Milito landed in Ezeiza this morning, and from the noises Maradona’s been making lately he might well be in with a chance of a starting place. To my eyes though, the midfield looks nicely balanced and we’ll have a chance to see how Carlos Tevez and Lionel Messi link up with one another and with Gonzalo Higuaín.
NOTE: As this page is still getting loads of views the day after the match, I should point out that the lineup above – which was copied from the Argentine press ten minutes before the match kicked off – is incorrect. In the match itself Lionel Messi didn’t play, and Carlos Tevez took his place alongside Gonzalo Higuaín up front. Tevez’s position behind the strikers in the above formation was filled by Javier Pastore.
You can follow Argentina’s World Cup campaign and all the winter football news from Argentina via HEGS on Twitter. If you’ve not signed up yet you can do so here.