Argentina take on Spain in just possibly the football world’s most prestigious fixture of the day on Tuesday, at 5pm local time. The match is being screened live on ITV4 in the UK, and on state TV in Argentina, but beyond that I’m clueless I’m afraid. It’s the first visit of a European side to Argentina since 1999 when Lithuania flew in, and the first of a ‘big’ European power since West Germany’s visit for a rematch of the previous year’s World Cup final in 1987. HEGS will be in attendance, so you’ll have a tactical analysis special to look forward to on Wednesday (that’s why I’ve not written anything on this weekend’s league games). Both sides are putting out strong sides: only Carles Puyol’s absence through injury and Iker Casillas’ rest for the World Cup champions are major misses. Lionel Messi is just one of eleven Barcelona players in the squads (there are seven in the starting lineups); three for Argentina and eight for Spain. You can see both sides’ expected starting lineups right here.
Probable starting XIs, Argentina vs Spain, 7th September 2010:
For Argentina, it’s notable that in the first friendly Sergio Batista has picked his own squad for, both Javier Zanetti and Esteban Cambiasso have come not just into the squad, but straight back into the starting lineup. Gabriel Milito will also be delighted at being given a start by Checho. The midfield looks well balanced to me and Lionel Messi and Carlos Tevez will no doubt take it in turns to drop back to orchestrate things.
In Spain’s side, I expect Jesús Navas to play slightly wider on the right than Andrés Iniesta will on the left, and seeing how Banega and Javier Zanetti deal with Xavi and Iniesta will be intriguing. There’s also an unspoken duel in the middle between Barcelona’s two holding midfielders: will it be new man Javier Mascherano (captain for Argentina) or their stalwart Sergio Busquets who impresses more? Pep Guardiola will be watching with interest, no doubt.
I’ll have any goals online a few hours after the game, and on Wednesday you’ll be able to ‘enjoy’ some analysis of the game itself right here on HEGS, as well as reading some slightly more abstract thoughts on it over on Soccernet. If you’re watching – or, indeed, attending yourself – then enjoy!
Argentina’s expected starting XI taken from all the Argentine media sites; Spain’s is taken from (with apologies to Barcelona fans) marca.com.
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