Sergio Batista announced on Saturday the three names to be cut from the 26-man preliminary list for the Copa América. The Argentine press describe it as ‘without surprises’, but I have to confess I’m slightly taken aback that Diego Milito has made the cut, whilst Lanús playmaker Diego Valeri hasn’t. Fernando Gago’s fiancée Gisela Dulko might not be too pleased by the announcement that he’s made the squad; they were supposed to get married in the middle of the tournament. The whole squad is here, along with shirt numbers, and my suggestion as to the likely starting XI, in case you haven’t caught any of Argentina’s first team games since last year’s World Cup.
Argentina squad for Copa América Argentina 2011
Note that numbers don’t necessarily have anything to do with position or likely status within the squad – even more so with Argentina than most national sides. Sergio Romero will be first choice in goal, but prefers to wear number 18. Likewise, Javier Mascherano will be 14 because that’s the number he prefers, and Gonzalo Higuaín’s number 9 shouldn’t be taken to mean he’s a guaranteed starter.
1. Juan Pablo Carrizo (River Plate)
12. Mariano Andújar (Catania, Italy)
23. Sergio Romero (AZ Alkmaar, Netherlands)
2. Ezequiel Garay (Real Madrid, Spain)
3. Pablo Zabaleta (Manchester City, England)
4. Nicolás Burdisso (Roma, Italy)
6. Gabriel Milito (Barcelona, Spain)
8. Javier Zanetti (Internazionale, Italy)
13. Nicolás Pareja (Spartak Moscow, Russia)
17. Marcos Rojo (Spartak Moscow)
5. Esteban Cambiasso (Internazionale)
7. Ángel Di María (Real Madrid)
14. Javier Mascherano (Barcelona)
15. Lucas Biglia (Anderlecht, Belgium)
19. Ever Banega (Valencia, Spain)
20. Fernando Gago (Real Madrid)
18. Javier Pastore (Palermo, Italy)
9. Gonzalo Higuaín (Real Madrid)
10. Lionel Messi (Barcelona)
11. Carlos Tevez (Manchester City)
16. Sergio Agüero (Atlético de Madrid, Spain)
21. Ezequiel Lavezzi (Napoli, Italy)
22. Diego Milito (Internazionale)
Sergio Batista’s preferred starting formation is a 4-3-3, with the midfield focussed on screening the back line and retaining possession, tending to get forward to support attacks but not to play too close to the space Lionel Messi, as the ‘false’ number 9, will be dropping into from the front line. Carlos Tevez and Sergio Agüero are likely to be second choice to Ángel Di María and Ezequiel Lavezzi, at least at the start of the tournament. For a change of emphasis, should one be needed, Javier Pastore or Lucas Biglia are likely to be introduced for one of the mifielders.
Zanetti — Milito — Burdisso — Rojo
Banega — Mascherano (c) — Cambiasso
Lavezzi —- Messi —- Di María
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Photo taken from ole.clarin.com