In under seven hours’ time, Argentina will be playing their second match in the 2010 World Cup, looking to all but assure qualification by trying to beat South Korea, for whom Manchester United’s Park Ji-Sung, a good friend of Carlos Tevez, will be the principle threat. For Argentina, Jonás Gutiérrez will once again start at right back, in spite of a fish-out-of-water performance against Nigeria in the opener, and Maxi Rodríguez comes into the midfield to replace Juan Sebastián Verón. You can see the full starting lineup right here.
FIFA World Cup South Africa 2010, Group B, Thursday 17th June: Argentina starting XI vs Korean Republic
Gutiérrez —- Demichelis —- Samuel —- Heinze
M. Rodríguez —- Mascherano (c) —- Di María
Messi —- Higuaín
Carlos Tevez is likely to be deployed slightly deeper, because Maxi Rodríguez will stick to the right of the pitch far more than Verón did in the opening game, partly because that’s his style and partly to shield and help out Jonás at right back. As a result of not having such a central or free-roaming playmaking midfielder, Carlos Tevez will start nominally a bit deeper than he did in the first match. In practice though, the front three should look like a fairly similar shape to what we saw in the opening match – you could draw them as I have above, or as a flat three, or as Higuaín ahead of Messi and Tevez, and so on. There’ll be plenty of movement and interchanging, especially between the two little guys.
I still think Nicolás Burdisso would be a more solid and dependable option at right back, and I still maintain that (whilst I disagree with picking a player who’s spent the last year outside the top flight) that isn’t in itself a criticism of Jonás – merely a recognition that he’s not a right back. Both Ángel Di María and Gonzalo Higuaín will have to do better than they did last time out, if they’re to justify their continued presence in the team, but with Verón replaced by Maxi it looks a much more pacey side, and if those two can step it up and Lionel Messi carries his form over from the Nigeria game, it should be good to watch.
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