Argentina get 2 – 0 win against Italy, BANEGA, LANZINI score

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Ever Banega Manuel Lanzini Argentina Italy
Ever Banega Manuel Lanzini Argentina Italy

Argentina picked-up a 2-0 win against Italy with Ever BANEGA and Manuel LANZINI as the goal scorers.

A Lionel MESSI-less Argentina team saw them get a 2-0 victory against Italy. All the news prior to the match was about the fitness of Lionel MESSI and it’s fair to say, for the most part, the team did fairly well without him. Both goalkeepers were busy on both sides of the pitch but it was Willy CABALLERO, on his Argentina National Team debut, who got the better of football legend Gianluigi BUFFON.

The team looked much improved in the match and while some cracks were certainly there, the players looked more comfortable than the last two matches when they played against Nigeria and Russia. Substitute Ever BANEGA opened the scoring following a great one-two with Giovani LO CELSO (who ironically enough was the man who replaced Lionel MESSI in the starting eleven). Shortly before the end of the match, West Ham United’s Manuel LANZINI doubled his country’s lead with a fantastic shot from the edge of the penalty area to seal the 2-0 victory.

Goal scorer Ever BANEGA came on for Leandro PAREDES as the first change of the night for Jorge SAMPAOLI. Captain Angel DI MARIA was taken off for Diego PEROTTI, Cristian PAVON came on for Giovani LO CELSO and Gabriel MERCADO was the last substitute on for Fabricio BUSTOS.

Ever BANEGA goal for Argentina

Manuel LANZINI goal for Argentina

108 COMMENTS

  1. Well, no doubt we had a good night with some luck too 🙂

    I wanna share what i thinkk about the game, please feel free to comment back what you guys think about my analysis…
    Goollie: Caba no doubt did great. Stoping 1on1 and saving couple of good chances was really good. He did read the game really well. Romero was not so bad in my openion too. Lets see on sho Sampa depends.
    CB: Argentina actually did very well with Fazio, the tall wall, and Ota. He seems to hesitate a little time to time but overall good. Biglia was a DM, he linked the defense and mid.
    WB: Tagli and Bustos was great. Both did their job. After Sorin and Zanetti I haven’t seen anyone like this two. They did the forward run when needed and get back to help defense too. Superb!!
    DM: Biglia, I actually like his position. With him Sampa filled up the void in the defense. Though he is slow with ball and I think Mesch is still better then him. But according to plan he always kept himself available to get pass and distribute. He hold the ball when needed to give the WB’s to get back to their positions. He did his job I think. For his role as DM midfielder got the chance to swap and move forward more likely.
    CM: Peredes was ok. He did nothing extraordinary. He also linkup with other well but he made 1 huge blunder. A good team like Germany, Spain, Brazil or France will never let go off those kind of chance. Italy is regenerating so they missed. We cant accept such blunders in NT or in WC. I don’t think he will be our starting XI in WC but will remain in bench as back up.
    Wing: Maria & Lanzini – Maria as usual made some good run and waste with poor decisions. His crosses is also bad sometimes. But yeah he plays with full heart for NT. Perotti or Lamela should be on his position in my openion. And he is never fit for playing high pressing 7/8 games continuously. LANZINI is the man I like. He was great. In my other comments I again and again said he should be playing for NT. He has the brain and skill that we need. He understand and reads the game very well always. He performs for his club and NT both in same standard. For me he is must.
    AM: Lo Celao was good. I’m sure Messi is gonna play in this position and he is gonna play as CM. I like him. His only problem is he is young and not much experienced. But I think he will do fine.
    Forward: Pipita actually did his part. Sampa made him a link up forward then a total scorer. That role is for Messi. False 9. Agu also can play like pipita and I’m sure that’s what Sampa wants.
    Team’s goodness:
    1. High pressing
    2. Good short passing
    3. Great swaping of position
    4. Good understand of roles for players.
    Team’s Badness:
    1. Little more pace is needed.
    2. Counter attack vulnerablety.
    3. Still lacking creativity in mid.
    4. Hesitation at the back.
    For those who wants Dybala and Icardi in. I think Dybala will get his chance but not Icardi. As Sampa making his plan for a center forward not a target man or advanced forward. Icardi is not any CF. For Dybala no first team spot available if Maria keeps geeting his chance. He can only replace Maria as we cant think of replacing Messi for sure.
    Well I love Argentina NT and I love watching them. So I’ll keep supporting them till I die ♥♥

    • i didint like perotti also.whats the big fuss i dont know.higuain worked hard but very bad in scoring or finishing chances he is more of a sub not a starter for sure.if rumours to believe sampa want to play both aguero higuain together then we r in trouble.dimaria is good i think his crosses has improved little bit under sampaoli but he is injuryprone i would like to see lamela as a backup but i think sampa will not call him up.he will call this bum perotti who is toothless even correa is a better option than him.i hope meza gets a chance against spain then will see how he is.for me apart from messi and aguero nobody should be untouchable.if you dont perform u r out.love to see pablo perez.how he performs as he cn play dm .which is our weak spot among many others.

  2. You can see, that when Banega got in the pitch, he immediately took the team in his hands. every player started to pass the ball to him, they know that he is important. We can try a 3 in middle, with Banega, Lanzini and Paredes. what do you think?

  3. Brazilian Ronaldo posted a photo in Instagram with Maradona after watching the Argentina vs Italy Match with a caption:”We haven’t seen an Argentine team this strong since the time of Maradona (My personal Idol)

    • I don’t give too much emphasis to this type of comments he is just humble we didn’t look like a world beater yesterday against the worst Italian side I have ever seen.they r shit .deservedly out of the world cup.will see how we play against Spain then only will pass the judgement

      • i guess we did pretty well even without our main player Messi.. I think we found two great players Tagliafico and Lanzini who can shine in the world cup…this is a big plus for us.. My only concern is the DM position

        • you are right about the DM position
          biglia while he is good at defending , he lacks the imagination and the vision needed to supply the upfront players with chances. all his passes are directed to the backline. beside he is slow and cannot even guard the ball when under pressure.

          • I personally like Biglia, he gives me a sense of security. I would like to see him with Mascherano as double 5. In front of them I would Dybala on the left, Messi in the middle and Lanzini or LoCelso on the right… the creativity that Mascherano and Biglia can’t bring would be compensated by the line of three.

    • Absolutely false statement from Ronaldo, Bielsa’s and Perkeman’s team at their peak are really strong and balanced too. Bielsa’s team peaked at the wrong time while Perkeman’s was unlucky. Brazil was very lucky in these periods to succeed in the international competitions.

  4. My choice for the starting goalie is Wilfredo Caballero, not Sergio Romero. Romero is fine. He has done a pretty good job, but Caballero is the closest thing to Sergio Goycochea among all Argentina goalies since 1990. This is the prove:

    https://www.transfermarkt.com/willy-caballero/elfmeterstatistik/spieler/19948

    He stopped 11 penalty in 27 attempts. That is about 41%!

    If you added the three PK he stopped in PK shootout league cup 2016 final, then his record in club level is he stopped 14 PK in 28 attempts which is 50%!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ValSpCITLjY

    Sergio Romero stopped 10 out of 24, which is not bad at all, but his PK shootout records with Argentina is 2 wins (vs Netherlands and Colombia in the World Cup and Copa America) and 3 defeats (vs Uruguay and 2 times vs Chile all in Copa America).

    The closest comparison to Caballero is Diego Alves who stopped 25 out of 55 PK.

    Alves has been called PK specialist. The good thing is he will highly unlikely be in the World Cup.

    https://www.transfermarkt.com/diego-alves/elfmeterstatistik/spieler/42373

    Other goalies have way poorer records including the likes of De Gea, Neuer, or Courtois.

    In the World Cup, we have to get ready for PK shootouts. Caballero is a good goalie in both PK and game situations.

    PS: that above is a good website, you can check the record of all of our goalies AND PK takers.

    Our best PK taker is, Diego Perotti.

    • Well it seems you have enjoyed the game 😛

      The team needs a bit of tweak here and there, we are done. In my opinion, Mercado in place of Bustos. Banega in place of paredes, even though I am a fan of paredes. But in case of neat exchange of ball and creative passing, Banega has the edge at this moment. Paredes is the long term future.

      Di Maria had good moments. He was a trouble for Italian players. But when you imagine a nice one to one, it is not just possible with Di Maria. Then he forgot that Tagliafico exists. A lot of time, tagliafico was in better position, free…Di Maria won’t just give the pass. If the winger does not use fullback’s overlap runs, whats the point of those runs while leaving the defense exposed?

      Lamela will be a good alternative to Di Maria. He is a crazy presser, good through balls, nice skills and decent shooting. And he is younger one! In last 3 tournaments, Di Maria got injured in each one of them! -_-

  5. 45th minute – good offside trap
    46th minute – Otamendi fouls and italy are awarded a free kick which could have been dangerous but Caballero punches it away
    47th minute – Tagliafico got cornered by 2 italians so he tries to clear it but it ends up to an italian player but tagliafico and Paredes step in but he with Biglia and Fazio there he makes a horrible pass
    Hope it doesn’t cost him because all people remember is mistakes so be it 1
    48-49the minutes – we press really well and lanzini wins the ball and plays it to Higuain who passes it to di maria and he crosses it to lanzini with a header but over the goal
    49th minute – Italy tries to attack but we win the ball Lo Celso and Paredes who passes to higuain and after switching sides ends up to di maria who dribbles and crosses unsuccesfully
    50-51st minute – Paredes doesn’t seem bothered by his mistake and bglia almost loses the ball and higuain is fouled
    51st minute – Lanzini and Lo Celso make the game faster and more direct and Paredes seems to build chemistry with them, thorough combinations with Higuain the ball comes to di maria on the left but di maria overdose it with tricks and loses it but Biglia and Paredes are quick to step in and win the ball
    52nd-53rd minute – we under control, Biglia long ball to Di maria who crosses it unsuccessfully
    54nd minute – great combinations between lanzini and bustos
    55th minute – we struggle to get the ball under control
    56th minute – wow great movement from Paredes to position himself on the left and combine with tagliafico and di maria who crosses it to Lo Celso who cant shoot the ball, it would have been better to pass it to Lanzini who also was inside the box.
    56th minute – good pressing from biglia and Bustos and a di maria shot
    57th minute – pressing good, paredes helps on the left but italy are able to create a chance but Caballero great
    maybe some players are beginning to look tired now especially di maria who gave up chasing the italian player which forced Pareds to come and help him and so Tagliafico and it created a opening.
    58th minute – Long pass to Higuan who makes a sloppy pass to di maria counter wasted
    58th minute – It is noticable that When Biglia presses it almost always ends with a foul
    59th minute – Because of Biglia’s foul by pressing ate Italy’s box, the italians play fast and we are outnumbred so we lose structure but Tagliafico intercept and plays it to di maria who came in to help but makes a bad pass and we are caught out of position on the right where Bustos is positioned so Italy gets a great chance but miss
    One other thing I noticed in this game is that Otamendi sometimes makes risky interception which he mostly wins but not this time becuase the defense thought have to go forward and got caught out of position this time.
    59th minute – corner for italy nothing serious
    6oth minute – biglia with a dangerous backpass to Otamendi who as mentioned is sometimes nervous on the ball
    61st minute – bad pass by tagliafico which lead to a dangerous shot
    62nd minute – we struggle to get the ball under control
    63rd minute – changes
    64th minute – games has slowed down and concentration is beginning to be lost
    65th minute – Combinations and Banega seems to be positons further upo the pitch than Paredes
    66th minute – Higuain is a hardworker and good pressing by lanzini
    67th minute – flow has stopped and the game has slowed down
    67th minute – failed off side trap could have cost us and italy got a chance, it was clearly a referee mistake and also hand, great save by caballero
    68th minute – good combinations and perotti with a dangerous cross to higuain
    69th minute – higuan makes a bad shot so we hget countered but italy fail to do anything
    70th minute – Tagliafico burst forward and Perotti is beginning to get involved and gets a corner
    71st minute – good combinations from the corner between banega, tagliafico and Perotti who shoots. we used to lack shooters.
    71st -73rd minute – really great combinations between all the players, all of them touched the ball with the exception from higuan even caballero took part. we used the whole field, switched sides. just great.
    74th minute – great interception by bustos and great combinations between bustos banega and Lo Celso and a great goal. maybe we should put Paredes instead of Biglia and Banega instead of Paredes.
    76th minute – Some great combinations
    77th minute – good offside trap and a bad pass from fazio to tagliafico
    78th minute – good clearnce from bustos and tagliafico
    79th minute – as mentioned Otamendi sometimes nervous on the ball with a bad pass but Lo Celso wins it back
    80th minute – then some good long balls from Otamendi but sadly Pavon offside
    81st minute – offside trap
    81st-82nd minute – some great combinations
    83rd minute – lanzini taking more of a central role
    great combinations between lanzini who has taken the central role since Le Celso is out with Perotti and Tagliafico and also higuain and biglia. Man look at Tagliafico he is in front of the box even further up than Higuain. WOW! and Perotti with a bad cross.
    83rd minute – ughhh Biglia almost cost us a goal we were lucky the ball didn’t go in the net. he is unsure on the ball especially under pressure.
    84th minute – greeat instereception by biglia who passes it to Higuain and he passes it beautifully to Perotti on the left and He should have probably scored that.
    84th minute – Italy try to counter us and bustos and Otamendi who wins the ball attack and pass to higuain who runs and passes it to my man Lanzini and he is ice cold and scores a beautiful goal.
    85th minute – Higuain is really a hardworker, I think his only fault is scoring and that is his job, and sometimes he drops too deep when we have the ball interfering, but he works like a horse
    86-87th minute – combinations and perotti is a great player, finally he is where he always belonged in our team, the only thing that held him down were injuries, hope he makes the squad
    87-90 th minute wasting time

  6. look, I repeated this multiple times: Aguero and Higuaín are fantastic players for their clubs, but they just can’t do it for Argentina. They have been tested in every tournament (WC’s, Copa’s, friednlies, qualifiers, etc). It is unfair to give them our last hope in the world cup while leaving Dybala and Icardi who are younger, faster, and fitter watch the WC from home. Now that is Coaching shit from head to toe.

    Someone can give me please the bald guy’s email so I can send him a message about his pathetic selection in the attacking area.

    • Aguero Dimaria Higuain… The form and fitness of these three will decide our worldcup… They were the sole reason we lost the worldcup

  7. 1) Di Maria, a garbage runner and headless chicken. we won the game after he left the field. That tells you a lot.
    2) Higuaín is there because Messi wants him even if he plays shit.
    3) If you think Aguero is better than Higuaín, then you are a fool. Aguero can be our social media expert to Russia with an injured knee.

    4) Without Dybala and Icardi, you can wipe out this world cup today.

    • Higuain and Aguero are terrific goal machine for club
      But
      Terrible goal missing villain for NT

      Icardi Dybala at least should be at bench in Russia

  8. Fazio was prone to make one noticeable mistake every game at spurs.. But he seems to be less mistake prone seems more composed and organized now… Caballero looked so much safe between the post than Romero…Romero is about to lose his starting x1 place if he fukcs up against spain like he did in the final against Gotze..

  9. During the game the players I watched closely were:
    1) Caballero
    2) Lanzini
    3) Bustos
    4) Paredes
    5) Tagliafico

    Caballero did a great job and it looks like he is the guy Sampaoli wants between the sticks. If he starts again vs Spain then that could be a good sign which tells us that the days of Romero as Argentina’s no.1 GK are numbered.

    Lanzini had a perfect game last night and that’s not a surprise to me coz I already knew that he is one of the missing pieces of the puzzle. His passing and pressing were great. And at the end of the game he did what I was expecting from him (scoring that beautiful goal which is very similar to a one he scored against Chelsea). Some of Mundo members had doubts on him but the guy proved them WRONG in every sense of the word.

    let me quote Slaven Blic’s words on Lanzini once again “No other player reminds me of Luca Modric as much as Manuel Lanzini”. Manu must be a starter for Argentina!

    Fabricio Bustos was good offensively and he had a great understanding with Lanzini on the right wing. His defensive work was a little bit below my expectations but since he is new to the system I think he will adopt to it very quickly and he has a huge potential.

    Paredes took more than his fair share though he made a huge mistake which could led a goal. He needs to push the ball forward more than he did last night and try to create some chances.

    Tagliafico IMO was impressive defensively and also offensively to a great extent. He could have scored his first goal but Gigi denied him. When Tagliafico played for Argentina for the very first time, back in June last year, some of our friends here on Mundo thought he isn’t a NT material but let’s not judge a player with one game.

  10. It was my son’s first time watching Argentina play. While he was disappointed that Messi was no where to be seen he still had a brilliant time.
    As for what we’ve learnt, I felt Lo Celso and Peredes played extremely well. Especially in tight spaces they were comfortable on the ball, didn’t panic and distributed it well.
    I think we did well despite the negative vibe from the press about the overall game. Yes I agree it was played at snail pace and the intensity was lacking but we looked comfortable. Higauin’s contribution was his link up play and work ethic. I think the reason why Sampaoli would pick him over Icardi at the world cup. Finishing 1 on 1s and under pressure is still his Acheles heel. Taglifiaco was decent and Bustos played it simple and safe.
    Impressed with Lanzini’s workrate. But I was really impressed with Lo Celso intelligence and maturity.
    Having Biglia in there is pointless for me. He is too slow on the ball. He’s at 6s and 7s. Di Maria has his moments.
    Overall it was a good night and the atmosphere was really good despite folk leaving around 80th minute mark realising Messi won’t be on. But we had lovely seats dead centre and in front view of Sampaoli! Boy he moves around the touch line area!
    Quietly confident in a few months time. If we had to pick favourites it’s between Germany and Spain. Distant 2nd is us and France. Forget Brazil. Tite’s Brazil is getting all the attention but I don’t think they will pull through at all. In fact I find them overrated. That’s regardless of there last 10 game run in in the conembol qualifiers. We all know what happens in tournament mode and they still harbour defenders who don’t have the mentality to finish when it matters. But let them have the limelight, they will be found out by the hustle bustle of the European nations.

  11. 2nd minute – Italy with a chance
    3rd minute – Paredes open up to Bustos who passes to Higuan and he misses the ball
    4th minute – Fazio to Di maria who decides to shoot, playing to Tagliafico so he can cross would have been better
    5th minute – Otamendi interception
    6th minute – fazio header to clear
    7th minute – Bustos and Lanzini in trouble to clear the ball
    7th-11th minute – combinations and possessions plays then Biglia makes the bad pass which could have cost us a counter an Higuain sometimes dropps to deep when we have the ball.
    11th minute – Italy long ball which Caballero reads on gets the ball
    11th minute – di maria totally makes a fool out of the italian defender but the cross didn’t reach its destination
    12th minute – we press well and even our 2 defender can be dangerous playing the through pass and Le cleso gets into the box but is outnumbered
    13th minute – good pressing but Biglia fouls
    14th minute – Bustos tooup the field but th team cover great for each other
    15th minute – Italy long ball but Caballero is always aware
    15th minute – Di maria wins the ball after a sloppy pass from Italy then plays to Higuan who tries to pass but not succesful so he wins a corner
    16th minute – we almost score from the corner but Buffon saves, we can be dangerous with Otamendi and Fazio
    16th to 18th minute – combinations, we are able to attack left or right and switch it, Di maria sometimes drops too deep and when he plays with 1-2 touches he is dangerous but when he holds the ball too much is frustrating
    18th minute – Di maria free kick not that accurate
    Otamendi sometimes nervous on the ball
    19th minute – Italy tries to attack but not that dangerous offside
    20th – Italy attack through their right side but not dangerous
    21st-22nd minute – great interception from Tagliafico who plays it to Di Maria who runs but complicates it then again tagliafico helps and again di mari want to take all by himself
    22nd minute – Paredes stops the counter and wins a free kick
    23rd minute – Di maria takes the free kick and it doesn’t reach its destination
    Bustos always active
    24th minute – Le Celso wins the ball then plays to Higauin who could have played to Lanzini or di maria but decides to plya back to Le Celso and his pass is intercepted
    Lo Celso very active and wins the ball a lot
    25th minute – Italy tries to attack from their left side, bustos could have been closer and so could have been Otamendi but Caballero always aware
    26th minute – Paredes with a long ball to Bustos
    27the minute – Lanzini to di maria and he crosses but doesn’t reach its destination but Paredes wins the ball back and we prepare for another attack
    28th minute – Biglia foulds and stopps a potential counter
    28th minute – otamendi clears with a header to Caballero who is always aware
    28th minute – Caballero bad pass
    di maria sometimes overdose it with tricks
    30th minute – good pressing by higuain but fouls
    30th minute – good offside trap
    31st minute – some good combinations to di maria who crosses but again doesn’t reach its destination
    32nd minute – Higauin tries to press and fouls and italy tries to make a quick free kick but we are prepared
    33rd minute – some good combinations and Paredes tries to play to Di maria on the left but pass is intercepted
    33rd minute – We combine well and di maria dribbles and play to Lo Celso who pass but is intercepted potentially with a hand and a potential penalty
    35th minutes- some good combinations and a good interception from otamendi who plays to di maria but he didn;t get any help
    36th minute – good pressing from Higuain but offside for di maria
    36th minute – biglia presses but fouls
    37th minute – Tagliafico always aware, Paredes able to switch to left or to right using the two fullbacks, Biglia with a good run but got fouled
    38th minute – some good combinations, Le Celso tries to make a key pass but intercepted and the defense and Caballero aware and active
    39th minute – Le celso great in making runs and making the team faster also in intergrating bustos on the right than Paredes with a great shot
    39th minute – Tagliafico with a great interception and switch to attack but almost complete
    40th minute – pressing forces italy to lose ball
    41st minute – if in trouble play it to Caballero
    41st minute – lanzini with a great run but with a bad cross to di maria
    41st minute – great interception from Paredes who plays it to Le Celso in a great position but he loses control of the ball, maybe he is too one footed then we get countered but Otamendi like a lion intercepts and we also counter but di mari loses the ball
    42nd and 43rd minute – good combinations, maybe having both biglia and Paredes is oiverkill, Biglia plays it safe while Paredes is more daringwe combine and are dangerous while my man Tagliafico almsot scores, lanzini and le celso are more direct players
    43rd minute – otamendi is sometimes nervous on the ball and makes a bad pass but my man lanzini intercepts and wants the direct way to the goal
    paredes and lanzini got more involved the last minutes
    43rd minute – biglia with a good interception
    44th minute – di maria overdose it with holding the ball but my man tagliafico comes in to destroy the counter like a pitbull
    44th minute – paredes with a great opening pass to di maria who passes it beautifully to higuain but he misses inside the box, could have been a goal

  12. I was lucky to attend the match yesterday and My thoughts were:

    – team looked good generally. I feel like now we won’t be completely embarrassed at the group stage

    – Fazio size in the back looks really good and stands out. I can see why Sampaoli likes having him, especially with the lack of height in the back

    – I admit that Higuain looked very good and had a great presence on the field. The best I’ve seen him play for the national team. Admittedly this disappoints me as he isn’t a big game player, he’s had several second opportunities and never came in when the team needed him. He’s a choke artist. Same goes for his time real Madrid.

    – Di Maria plays with too much heart if that’s a thing, he links up well with Higuaín. Although I am still doubtful he can play 7 games in a row to win a final at the World Cup. He and Aguero are made of glass.

    – Cabellero was great the fans at the game really liked having him there. Several chants for him.

    – Lanzini stood out a few times on the side, he’s making the team for sure.

    I think for injury risk alone he needs to add Dybala. Messi/Di Maria/ Aguero need a backup and he’s the best suited. Especially considering Higuaín will be the main striker. Dybala is then your best and only good option to link up with Higuaín as they play together already.

    I also doubt that Martinez gets to go to Russia. I just don’t think when it comes down to it Sampaoli will take the risk of an inexperienced 20 year old over a Dybala or Icardi even if he plays really well vs Spain. Remember that Messi barely made the team at 19 and he is a big exception. Although if given chance via injury of another player he could make the list.

    Based on recent knocks to Aguero, Di Maria and Messi I am a bit worried that all may not be available to be chosen come May. Or worse will be 70% and still selected. Especially Di Maria, If one of these 3 are unable to play I see for sure Dybala and probably Martínez too. How many games have we seen Di Maria grab his hamstring and use up a substitution? That’s what happened yesterday too, I don’t know if you saw that on tv though. He’s probably out for a few weeks.

    I hope we see Rojo and Funes Mori on Tuesday. Rojo was outstanding in 2014 and he’s tall, Funes Mori was incredible at Copa centenario. Would like to see some more height options in the back.

    • I was there too and agree with your comments. Italy hardly created chances but could have scored 3 goals due to sloppy passing. Our defenders and midfielders cannot afford such lack of concentration at the WC.

      DiMaria took on players, was creative and a bit unlucky. He won’t last 7 games. Just like Aguero. Therefore we must bring Dybala.

      Higuain worked hard and missed chances as usual.

      Lanzini and Caballero were great. Leave Romero in the bench. Willy should have been our goalie since 2010!

      Fazio was a powerhouse. He will be in Russia.

  13. I expected more crossing and attacks from the flanks but finally it’s very focused in the ball possession and short passing. It was more like a 4-1-4-1. I saw a lot of good things. They seem quite ok to play in small space tighten by the Italian players.

    Lanzini has really proven himself in this game, always here for defending and pressing. He should play the next one to develop his partnership with others. In my opinion, he deserves his place in the starting XI.

    Acuna may step in for the next match instead of Tagliafico. I haven’t seen him playing as fullback yet but I am impressed by his performance as midfielder in 343. His crossing is among the best.

    A lot of critics on Higuain and Di Maria as always. But I found them actually ok last night. Maybe my expectation on them isn’t that high since a couple of years. Despite his usual approximation of decision making and loss of ball due to over-dribbling, Di Maria delivered some lovely pass like the one for Higuain in the 1st half. Some of his dribbles created dangers. It’s been a decade he played in this way. For Higuain, his high pressing is still very valuable. He will finish by scoring.

    Will be interesting to see Pavon and Martinez. Like what I saw in the previous world cup, in all the top teams, you always have a talented young player, unpredictable because of their insouciance. Like Gotze in 2014, Muller in 2010, Ribery in 2006 and Henry in 98. I don’t know if Pavon can achieve that but I see that kind of quality on him.

    Assume that Lanzini and Di Maria will be the 2 creators and Aguero or Higuain the forward, when Messi steps in, then who will be Biglia’s partner in the midfield? Surprisingly I think it will be Lo Celso. He seems to play a central role in Samp’s system. He may not be the fastest player and may fail under pressure but his placement brings a lot of balance and allows the ball possession. It’s quite risky choice to bet on a young player like him in such a key position. Sampaoli seems to have his ranking already defined: 1) Lo Celso 2) Banega 3) Paredes. If I can choose, I would have brought Enzo Perez. I am always happy with his performance with NT.

    • so what’s new? I don’t think we need to post any injury for Diva or Selfie guy. Also, if you think Messi will be fit for the world cup, you may need to think twice, he’s aiming for the treble with Barca, so expect we go to the world cup with 40% fit Messi.

      Messi’s only replacement is Dybala, but the Baldy guy favors friends and Messi’s friends.

  14. Caballero should start ahead of Romero.He is good with feet and has better understanding of game.Lanzini was superb always playing tricks before goalkeepers.Di maria had some good moments but his decision making is not good.Higuain was decent with holding ball and link up play and almost made a goal.But Willey was man of the match.

  15. Good game to reflect the current situation of where the team stands before heading to the big show. Seems like most mundo members agree to where we are at and what needs to change.
    My takeaway was, Masche needs to replace Biglia, Banega is a must for crativity, Lanzini a” keeper”, Back four a must. Tagliafico might be waht we need at RB. Mercado probably better option at LB. Dybala definitely needs to be on the bench as Messi backup. Should Start lautaro against spain to see how he does and partnes with Messi if he plays.
    Overall great friendly and Good job Sampaoli.

    • All those European journalists underestimated the level of South American teams now realized that it’s not easy to beat Colombia or Peru. Those are the same people who claimed that Argentina will be KO in the first stage because they struggled to qualify. Croatia is a good team but like all those ex yugoslavia teams, they have always problems to qualify in the first stage. If they can make it, they may go far(like in 98). Seems to me that no much progress has been made on their side since the last Euro. Iceland no experience despite their enthusiasm and very lovely fans.

      I agree that Nigeria is the most serious competitor in the group. They are impressive in attack with the trio Ihenacho-Iwobi-Mose. They will probably let the Argentina players dominate the match and wait for counter attack, using their attackers’ pace to exploit our weakness. Against this kind of team, it’s good to be more passive, keep the ball possession in order to waste their energy.

  16. Caballero – great performance

    Otamendi – right man on the right place

    Fazio – as above

    Bustos should do better in defence but guy has big potentiall in attack and only those who watch Independiente games regularly know what he has to offer in near future if only will stay in NT (as starter)

    Tagliafico -he is not that good offensively as Bustos but on the other hand better deffender. Must stay starter

    Sampaoli should keep al the players above as starters. Good game by all them is good starting point to develop better understanding and chemistry between them in defence

    Biglia – good but we need pure destroyer in his place – No.5

    Lanzini – he and Caballero were best. He looked mature, almost like leader. A lot of initiative, activity, bustling in the middle more than any other.

    Lo Celso – I have still doubts wheter he will be enough solid defensively when we will face more physical teams, but yesterday he gives only positive impressions. Ge gives good balance between passing/running giving both the things

    Paredes – his horrible lost is not that important for me as the fact Paredes’ yesterday performance lacks what we expected from him most – creative passes. Despite that he should start again, as it was his just second one.

    Di Maria – as Di Maria. ALong with Lanznini most active one. 2-3 really good moments but the rest was his normal anti-team behaviour – a lot of dribbling and losts instead pass in right moment. We scored without him 2 goals despite fact that he was better IMO than Perotti.

    Higuain – Argentina bring back once again this Trojan horse. His game is farce.

    • Apart Biglia, Di Maria and Higuain all the players should start again. I want to see Masche (ultimately Battaglia) instead of Biglia, Meza instead of Di Maria and Martinez instead of Higuain.

    • Agree with you about Lo Celso. He struggles against direct runners. Instead of guarding the attacker and sticking to him, he just lets the opponent go, especially inside the box. That’s the key flaw I’ve found in his game. Other than that, he is a huge talent. I think he could be as good as Kevin De Bruyne.

          • Simple coz DI maria is a headless chicken and never passes to anyone. he thinks he is messi while he is an absolute shite player when he tries to do all.

            watch his performance vs madrid.

  17. “Icardi and Dybala are important players and everything is open for the World Cup squad going to Russia. I also want to add that they have always been called up before these friendlies.”—sampaoli at press

  18. Regardless their relationship with the other members of the team Icardi and Dybala must be in the final 23 of the world cup and they can easily replace Perotti and Pevon. In world cup the team needs both team players and the players who can change the game solely with their skills. Certainly Dybala and Icardi belongs to the second category. They are players of big matches and and should be in Russia with the national side….

    • Icardi and dybala can’t replace perroti….he is a direct replacement when head less chicken is injured in the middle of the competition again!!!

  19. today sampaoli made a complete u turn and said he may pick dybala for 23 if he plays well he is looking all the matches and he has chance.but the biggest dissapointment is he praised higuain a lot he said higuain was a leader in the match and lead from the front so he dont see higuian choking.wht the hell.

    • Higuaín vs Icardi seletion has few key elements
      1) Higuaín definitely brings in the holding ball advantage which can free space for messi.
      2) Icardi brings in the aerial threat which currently we just don’t have in others.
      3) both are playing equally well in clubs now & equally prone to minor injuries.
      4) icardi unfortunately has an element of being a divisive force. Messi & co seemed to not be very found of him Even in Inter Milan there is ongoing rifts with his team mates.
      Considering Messi’s comfort with Higuaín & the fact that Aguero will be lead striker ( so higuain has a choker will not impact team in crucial knockout games ) , i think finally Sampaoli is being forced to go with Higuaín over Icardi for overall team balance.

      • Lautero Martinez has aerial threat he is superb in heading goals I like to see him getting some minutes against Spain.I don’t rate higuain high.i don’t think icardi is needed also. Dybala can also be tried in striker upfront if aguero is not fit even messi can play as a striker.i want to see messi in more advanced position rather than in midfield deep position

  20. Lazini goal shows great skill and calmness. See how he tricked Buffon to shoot on the right corner by staying a bit. He got three options by then: shoot left, right or pass to Higuain. Such a pleasure to watch!

  21. A solid little game that was.

    GK: Caballero was MVP in my opinion, made 4 vital games and was simply fantastic, which is surprising for a bench warmer, but then again same thing goes with Chiquito. I guess lack of playing time doesn’t seem to affect Argentina’s GKs and thank god for that.

    Defense: Fazio and Nico performed as expected but the big question marks were on Bustos and Tagliafico and they both did fine, they kept things simple and played it mostly safe and it’s understandable since this is their first and 2nd game for the NT respectively. If they do play Spain I hope they’ll maraud forward a little more and be….abit more daring.

    Midfield: Biglia was fine and did the simple things well but he is very replaceable and I would like to see Masch against spain.
    Paredes was also fine, nothing spectacular but then again there was little need for him to get creative especially with Lanzini and Celso providing alot of the creativity.
    Speaking of Lanzini, next to Caballero he was the best player on the pitch, great skill and pacing, tracked back wonderfully and broke one of Italy’s attacks not to mention the 3 occasions where he took the ball from Italy’s midfield and started an attack, one of which led to Banega’s goal.
    And ofcourse Lanzini’s goal was beautifully taken. I hope to dear god that he stays fit because he’s a keeper.

    Attack: Celso replacing messi was an odd choice to say the least especially with Correa and Pavon present however I have to say that Celso did fairly well especially with the one, two between him and Banega that led to Argentina’s first goal. He also tracked back very well and broke up 2 major attacks by Italy. Again though, why was he playing as a forward I’ll never understand.
    Pipita had a mixed night, he missed a shocker at the end of the first half and he passing was atrocious but he did improve in the second half, ran his ass off and assisted Lanzini’s goal. He has heart and I like him but with Icardi and dybala being out there, pipita has no place in the NT even if Sampa doesn’t see it that way.
    Maria, like pipita had a mixed night, yes he provides plenty of energy in the attack but his decision making is….shall we say lacking and he tries to be messi and do too much. For me Fideo is a supersub to be thrown in the last 20 minutes to terrorize a tired defense but he’s not a starter, not when perotti, Acuna, A.Correa, Cervi and even Ocampos and J.correa are available.

    Subs:
    Perotti lacks Maris’s pace but his intelligence is notable and doesn’t make a run or a cross unless he’s sure it will result in something (won 2 corners). His off the ball movement is good and he tracks back.

    Banega; his second goal against Italy in a friendly and he played well. As I said before his skill is never in question but his consistency is. If he maintains his CL form until the end of the season I wouldn’t be averse to him being paredes’s backup.

    Pavon and Mercado; both came at the latter stages of the game and didn’t really change anything and nor did they need to. Speaking of Pavon he should’ve been messi’s replacement from the beginning even if Celso did play a good game.

    The coach:

    Choosing Celso to replace Messi was odd, choosing pipita over Icardi and Dybala was disappointing to say the least but with all that being said kudos to baldy for giving the youth (Lanzini, Bustos, Celso and paredes) a chance and reverting to the 4 man back line.

    Team verdict:

    The team played well mostly, the last 10-15 min of the first half were brilliant in fact with high pressing, crisp passing and the intent to score and Italy didn’t have a shot on goal during that half.
    The 2nd half was a different story, where from min 50 to 70 the whole team seemed to go to sleep and Italy could’ve scored 4 goals if it wasn’t for caballero’s heroics and Sampa needs to review what happened there. After that Argentina regained composure and scored 2 excellent goals, the first being from an open play with the 2nd goal being a well executed counter.

    • very objective & fair analysis.
      I am hoping to see acuna , correa , meza, Pablo perez get a shot in next one. By & large Lanzini has booked his slot in final 23 .
      So if we are going with 8 midfielders in final 23 & considering Sampaoli’s preference it will be ,
      1) Di Maria ,2) Banega ,3) Biglia , 4)Perotti , 5)Masche, 6)Lanzini,7)Pavon.
      So effectively 1 spot left & we have strong contenders like Lo Celso, Acuna , ACorrea , Salvio( if fit), Parades & surprise elements like Meza & Pablo Perez.

      • 3 goalkeepers 7 defenders 8 midfielders 5 forwards.I think cabellaro is decent with the ball in his feet so he must start.
        Defence: Otamendi tagliafico Fazio rojo bustos Mercado salvio/acuna( most probably acuna as we only hv 2 options in left back)
        Midfield: Mascherano ,biglia, banega, lanzini, paredes ,pavon/correa/lamela,perotti/papu Gomez,lo celso
        Forward: Messi aguero dimaria dybala higuain.
        Sadly if sampaoli if choose 6 forwards then only lautero Martinez will go

        • your forward is not enough for the whole tournament. Diva and Selfie guy will get injured after 20 min on pitch, that leaves us with only Messi, Higuaín, and another striker (not Dybala- because Sampa won’t take him to Russia). We will end up playing with 2 forwards plus usual tired messi after a full season. We are screwed again.

  22. Good pressing. Except Spain, France, Brazil and Germany, all teams will park bus again us. Quicker one two is needed.

    Defending made two huge mistakes today, luckily we didn’t concede but they will be alright with more time together.

  23. Good game. Caballero infinitely more suited to Sampaoli’s style than Romero. I hope back four stays too. Fazio was solid, fullbacks were good. It was an interception from Bustos that led to our first goal. Tagliafico was very good. Here’s what Juan Pablo Sorin said about Tagliafico after the game: “The first half of Nicolás Tagliafico is what we want & as the game went on, he demonstrated he has the personality to overcome difficulty.”

    Paredes was disappointing though, his sloppy back pass almost led to Italy goal.

  24. I don’t trust in Lo Celso skills, he looks good in the ball control but is so confused about What shall make over pression.
    I hope Sampaoli not change so much.
    I like too the finally creation chances in the Wings back with Bustos e Tagliafico.
    Lanzini is quite agile.

  25. victory brings confidence and lifted team spirit. Good game and really enjoyed watching it. The tango is back, The youth are promising,can delivered and deserved to be a part of the team. Sampaoli have still a homework to do before his making his final selection.

    Now we need a consistenty and a leathal striker. Vamos Arg

  26. tagliafuoco had too many bad passes and got beat on runs behind him as well has bustos didn’t impress at all… mercado will start against Spain…mascherano will start too for Biglia…hopefully Lanzini starts again
    Martinez
    acuna messi Lanzini
    banega mascherano
    rojo Otamendi Fazio mercado
    caballero

  27. If Argentina want to win World Cup. They have to throw out Higuain at all costs. This man is the eternal choker.

    Never runs like crazy coz he is fat ass. Never has football intelligence coz his head looks like a weird potato thrashed up. and never scores when it matters coz he is a shit player.

    Please Throw him out!!!!!!!!!!!

  28. Good team, collective football? Forget about Aegentina playing like this when Messi, Di Maria and Aguero will back. Today Di Maria was the only player who (as usually) has played for himself, far from having the team spirit of other players.

    • Next match against Spain with Messi in, might clear few doubts;
      Dimaria will be replaced by either Perotti/Acuna & hopefully no other changes from today’s starting line-up; Hopefully Martinez gets a chance too;

      As you were saying Bustos, Tagliafico looked good; Lanzini, Lo Celso & Paredes too; All the young players performed better than the old guys who have been in the team for long time;

      Can these young players keep up their performance against Spain & be consistent? Let us see

    • Di Maria, Aguero, Higuain – they will never players to depend upon. They are all one curse. Wheter injuries or poor performances – they always will losers. But our coaches will give them credit still – till the final disaster. Now not long before WC the old stories with injuries start again. Di Maris, Aguero, Messi.

      • Yes you are right but on positive side, even without Messi Argentina played well minus few lapses in the defense. Hence Sampoali was talking about system to cope with injuries or to be honest less relieant on Messi and other stars. Despite Di maria being poor, Messi missing, Augero Missing, Argentina look decent. I think it is positive side rather than negative. My only hope is Dybala gets the final cut for WC. That is all i ask. After long time, i enjoyed watching Argentina.

        • Dybala doesn’t fit in. The guy has played 12 NT games and has showed absolutely nothing.

          Until recetly he was a flop for Juventus too this season. i’d take lanzini, correa, pavon, acuna over him any day.

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