Two rumored Argentina line-ups for World Cup


Per reports coming out of Argentina, coach Jorge SAMPAOLI has two line-ups in mind for the match against Thursday.

It looks as though SAMPAOLI will go for either a 3-3-3-1 or a 3-4-3 for the game with a few changes in players. The first eleven would see Gabriel MERCADO, Marcos ACUNA and Cristian PAVON int he starting eleven. The second one would see Gabriel MERCADO, Marcos ACUNA, Enzo PEREZ and Cristian PAVON in.

In a 3-3-3-1:

Argentina line-up
Argentina rumored line-up in a 3-3-3-1 formation.

In the 3-4-3:

Argentina line-up
Argentina rumored line-up in a 3-4-3 formation.

Either line-up would be different from the one which started against Iceland which saw a flat midfield of Lucas BIGLIA and Javier MASCHERANO.


  1. Messi has been struggling to get over the feeling that his let his team and his country down against the an Iceland team that were expected to be the group D whipping boys. That’s not good bring Dybala

  2. Argentina most likely will get a draw or wrost, Croatia are very confident waiting for the game meanwhile Argentina can’t get their act together, the coach doesn’t know who to play in a do or dies match, bring all your weapons Messi, Dy Balla, Kun, Pavon, Lo celso, macherano, Mercado, Ota, Fasio, Tagliafica.

  3. Actually i like the 3-4-3 but it has to be with Meza or Lo celso. I would prefer a attack minded and good feet with ball young player than Enzo(no offence). We are likely goin to attack from left. Acuna & Pavon with immense pace. So why not Lo celso,he is lefty too. Celso and Meza can make late run in the box aswell. I am annoyed with Sampa because he changed Lo Celso in last minute. He was the X factor for us in the midfield. If he plays Enzo than it might be same again unless Enzo play something like he did against Ecuador.

    • argentina should play attacking football like in Iceland game.where argentina were very closely 3-1 luck was not with argentina.otherwise defensive approach will draw a next game.

  4. I m ok with whichever formation or players that can help us to take to Round two, But again exposing the line up 2 days before the match?? Why is this always happening?? I mean where is the surprising element.

    I don’t know whether Lo Celso alone can solve all our midfield problems, Will he?? Pavon meanwhile looks like a game changer a real impact player. Enzo is always a safe player he is like Mercado, an underrated player but a hard worker. Acuna meanwhile is a solid player who can attack and defend too, Salvio too can do both. I like the second team by the way, Whatever it is lets win.

  5. I can understand Sampaoli logic. Everyone knew it will be a tough game and there would be one or two goals against Iceland as their whole team defends. Aguero provided the perfect start and game would have opened up if our weak defence had not leaked a goal. In spite of that we were awarded a penalty which was unfortunately missed by Messi and then a clear penalty that was not awarded when Pavon was fouled. On the other hand we were not that good on the left wing as Di Maria and Tagliafico failed to provide the required width. With the above formation Sampaoli is strengthening the defence on one hand and solving the problem of width by installing Pavon and Acuna, as any move from the center would be difficult due to Modric and Rakitic led strong midfield. At Barcelona one of the primary reasons Messi is able to create space is because of the width that Alba and Roberto, previously Alves used to provide. I think with relatively compact defence and reasonable width, Messi, Aguero and Pavon will make life difficult for the Croatia, esp. considering that they are not that good defensively.

  6. The team did not play poorly against Iceland!
    If we play the exact same way against Croatia then we would win by a strong margin.
    Possession based teams (eg barca and Arg) always struggle against ultra-defensive teams – yet despite this, Arg would have still WON the game had Messi not had an “off night.”
    Messi just had an off night, that’s it, nerves weren’t settled, no need to go into panic mode.
    MAJOR positives from the Iceland game shows: Aguero is playing WELL, Pavon is PROMISING, Masche is still a SOLDIER.

    Despite that, some changes can still be made against Croatia eg: Lo Celso for Biglia; Pavon for Di Maria; and sub in Dybala for Meza depending on how the game goes.

    Everyone here is very REACTIVE. Most are wanting to completely change the formation and complete player selections just because we DREW a game (which we would’ve won had a penalty been scored). Calm TF down people.

    • I agree, many are going into panic mode way to soon. You should see the media pundits in Argentina, depressing to watch. I think the fact most of the big name teams have not come out of the starting blocks strong has tempered some of the hysteria. My main frustration is that going into game two of the WC and we still don’t really seem to have our starting 11 or tactics well defined. This is a concern and something I would have thought should have been sorted out months ago. I definitely think we could have used a couple more friendlies. Look at Mexico, man I’ve never seen a national team play so many friendlies, but it seems to finally be paying off for them.

    • If the penalty was on target ( if it was repeated it’s 75% goal) and caballero didn’t punch the ball the wrong way, it would’ve been 2-0, so yes it’s a positive play.

      And if Biglia and Di Maria we’re benchd. We could’ve won since 1st half.

    • I totally agree with u.. sampoli is very good tacticians..if arggentina won against Iceland. Sampoli definitely would change his paying 11..he used players according to opposition team capabilities..

    • By Exact same way you mean all defenders running back to the box and instead of marking opponents in the box let them freely take shots while our goalkeeper face the firing squad and our defenders get nutmegged?

  7. The most important thing that needs to happen is to have more presence in the center. If Sampaoli actually wants to put more focus on the wings we are in trouble. It was so obvious in the last game we broke away a few times from the right in the first half but there were nobody in the center to pass to; on the other hand everything we produced came from the center: the goal, the penalty and the penalty on Pavon that was not given.

    I am less concerned about who is going to play and who is not (although Di Maria, Rojo and Biglia are not very helpful), the important thing is to have more bodies in the center.

    • No, to focus to the center mostly a waste. Messi’s pass was good. It’s not intended for a header but that opportunity was really rare as most of the time it’s a double cover, get it, tall men doubling small players in aerial duel. The timing is perfect and Iceland rarely do mistakes.

      One of the way is by using width but the winger must overcome his marker and do low diagonal back pass targeting players coming from behind. Must be a sudden moves from multiple players. That way, Iceland defense would be in chaos. Pavon arrived late to make those runs. Take for example his assist in Haiti match.

  8. I am angry and worry with these 2 new formations.

    I dont know if this formation is going to work, but trying out new formation at this stage is unacceptable.

    Firstly, how can our players adjust to the ever changing system? The players have been ever changing and now the system.

    The 4 at the back have been working well in the last 2 matches, if Iceland did not park the bus against us and we scored the penalty, we should have won the match. 

    The qualifiers and friendlies have already shown us that 3 at the back does not work for us, why are we switching back to 3 at the back? I hope this new formation will not materialise.

    For me I will just replace the useless Biglia with Lo Celso and change Salvio with a more defensive Mercado with the same formation.

    I did not find Di Maria playing badly, he made some passes exchange with Messi, if he has to be dropped, then Caballero should be dropped too.

    I know this stubborn Sampaoli is not going to use Dybala unless Messi needs some rest, but could you please just give him at least 20 mins to try him out? If it works, I am sure our chance of winning this wc will increase a lot.

    • When Pavon came in for DiMaria we looked better in attack and Pavon seems more compatble with Messi so i wont keep Di Maria in the Starting XI. I would like Dimaria as a super sub

  9. I am kinda shaky about 3 man defence. But atleast Sampa is putting a better XI. We will have space against Croatia. Croatia is a better team than Iceland but I always Knew Iceland would be our biggest Challenge in the group games because of the way they play. Hopefully we win this one. I expect to see Lo Celso after 60 mins and Dybala to get a run in the last 20 mins.

  10. Playing Marcus Acunia is a wise decision from coach…..he will provide speed that team lacked and he is a good finisher too…..but Lo celco shld start……he and Acunia can do wonders for the team…….Acunia can do the job as lanzini does…….Mesa shld be substitute as per first game……



    ……………mascerano…….lo celco…….



  11. Ridiculous. With grade 2 mercado and tagliafico, he want to play 3 backline. Anybody please go and plant 4 tree on his head to make him solid defender to protect opponent cyclone.

  12. I think it will be disaster if we are all out attacking from beginning. Of course, we want 3 points but 1 point against Croatia is not end of the world. The team should play wisely, welcome Croatia to attack, and counter. Sampaoli should tell the players to use different tempo, mix possession control with long passing. One dimensional tactics are too easily to block as shown in the match with Iceland

  13. Patrick Ewing as coach of Georgetown called an time out and asked one of his players paraphrasing : “what was that shot? have you practiced that shot? If yes when? How many times? because I’ve never seen you practicing that shot”
    Sampaoli just like Sabella spent his preparation fine tuning his systems just to realize they don’t work. Sabella prepared 3-5-2 and then 4-3-3 and then improvised to a 4-4-2.
    Sampaoli 4-2-3-1 and now again 3-3-3-1 already improvising with players he never tried it.
    Surely Patrick Ewing would ask him those questions about his formation.
    I like that formation and I have hopes but I know that a 3 man defense needs time to function and to master so I hope he has prepared it during the preparation phase or else we lost precious time again without results.
    Like I mentioned earlier in some of my post: we lack that midfielder in the middle who melts the team into one, passes, pauses, paces, the team orbits around him.
    I see only 2 players that can do that: Banega on his day and Lo Celso.
    Give Meza to Riquelme and he will make him a star.

    • Yes, I hope their time on the practice field has been well spent because all I seem to see them doing on TV during training is playing a lot of futbol voley-tennis.

  14. San Isidro, i think he never even belived that he could change anything what’s been going on for at least a decade or even two, and he might have just taken the coaching job because of those nightclub pant’s that u mentioned, maybe he just wanted to have new experiment with his own personal life and get to the spotlights and wish that some really stupid european rich team will hire and then fire him forcto just earn more money !

    Does ANYBODY here know how stupid it is to play with 3 defenders against a team like Croatia with top notch midfielders?

    Or are all the people on this site only complain after we shit the bed again?
    Yes our defense sucks with 4 defenders so lets see how much it sucks with 3 defenders.

    And the midfield is slower than shit to begin with. BRILLIANT.

    YES Maradona was a better coach. Maybe even Bauza

    And can someone tell this man Sampaoli not to wear skinny jeans on sideline for a game? Does he think he is in a night club?

    • Ricky
      I have watched every World Cup since 1978. I was at Estadio monumental at the final in 1978, Estadio Azteca in 1986 and in 2014 at the final. This Argentina team is beyond any doubt the weakest Argentina team I have ever seen from 1 to 23. Aside from Messi, there is no player here to fear or to think can make a miracle happen. Sometimes teams play better than their parts. But this requires a good coach, not a great coach. This coach can’t even decide a basic formation, let alone pick players.
      The fact that he constantly changes players and doesn’t even realize where the problem is at is a huge embarrassment to the country. Even Maradona had a clue what he wanted to do. All Maradona cared about was attack and attack aggressively. This guy is a moron.

      • 😀 maradona and bauza were shit.. had he had the balls to call up these young players and/or not shit on the qualifying campaign we would have had time to try out these players and formation in the qualifiers instead of hanging by a thread and fighting to qualify..

        maradona shit his pants in the quarter final by selecting an unbalanced side… I haven’t seen as many finals but I have seen every match since the 90s and with clubs.. this is not the 85 or 78 and teams and defense donot play same .. but anyways.. I agree to the troubles of 3 man defense and hope we donot see it… but it must also be argued playing salvio at RB is like having a 3 man defense.. he is useless there…

        sabella had no spine because he came to WC with a set of shit players as backup with a single 11.. had be had balls to select even half baked backup like Sampaoli has taken with him for every position he would have had a chance in spite of the injuries that crippled us…

      • I will save my final opinion/judgement of Sampaoli for after Argentina’s WC campaign, but from what I’ve seen so far I would say the “vende humo” label may end up fitting. Some of his off field antics have caused me to also question his character (traffic cop incident), but like I said, I will hold off and see what kind of rabbit he ends up pulling out of his hat. In his defense, and to be fair, he was placed in a difficult situation when he took over the team, and AFA is not the easiest federation to work for, i.e. lack of/poor selection of friendlies, Israel debacle etc. I also think he was maybe given too much credit for Chile, which is a project he inherited from Bielsa/Borghi so how much credit for Chile’s transformative success should he really get? He was doing ok with Sevilla, but does he really have the pedigree to coach a team like Argentina? I wish him the best and hope he ends up alongside Menotti and Bilardo, but the reality is that he is from the Bielsa school and we all know how that ended up for us in 2002.

  15. Having LoCelso gives us the option of Dybala. Without an active midfield, Dybala will be highly ineffective since he doesn’t drop back as much as messi does. Mascherano and LoCelso will both feed the top three effectively.

    With dybala on the field, messi will find more space (as opposed to less as some say since it’s not dybala that will be in messi’s space but defenders and DMs) since dybala and messi will drag opponents out of each others face.

    In the end even if they don’t pass to each other they will still adversely affect the opponents ability to control our movements. If they do end up passing effectively between them and clicking, then God help our opponents.

  16. MAD!!!!! That should be the front three for Argentina…
    Messi, Aguero, and Dybala…. like a cheap ripoff of MSN but still has the same qualities, Messi creating on the right and drifting in the middle if need be, Aguero like Suarez, staying up ready to shoot, and Dybala like Neymar creating on the left and coming to the middle if need be.
    -What made Argentina so weak against Iceland was the midfield or the center of the park. Who was in the middle except for Messi, and when he DID get the ball in the midfield, he was surrounded by Vikings lol. Now like in Barcelona, Messi and Iniesta create in the middle, Messi and Dybala should link up in the middle of the park, while the wingbacks provide the width to stretch the defense.
    – Lo Celso should start as DM as well and could push up to provide support for the creators Messi and Dybala.
    the lineup would look something like this in a 3-4-3, the same 3-4-3 that got Brazil its first loss in a while.
    Salvio/Pavon-Lo Celso-Mascherano-Tagliafico
    MAD would be the most feared front three in the world cup should it happen, top La Liga Scorer, Top Premier League Scorer and Serie A scorer all in the same team!!! Deadly!!!!!! Sampaoli, PLEASE MAKE IT HAPPEN!!!!!!

  17. I have seen what 3 man defense did back in 2002. In recent past against lower rank Nigeria the result wasn’t different. I am afraid what will happen against relatively better ranked Croatia. Theoretically it sounds great that 7 men will defend but in reality when Nigeria attacked all our defenders became spectators. This is not Chile Sampa..You are wasting all our years long hopes. Its just a group match and you have gone crazy..If you think our regular defenders are shacky then why did you choose them? I hope I prove wrong.

    • Vs Nigeria was 3 defenders—3 midfielders (Lo Celso-Banega-Enzo Perez) without a real destroyer like Masche, so no wingbacks, only defenders and midfielders.

  18. Sorry to say this but the 2018 world cup is already tilting towards the European teams. At this period in time I don’t foresee a South American team winning the world cup in Russia. Just look at the European players; they’re muscular, powerful, have good playing technique, strong and have decent pace to last for over 120 minutes of football. The Argentinean players and likewise the Brazilian players are not physical imposing to me and they have way too many small players on their rosters. When I look at the Argentinean players standing next to the Icelandic players I was like wow, look at that height difference. Look how Switzerland was man handling Brazil physically. The only South American team that had power, physical ability and pace was Peru and it still wasn’t enough to knock off Denmark! Argentina and Brazil will have to play out of their skin if either team is going to win this year world cup. Having the best talent/players won’t be enough for Argentina.

    • kidulthood I think you are running with mental problem.before wc you said argentina need black players like france.sometimes you admired sampaoli or sometimes blamed.somedays ago you said argentina have potential to win wc.every time you post big composition.please don’t quarrell with your ownself.

  19. Formation change isn’t bad in principle – creating new levels of attack/defense could be good against Croatia’s midfield. The problem is, the lineup still suggests over-dependency on Messi. Who else has the creativity to break Croatia’s lines?

        • It isn’t luxury – what exists is obviously deficient. I’m all for the change but it should incorporate more creativity or else I think you risk occupying more space for nothing.

      • It should be a Messi, Aguero, and Dybala front three. Top scorers in their respective leagues, together the combination would be deadly. It didn’t really work with Icardi as he just waits for a pass and doesn’t help in the build-up, but with Aguero, it would work! If it worked with Higuain against Brazil, it could work with Aguero for the remainder of the World Cup! PLEASE Sampaoli, MAKE IT HAPPEN!!!

  20. I like the second line up with Enzo Perez starting a lot. It is very similar line up to the Sampaoli’s best game vs. Ecuador which resulted in 3-1. At the time we had: Romero; Mercado, Otamendi, Mascherano; Salvio, Biglia, Perez, Acuna; Di Maria, Messi, Benedetto.

    The second line up have almost everyone except Romero (Caballero), Tagliafico (Biglia), Di Maria (Pavon), and Benedetto (Aguero). The key to make this line up work is Enzo Perez. He is a blue collar guy who is out there just to work hard. He is the box to box we need. It might NOT look pretty in paper, but this line up has maybe 9 hard workers combined with Messi and Aguero.

    Some notes that I read on and some of my observations:
    1. Ole says Sampaoli likes left footed player for the left center back, either in 4 defensive line or 3 defensive line. That is why the likes of Rojo and Tagliafico is preferred. This is bad news for Fazio as Otamendi is untouchable. Otamendi plays mostly left center back for Manchester City, Sampaoli should give Fazio a chance.
    2. Sampaoli has many different tactics but he masters none of them, that is not good.
    3. Di Maria played the game against Iceland like he was not himself. He was playing safe, not trying to make mistakes. It was obvious that he was afraid to lose his spot. That is not good at all. Under Sabella, he was given total freedom because he was guaranteed. Di Maria is a player who needs the coach confidence to play his best. I would rather see the Di Maria vs Switzerland in 2014 who made 10000 bad passes but scored the winning goal than the Di Maria vs Iceland who played like Jose Sosa.
    4. Pavon admits that he is comfortable in both right and left, but his best position is a right winger. In Boca he plays there.

    • You were describing di Maria speed and crosses when he was 4 years younger. He’s not just older now but also lost his fitness. Also his stamina was weak in 2014 can you imagine after 4 years? He provides shit to the midfield. Sampaoli wasted a spot by taking him to Russia.

  21. Five big teams at this year world cup are in trouble imo; Germany, Brazil, Argentina, Spain and Portugal. Out of this group, Germany are worse off than the other four teams. France escaped by the skin of their teeth against Australia. Brazil, Argentina, Spain and Portugal can afford one more tie game and still progress but not Germany, they have to win against Sweden!

    • Yea, but Spain and Portugal have Morocco and Iran next, so they’ll easily go through. Brazil has Costa Rica and Serbia next, so they’ll go through as well. Germany has South Korea and Sweden next, so they are favorites to go through as well, they will bounce back. The one who is in the worst position is Argentina, as the opponent’s get progressively harder, with Croatia next then Nigeria. Nigeria might not be the best technical team, but whenever they play Argentina they pour it all out. Argentina needs to win against Croatia, and the way that happens is keeping high pressure, and playing your most creative and deadly players. I strongly believe that this WC will depend on how much Dybala plays. He’s the future for Argentina and needs to be trusted as he is trusted in Juventus. I would have a front three of Messi, Aguero, and Dybala, a downgrade from MSN but can still provide fireworks. With a 3-4-3, Messi and Dybala can drop back and create with eachother in the center of the park while the Wingbacks provide the width. With Lo Celso pushing up from DM to provide support to Messi and Dybala, we’d win the midfield battle against any team. It can work beautifully, but it needs to be tried NOW! Sampaoli, PLEASE PLAY Messi Dybala and Aguero together!!!!!! Argentina would be remembered as MAD (Messi, Aguero, Dybala) and might surpase the front three of Brazil (Willian, Jesus, Neymar)

      • Iran is no easy team! You forgot how they parked a Boeing 747 against us last time in Brazil?
        Plus their coach Quieroz knows Portugal and especially Cristiano Ronaldo inside out!
        Plus Sweden and Serbia are hardly easy games and will give their tooth and nail to hold back and defend
        If matchday 1 has taught one thing, no match is easy or can be taken for granted.

  22. I was a favor of few changes like LoCelso for Biglia, Pavon for Dimaria but changing the whole system is throwing a full month of hard-working training sessions into garbage. That’s scary, It shows that our coaching staff doesn’t have a clear idea of what they want to do.

    • My thoughts exactly. The fact that that we are seeing new players tried in a new formation is making me uneasy. Our players will be equally confused and so is our coach. If things don’t pan out well by the time the half time whistle bows against CRO, we are going to be screwed coz I really don’t know what other organised and clever plan can he come up with. Probably revert back to 433 pass to Messi and just pray for the best.

  23. Absolute garbage, Acuna and Salvio are not wingbacks, the only creative passer in this team the lonely Messi, alone again (no Lo Celso, no Banega who can playmakin). Samp want to play counter attacking football against the Modric-Rakitic-Brozovic midfield? Mediocre players in the starting 11, and every creative who can make the difference on the bench (Di maria, Banega, Lo Celso, Dybala).

  24. Yes, We are going only for win. Now time wasting possession are enough. We will neither wait for second half nor dreaming of messi’s magic at the last 5/10 minutes. Enough is enough. Our midfielder have to play in box to box with more enthusiasm and hungyness when the ball is in the wings. Messi and Aguero or Pavon should ready for any opportunity come and to convert into goals after goals. They will park the bus means we have to play small pass and take quick shots from outside box without too much hesitation. That’s enough to seal a win.

  25. accurate analysis of our last game what u guys think ??

    ” As expected, Argentina dominated possession, and with the majority of the match being played inside Iceland’s half. Argentina’s attacking structure was extremely fluid, even more so than usual, which was perhaps implemented by Sampaoli to aid the manipulation of Iceland’s defence to break through their compact block.

    The fluid interchanging movements between Argentina players was executed by almost all of their players. One of the most common cases of this was the movement of Messi in relation to his teammates, and his teammates’ movement in relation to him. Sometimes Messi would appear in the right half-space, which was complemented by Meza moving into a central position, with Salvio occupying the wing channel. On other occasions, Salvio would dribble inside into the right half-space, meaning Meza occupied the wing channel, with Messi in a central #10 position. Messi consistently found intelligent spaces between Icelandic defenders, and is perhaps the best player in the world at finding space in opposing defences by hardly moving. However, upon receiving the ball, he had an extremely limited amount of space to operate in. He dribbled past two or three Icelandic players at a time in some attacking scenarios, but even then, his dribbling/passing/shooting options were limited. This was primarily down to two reasons. The first was the extremely compact and central-orientated Iceland defence, meaning their players didn’t have to cover large distances to close Messi down when he received the ball in central positions. The second reason was a lack of optimal off-ball movement by Messi’s teammates when he had the ball. They often didn’t move much at all when Messi dribbled at Iceland’s defence, and when they did, their movements didn’t drag any defenders away from Messi, nor did they move into positions to offer Messi any progressive passing options. Moreover, Messi commonly executed a somewhat signature diagonal run of his from the right half space across the pitch to the left side of the penalty area, as a response to the progression of attacks down the left wing, although he rarely received the ball after making this run because of the proximity and compactness of Iceland’s defence in orientation to Messi.

    In deeper areas of the pitch, when Mascherano dropped from the right #6 position to split the two centre-backs, either Meza or Messi would drop into the right central-midfield position, with the other in a slightly more advanced position in the right half-space. Biglia on the other hand played in a slightly more advanced position than he has tended to for the national team, moving through the left half-space into attacking-midfield, operating closely behind Aguero. When Biglia carried out this movement, Messi would almost always drop very deep to within 10-15 yards of Argentina’s centre-backs, receiving the ball in the early stages of Argentina’s build-up. Tagliafico tended to operate in the left half-space, particularly when Biglia advanced, with Di-Maria positioned in the wing channel. In the second half, Tagliafico operated in a wider and more advanced position, meaning Di Maria dribbled more directly inside towards Iceland’s goal rather than down the wing.

    Argentina were forced into wing combinations due to Iceland’s compactness in the centre of the pitch, but their combinations weren’t effective in advancing their attacks into the space behind Iceland’s defence. Pavon was much more direct and punchy than any of Argentina’s wingers after being substituted on for Di-Maria, and posed a much bigger threat to Iceland’s defence than any of Argentina’s other wingers during his short period of time on the pitch. Argentina may have been more successful in creating goal-scoring chances if Pavon played a larger role in this match.

    Iceland Causing Problems At Both Ends

    Argentina never looked comfortable defensively, with loose balls in their penalty area being a particular issue and cause of disorganisation. This is despite there only being a small amount of loose balls for Argentina to deal with as a result of Iceland’s limited attack. The first key loose ball scenario was created by Rojo’s inaccurate passing (one of his weakest attributes), with the second arising after Argentina were unable to clear an Iceland cross, leading to their equalising goal.

    Defensively, Icelandic players swarmed Argentina’s players on the ball in central positions. When one player decided to move out of their defensive structure and press the player on the ball, this triggered a player one position away to fill in behind them in order to maintain compactness. This made it extremely difficult for Argentina to create quality goal-scoring chances on a frequent basis.


    Ultimately, Messi’s missed penalty cost Argentina three points. They should however have been given a second penalty after a foul on Pavon, but the referee wrongly failed to consult VAR and overturn his decision not to award the penalty. Nevertheless, if Argentina lose to Croatia in their next match, they may find themselves in a position where they need luck on their side to qualify for the knockout stages, especially if Iceland get a good result against Nigeria, who could remarkably find themselves in a position where they can have an eye on reaching the last-sixteen.”

  26. Don’t be naive – Messi will drop back even with Lo Celso in central midfield. Still Lo Celso may be good partner for Messi but what I expectate now most is drop Di Maria in Pavon favour and see Messi passing more, dribling less – then shall be better.

    • Gonzalo I agree, no matter what formation or line up, Messi still drop back when playing for Argentina unlike when he plays for Barca. That’s why he doesn’t have lot of goals in WC.

  27. Two things I don’t understand:

    – Lo Celso: in my mind he needs to be in the XI
    – Caballero: terrible. I actually think Guzman would be the best of the three but I don’t think Argentina can go anywhere significant with Caballero.

    • I just thought that about Guzman. I’m not sure about him. Just suppose he could be better or best.

    • Hello guys first time posting here, I am an Argentina fan and love reading all the post here. As I read them, all of you have a lot of great ideas but one that I wanted to put my opinion again my opinion on is the goalkeeper. I also agree with bro. I believe guzman might be a goalkeeper for the Argentina team. I do want Argentina to go far and of course win the cup, so win or loose I am with Argentina all the way.

    • I’ve been an Argentine supporter ever since I started watching football and wish the best for this team. I also share the same concerns as Bro, there needs to be change in the man between the sticks, otherwise???

  28. In a must win game, Sampaoli decides to play an entirely new backline. 2 of the 3 CBs do not play as CBs regularly. Against Iceland, he was afraid to take minimal risk and ditch Biglia. Sampaoli has gone mental.

    • imtiaz, agree! They are going to be pulled out or simply drift out by natural tendency and leave poor Otamendi to cover the entire box himself. The midfield 3 are going to stay slightly higher to receive the rebounds and counter attack. Suicidal.

  29. Every World Cup a big team goes out
    1998 – Spain
    2002 – Argentina France Portugal
    2006 –
    2010 – Italy
    2014 – Italy Portugal Spain England
    2018 – likely Argentina ?????

        • Germany team will struggle to win against the well organize Swedish national team who has the second tallest team at the 2018 world cup behind Serbia. Germany may defeat Korea but I’m not so sure about Sweden (a draw at best or Sweden clinching a win). One of Germany strength is scoring off indirect set piece free kicks, all the best to them scoring from a set piece on the second tallest team at the world cup. Germany = ZERO points, they’re in trouble especially if Sweden score. Germany need to win against Sweden not tie and we’ve seen how Italy couldn’t even score a goal against Sweden in World Cup qualifying playoffs over 180 plus minutes. Sweden is better technically and are more organize as a team compare to Mexico. If it was Korea and Saudi Arabia in the group, then Germany would have no problem qualifying. The problem is Germany lost to Mexico which complicate things against Sweden. Sweden don’t need to go in all out attacking mode against Germany given they already recorded 3 points on the board.

          • In 2010 Germany drew with Serbia and in 2014 Germany drew with Ghana in the group stage, keep telling yourself they will win against Sweden. It’s not as easy as how you claim it will be..Defending champions Italy and Spain went out in the group stage, keep that in mind!! Germany get better as a team the longer they progress in the tournament, losing to Mexico put them in a hole and complicate things. Normally they would have beaten Mexico in the opener, tie with Sweden and win against South Korea. All similar pattern in their last two world cup group stage encounters.

  30. Salvio and Taglafico : Both are good in wings (overlapping and crossing )
    Otemndi and fazio( defense) both are brilliants
    Mecharano : Defensive mid ( do or die)
    Dybala Pavon Lo celco: young bloods and fast good play makers and shooters
    And attacking
    Messi and aguro (No need to explanation)
    So this is my dream elEVEN




  31. This line up means Sampaoli has finally realized that our defense needs some quick fix!! Well he brought it upon himself with his team selection. Now he is flooding our midfield with players who can defend good and also contribute in attack. Salvio and Acuna can both attack and defend and so can Mascherano and if he goes with 2nd formation then Enzo is a very good box to box midfield who is also solid defensively.However We are not going to have creative players in the centre with both formations!! That means either we will have to rely on Messi to create chances from the centre again or our players in the flanks Salvio,Acuna and Pavon. Well Sampa had similar plan in the first game but Salvio could never contribute in attack if that happens again then Sampa better not stand there and watch with horror. He must have a plan b for this game. Do you guys who are complaining really think we can win this with Rojo as our centre defender??? Guys with our weak defense we have no other option but to overcrowd the team with players who can defend and both attack may be that is why Sampa dropped players like Perroti and picked salvio and acuna!!Personally I like 1st formation with Meza that way we have more creativity!!

  32. This year edition of the FIFA world cup is so wide open; Argentina need to man up and stop playing with fear. Argentina have the players to win the world cup in 2018, none of the other teams look that impressive and convincing themselves who the media claim are the favorites. The Argentina national team need to let go of their emotions, the tenseness and the scary approach on and off the pitch. If the team build up their confidence and mentality they will comfortably progress to the semis with a lot of momentum going into the final two games of the tournament.

    Also, Argentina need to stay organize in possession of the ball and when they don’t have possession of the ball. There is no need to be shaky and panicking once the opponent make a go at your goal area, this is call FEAR! Stop putting in your head that the opponent is better or equal to you, this does not give off the impression of a team playing with confidence. I need to see this Argentina team playing to their ability, I’m tired of seeing these over the top formations like 1-1-1-1-3-1 or 2-2-2-1-2-1 or 1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1 blah blah blah blah from Sampaoli.

    During the 2014 world cup, Sabella went into a press conference leading up to the group game with Iran and said, ‘’Iran and Argentina are equals.’’ Hmm, no, they were not equal to Argentina! It’s this kind of mentality and thinking why Argentina had struggle to win against Iran at the 2014 world cup.

    Without confidence and momentum this Argentina team will go nowhere. People can talk about players and formation all they want but a team greatest asset is having confidence in themselves. When was the last time Argentina played breathtaking confident football? We saw glimpse of it during the 2016 Copa Centario but as soon as the team reach the final they became scared and tense like always losing all the momentum they had going into the final.

    I never really quote C. Ronaldo here, but I’ll do it now. Before the game against Spain he said publicly that ‘’Portugal was going to defeat Spain.’’ Not that Spain is a bigger team than Portugal and that we have to be mindful and be careful of their so call ‘’world class’’ players. This is call confidence despite is team being at a disadvantage going into the world cup opening game.

    Messi and Samapoli need to let every single player on the roster know that Argentina need to defeat both Croatia and Nigeria in their next game, no beating around the bush, straight up win these games! This must be said both publicly and privately in my opinion. No more weakling approach going into important games like saying ‘’Croatia is this and Nigeria is that and we have to be aware of them.’’ No, Argentina need to defeat Croatia in the next game!! The players need to get this in their heads!! Simple, enough of the cowardice mentality.

    You could’ve picture Pizarro, Lamela, Paredes, Kranevitter and both Correa on the field against Iceland and the performance and body language would have been the same. I like Lo Celso, but I don’t see how he would have change the game against Iceland with the same mental approach that we have seen from his other team mates on the field on Saturday. This need to stop man!

    Stop making excuses, stop beating around the bush. Argentina need to WIN against both Croatia and Nigeria!! You’re a bigger team than both these national side so act and play like it, or you can play like cowards and weakling’s giving your opponent the upper hand in both games. If Messi was confident, he would have easily score his pk but he missed because of the cowardice preparation Sampaoli had going into the game. Stop thinking about the media and haters, you guys need to defeat both Croatia and Nigeria, this is all that matters now, play like it’s your last day on a football pitch!! I never seen these guys taking pk in any of the training, yes they might do it behind close door, but for all the outdoor training, I have seen ZERO pk practice only long range shot from outside the 18 yard.

    These formation seems like the Chile national team. Here we’re a week into the world cup and Sampaoli and Argentina is still experimenting on formation.

    [Apology for my ranting]

    • I know you have lots of passion for Argentina. Let’s go Argentina! Let’s all get behind the team and win all the matches from now on! We can do it!

    • I totally agree it’s mostly a mental game more than formations Argentina probably need to watch some videos of our wins in Copa America 91 and 93 maybe it will give a morale boost and remind the players of our rich history

    • True. Whatever formations or tactics. If we win the mental game, if our defence do it with mental power, the job is half done.

      • The team just needs to weed out those nerves. Those nerves are the sole reason we are flattering at the top games like the recent finals and even to some extent the qualifiers

  33. If it is the case, who is ready to receive the in Argentina after the Nigeria game? This really deserve a street protest. No one sees if Sampaoli is out of his mind. Maradona was not that bad until he used this 4231 against Germany he was just too crazy. As a coach you should never use what pleases you on your own team but you need to know that other teams are playing ball also. Argentina has the players to win this little world cup I know what I am talking about. 343 makes you weak defensively and it requires you to always have the ball. The other 3331 is simply spychopathic coaching. Argentina should go for a 433 or a 442. Those are what they have players for.

  34. I wonder what has happened in the training sessions that convinced sampaoli that Meza is a better player than LoCelso

    • What do you know about Meza and what do you know about Lo Celso? How many you say them in full games? I suppose only Lo Celso in few matches of PSG?

      They are completely different and it’s hard to find point of comparisons. Two completely different players. I would like to see them both. It’s simplification but Meza is type of runner while Lo Celso passeer. The first should be better on destruction the second on creation. Meza is similar to Enzo while Lo Celos rather to Banega. I think just Lo Celso seemed weak defensively to Smapaoli on trainings.

      • LoCelso at 22 plays for PSG while Meza at 25 for Independiente. What we need is creativity from midfield so that Messi stays between lines where he is most effective.

        • “LoCelso at 22 plays for PSG while Meza at 25 for Independiente”

          No coach is estimating only after such things. Be serious.

  35. Not interested in any of the formations because there is no Lo Celso. Dybala should have been given a vacation and enjoy the summer, better than sitting on the bench.

    At least there is no Di Maria, finally.

  36. Terrible lineup.its not the right time to vital match.just play otamendi fazio CB partnership and Mercado and tagliafico as fullback and we will be fine.locelso is absolutely must.only plus of this lineup is that rojo biglia and dimaria not playing.but looks like it’s more of a 3-5-2 lineup in possession and 5-3-2 when defending.looks like sampaoli wants to crowd the midfield so that we can neutralise the Croatian midfield.good idea but I would have picked locelso in place of meza.meaza looked quite ordinary against Iceland

    • I think Meza deserves a second chance. He was trying to do somthing in spite of the difficult match conditions against Iceland. He got us the penalty. A new player needs time to assimilate into the team; it is seldom plug-and-play.

  37. Two line-ups now?. Actually what he did last 4 weeks? God knows. Give some hair on top his head to protect the shot

  38. What worries me is that sampaoli instead of going for a proper 3-5-2 is opting for 3-3-3-1. This has some drawbacks –
    1)Thin midfield – Croatia game will be a battle for midfield dominance.
    2) Messi again needs to drop deep to create plays.
    3) Transition to 5-3-2 while defending will not be smooth.

  39. Suicidal with Mercado in a back 3. He is too slow. Plus he will be occupying Perisic down that flank.
    You would expect Salvio to track back and support.

  40. People takes the line up wrong. They thinks 3 man defence instead 4 man means weaker. But what I see here is reinforcing defence against strong in offence Croatia. Mercado, Otamendi, Tagliafico, Salvio, Acuna, Meza, Mascherano, even Pavon – I think they all should defend and work on destruction.

    • Yes, some of these players can track back and defend and run forward to attack at opportune times. Pavon has just mentioned in an interview that Sampaoli wants him to go deeper to help in defence too.

  41. Not seeing Lo Celso in either of the lines up makes me nervous! Just look at our both flanks?

    We don’t need Mercado, Salvio, Meza in right wing & Tagliafico, Acuna, Pavon in left wing at the same time. It’s like putting 3 Usain Bolt in a same track to win the race!! It’s suicide in my view.

    On the other hand, Messi asked for more creativity from the squad. If those 6 Usain Bolts run for their life in both flanks, who’ll control/create some balls from center? Because with Biglia-Mascherano or Banega /Mascherano the less any regular reader of this blog will expect is creativity! We don’t have Modrich /Isco in central midfield, but we have Lo Celso. Sampa should give this fella a chance!

    Otherwise we’ll see the same bullsh!t again…. means Messi coming down in center & running towards to find his invisible partner in attack. Such a pain scenario to watch as an Albiceleste fan since 2008. 🙁

    If i have to choose one of this lineup. I’ll go for the 2nd one. Atleast Enzo will be there in center. Hope Sampa make things right this time. Vamos!!

    • Agreed. Different faces but same old crap. No creativity from the centre circle and Messi trying to rectify it by dropping deeper.

      • I think Sampaoli may want to use more wing play as the centre may be packed. Pavon and Meza can also cut into the middle, giving some unpreditability.

  42. 3-5-2 is considered a more defensive formation as compared to formations with 4 at the back. This just means that when we defend we will have a five man backline. Also there will be three at the back plus DM always ready to face counter attacks. Its better defensively than a 4 man back line with two wing backs.

  43. The line up is great IMO. I would be happy even with only Di Maria dropped and Pavon instead. But with Acuna on the left and Meza in central it’s even better than I expected. Looks excited. Wheter it will work we will see. Sampaoli should field this eleven. If will not work- only Lo Celso may makes difference.

    • The formation is great. There you can utilize the full potential of all of our star players. Lo Celso & Dybala can play in this formation.

  44. I’ve seen England and Belgium so far opting for 3 at the back. They are doing ok. A proper 3-5-2 will not be a bad idea. With the three in the centre of middle 5 being Mascherano, Lo Celso, Enzo/Meza. But this will leave Pavon out.

  45. I hope its only a trial , not the final line up. You have been trying with 4 defenders all this month and suddenly shifting to 3 man defense..I don’t get it..Scared again..

    • Croatia doesn’t have many attacking options. Their strength is Midfield and weakness is defense. So win the midfield battle and pass the ball to worlds best-attacking trio. I think this is the idea.

    • A fixed formation is hyst the press’s speculation. Sampaoli believes in a fluid changing of positions during a match. I believe Mascherano will move back to form a 4-man defence when defending, giving the other midfielders and wingers freedom to attack.

  46. watch Lo celso performance against Real Madrid or against Darby matches in league 1 i think Lo celso can’t handle pressure that why suddenly dropped even after lanzini injury failed to find spot

  47. I have heard Tagliafico can play as a Centre back also but how good is he? Anyone who follows local league can you pass us some info on this? I am sure he can’t be as bad as Rojo! 😀

    • He has been playing CB a lot in last season but rather in 4 man defence. Was very good. Short but really good jump.

    • As a CB he was surprisingly good for independianté, with that being said he struggled terribly against Brazil when playing left of a 3 man backline and while Croatia doesn’t have a player with Willian’s pace they do however have very creative midfielders who can seriously expose a 3 man backline.

  48. Does ANYBODY here know how stupid it is to play with 3 defenders against a team like Croatia with top notch midfielders?

    Or are all the people on this site only complain after we shit the bed again?
    Yes our defense sucks with 4 defenders so lets see how much it sucks with 3 defenders.

    And the midfield is slower than shit to begin with. BRILLIANT.

    YES Maradona was a better coach. Maybe even Bauza

    And can someone tell this man Sampaoli not to wear skinny jeans on sideline for a game? Does he think he is in a night club?

  49. if the case we done, its over, where is the creative player we need at the center (Lo celso, Banega) or Meza at center Dy bala on top, Croatia will play defense, a draw is good for them.

  50. am sure please write it on your wall this team will crash out on group stage.

    AFA is in corruption. tapia is not fit to be director of AFA.
    please bring simeone he is the only person can get the result of messi.
    f***k in sampaoli go out of this team.

    • My friend Simeone doesn’t want to give up atletico. He refused the job offer. Only one who said he would do it was Maradona. Do you want Diego again?

      • due to he was expecting respect from the team. all the managers are Martino, sabella, bauza and sampaoli are depending on one man but simeone is different he wanted to be a team manager. his team should be high spirit, skills, individual contribution.

        he will take charge after messi announced his retirement

  51. Seems Lo celso lost sampaoli trust in training, suddenly dropped after Haiti match failed to find spot even after Lanzini injury now again ignored, after Real Madrid match many doubt that he is too row where meza seems impressed sampaoli most

  52. As per Ole:





    I want that. Best thing Di Maria and Biglia out


      • Cross to whom? Aguero is small compared to Lovren and co. Messi is small and so is Pavon. Icardi is not in the box unfortunately.

        But better Acuna than Di Maria and useless Biglia.

        • “Gotze was smaller than Demichelis and Garay.”

          I am sure, you are not new to watching football matches. Crosses and Corners are two different things. For crosses player’s height is second to right placement and timing.

    • Acuna brings no creativity? Acuna is a menace to any opposing team due to his speed, skill and creativity. Remember that goal against Venezuella that was counted as an own goal, well Acuna created that goal out of sheer nothing. In summary Acuna is basically a younger, faster version of Dimaria who can defend much better and has an actual footballing IQ.

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