Player Ratings for Argentina in 1-1 Tie vs. Iceland


Argentina played to a frustrating 1-1 ties against Iceland on Saturday. A stubborn Icelandic defense was increasingly tough to penetrate, and a Lionel MESSI missed penalty was a huge turning point in the match, because it likely would’ve given Argentina three points.

With a massive match against Croatia looming, Jorge SAMPAOLI’s men must shape up in order to keep their dream alive. Before that happens, let’s revisit how the players performed against Iceland.



Gave up a tailor-made rebound for Iceland’s goal, nearly another later on and provided no sense of security all match. Franco ARMANI should be starting, but don’t expect a change to be made.

Rating: 4/10


Naturally, he left way too much space behind him and was out of position whenever Iceland had bodies in the box. Made some marauding, dangerous runs down the right flank. Given that he isn’t a right back, no one should be surprised by his poor defensive performance. One of SAMPAOLI’s experiments that did not necessarily work.

Rating: 5.5/10


Took on Iceland’s aerial attack all by himself, consistently winning the ball in the air. He was great with the ball at his feet and made several passes that broke through Iceland’s defensive lines. Might have been slightly out of position on the rebound goal, but he was a rock in defense for the duration of the match.

Rating: 7.5/10

CB Marcos ROJO

Beaten for a good chance early in the match and then gave away a ball in his own area. Was more assured over the final 80 minutes, actually provided the “assist” on AGUERO’s goal and sprung some counter attacks by getting to the ball first on long passes from Iceland. Federico FAZIO should probably be starting, but against fast teams, FAZIO would get torched; so SAMPAOLI will have to stick with ROJO.

Rating: 5/10


Was too reluctant to drive forward with the ball, instead passing backwards often, but had a few fantastic one-twos with MESSI. Also was caught out of position on a couple of counters, but played a solid game overall.

Rating: 6/10


Showcasing his trademark aggression and bite in midfield, MASCHERANO consistently won the ball back and was a beacon in the defensive midfield for La Albiceleste. Controlled most of the offensive pace for Argentina with his passing, and should continue to start for Argentina going forward due to the team not having a defensive-minded midfielder in their reserves.

Rating: 7/10


Offered nothing on offense except for five-yard passes, lost the ball countless times and didn’t make more than maybe one lone tackle. A terrible pass of his led to Iceland’s goal. He was a liability and shouldn’t step on the field again for Argentina in this World Cup.

Rating: 2.5/10


Was rather anonymous for his entire 75 minutes on the pitch and Argentina fans were put out of their misery once Cristian PAVON was subbed in for him. Will reportedly lose his place for the match against Croatia, something that has been long overdue given his recent performances with the national team.

Rating: 4/10


Was too static when the ball was at his feet, and didn’t make his trademarks runs with the ball because Iceland was always packed tightly in their own half. His jumping ability and aerial prowess won the team a penalty, though, and gives the offense a different dynamic on long through balls.

Rating: 5.5/10


Was confronted by multiple Icelandic defenders whenever he received the ball, which frustrated him occasionally. Was still Argentina’s main source of offense, but he could’ve put the game away by burying his penalty kick. Will need to play better–though it seems impossible considering he played very well overall–in order to get three points from Croatia.

Rating: 6.5/10


His goal was a thing of beauty, as he controlled the ball in the box, brought it onto his left foot and drilled his effort into the back of the net. AGUERO consistently held off defenders with his strength and fed short passes to streaking attackers. He was arguably Argentina’s best player and appears to be in for a fantastic World Cup.

Rating: 7.5/10



The match changed in Argentina’s favor once BANEGA came in for BIGLIA, as Argentina began passing the ball forward instead of sideways. But BANEGA’s distinctly noticeable lack of pace isn’t enough to disorganize a defense. Despite that, he picked up Argentina’s offensive rhythm and could continue to prove to be a needed offensive substitution off the bench in close games.

Rating: 5.5/10

LM Cristian PAVON

Did more in 15 minutes than DI MARIA has done for the national team over the past few whole years. Provided dynamic pace and attacking bite that this old and slow Argentina side lacked on offense.

Rating: 7/10


Didn’t play enough to make a real impact.

Rating: N/A


  1. MarioTyson1984, Please, just all listen to this wise men’s comment’s, because first of all this guy is deffinnetly right what he’s saying ! 2nd i do share his wiew, because have very much similar memories of the past, though that was in past an d now it’s now, but i think is just getting worst year arter another just simply because of our coaches, never mind if they won with or someone else ! Though Pekerman was good working sith our youngsters like has developed columbian youngsters as well (i presume?) still it never looked like it will happen for us at 2006 even we played some beautiful football there but against mexican’s we ‘re allready at trouble then after that came the german game and we all know what happenned, but still we at least went for penalties against them and with sabella we we’re so close but just bloody chokers+our poor bench selection ruined everything once again !
    So in the end we have just wsated all of our talents for decade’s allready and personally the bloody child beater Passarella was deffinetly the worst just absotlute mad man would not take redondo because he refused to cut his hair, this thing is comparable to what we are facing now with icardi’s situation ! So what if wanda opened up door for him, who the fuck does really care exept maxi lopez and his buddie’s, but why should this effect our player selection ? Well because our coach is just repeating all this crazyness with 1990(simeone, redondo and baigol left out of our team and bloody child beater passarella etc….the list goes on for until this very present day ! And now we somebody wearing and acting like he’s pep or someone else at his level ! No way this idiot is never and will never ever come even close to pep or another good thinking coache’s ! Just look at Mexico or Senegal for example and what their coaches are doing ! Personally i don’t even know the fuck they are, but i can clearly see that they have got right kind of mindset like what we should have had for decades allready, but no, no, no, we just waste allour talents because of our stupid coaches and AFA too ! It’s a fucking huge shame that country who clearly at least in the past hasdevelped so many good world class players hasn’t really won nothing for decades ! So now our man who supposed to at charge ofcteam has flew over cooco’s nest and his mind has become a total rollercoaster, which i belive was the case allready when AFA offered the job for him, offcourse it was necessary to act with bauza clearly not bringing us results, but first of all AFA should have paid at least to tata his sallaries and i dont even know if sabella got what he was offered too, i do understand that AFA has been and maybe still is very corrupted and they don’t want spend a nickle for bringing us glory because they just think Messi will do it by himself which is absolute joke of the whole argentianian football history ! But hey should have never appointed bauza and after that it was allready too late for everything, but even sampa managed mostly because of Messi and Enzo vs Ecuador bring us to Russia i never belived that he will eat his words like fucking red ass baboon who just steals and eats what ever they are able to catch ! So with me this the most depressed thing of our coach at charge+ that his mind is not stable enough to figure out which formation or player selection he should use when ever his playing never mind who is our opponent ! Maybe with chile he was still not that known worlwide yet until he delivered for them and then came to europe and that must clearly been main issue eith his personal downhill specially after he departed sevilla for us ! I mean first thing what he did was that he revealed everyting to everybody by stating that this is Messi’s team and now finally his dream have come through to get coaching the best player on earth ! And now he’s still keep on revealing his lineups way too much early and changing his tactics all the time+ players and doing nothing else than harm to the whole team by confusing everyone+ himself too ! i understand that when things dont work u have act but s
    he should have acted more in those few frienliess we had before going to russia, ok there weren’t that many of them but still he had at leadt few weeks to prepare everyting to correct things with our team, but if we don’t win croatia then no one should defend him anymore or anybody else too ! In everyvsåort there has to certain kindvof criticism specially if nothing never changes, and we are talking about bloody decades ! offcourse it isn’t the right time or ideal time criticism now but still everyone should be entitled to their own oppinons ! because i doubt that our players read our postings constantly here at mundo forum, the media is another story, though if i would be sampa i would not pay much attention to the media or let any of our players doo specially now when we are going to face croatia !

    : And i can tell you why we are the best. 1982 WC we go us champions and they all think is going to be easy lost. 1986 champions. 1990 we go final with the coach doing huge mistake not taking all the young new stars (Batistuta Simeone Redondo) this team after will destroy all in 2 copa america. 1994 we all remember what happened there. 1998 pasarela went crazy asking all players to cut ther hair (Redondo out of team best player in 3 champions league years) 2002 we go us big favourites no one play good. 2006 the best Argentina team. We lose to germany in germany with Pekerman doing completely crazy moves in that game i broke my tv.2010 maradona left zanetti cambiasso home and played AGAINST germany like germany is nothing. 2014 final we where better higuan loose the unbelievable. If you all understand the problem most of the time is trainers or the selection of the team.

    : This site is so pessimistic. We are Argentina. Yes wrong selection for WC team yes wrong selection for first SQUAD but we are Argentina one of the biggest national teams for me the biggest for 30 years i watch football and the players we had and have are superstars. If the coach make the right chooses we will win all games thats it

  2. mess is not the GOAT do you really want more proof?? diego is was and will ever be that s for messi s case . (so don t say it again only if he will get the cup at the end untill now i didnt see it )
    for brazilian case about asking fifa var yes they do have to do it cause swizerland goal was unfairly accorded even pavon fault so i do wonder why do they put that video ??? only to help country like france ?? cause it s the only team which get benefit with a controversial penalty . don t worry guys it will last until the end cause france is the fifa favorite horse (all the bet are for them) this year.
    nevermind if they meat argentina they will be for sure out cause even with the fifa by themside they coyld never beat argentina wich is whatever you said a better nation of football with feet and not with pockets mind

  3. Analysis, team formation, line ups, tactics all good. Let’s take a look at the situation in hand. A tournament is all about staying alive. Don’t get eliminated. If you live another day, chances are things will fall for your favor.

    Right now we need to get out of the group. I wish the Nigeria and Iceland game was before ours. We could have planned accordingly. If they draw, Iceland will be at 2, Nigeria at 1. Even a draw for us is good then. If we can beat Nigeria in the final game we are through. Albeit second position. But if Iceland wins, that calls for more trouble. Nigeria win is good. We have to beat them in the final game. Off course if we win, we get some breathing room. Asking for a win the last game will become a pressure cooker situation. It can go like Ecuador in qualifier or Sweden in 2002 last game.

    The problem we had was, we played too slowly. We need to increase the tempo. Play with more urgency and we should also be able to sit back and defend the lead. This is something Sabella did very well with the team. I hoped for an early goal last time and we got one, but did not help much. I am praying for a clean sheet this time.

    Prediction: Argentina 2 – Croatia 1
    Nigeria and Iceland to draw 1-1
    Group standings after round 2
    Argentina – 4, Croatia – 3, Iceland – 2, Nigeria – 1

  4. 2022 World Cup is just 4 years away huh… probably Argentina will have a human as a coach and not a clown. Messsseeee and his dumbsss will all be watching the Argentina matches on screens rather than from pitches to our greatest relief. How long this ‘generation’ killed the team? huh. (even taking us to the finals and ended up killing us for their fun)
    we will have a better world cup in 2022 hopefully.
    we cried to have Sampaoli onboard only to see him come and select the same thing old biglia, di maria, higuain, aguero, mascherano, banega, romero, gago … all these names were supposed to be in museums or treading some desert terrain but here they are playing their 78th world cup.
    Sampaoli took Lo Celso, Meza, Dybala, Lanzini to see messhhhii flay.
    Mr.Mess thought football is a one man game. Or thought he is supernatural to play a 11s game with just few pals of his.
    I love Argentina – the flamboyant football nation.

    • A agree With you Legend.
      Argentina was winning World Cup Back to Back till 2006. Messi spoiled everything. I hope After messi retiring holes like you will bring Argentina back to cup winning level..

      Till that time stay away from here with your Sarcasm. Improve the pollution index here.
      Take 2_3 other Filths with you, if you can.

      • My dear friend Chalz… Where were you in the 90s and early 2000s??. We Won Few World Cups with Batistuta, Crespo and Zanetti!!!! Where you sleeping? The Best Messi did was 3 back to back Finals in WC and Copa. On the other hand we won all the copas in the 90s and 2000s. Spot on Mate. We dont want to play the Finals anymore.

  5. Been watching argentina fc for a while now since they last won the wc 1986 and always been a supporter ever since.
    It really frustrates me to see these coaches trying to be clever and over thinking things if u look at the the talent we have it’s crazy that we’re not playing better ,di Maria, biglia ,Rojo have all had their chances in previous wc now was the time to freshen up .
    Pavon ,meza,dybala,icardi, lamela,paredes, and alot of other young talents should have been given the chance .
    We are too slow in the mid field, we wont take chances, and nobody is running into any positions to cause any harm to opponents, way too static.
    We all know that messi is GOAT but he is human and the pressure of carrying fc barcelona and a whole country is too much, I feel for him I really do.

  6. Meanwhile Fifa’s beloved son Brazil already complained to Fifa about VAR decisions!

    In a three-page letter to FIFA, Brazil outline three questions;

    Did video assistant Paolo Valeri suggest referee Cesar Ramos review the decision?

    Did the referee ask VAR to analyse the incident?

    In either case, did the two communicate over the decision?

    Note :Argentina players didn’t even show any emergencies to shout about Pavon’s fall? Oooooahhhhh…..!!

  7. Good detailed analysis of Croatians.. Kutz73.

    With what we see in Nigeria match, Nigerians tried to block the Talented CMs & so Croatia had changed their attack.. Instead of Middle they attacked well with Wingers, especially persic. Having Salvio & Acunna will be a good strategy to counter their wing threat. I prefer Enzo to Meza is only because, i think that’s the only way we can destroy Modric & Co in middle. Enzo & Masche will be Always Vigilant. Have to destroy modric before him starting to run.. he’s an average player in static, unlike Pirlo,Xavi et al.. he’s a player who is dangerous wen running. I hope we can block his runs before starting pace, very well with Enzo Masche Acuna.. so if we can cancel out their Midfield, wing threats & Our Defenders other than Otamendi regain Confidence, our battle is half one.
    Croatian defence is nothing compared to ours…

    Contrary to many people’s belief i don’t think Croatia will park bus. they are in a great momentum now. I don’t think they will sacrifice their game plans & attacking power just because they already have 3 points. I don’t think they are coming for a 1 point. They will try to play like Swiss did to Brazil or Like Mexico, to win n qualify in style… And also i don’t think it’s an easy job to Park the bus effectively… Teams like Iran Iceland can only do it effectively, because they came to do that only, they are trained to do it.

    • The playing strategy against group stage opponents is not decided in these 4 days. Its being decided long back and based on that coaches call players. The fine tuning and certain replacements happen in these 4 days

  8. After Di Maria (yesterday), now it is Rojo posted something on Social Media. These players think they are untouchable. Are they pressuring Sampaoli to include them in the starting x1?
    Sampaoli please show your power and keep them out. They have to show their spirit on the field, not on social media.

  9. Fear, Confusion and Anger are 3 emotions emanating from this blog right now. i call for calm as one must enjoy other matches and get entertained. No need to worry about Argentina. Few tweaks here and there we are fine. We will improve by the Group stage and will be a team to beat.

    I bet any team playing Iceland would not have created the chances we have created.

    This is turning out to be the most unpredictable WC of my lifetime.

    Regarding Germany i posted 2-3 months ago that this German team is the Weakest German team i have seen in my 30+ years of life. Aging, slow, unfit etc are the problems. they no longer have spirited fall spraying players. Germans reaching KO will be no less than a Miracle!!

    Brazil – 2 Man Team Neymar and Countinho. Mark them down and they are done. Defence is weaker than us plus Silva is very emotional.

    Spain – will succumb to Counter attack. Midfield is slow to counter. Pique and Ramos are quite predictable. If they face 2 vs Messi one will go with Red card or concede GOAL.

    We have the Best Team along with Spain (including Bench). Spain dont have what we have.. you know the Answer.

  10. For those of u interested in how croatia generally play .. its a long post others pls ignore this

    ” While the team has shown it’s capable of playing in a 4-1-2-2-1/4-3-3 shape when pressing, the most common structure out of possession for the team has been a 4-4-2. Modric and the center forward form the front two while the two defensive midfielders and the two wingers form a line of 4 in front of the defensive line.

    In this formation, the team is generally quite compact while lacking a high intensity in their pressing movements. The two strikers focus on blocking passes into the central midfielders while the opponent central defenders are allowed to circulate the ball until the strikers begin to press on a specific trigger. Therefore, the middle is most often blocked (to an acceptable degree for a national team), and the ball is forced to the wing. On the wings the fullbacks of Croatia press very aggressively and man-oriented. They will follow their winger even if the player is dropping deep in front of central midfield. In this case, the center backs play aggressive and tight marking on the striker when on the near side of the field and are often put into situations where they must pressure and run after the striker down the wing and force them toward the corner flag.

    The winger runs out to the opponent fullback on the ball and puts light pressure, trying to force a mistake while not tackling or pressing aggressively. The two forwards wait for a pass back from the fullback or central midfielder and then decide based upon the speed of the pass and the distance from the central defender if they will begin sprinting forward to apply pressure. Kramaric and Modric are generally quite intelligent in this process, as they won’t start pressing on merely any pass – they decide to begin pressing when they are confident they will arrive at the central defender within a few seconds of the ball arriving. This allows them to put more intense pressure on the ball and makes it more difficult to be played past – the ball is typically then played to the GK for a clearance.

    Another trigger is when a pass is played from one fullback to the far side fullback or far side central defender directly. In these cases the far side winger of the Croatian team will sprint straight forward (he is typically in line with the central defender if he is keeping the team’s compactness on the far side) to put pressure on the player by the time the ball arrives at him, this typically forces a back pass to the other central defender or goalkeeper and the two strikers (and the rest of the team behind them) begin running forward to press and force a clearance.

    Another variation which is commonly seen is when the ball is passed to the wing, the striker on the near side of the field will move higher and closer to the near side central defender of the opponent. This is in an attempt to block a simple back pass, but it often causes trouble for the teammates to cover the near side defensive midfielder. As the striker leaves the defensive midfielder to cut off the central defender (for example, Kramaric), Modric will have to decide between coming a long distance across the field to pressure the open defensive midfielder – which is usually very difficult to do with right timing – and leave the far side defensive midfielder and central defender with more space OR he can stay in his far side position and let the near side central midfielder (for example, Rakitic) step forward on the opposing defensive midfielder.

    Rakitic stepping forward may leave open a pass into an attacking midfielder in the halfspace behind him, which Badelj and the central defender would have to decide how to cope with. This is a situation when pressing the wing that a 4-4-2 struggles to handle structurally, though it isn’t exposed that often due to general compactness being tight enough to discourage such passes into the center. The ball is typically just played backward and re-circulated.

    Modric can drop into midfield based upon his decision-making. It is typically when he wants to man-mark an opponent central midfielder who is pushing forward. In these cases, the team can seem more like a 4-1-4-1 or a 4-5-1 but it is only momentary, and when the ball begins re-circulating back to his side, he will pass of his mark to a teammate and step up again into the forward line to block passes into the central midfield. He does this to prevent a possible diagonal pass into the opposite halfspace while giving his central midfielders some extra cover to press by a central midfielder or central defender on the ball.

    Over the course of the four friendly games, the team steadily improved in 1 crucial detail: central midfielders pressing out to players in the opponent defensive halfspace. For example, if an opponent central midfielder drops out of the 4-4-2 defensive shape of Croatia next to the two strikers – he can typically have some space and time to then bring the ball forward and attack the defensive shape. The strikers are focused on blocking the opponent central defenders, and the wingers are focused on pressing the opponent fullbacks. The dilemma is to move out and press this open player outside of the 4-4-2 to prevent them from calmly bring the ball forward and into the shape to create an attack.

    In earlier games, the team didn’t press the open player and just looked to remain compact as a block to prevent easy entry into the shape. As time went on, and especially in the match vs. Mexico where they used a 4-1-2-2-1/4-3-3 shape, the central midfielders of Croatia began to leave the midfield line and press up next to the strikers while the rest of the midfielders shifted across to compact the shape. In a 4-3-3 this is a bit more intuitive as there is an extra central midfielder and so there is more cover to run out and press next to the single striker – this typically forms shapes resembling a 4-4-2 (in reality, it is more staggered, like a 4-1-3-1-1).

    After this game using the 4-3-3, the central midfielders began pressing out even in the 4-4-2 shape. So, one of the defensive midfielders would step forward to the player in the defensive halfspace while the far side defensive midfielder and winger tuck inside to close any hole that may have opened in the line of 4. This results in a shape which has three strikers and three more spread out midfielders, resembling a 4-3-3 shape. Ultimately, the team began to apply better pressure in these situations which made the entire defensive shape more stable – making it more difficult for the opponent to find time and space near the defensive block.

    The speed and intensity of the defensive block are not at a high level as I mentioned, but it is at an acceptable level for international football. Some club teams like Real Madrid even play a 4-4-2 in defense without a considerable intensity or distances covered, but it is enough to remain stable for that phase of the game until the ball is in your possession again. Issues can arise though when the opponent plays a fast switch from one wing to the opposite fullback, and the block is arriving late to put pressure on the ball. If the block is arriving late, the fullback has time and space to play a simple diagonal long pass behind the defense for the strikers to run onto and press or dribble inside toward the middle against the Croatian winger who has a disadvantage in momentum while shifting.

    When these forms of penetration are not so difficult to achieve, the opponent can create dangerous attacks – it would require from the team a more intense and aggressive movement as a block to reach passes on the outside of the block in time and collectively tackle and pressure and time the ball is trying to enter into the block. Against Brazil, when Neymar was put into the game, Croatia began the struggle because Brazil was more capable of attacking the central spaces than when Neymar was on the bench.

    When Neymar was on the bench, Coutinho played on the left wing while three defensive midfielders occupied the middle for Brazil. Neymar came on for Fernandinho, and it was Coutinho who moved back to a central midfielder position while Neymar came into the central midfield spaces from the left wing while Marcelo occupied the wing. Suddenly, Brazil was flooding the center with more quality build-up players, and Croatia’s intensity in preventing passes in the middle of the field was exposed. As they reacted to block progression through the center, the wings began to open up for Willian and Marcelo to attack and cross if the attack was stopped through the middle. Most teams won’t be capable of being dangerous in all zones of the field like this, so Croatia should survive without much difficult against a lot of their opponents, but when it comes to games against teams with more quality, this can become an issue.

    As mentioned above, against Mexico they showed a possible 4-1-2-2-1/4-3-3 variation. In this shape, they had better counterattacks due to having three strikers in high positions once the ball was won as opposed to just having the #10 and #9 in the 4-4-2. With Kovacic or Rakitic winning the ball and dribbling forward, they had three strikers in front of them to play behind and create shots.

    When pressing in this 4-3-3 variation, the compactness of the team improved as they had all six players in front of the defensive line in central or halfspace positions. This made sure they controlled the center while still being able to shift to the wing quickly to press the ball and prevent progression. This shape was very much focused on winning the ball and counter-attacking. In possession, the central defenders looked to play direct balls to the three strikers to attack Mexico’s defensive line of 3 with dribbles and crosses or combining through the middle with the central midfielders running forward.

    The idea was not to spend extended time in possession trying to build up attacks, but to be direct when they had the ball and then rely on pressing and counter-attacking to create chances for them. Croatia is capable of playing such a style, it is likely they take this approach against better pressing teams where they don’t want to risk losing the ball in short build-up. It would be interesting to see Croatia take this exact approach in the tournament, though I suspect they chose to play with a front three because they wanted to directly press the three central defenders of Mexico, in every other match they played with the 4-4-2 against two central defenders.”

  11. Today Sampoli repeated the set up. So the 3 Changes are almost confirmed.

    Only dispute as of now is weather to continue Meza (but in a deeper role, with Mascherano).. or replace him with Enzo Perez..

    So it might be,

    Mercado in Rojo Out.
    Pavon in Di Maria out.
    Acuna in Biglia Out &
    Enzo in Meza Out.

    I vote for Enzo. Filling Midfield with Hard working defensively stable players is the best thing to do now. It’s a a do or die hell of a match..

    Salvio, Acuna is actually a great idea if works out well.. only worrying point is Tagliafico in the back 3 instead of Mercado/Ota/Fazio or even Fazio/Ota/Rojo..
    I don’t know well about Tagliafico in CB role. So not commenting on it.. overall i feel good about this new set up. 3_4_3 Might be well enough to do a better defence. & With B-ackpass-glia & Di Maria gone attack will be fast, focused & sharp, hopefully.

  12. Last 4 days what I am understanding if le Celso and Dybala plays Argentina will win. I am actually following Mundo since 2006/07 and never saw the posts that i am seeing now. We don’t have respect for our players and we think everything is magic. I think Sampaoli is close to the team and he knows best what to do. If we have selected Sampaoli as our coach we need to trust him. By the way how many goals Dybala score for Argentina. I like Dybala but football is played in the field on in blogs or facebook. Let’s be patient and support our team.

  13. Argentina will exit group stage (hope not) and everybody here will blame sampoali
    new coach will come for copa, we will lose and same people will blame coach

    because most people on here and professional managers and are winning titles in their domestic leagues every year.

  14. Lo Celso should play. He was thrown in the deep end at PSG and for us against Spain. And now all of a sudden Sampaoli is hesitant?
    Dare I say I am losing confidence in the man.
    We showed no intensity against Iceland, due to the slow midfield selected.
    It won’t mean jack what formation we choose if the players don’t show the intensity in movement and making runs around the defensive channels for the likes of Lo Celso or Banega or Messi to pick that pass.

    For me against Croatia I would play the following:
    Goalkeeper :undecided
    ………Messi……..Lo Celso……..

    Goalkeeper: I’ve not seen much of Armani to make a call over Cabellero.
    Defense: Fazio, whilst slow, has been utilised at Roma in a back 3. Seems to deal with tall strikers very well. Rojo will be in his CB position and be the faster of the 3.
    Midfield: Salvio didn’t bring nothing new in a back 4. So maybe push him further up to make those marauding runs? Mascherano is clearly the best we have as a no.5 which is worrying because of speed and quick transitions. Taglifiaco will be that extra cover and probably abit more reassurance for Rojo.
    Let’s just get used to the idea that no matter who supports Messi, he will always drop deep and try to create. He can’t help it, Sampaoli can’t help it either. We just need to realise this. So put him in that no.8 role. The no.6 role should be given to Lo Celso. If it doesn’t work so what! At least we have given the kid an opportunity. Perfect chance for him to link well with midfield and forwards. The job that Biglia was supposed to do.
    Forwards: because I’ve got Messi dropping deep, and Salvio supporting on the right flank, I’ve opted for Dybala to come in from the right. As his position at Juve. He could play those close and fast 1-2s with Messi to entice the Croatian players. I chose Higuain simply because he links well with Dybala and his overall play AND NOT his finishing ability. Aguero is more effective playing off the last shoulder of defenders. We need intensity in transition.

    • You must rate Rojo very high to include him in your fantasy lineup against Croatia. Where do you think Rojo will endup after this world cup? And mighty Higuain ahead of Aguero? Oh ok..

  15. Here’s a question to my albiceleste brothers who are based in Argentina.
    This is in regards to the relationship between the media and the team. I know in recent years we had boycotted press meetings but have overturned that now if I am correct.
    The point I want to make and ask is, with Gareth Southgate improving morale amongst the England team by Integrating the media involvement so that they get a relaxed environment which gets rid of that toxic vibe that press and media often rub off on to the teams.
    What i want to know is, does the media and press in Argentina have that same relationship or a fresh start with our team?
    Tyc sport seems to get inside information with formations and release it to the public. It doesn’t leave us second guessing and it helps the opposition in understanding the starting eleven.
    The pressure of the general public is huge in Argentina for the boys to win and perform well, surely the media should support the team and not to inflame the situation which is delicate as it is.
    England’s expectations are quarter finals. Realism has finally caught on here. And that’s down to Southgate opening the doors to the press, which in turn have not turned against the team when playing badly.

  16. Many retired players and coaches nowadays work as analists for TV shows or web media. Does anyone know if Sabella gave his analysis on the Iceland match. If he did, can you post a link? Thank you.

    • This site is so pessimistic. We are Argentina. Yes wrong selection for WC team yes wrong selection for first SQUAD but we are Argentina one of the biggest national teams for me the biggest for 30 years i watch football and the players we had and have are superstars. If the coach make the right chooses we will win all games thats it

      • And i can tell you why we are the best. 1982 WC we go us champions and they all think is going to be easy lost. 1986 champions. 1990 we go final with the coach doing huge mistake not taking all the young new stars (Batistuta Simeone Redondo) this team after will destroy all in 2 copa america. 1994 we all remember what happened there. 1998 pasarela went crazy asking all players to cut ther hair (Redondo out of team best player in 3 champions league years) 2002 we go us big favourites no one play good. 2006 the best Argentina team. We lose to germany in germany with Pekerman doing completely crazy moves in that game i broke my tv.2010 maradona left zanetti cambiasso home and played AGAINST germany like germany is nothing. 2014 final we where better higuan loose the unbelievable. If you all understand the problem most of the time is trainers or the selection of the team.

    • @richard newbies on this site want us to only read their comments and applaud them and say nothing at all. We are not allowed to spread negative vibe here. We are to complement their fantasy lineups and formations and strategies. We are suppose to chant we are the best and we will thrash Croatia 5 nothing!!

      Nobody knows this team better than Sabella and I also would like to know his views on our awesome performance against mighty Iceland!!

  17. Some people are desperate
    Some are panicked
    Some creates provocation
    In between some of them here are still hopeful.
    Its not the end of the day….
    Argentina is argentina…
    Messi is messi….
    Couple of seconds are enough for him to change the whole scenarios….. We have a decent squad to back him.some one has to create the spark against croatia and if its clicked it may become a fire….
    Its all about momentum….!!!
    Enjoy until the last breath…

  18. This is the best Argentina lineup based on our players’ strengths and weaknesses.
    A shame it was never practiced in training prior to WC

    ———Banega———Lo Celso———–
    ——-Dybala——————–Di Maria—-

  19. I think there was some inner pressure to include Biglia, Rojo, and Dimaria etc in the first x1 for the first game. Now Sampaoli is free to make his own decision after wide criticism of his team selection. From Croatia game, it will be purely Sampaoli’s team. I am not defending Sampaoli for his team selection. This is what my assumption.

  20. Biased ratings as stars show Salvio did more defensive work than Tagliafico
    And Messi was a 4
    I’m pessimistic and at best we draw vs Croatia if he changes formation

    • Haha Messi was 4 ?
      What planet you are from Friend?
      Have you missed 3 to 4 Ice Giants marking Messi. Without messi, they would have all free to attack against our poor defence. That’s one point. Shutting down 3_4 Opposition players for 90 minutes,alone, itself will guarantee any player 6 Minimum points.. of course there must be minus points for missing penalty. And to overcome that Messi was the finest attacker of the match. Even with 3_4 Markers & bus, we tried his best (his best is the best in the world) to make space & creat chances, His pass won Penalty. He had 10 shots against the Toughest bus in the world..

      Grow up.

        • That tells how poor you are in analysing a match. There’s no way a player who keeps 3_4 players for 90 minutes as his private marker & stillt doing the best attacking job with 10 shots gets rating less than 6.
          Just grow up. Don’t bring your frustration to analyse a match & player.

  21. Sampaoli will do like his Teacher Bielsa in 2002, he will knock us out from the group stage … very frustrated … we were already out of WC … since the player selection in May …. high average age … half of the players don’t play regularly in their teams … no GK … No defense … no Energetic DMS …. Dybala is not playing …. Ivardi is out … Rulli is out , Garay is out , Asascibar , Bataglia. Paredes are out … how in the hell we are going to compete in this World Cup with this selection … suck corrupted AFA …..

    • In a parallel universe: “Sampaoli will do like his Teacher Bielsa in 2002, he will knock us out from the group stage … very frustrated … we were already out of WC … since the player selection in May …. no top level experience … half of the players haven’t played 10 games with NT … no GK … No defense … no Experienced DMS …. Aguero is not playing …. Higuain is out … Willy is out , Rojo is out , Biglia , Banega, Di Maria are out … how in the hell we are going to compete in this World Cup with this selection … suck corrupted AFA …..”

      It’s too easy with assumption. Nothing guarantees that your selection would work better. Easier said than done. Let’s support the team instead.

  22. We don’t need more change..




  23. Here is what I hope we do against Croatia:
    1. Mark Mandzukic when they have the ball
    2. Choke Modric’s passing lanes when he moves with the ball. He passes better when he’s moving with the ball than a dead ball.
    3. Block Rakitic’s long shots.. he is going to attempt a few given Caballero’s weaknesses in anticipation
    4. Flank lovren and the other right back. Keep em on their toes and hopefully we can cut in through their soft central defence.
    5. Not worried about kovacic (he will likely manmark messi but can be shaken off) or perisic who is not a major headache and can be contained..except be extra careful in set piece scenarios.

  24. Strongest teams so far are in this order for me:

    1) Spain
    2) Brazil
    3) Belgium

    Not based on result, but more on team balance, fitness level and speed, roster, bench depth, coach tactics, goalkeeper, and passing quality/ shots on goal.

    One of them will lift the world cup.

  25. IT would be a Thriller like Ecuador match. very excited. Being a fan of Cinema i really like edge of the seat thrillers. Arg Vs Croatia gonna be the most entertaining group match of this world cup.

    • Well, a draw is not bad. If we hold Croatia in a draw, the last match between Iceland and Croatia need to be a draw with higher score to eliminate us (Assume that both Iceland and Argentina will beat Nigeria). If Iceland couldn’t beat Nigeria, it will be much easier for us. I believe a draw with Croatia and a win against Nigeria will be enough and is the most feasible scenario. Of course, I am wishing for a win but I can’t risk to lose. Let our players play a safe game.

      • I’d rather we win CRO now so that we are at least level on 4 points with ICL going into the last round of group stage matches. Let ICL and CRO fight it out in the last round (CRO will want to avoid de ja vu and need to win or draw while ICL will only need a draw which they have shown they are capable of against CRO) while we have destiny in our own hands. Come to think of it, we better win against CRO else we will be im deep shit (again).

    • Thriller!? man this is not a movie bro… i like my Argentina matches boring where we score inside the first 10 minutes and score every 20 minutes thereafter, thank you. Every other match can be thrilling.

  26. PSG’s Emery had such a massive confidence on Lo Celso that he did not hesitate to start him as DM against team like Real Madrid, which was the biggest match of his coaching career. But Sampa did not he courage to give Lo celso few mins against team like Iceland in a group stage match when his midfield was totally undone. Just watching England last night, situation was like Argentina match , it was 1-1 at the half time and Tunisia parked the bus, England coach brought 20 years old Rashford and 22 years old Loftus cheek for last few mins and they changed the match immediately and England got the winner at injury time. What our coach did , brought his tried and tested Banega and Higuain and got the result he deserved .

  27. so sad to know that we start with pessimism after the first game. Hopefully the atmosphere in the team did not melt and fade. Messi and Sampaoli need to break through and win against Croatia as it will helps rebuild the spirit and confidence again. Although it will be hard opponents – even a draw will not help much. Play with the best players and formation otherwise be ready to pack the bags earlier and enjoy long holidays. I don’t understand the Sampaoli plan play with 3 def, 4-4-2 will be better and natural Arg style as we did not have a great cdm. Need a twin tower at the back against Croatia. Play Mercudo, Ota,Fazio and Rojo..

    Btw a good review on Croatia players by Kutz73.

    • 😎😎@ clean ball .. thats wishful from my side .. i picked it up from a tactical analysis blog .. hence the entire content has been quoted and unquoted 😎😎

      I prefer reading stuff like this than squabbling over who should say what on this web site ..
      And after reading the ice land vs argentina analysis i think ( my opnion ) we had a good plan but ice land EXECUTED their plan better ..
      Sampoli is a good coach doing his best with what he has ( yes and no its his selection ) and i beleive if the players execute his plan we will win over the croats .. oh damn then there is the question of do we have the right personell for the plan .. again my opnion yes we have BUT are they ready to be thrown in the deep end is another question ..
      Sampoli has had only 15 games ( max ) out of which the WC qualifiers were do or die ties so he actually had no time to prepare cut the guy some slack.
      As always we are here to enjoy argentina play ( in what ever circumstances ) coz the next football feast watching our beloved team play is next year at the copa and then after 3 years soo lets be friends pur our egos on the back burner n enjoy hope we win the WC … ” preciousss ohhh preeecioous “

  28. Maradona: Sampaoli can’t return Argentina by playing like this.
    Lots of mistakes,
    from selection of 23 player,
    1 month of casual training,
    then playing Biglia and Di Maria in starting 11 knowing the consequences that affected more.
    But dreaming without understanding ground reality is a bliss for Sampaoli and management.

  29. two years ago I felt that we don’t have a good coach sampaoli style dont fit for Argentina , and I don’t think that is going to be a very productive WC ,they have squeezed by in qualifying,who knows maybe by the grace of God by again .if not then Messi can play for Barcelona the next WC .

  30. A break down of our opponents ..

    “Kramaric is a technical center forward with good movement behind the defense who can also drop into central midfield to help circulation. His dribbling and shielding of the ball in tight spaces are clean while his ability to combine with midfielders running forward is another weapon. With him in the center forward role, Croatia have a quite complete striker for counter-attacks, connecting through the middle, and attacking crosses after the ball has been played wide.

    Perisic operates in an inside-winger role for the team. He can check deeper into central midfield if needed but prefers to remain between the opponent’s midfield and defensive lines. From this high position he can move into the halfspace to receive the ball and attack toward the goal diagonally, but he prefers most often to make runs outside toward the wing to get behind his opponent and cross or engage in a dribbling attack. His size and strength are above average for this position – but his pace is not very high. He can dribble past his opponent but will not leave them behind with his speed.

    Mandzukic is used in a right winger role for the team, which is comparable to his current position at Juventus or his role at Wolfsburg earlier in his career. He is most well known for playing as a target man center forward for Bayern Munich and Atletico Madrid. He is a very aggressive player who can run at a constant pace for nearly the entire match. His strength isn’t technical ability in tight spaces or speed in running, but rather his ability to attack or control high passes and bring his teammates into the attack with simple passes. He is continually moving along the opponent defensive line to try and get behind them or receive a high ball. He can make runs down the wing and attempt to get crosses into the box, but he prefers to move higher and inside like a second striker. He can act as a target for simple layoffs in the middle before the ball is played wide and he runs into the box to attack the cross with his strong headers.

    Luka Modric acts as a complete midfielder for the team. He is put in an attacking midfielder role to create for the group using his dribbling and passes behind the defense. He frequently drops out of the space between the lines to help stabilize the circulation in deeper zones and bring the ball forward to the strikers by dribbling past opponents, combining with the strikers, or playing passes into them. His positioning, scanning of his surroundings, body positioning, decision-making, and execution are all at an extremely high level. He is one of the best central midfielders in the history of football and is the clear gem in this Croatia squad.

    Rakitic performs as a deep-lying playmaker for this team. At Barcelona he is used more like a #8 who can run forward or fill the wing positions should Messi move toward the center. In this role, he frequently drops between the two central defenders or to the side of them to receive the ball with space and time. From this position, he will look to use his long passing ability to find his forwards or his fullbacks on the wings. He is capable of shielding the ball and dribbling in tight spaces, taking dangerous long shot opportunities, and playing long and accurate passes. Rarely, he will run forward and take part in the attack by combining with the forwards or dribbling through midfield to take a shot at goal.

    Badelj operates as a constant defensive midfielder. While Rakitic is more mobile, Badelj is strict in his position in front of the central defenders. He is capable of smaller movements to find passing lanes between himself and the deeper build-up players, receiving and passing under pressure with accuracy and cleanliness, and dribbling or shielding the ball in these situations as well. Defensively he is very stable and covers space in central midfield effectively. He looks to find a window from which to receive the ball and then play a faster low pass through the opponent midfield into the strikers to combine or play the ball wide for the fullbacks to run forward and cross. If Rakitic and Modric have both dropped very deep, he will occasionally move forward between the opposition midfield and defensive lines to keep the structure of the team, but outside of that, he will maintain his position in the center of the team.

    Vrsaljko acts as the technical and highly offensive fullback of the team. He will commonly occupy the right wing during the attack while the winger ahead of him moves toward the center of the field. He is strong in his pressing as he has an excellent athletic ability with his size, strength, and speed. He looks to combine out of pressure situations with his teammates and can dribble the ball in tight situations if needed. He likes to receive the ball on switches of play from his central midfielders, so he can run forward and cross into the box for his three strikers.

    Vida typically plays as a central defender for the team but can fit in at the left fullback role if needed. The manager seems to prefer him over Strinic or Pivaric for this position. He is stable on the ball, he can retain possession of the ball under pressure but won’t be looking to dribble past opponents or play clever combinations. His pass choices are quite simple and safe, and he will run forward in support of Perisic but won’t offer a real offensive creative threat – which is common in the fullback position. He very much looks like a central defender who is playing as a fullback for this team.

    Lovren and Corluka are quite similar concerning size, strength, and athletic ability. They are both aggressive in stepping out to pressure a player who is receiving the ball to intercept or tackle the ball, while neither have a high speed. They are both strong in the air and in physical duels – which makes Croatia a dangerous team on set pieces. Neither are strong in dribbling situations, but Corluka has shown to have quite accurate passes over a long range. Of the two, Lovren plays the more straightforward passes while Corluka looks for deeper options more frequently. Overall, they are two stable central defenders while neither of them is extraordinary.

    Subasic has shown to be slightly unstable when attempting to play out of the back. He most often clears the ball whenever he has it and has demonstrated a lack of awareness regarding when strikers are pressuring him. He is quite cautious when it comes to collecting crosses or high balls but has shown an ability to block shots on his goal. Overall, he is a goalkeeper who looks to play longer passes to the strikers or hit a clearance when he has the ball and is stable concerning shot-stopping.”

  31. Was snooping on a Croatian blog .. some really interesting views other teams have of us, I never though we were labled as divers ..

    ” Damn, so if he gets one against the divers from Argentina he is out for Iceland….where we might need him if we don’t get the result we need against the Argies…”

    Their team is in a mess over klanic .. on the other hand events like this can galvanize the team to out do themselves ..

  32. in next match cro :2 vs arg:0. fucking sampaoli should get out of the team. whole Argentina teams are destroyed by sabella, martino, bauza, and sampaoli. should dismantle the team. messi should concentrate on club level football.
    messi can not shine further in Barcelona because of iniesta gone away.
    simeone could take charge at AFA after messi announced his retirement. simeone won’t come to Argentina boss until messi.

    • right because Simeone thinks he is the best player in the world, we wont want him in his pitch..
      you all knowing tactical genius… kep enlightening us.

      • am sure this team will come out of group stage.still there is no midfield creativity. do you know why barca crash out on UCL17-18? bcoz ernesto/enrique used 4-2-3-1 system which is never suitable for barca. now earnesto planning to go 4-3-3. this is the right formation which is suitable for messi and iniesta. Real Madrid never changing their 4-3-3 system. last time sabella used 4-3-3 / 4-4-2 that was the reason ARG went to final.

  33. Any defence would need to rethink its strategy if Dybala is given an unexpected start. It is worth giving a shot especially when the current XI is proving to be unproductive.

  34. I also agree that Otamendi, Tagliafico, Messi, Mascherano and Aguero were Argentina’s best players. But that’s not enough! They need more!
    I think they should go back to a 3-4-3 as follows:
    Salvio/Meza-Mascherano-Lo Celso-Tagliafico
    – we need to win the midfield! So if Messi drops to help with the build up, Salvio or Meza will push up to keep the width on the pitch. Likewise with Dybala, when he drops to help with Build Up, Tagliafico pushes up to keep the width. And when either return to their positions, the wingbacks fall back their positions. I think it’d be best if Messi would stay in the midfield and Salvio or Meza would stay up to provide width. With Messi, Dybala, and Lo Celso pushing up to support, Argentina would win the midfield back, and could take on any team! Remember with Messi and Dybala playing together in a 3-4-3, they gave Brazil their first loss back in 2017. And Salvio and Tagliafico would provide width to stretch the opposing defense. The back three would defend and Mascherano would be the final support in the midfield before passing to the center backs!
    Argentina this year would be known for MAD (Messi, Aguero, and Dybala). Not as deadly as MSN, but would still have a lot of firepower! Let’s get it done!

    • 3 defenders is a hara-kiri for argentina kind of team. Even earlier we have got mauled with 3 defenders. While being optimistic , i am slowly losing confidence in sampaoli.
      1) we should surely play 4 defenders. not sure why coach is hell bent on not bringing ansaldi as RB.
      2) Salvio i think is better than Meza for now . He should be RM in 4-4-2 .
      3) Pls play LoCelso . In current scheme of things – our best midfield is Salvio-Lo Celso-Masche-Pavon. With 4 defenders , Salvio & Pavon can attack
      4) Pls give Armani his shot. Its clear as daylight that Caballero is not going to take us far.
      While Croatia didn’t play well, i am still not at all confident on our Thursday match. We will need atleast 2 players ( outside Messi who may be again shackled ) raising their game big time to go thru.

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