Argentina training session on Thursday sees two changes


In a training session that was interrupted due to heavy rain, Argentina coach Jorge SAMPAOLI made more changes to the team.

Following Wednesday’s training session which saw Lucas BIGLIA and Sergio AGUERO in the eleven, this time around SAMPAOLI took them both off. Javier MASCHERANO came in place for Lucas BIGLIA while Gonzalo HIGUAIN was in for Sergio AGUERO. Per TyC Sports, here was the eleven:


Who will start up front for Argentina remains unknown.


  1. Cesc Fabregas suggests that World Cup absent xi play against Argentina in friendly international Eshlin Vedan 8 June, 2018 Argentina, Chelsea, World Cup

    Cesc Fabregas has suggested that Argentina play a World Cup absent xi in a friendly international as they prepare to travel to Russia for the 2018 World Cup.

    The Argentinian’s were forced to cancel their friendly international against Israel following international pressure due to the ongoing humanitarian crisis which is taking place in the Gaza strip.

    The postponement of the friendly means that Argentina will not have another warm-up before their first World Cup group stage game against Iceland on June 16th. This will be concerning to some fans.

    After the announcement was made, Chelsea star Fabregas took to Twitter to suggest that the Argentinian’s play a friendly against a group of quality players who will not be playing in the World Cup.

    Though Fabregas was part of the Spain squad which won Euro 2008, the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012, he missed out on selection for Julen Loptegui’s 2018 World Cup squad as their are now at least six central midfielders above him in the pecking order.

    Fabregas is not the only household name that will be missing out on the World Cup finals. Others include Arjen Robben, Gareth Bale, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Anthony Martial, Mauro Icardi, Radja Nainggolan, Alex Sandro and Kingsley Coman.

  2. Gabriel Iván Mercado (Spanish pronunciation: [ɡaˈβɾjel merˈkaðo]; born 18 March 1987) is an Argentine professional footballer who plays for Spanish club Sevilla FC. Mainly a right back, he could also play as a central defender. He is of Indian ancestry. – Wikipedia
    For the Indians, theres something to cheer. A person of Indian descent will play alongside Messi this World Cup!

    • I don’t think it’s about the Asian Country- India. “Indian” is a word commonly used in American Continent for the native people, and their skin is darker than the early migrants.

      But said that, he can be of Indian Origin as well.. considering the high Hindu population in South American country like Guyana Republic (almost 35%) … But Hindu/Indian origin community is negligible or nil in Argentina. So i don’t think that reference leads to your country

  3. Guido Pizarro is back to Tigres, such a waste of player, with this move his NT career is definitely over. So who’ll be Masche/Biglia heir after the WC? Ascacibar, Battaglia, Guido Rodriguez, Paredes or Caseres one day?

  4. ”(funny how Banega is being completely overlooked lol)”

    This shows how uniform you’re and have not been paying any attention. Sampaoli thus far have coached 11 games with the Argentina national team and Banega have featured in 9 of the eleven games with the exception of two games, one of which he was suspended and the other game for personal disciplinary reason. So your ”overlooked” argument makes no sense whatsoever. And it’s not even funny too.

    You guys are going by YouTube lineups and what’s being reported out of the Argentina media as some indication of what is going on in Sampaoli head…You’re naive to think Sampaoli would plastered all his world cup tactics, lineups and game plans over the internet on a daily basis. You people have only seen 10/15 minutes of training yet pretend as if you know what’s going on. Let’s say the team train for two hours, and the AFA only allows 15/20 minutes of training to be shown to the public, then what do we know of the other 1hr and 40 minutes of training especially the tactically training behind closed doors? You guys don’t know what is going on in Barcelona so stop pretending you do because you watch 5 minutes of Argentina training session on YouTube with the players doing Rondos and pull ups. Why should we be surprise Sampaoli is trying many different lineups? The man has been doing this since day one, if he doesn’t integrate the new players in his plans then what would be the point of selecting them? I haven’t seen Dybala in any of the Argentina national team YouTube lineups, does this mean Dybala is being overlooked by Sampaoli? Of course the coach would give more attention to Meza given he only goes into the world cup with one international cap. Banega is a senior player, Sampaoli already know his role on the team for the 2018 world cup whether if he starts or not.

    Use your head man and stop looking at everything as black and white or us vs them with regards to the players on the team. The pitting of players on the team against each other nonsense have been going on for way too long. On here it’s either you hate this player or you like this player, there is no middle ground. Pique and Ramos hate each other when playing for Barcelona and Real Madrid respectively but put club rivalry aside once they suit up for Spain. The fans in Spain boo and whistle Pique because he supports Catalonia independence yet against Argentina, he was applauded by the fans when substituted.

    There was a report out of Chile about Sampaoli when he took over the Chilean national team job, the federation offered him a penthouse but he opted instead for a one-bedroom apartment in Santiago near the national stadium so that he could watch all the games on the stadium screen and analyze all the players in action.

    What Sampaoli is doing with Argentina right now he did it at Chile and Sevilla. Nothing new here, and none of the players selected for the 2018 world cup are being ‘’overlook.’’ Sampaoli put Guzman in one of his lineup, do you seriously believe Guzman is going to start ahead of either Caballero or Armani at the world cup?

    Just learn to love and support the team, we will all find out if Argentina will win the world cup very soon and no amount of lineups right now give us any clear indication of what’s going on in Sampaoli head.

    I personally have been critical of Dybala but as I said some time ago he will have a huge world cup for Argentina. Same for Banega, Biglia and Lo Celso. Lanzini too will have his moments at the world cup, but he need to shoot more when presented the opportunity. Stop believing you have to always pass to Messi at goal scoring range or to another experience team mate, if you should miss the goal target just raise your hand in apology, simple as that. Lanzini can be Argentina Robben with his curling long shots. Messi, Di Maria, Higuaín, Aguero, Masche, Biglia and Rojo will bring world cup experience and leadership to the team in Russia. Messi compare to the 2014 world cup is 1000% fit right now going into the 2018 world cup!

    • “I personally have been critical of Dybala but as I said some time ago he will have a huge world cup for Argentina”

      Lol, so many other inconsistencies are on their way.

      • Yea… I say Banega is being overlooked and that’s what it appears to be. Banega wasn’t even brought off the bench against Haiti, and judging by the rumors was most likely not going to start against Israel, and come in as a sub we’ll never know. But being overlooked, yea he is. Lo Celso is being given more of a shot, Mascherano and Biglia are fighting for their post, so where would Banega go? Box to box midfielder? Yea right. CAM? Messi is already there. There’s pretty much no spot open for him right now. As for Dybala, I would love to see a Messi-Dybala lineup, but the only way I see that happening is in a 4-4-2 with both of them up top. Otherwise, in a 2-3-3-2 it’s hard to see that happening.
        I just have my opinion and asked what others thought, not to just barade me saying I get all my info off YouTube😆. Those practices make even Caballero look world class lol. I’m saying by what has been leaked by the media, and been shown against Haiti’s friendly. Nothing else.
        And who said I haven’t been supportive of the Argentina National Team? I’m saying I want the best out of the team with the best possible players at hand. Nothing else. Thanks for the reply tho!

        • Just because Lo Celso is starting (that also not sure) there’s no point in suggesting Banega is overlooked.. he was never a regular starter for Argentina. That’s the point. And all 23 in the squad aren’t chosen for starting matches. Everyone has their role.

  5. Iceland playing today against Ghana. I see them playing very rough and i am pretty sure they would hack Messi with three or more players. We need to be careful and use Augero to score first to avoid unnecessary struggle or risking players.

    • arg2018 Watching the game, Iceland again have given away a lead like they did against Norway. Too much hype over this team. Argentina need to break their defense and get 3 points. I feel Sampaoli tactics can prevent another Iran.

  6. Too much political religion over the cancelled match. I’m neither Christian, Jew nor Muslim just a football lover who supporter who loved this team since 1987. Personally, I support the move.
    For me, it’s all good that this match was cancelled cause the travel was inconvenient for WC preparations IMO.
    Over the years following Albiceleste, I’ve realized that a lot of gifted Argentine players aren’t really tactically disciplined until latter stage of their careers. It was evident in WCQs. The team play looked fine but I could tell that they were not in sync with the game plans. So this is an opportunity for Sampaoli to instill his thinking into the players minds.
    This no friendly match before the WC might be a good time to experiment a lot of unseen things.

    Admin, no need to report on training line ups. Sampaoli will keep on experimenting into the WC. This is what happens with all top coaches.

  7. With the WC in 7 days, let’s analyze this for a moment.
    Guaranteed Starters:
    – Messi
    – Tagliafico
    – Otamendi
    Messi and Tagliafico have played in EVERY formation Sampaoli have put, and Otamendi has played all but one and is Argentina’s undisputed best defender headed towards the tournament, so he’s playing. If you don’t believe these three are starting every WC by this time… I don’t know what to tell you.
    Probable Starters is where it starts getting complicated. Lo Celso up until June 5 had played every formation, but now is being left out days before the WC, which questions whether he’ll start at all. Lanzini and Di Maria have also like Otamendi most of the formations, and seem to also be, not guaranteed starters but are heavy favorites. Although Biglia is declared fit, today he has again been replaced by Mascherano, who looks to be the favorite to assume the DM role, and IMO deservedly so.
    That leaves many positions up for grabs, such as GK, RB, CB, DM, RW, and CF.
    GK – Sadly it seems as though Caballero is the favorite to be GK in the WC instead of Armani. I guess the 6-1 against Spain taught Sampaoli nothing, and if this defense doesn’t shape up, it looks to be another humiliation, instead this time on the grandest stage of them all.
    RB – Although for a time it seemed Salvio would be guaranteed the RB position, then came to Ansaldi and it seemed that he would assume that role. Now Mercado is back and it appears that he will be the RB for Argentina this WC.
    CB – This is where it gets complicated. Fazio seemed favorite, but since his leave, Rojo has been stepping up and now it will be interesting who will take up that spot alongside Otamendi. Personally, we all saw what an Otamendi-Rojo CB pairing brings against Spain… and it wasn’t pretty, so why repeat it. It should be Fazio IMO
    DM: I personally thought Paredes would be the better option, but he’s not there, so I believe it should be Lo Celso on that spot. (funny how Banega is being completely overlooked lol) Mascherano can direct play, and Lo Celso can go up in support, and drop back in time to defend. What more do you need?
    RW – This position is even MORE complicated. Reason being? There are A LOT of options. With Di Maria in the LW, RW could be Meza, Lanzini, Pavon, heck even Dybala who is also being overlooked unfairly. IMO, Meza was brilliant against spain, and he should play as he appears to be more of a fluid player than Lanzini.
    CF – This should be a no brainer, Aguero should start.
    Sampaoli probable Line-up
    Tagliafico, Rojo, Otamendi, Mercado
    Biglia, Lo Celso
    Di Maria- Messi – Lanzini
    My Preferred Line-Up
    Masch-Lo Celso
    What do you guys think?

    • “funny how Banega is being completely overlooked”

      yup, and I think he should not have been selected at all. Sampaoli realised that players like Lo Celso or Meza ar perhaps more vital.

      • Remember he’s alcoholic and most likely arrive to training camp in the morning with a hang over. He’s more of a bartender than a footballer. Only Club De Amigos got him to the WC.

        • Yet Banega got a place in the CL team of the season. Don’t talk like he’s shit. I too preferred Paredes over Banega, but once Sampaoli made the selection, I started supporting the current 23.

          And Stop the hatred guys. The players need your support. Support them wholeheartedly and you can criticize them about their WC performance once the WC is over if you feel so.

          Also don’t be so dumb. There is no way to take out the player you hate and bring the player you love NOW. That time is over.

          Start supporting everyone in the squad. We may be the only team where the players have haters among the fans itself.

  8. There is nothing in particular was wrong with our offensive power atm. It’s DAMN strong. Messi, Pavon, Meza, Lanzini, Di Maria, Higuain, Aguero are all very attacking minded. It could destroy any team. Against Spain, only the finishing are weak, the build up were fantastic.

    The main problem is sudden transition between attack and defense, we lack additional defensive strength from our attacking players doing the defense when it is needed. Only Messi is allowed having the least defensive duty, imo, to keep his stamina from dropping, which would cost us. He sometimes does excellent defensive duties too when it is needed during in Barca. Just don’t make it as a must.

  9. I would greatly appreciate it if anyone could provide a little clarification for me on this matter:

    What is Meza’s natural position? Is he a winger or can he also play CM (i.e Lo Celso or Enzo)?

    I personally prefer Lo Celso playing next to the DM because I think he’s a better passer and connects well with Messi. Meza played more like a winger VS Spain to me. He doesnt seem like the CM type but more like a LM/LW to me (correct me if I am wrong).

    But I like what Samp is doing though. Those trainings must be ultra competitive especially when noone’s spot is guaranteed. By continuing to alternate certain players, it keeps everyone on their toes. I am liking this strategy alot.

    It seems like Sam has established his preferred starters and their direct subs…

    So Meza is Lo Celso’s sub based on the recent training… Samp clearly likes pairing Meza and Biglia… While Masch is the preferred partner for Lo Celso in central midfield.. Pavon is Di Maria’s sub

    • From the YouTubes he looked like a second striker to me, pops behind the real striker, either coming from left, right or middle. He looks like another no.10. Like Messi or Dybala.

    • Meza is at his best as CAM/Winger..

      But he Strikes me as a Hybrid winger.. kind of an Iniesta.. who was the first of his kind.. but no one can be like Iniesta..( iniesta was last of his kind as well). But the idea of using hybrid wingers in CM role will produce wonders in attack.. but don’t know whether Sampoli can do that in a short period of time… but for sure if there is a player who resembles that kind- the kind of Kevin De Bruyne, David Silva, Rafinha of Barca….-in our squad, that is Meza..

    • The term “total footballer” was invented for the likes of Meza, He’s played as a 10, a winger (both left and right), a midfielder (left, right and center) and most importantly I’ve seen him play Defensive midfielder on 2 or 3 occasions and to be honest he kicked total ass in that position.
      Meza can sub for Biglia/Masch (and in fact he’s a better DM than either of em), Lanzini, Maria, Celso and even Messi if need be.

  10. i believe Mascherano should play intead of Biglia.
    1. he have more experience .
    2. he have some offensive skills more than Biglia. he can carry ball forward and he have very good long passes.
    3. if we need to push for score when it is second half for example he can go back to CB and Sampaoli can add one more player in midfield.
    Mascherano can play in more than one positions. Biglia can play only one position.

  11. Di maria is on left and lanzini on right in almost all training sessions….it look like there is no plan to play them as inverted wingers.
    Dimaria has played 80 percentage of psg games on right side and lanzini prefers left side too..
    Last time di maria on right was against peru and was very bad and subbed by rigoni at half time…. With the messi factor and his combination with dimaria it may better to keep him on the left side of the pitch…
    Let see whats sampoli is thinking..

    • During the game and depend how the game is going on the coach can reverse them. Di maria is left winger but this can change during the games a lot of times. it is not rule that just because he start on left he will remain on left all the game. the same way works for Lanzini and for all the wingers.

    • Yes, there is a less chance to see DiMaria at the right. He has been playing all these years in the NT at left. Also for Sampaoli so far.

      In the club career, DiMaria has mostly played at right. Through out at Real, he played as a RM. At PSG too, he played mostly on the right, as a winger though. Since Ney joined, he was moved to right. But again he was not in great form until he started playing on the right after the winter break (when the attacking trio started to get more rest and then later Ney got injured).

      No idea why Sampa didn’t try it out. On the left, I would like to see Pavon.

    • Di Maria is left footed player, but as far as I can remember, unlike Messi he doesn’t do diagonal runs/ cut inside and hold the ball like Messi do. So he’s quite okay playing as left winger, too. But I agree with you, being able to play in both flank is something good as it’ll bring more options.

      Still think pavon, Masch/Banega, lo Celso, Lanzini as the better starting line up. How about current Banega? Is he any better than Masch?

  12. Most likely this is the formation we are going to witness for the opening match against Iceland provided everyone of these players are fit and raring to go:

    2-3-3-2 (while in attack)
    4-2-3-1(while in defense)

    Mercado – Otamendi – Rojo – Tagliafico
    Lo Celso – Mascherano
    Di Maria – Messi – Lanzini

      • But Sampoli never played Maria in right, no??
        Or did he tried him in right during training ?? If so it’s great.. he was fantastic in right for Madrid.. during 2014 he played right in most of the minutes.. scored that vital goal also from right.. his shooting n crossing both are much worse from left

  13. It seems Sampaoli wants to keep everyone except Messi & may be Otamendi on their toes by playing their competition in alternative training matches. He doesn’t want anyone feel relaxed that his place is guaranteed. He can also have many options at his disposal.

    I don’t like DiMaria at left, his natural position is right. I don’t know why he plays at RW in the NT. He’s almost useless as a LW.

    I think Lo Celso would be a starter at the world cup, deservedly so. He’s one of the most consistent players in the team.

    My 11 vs Iceland:

    4 – 4 – 1 – 1

    Salvio – Otamendi – Rojo – Tagliafico
    DiMaria – Lo Celso – Mascherano – Lanzini

    Rojo – because he’s faster (against teams that don’t counter attack, I would play Fazio)

    Bring Pavon at 60′ for Lanzini
    Meza for Mascherano if Iceland is parking the bus and we have not scored a goal
    else Meza for DiMaria

    • About Rojo: Iceland is pretty physical on set pieces, so it might be better to have Fazio over Rojo. I think they’ll be able to backtrack should Iceland ever get on the break. They’re not very fast anyway (Iceland, that is).

        • I’ve not watched Iceland yet. I know they topped the QF group above Croatia. I assumed they might counter attack. If they don’t, I think Sampaoli would play Fazio too.

          Fazio didn’t go home to be with his wife. His wife was admitted in a hospital in Seville which is not far from Barcelona.

          Sampaoli may still opt with Fazio if he thinks what he needs is height instead of speed.

          I also want Pavon to earn his starting place at LW by the time KO matches start.

    • I also have that feeling about Dimarias position.. he was always better in right wing, a way better. Lanzini also not a proper RW, Pavons favourite position is left as well.. I don’t know why still Sampoli keeps him in left.. may be to give Messi more sace n freedom in right.. don’t know..

  14. Argentina has nothing to do with the war between Israel & Palastein.
    The fact is, AFA agreed for a friendly with Israel, they were all set to play there.. Israel-Palastein issue was not started 5 days ago, that means, when they fixing the match, they all were aware of the issue that was going on..
    so people here want to believe all of a sudden Argentina became soo soo pro Humanitarian or
    Pro Palastein & all…

    But it’s very difficult to agree with them.
    Because the only reasons behind the cancellation is the Protest of Arab World against the match which even stooped to personally target leo messi.. & the over burden of Argentina players to travel there.

    To those who still want to believe other wise, this was what Messi spoke about his opportunity to play in Jerusalem.. a few days back..

    “I really want to visit the Holy Land and for Argentina this will be an important professional and spiritual journey and I’m convinced that coming to Israel ahead of the World Cup will do us good.”

    • The game was not scheduled to be played in Jerusalem, traditionally neutral territory. Israel moved the game there after claiming it as its capital very recently, which coincided with extremely violent actions towards Palestine. Its political. Messi believes in the christian god (no one is perfect) and made that statement innocently and also as expected in PR reasons when dealing with the media. It was Messi who pressed the issue of not playing after seeing in more detail how fucked the cituation is, he even offered to pay with his own money to cover the loss in revenue.. millions.. and presidential pressure to play this PR stunt.

      And by the way, Israel v Palestine in not a war. A war involves two militarized forces engaging, this today is extremely one sided. You have a US funded, nuclear power with advanced airforce, etc vs an apartheid state, with all infrastructure blown up, corraled and kept in an ever shrinking land mass, embargos, etc… And you see soldiers with long range snipper riffles taking head shots against unarmed children. If you believe in god, or have any concience you would not legitimize such violent and predatory behaviour. The world sees that, Messi, Masch etc see that.. it takes compassion and peace to bring god to this world, not defending violence.

      • @leandro
        Actually avoid this topic but well said.

        This is beyond soccer, even beyond politic. In the final, it’s the right decision, god knows the real reason, but I believe that they have morals. At least looking at higuain statement.

      • You said ” Messi believes in the christian god (no one is perfect) ”

        Keep your opinion about the Christian religion for yourself ok ?
        nobody said anything about Muslim religion.
        keep your faith as you want and leave the Christians to their without offend them.
        In Argentina we are Christian Catholics. respect it and avoid this kind of comments like up please.

      • Very nice article but What do you mean by Messi believes in Christian god. no one is perfect?

        Yes, no one is perfect my friend as I can say the same about you and you won’t agree.

        Unless you respect everyone there won’t be any harmony in this world.

    • I think this topic is now becoming a boat anchor to the discussion. At this point there is nothing else to say, blog somewhere else.

  15. Some folks on here still cry for the cancelled game against the most hated NT in the world (Israel) and can’t believe or try not to believe that Argentina NT took a step towards International Peace and Justice. So to those folks go eat yourselves out. Messi and his team reacted to the public opinion and pressure in Barcelona and Argentina, and did the right thing. Not sure Argentina will ever play against your mighty Israel. That move made me happy even if we don’t advance in the WC because it showed ethics, values and integrity of the team I support.

    • Messi n team reacted because of the campaign which asked to personally target Messi. They were showing pics of messi with blood and all.. they obviously didn’t want any problems to team…
      Sampoli was against it because of Travel burden..
      Messi as far as i know have visited Israel personally before..

      andMessi was very much vocal about his ambition to play in the holy city of Jerusalem before world cup.. it’s unfortunate because of the politics he couldn’t fulfill his ambition..

      • You are very ignorant, go educate yourself, read more paper articles from around the world, get more information on what’s happening in Palestine, in the Middle East region in general, and how Sports Events can influence those conflicts more than political speeches, or politicians’ visits. That was why celebrations and parades were all over Palestine territory after Argentina said NO to Israel’s football organizing body. and Argentina’s President himself said NO to Prime Minister of the Evil Empire.

  16. I don’t like that starting 11, on the right hand side, there is not enough support because Lanzini plays more in the central and Mercado stays more behind. By the end, Messi will need to take care of the attack on the right, which limits a lot his contribution.

    I prefer to have Salvio and eventually Acuna as fullbacks, and in attack 2 false wingers such as Di Maria or Dybala on the right and Pavon or Meza on the left so that they have the total freedom to cut inside. This formula=2 creative fullbacks + 2 false wingers works quite well for a lot of big European clubs. Defensive fullbacks with 2 traditional wingers not working anymore since many years.

    • I agree Mercado is better off as a CB.

      Ansaldi is far better option for me and i feel Sampa will go with Ansaldi later in the competition.

  17. Some notes taking by Olé, the Argentinian newspaper:
    1-Caballero is our starter for the Iceland game
    2- Pavon is slightly injuries the past couple days and has been separated from team activities but when healthy, Pavón is Dimaria biggest competition for his starting position
    3- mascherano is better than biglia in ever practice at the #5 position yet biglia is getting his shot; it’s a long tournament !
    4- fazio just had a child and has been away from the team so Rojo has filled in at centerback nicely and is more than likely going to start against Iceland

    • I do believe Mascherano will be better on No.5 position than Biglia. Biglia will not gives us more in attack while Masche is better defensively. Biglia is too soft. Mascherano just have to avoid the mistakes from friendlies and give 110% physically. In his case lack of past energy need to be compensated by experience.

      • Since u mentioned biglia won’t give more in attack… What i think is, even for attack mascherano has still an edge.. his Long balls are still pretty world-class.. and he passes well as much as biglia.. my only worry is his speed defensively.. but i think still a better bet than biglia.. i agree with u guys

    • It seems highly unlikely he will start games.
      But i guess we will see at some point of time he will come from bench to replace no 9 or some wingers..
      May be he will come as a substitute to messi against Nigeria.

  18. Don’t know exactly how this training lineup thing playing out.. but from the reported news, Di Maria -the greatest headless chicken of all time- is getting an undisputed role.. will that affects his eagerness to fight and earn that spot?? If so, that is a worst nightmare..

    I hope sampoli will not do that blunder.. if not he will again start to think he’s another Messi. The scary output, we all know.

    • Di maria have offered to the national team and he deserves respect. if you don t like him it is ok.
      maybe other player is better to start in his place ok too. no argue about that.
      i don t like only for him or for every other Argentinian player words like “headless chicken” type.

        • what has to do what i said with what you write to me?
          i speak about respect to all the argentine players.
          not that i want or we should put Di maria to starters.

  19. Is it possible to go against defensive Iceland, with no Biglia or Masche, but with Lo Celso, Lanzini/Meza in CM role??

    • Iceland will not defense whole match.they will play defensively but counter from them could be deadly

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