Argentina is set to face Ivory Coast to start the action in Group C. The line-up has been confirmed and people will have to wait if they want to see Carlos TEVEZ and Lionel MESSI in action.
ABBONDANZIERI will be between the three posts and this is his great chance to prove his critics wrong and start gaining some confidence.
A back line formed by BURDISSO, AYALA and HEINZE trying to control Didier DROGBA and either KALOU or DINDANE (whoever Henri MICHEL decides to pick to help the Chelsea hitman upfront).
Juan Pablo SORIN will start as a left back but will join the midfielders and eventually will end up helping the striking force. In other words, he will be his usual self and will run all over the pitch, depending on the result and the nature of the game.
CAMBIASSO and MASCHERANO will have defensive duties in midfield, covering Maxi RODRIGUEZ and RIQUELME’s backs. These two will be more involved on offense. Specially, star playmaker RIQUELME. I think if he manages to find his rhythm and put the ball under his right foot, Argentina will have reasons to smile after the match.
Javier SAVIOLA will be Hernan CRESPO’s partner up front and will try and win the battle against a tough Ivorian back line through speed and first touches. In case he can’t do it, PEKERMAN can use TEVEZ and/or MESSI to help out.
CRESPO will have a special ingredient to his first start in a World Cup match (this is his 3rd World Cup but he was a substitute of legendary Gabriel BATISTUTA in France 98 and Korea-Japan 2002), this will be a head-to-head fight between Chelsea strikers: DROGBA vs. CRESPO. They started to share the field a little bit more in the last few months of the Premiership last season and this could be the first time they’ll be on the pitch for the entire match. Only this time they’ll be wearing different colours and they won’t be smiling at each other after the kick-off.
Plenty of things to look forward to.
I remember Italy ‘90 and Argentina being defeated by an impressive Cameroon side. In USA ‘94 we defeated Nigeria 2-1 but it was the second group match. The Super Eagles got their revenge when they beat us 3-2 in the Gold Medal Match at Atlanta ‘96. Then in France ‘98 we didn’t have African opposition and it was Nigeria again in 2002. That was another World Cup debut for us and BATISTUTA gave us the winner to start what we though was going to be a great campaign and instead…ended up in tears. Let’s hope for a similar result today, but a different outcome for our stay in Germany. May it be long and pleasant!
I’m not one to forecast results. There is a little bit of superstition in me so forgive me if I’m not brave enough to give you my prediction.
Before I finish, I would like to thank each and every one of you who have been in touch with me by e-mail. Your views have been great and we share a lot of concepts regarding our players, our tactics and our chances in this World Cup.
Thanks to you, this time I will think of those hundreds and hundreds of Argentina fans living in every corner of the World and supporting the ‘Albiceleste’ with real determination and unrivalled passion!
You have put my National Team on a new perspective in my eyes and again, thank you for that!
I want to have your thoughts on Argentina’s performance once the match is over and how and where did you watch the match wherever you are in the World!