After PEKERMAN’s resignation there were changes in the AFA staff but some names remain the same. Hugo TOCALLI, PEKERMAN’s assistant manager during the last World Cup takes control of the Under 20 National Team and he will have his debut tonight in a friendly match against Australia.
The 5-time Youth World Cup winning team (Japan ’79 with MARADONA, Qatar ’95, Malaysia ’97, Argentina 2001 and Holland 2005) are preparing for the South American tournament (to be played in January 2007 in Paraguay). That competition will also serve as a qualifying tournament for the Under 20 World Cup in Canada.
But tonight, the brightest names won’t be present for Argentina. Players like Lionel MESSI or Sergio AGÜERO will not be part of the team and it is a big doubt they will join TOCALLI’s army in the near future.
MESSI has already won a Youth World Cup and he has a World Cup under his belt. It is very unlikely that he will go back to a youth level competition.
On the other hand, KUN will be granted the space and the freedom he needs to face his first season in La Liga, playing for Atletico Madrid. Besides, his situation could change if Alfio BASILE decides to call him up for the ‘big boys’.
In any case, MESSI and KUN are very high profile names and it was pretty obvious for them not to play tonight in a game with nothing at stake. There are, however, a lot of well known players also ignored for tonight’s match.
In fact, the game for tonight will be formed by virtually unknown players or young talents with no experience in the first division.
This is the probable starting eleven:
Midfield (with a lot to be confirmed)
TORRES or ACOSTA
YACOB or GONZALEZ
Sebastián BATTAGLIA (not the one playing in Boca Juniors for several years. He has the same name and surname!)
BRUNO or DE MARIA
Kick-off will be tonight at 9:30 PM (Buenos Aires) (1:30 AM London, 8:30 PM New York).