Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Argentina Haiti Test

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Diego says he's got 20 of the 23 squad members

As we get closer and closer to our World Cup debut against Nigeria on June 12, Diego MARADONA continues to hint at some names and formations.

On Friday, he spoke again with Radio Metro 95.1 FM and confirmed a few names whilst he made a couple of not-so-surprising announcements ahead of the deadline (May 10) for him to submit a list of 30 players that will later (June 1) be reduced to the final 23-name World Cup squad.

"I will play with four central defenders at the back because those are the guys who gave me enough insurance. We haven't conceded goals (1-0 at Uruguay and 1-0 at Germany) and they didn't even created us scoring chances. I have tried with wing-backs like ZANETTI and PAPA, but I ended up using four central defenders. I'm going to take some alternatives in both defensive wings. ANGELERI or Clemente RODRIGUEZ...I'll see" said MARADONA.

He then confirmed he will use a 4-4-2 system and the lineup he hinted will take the field against Nigeria will be the same that played against Germany. That means Jonas GUTIERREZ, Javier MASCHERANO, Juan Sebastián VERON and Angel DI MARIA will be the midfielders.

"Jonas has always played great for me. I have spoken very clearly to him: even if he was to be relegated again with Newcastle United, he was going to come to the World Cup with me", said MARADONA about GUTIERREZ.

Regarding Angel DI MARIA, Diego said: "I don't know why they gave him a 4-match suspension for that red against Bolivia. We lost him almost for half of the qualifiers".

According to reports published by Olé, Diego already has the 30 names in his head and 20 of the 23 he will take to South Africa.

Starting with the goalkeepers: Sergio ROMERO will be his first choice (he will also be the first to start working at the AFA headquarters in Ezeiza as the Dutch League will be over before all the others where Argentine players are competing. ROMERO will be free from his duties with AZ Alkmaar after the next weekend). Mariano ANDUJAR (Catania) will be his sub and the third keeper will be Diego POZO (Colón de Santa Fé). The name of Adrián GABBARINI (Independiente) was mentioned as this young goalkeeper became the new sensation in the Clausura Tournament in Argentina, but it seems Diego will decided in favour of POZO.

The defenders that have a ticket more than confirmed are: Nicolás OTAMENDI, Martín DEMICHELIS, Walter SAMUEL, Gabriel HEINZE (all of them should be the starters to face Nigeria and continue to be so if things go well). Together with them, Nicolás BURDISSO and Clemente RODRIGUEZ should be in the list. Diego suggested he will wait to see if Marcos ANGELERI (right back, Estudiantes de La Plata) recovers his form after a serious injury that kept him out for a long time and it seems that only if he fails to make it, Javier ZANETTI would be given a chance.

Luciano Fabián MONZON (Boca Juniors) also have chances, though they are a little slim.

Gabriel MILITO, suggested through the press by Lionel MESSI and recently recovered from injury to play a key part in a few FC Barcelona matches, didn't convince Diego with his performance at the Super Clásico against Real Madrid and should miss out too.

It appears MARADONA thinks it would be unfair to the other players who fought during the Qualifiers while MILITO was injured. Which begs the question: "Then what the hell is Walter SAMUEL doing there and why on Earth will you wait for ANGELERI? Right?". That reasoning is more than weak and very hard to understand.

When it comes to the midfielders, the mentioned GUTIERREZ-MASCHERANO-VERON-DI MARIA and the rest has a big question mark all over it.

GAGO was not ruled out (here's another question from me: Gabriel MILITO had a very solid game against Real Madrid while GAGO was all over the place making foul after foul after foul and providing Real Madrid with nothing and yet MILITO appears to be out of the picture while GAGO could still find a place in the list?).

Mario BOLATTI is starting to play less and less for Fiorentina and he is hurting his chances to make it to the World Cup.

Javier PASTORE, on the other hand, has improved a lot for Palermo and look set to be considered ahead of Pablo AIMAR as a potential play-maker if the team needs it.

Esteban CAMBIASSO will surely have to watch the World Cup on television and we will all be left missing out on one of the best left-side all-round midfielders we've got. But Diego doesn't like Cuchu, even though MOURINHO will play him every single minute of every single game.

José SOSA? MARADONA said the Estudiantes de La Plata midfielder still have chances and if you ask me, he is a very good option to have on board. He can play on the right or the left hand side of our midfield. Can help in defensive tasks and can join in the attack very efficiently and is deadly on set-pieces. Plus...he plays everyday with Juan Sebastián VERON and he's got the experience of having played in Europe (Bayern Munich). It seems to be like SOSA is ahead of Maxi RODRIGUEZ. But...would there be room for any of them?

Up front?

Three guys already confirmed: Lionel MESSI, Gonzalo HIGUAIN and Carlos TEVEZ. Another one with one foot in despite not having a season to write home about: Sergio AGÜERO. Then..there are a few names fighting for 2 more spots.

Even though MARADONA mentioned Diego MILITO's name as one of those he wants to come to the people's mind when remembering South Africa 2010 in the future, the inclusion of Inter's top-scorer this season is not written in stone.

Martín PALERMO was '80% confirmed in my World Cup squad' after the joke friendly against Jamaica and now it seems those numbers could be decreasing. Though I wouldn't bet against him making the squad as long as Diego is our manager.

There are rumours of MARADONA following Lisandro LOPEZ lately. Lets remember Licha was 'deleted' from Diego's team just before the double-header against Brazil and Paraguay because, reportedly, MARADONA didn't like the expression (out of frustration) on Licha's face after being constantly ignored when Diego picked the starting XI and the subs. I hope this rumours are true and that's why I wish Lisandro can have a couple of cracking performances against Bayern in the Champions League semifinals. His ticket to the World Cup could depend on that.

Ezequiel LAVEZZI still have some chances as he is one of the options MARADONA sees to have someone attacking from the flanks. In that regard, it doesn't seem probable that both Diego MILITO and Martín PALERMO can make the list because Pipita HIGUAIN is also there as a main striker and taking three would be too much.

To recap this information and clarify it a little bit...let's see what we've got.


1. Sergio ROMERO
2. Nicolás OTAMENDI
4. Walter SAMUEL
5. Gabriel HEINZE
8. Juan Sebastián VERON
9. Angel DI MARIA
10. Lionel MESSI
11. Gonzalo HIGUAIN
-------the names above are not only confirmed but they look set to be our starting XI---------
12. Mariano ANDUJAR
13. Diego POZO
14. Nicolás BURDISSO
15. Clemente RODRIGUEZ
16. Carlos TEVEZ
17. Sergio AGÜERO
------even though MARADONA said he's got 20, I can only count till 17 pencilled players-----
18. Marcos ANGELERI
19. Javier PASTORE
20. Fernando GAGO
------would those three be the ones I'm missing to make it 20?-------------------------------
21. Martín PALERMO/Diego MILITO
22. Ezequiel LAVEZZI
23. Mario BOLATTI
-------one from PALERMO/MILITO and the other two could complete the WC squad--------
24. Diego MILITO/Martín PALERMO
25. Luciano MONZON
26. Javier ZANETTI
27. José SOSA
29. Lisandro LOPEZ
---------though I have my doubts about Lisandro LOPEZ, he could be included in the list of 30 if Diego decides to forgive and forget what happened----------------
30. Gabriel MILITO
---------I think we shouldn't rule him out. He could be in the list of 30 and he could have a chance to impress Diego in the upcoming La Liga and Champions League decisive matches-----

It's too late now and I got fired up with this subject so I've been writing for a long time. Here's hoping I didn't miss obvious names above. If so, I'm sure you'll pick them up and let me know so we can work together on these lists.

Let me get my thoughts together and when I have some time, I'll give you what would be my 30 names and my probable 23-man squad. In the meantime, you can start that exercise yourselves.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Argentina vs. Germany - Mundo Albiceleste Chat

Tuesday, March 02, 2010



Monday, March 01, 2010

Cover it live David