A 3-4-3 for Argentina against Croatia at the World Cup


The National Team trained one last time in Bronnitsy ahead of their match against Croatia on Thursday and the plan appears to be a 3-4-3 against Croatia.

There will be several changes in players for the game as Marcos ROJO, Lucas BIGLIA and Angel DI MARIA all come out with a slight chance that Maxi MEZA starts on the bench as well. Per a report by TyC Sports, this will be Argentina’s starting eleven:


The only remaining doubt is that of Maxi MEZA or the veteran Enzo PEREZ in midfield.


  1. I supported this team for almost 25yrs and we never won a single thing at Sr. level irrespective of the kind of players we had incl. someone like Messi, Riquelme etc. Think it’s sometimes better to cut our losses and move-on rather than feel gloomy and mess-up the mood for days sometimes. Cut your losses and don’t invest any emotion fellas! It’s for our own good!

      • I don’t know, man…the pain is real and Argentina is now turning into Uruguay of sorts. Both won 2 WCs but they are no longer elite. I am done being a supporter of this team…If I were in a team that I am passionate about, I will keep giving my all on the pitch running and never switched off till the last moment. Most national teams have this attitude but man, seeing this group playing is like slow death.

        • At least Uruguay won something, the 2011 Copa in OUR DAMN BACKYARD!
          Say what you want, but IMO Uruguay has a great coach in Oscar Tabarez.
          That work has come to seem increasingly extraordinary. When Tabárez was first appointed Uruguay manager in 1988 it was with a specific brief to improve the image of the national side after the disgrace of 1986 in which a brutal approach had reached its apogee with the red card shown to José Batista against Scotland after 56 seconds. Progress to the last 16 in 1990 just about achieved that, and Tabárez, reputation enhanced, moved to Boca Juniors and that apocalyptic Copa Libertadores semi-final against the Chilean champions Colo Colo in 1991.
          For 12 years Tabárez has overseen everything, from youth development to the senior side. He led his side to the semi-final of the 2010 World Cup and then to Copa América success a year later. Uruguay have not missed a tournament in his reign. And slowly he has begun to transform Uruguayan football. The central midfield that lined up against Egypt in their opening game, Rodrigo Bentancur and Matías Vecino, would have been unthinkable a decade ago: both are modern, passing, progressive players, the result of the systems Tabárez, now 71, has put in place.
          I have lot to learn from Tabarez, true south american coaching legend.

  2. Gutted with the way this team is playing and I remember posting somewhere that we will have a bad WC unless things change for the better, a year ago. All signs point to group stage exit and Portugal winning it with CRonaldo being called the GOAT by some section of fans and media ofcourse. Life is unfair for most people but very good for some irrespective of what they are…ex. Trump, CRonaldo etc. It’s over man…

  3. The economy aspect takes all the fan out of the game, that’s the reason all this team major are failing to deliver. Players are not playing with the same Maradona pride, Caniglia passion and Diego Simeon tenacity, most of the Latin American players are following their agents advices first then the coach “ if you have disputed with your girlfriends called it injuries don’t take risk” it’s business.

  4. Argentina football culture needs to change, if wants to win something down the road. The team are contaminated with players who come to sale themselves. That’s explained why Sampaoli select so many old guys, they are done already made as much money the can make.
    I think it’s time for Argentina players take some responsibility, what else do they want, they change so many coaches no results, meanwhile these same coaches manage to get good results elsewhere. Argentine players not playing for, with each other. They come out put a personal shows which might lead to a big contract. They don’t have discipline examples, Di Maria wanted to dribble in the box, taking Messi space his job is to overlap with tagliafico on the left salvio job is to overlap with Meza on the right, rojo and othamendi has no business in the box; Agrueo, Mach and Messi are the only guys with discipline on that team. It’s hard to disciplined start

    • I blame the players when we lose a penalty shoot out. I blame them for allowing Messi to take penalties exposing his only weakness again and again. In my eyes, this is shirking responsibility. Nobody else other than Messi wants to take the blame for missing penalty. Because most of our guys are not good with penalties including Aguero. But blaming them for team selection or, fruitless system isn’t fair. If a man isn’t allowed to do his job, he should resign. If Sampaoli, Bauza or Martino let someone else choose the team, it’s the coach’s fault.

  5. Technically, 3-3-3-1 formation but on paper 3-5-2 formation. With 3-3-3-1 formation, Sam had most successful games in Chile and Sevilla even with Argentina teams. So relax, Messy will have more freedom. Waiting for the games to trash Croatia

  6. better late than never. Acuna and salvio were the reason we beat Equador. Meza will do better than E.perez this time, I would prefer to see Lo celso and Fazio, tho. Messi efficiency upfront is evident whenever hard working strikers acompany him. perotti should ve been selected if Ansaldi is not needed.

  7. Argentina is going to play its second match in the word cup and yet to identify their best eleven….It is understandable that the coach have not had much time to organize the team but one year should be good enough to find a place for talented players like Dybala, Celso and icardi in the first eleven….Di maria has been a regular face in the team since long … now after the first match the management has understood that he is not good enough…and who is going to replace him?… Pavon…..Who has never been regular in the national team before….I have never seen anything of this sort before….Despite all this negativity….i appreciate the courage of the management for taking some brave decisions with utmost level of optimism….

  8. Our most talented or best team:
    Pavon – Messi – Dybala
    Mascherano – Lo Celso
    Tagliafico – Fazio – Otamendi – Ansaldi

    Note: Dybala more in a playmaker role. Play making, defense & goal scoring – that should be the priority order

    The team I hope against Croatia (which looks feasible according to the training):
    Pavon – Messi
    Acuna – Mascherano – Meza – Salvio
    Tagliafico – Otamendi – Mercado

    I hope Tagliafico and Mercado dont have any attacking duties. Let’s see how it turns out. The real test for Sampaoli’s credibility.

    Lo Celso for Meza
    Dybala for Salvio

  9. It’s going to be more of 3-5-2:




  10. Win or Exit; that’s it;
    Sudden change to 3-men defense?
    May start with Enzo & if it doesn’t work, Meza will come in; as Meza has bit more creativity than Enzo;

    Where is Lo Celso?

  11. Personally, I am a big fan of 3 man back line. imo it offers less space on the flanks while defending and makes it uncomfortable for the opponent. But the question is why now? If it was Sampaoli’s favored formation why did he waste the last month working with a 4 man defence? No way to expect some positive continuity with this team. It’s hard to believe that this is the same Sampaoli that worked at Chile and Sevilla. Such poor preparation!

    • To play Devil’s advocate, national teams have done formations shifts plenty of times during tournaments to much success. Hell, Roma went to a back three in under a week to counter against Barcelona and look what happened. And this formation is not foreign to them. They’ve played this before with much of the same squad, but now include a couple players in the midfield (say what you will about Lo Celso and Enzo, but you have to admit, you feel more comfortable defensively with Enzo on the pitch and content attacking wise with him as well) and a fit Aguero, when before you had a less mobile Icardi and Higuain.

      Croatia will give up the flanks to us and will pack the midfield, so we need to use the wings as much as possible. And it looks like that will be the case.

      • I am not against changing formation mid tournament. What I am not happy about is the lack of continuity. Our longstanding problem has been the lack of creativity from the central midfield. Samp played Lo Celso in a bid to solve this. Then all of a sudden he ditched Lo Celso even though he knew Biglia’s limitations. Now there’s neither Biglia(thankfully) nor Lo Celso, but a new midfield combination. The lack of creativity to support Messi is still evident.
        I admit I want Enzo in front of a back 3 with Masche. But this again means giviing the ball to Messi and forcing him to drop deep. If we’re going to break down a parked bus, we better start the only creative CM we have I.e Lo Celso. By now, Sampaoli should’ve been prepared for a system that could afford Lo Celso. I wouldn’t mind if it is Lo Celso-Masche-Enzo midfield in the next game.
        The other issue is our shiny new backline. I’ve never heard Samp tried Tagliafico-Ota-Mercado in training before. It’s great to hear that Tagliafico played that role last year. But an entirely new backline with a different midfield set up….it sounds like a recipe to confuse everyone in a high pressure game. I hope I am wrong. This is too early to suck life out of us in this tournament.

        • I sort of understand the change in the backline, especially Taglifico. Say what you will about Rojo, but his agility and passing, especially the one to Caballero, was suspect. Tagliafico brings pace, which is useful for long balls, and has a better tackling record than Rojo. Essentially, I feel like Sampaoli is trying to fight against a fast counter attack from Croatia as that will be the only way they score, or a header. Enzo, while not creative, makes up for it with his pace and drive. Essentially, Croatia will have a lack of pace from the back and hopefully these drives give Messi space on the ball. If he stays on the wings and coordinates with the wingbacks, things can go our way.

          • Rojo has been a question mark since his selection in the final squad. He has justified his doubters after just one game. Samp should’ve known this. He watches him everyday at training. I am okay with Tagliafico playing at LCB since he excelled there. I have seen shorter guys playing at LCB. My point is if Samp has had this idea all along, why didn’t he use Tagliafico there in a friendly? Besides, if Tagliafico can play as a LCB, why do we even need Rojo for? He is terrible in a 4 man backline.The lack of preparation or, acting out of panic isn’t welcome at all.

        • bro sampaoli till now don’t want to show all the cards ,you will see lo celso right from 2nd round my instinct says.

    • I think it’s time for Argentina players take some responsibility, what else do they want, they change so many coaches no results, meanwhile the same coaches manage to get good results elsewhere. Our players not playing for, with each other. They come out put a personal shows then get a big contract. They don’t have discipline examples, Di Maria wanted to dribble in the box, his job is overlap with tagliafico on the left salvio job is to overlap with Meza on the right, rojo and octane di has no business in the box; Jim, Mach and Messi are the only guys with discipline on that team. It’s hard to disciplined start

  12. I am confident Dybala will come on at some point in the game. We have a hardworking core in midfield and lots of pace on the left side w Acuna and Pavon. Masche and Meza/Perez will have to put in a great game to keep us competitive in the center of the field. Banega/Lo Celso will probably be introduced if we’re lacking in attack. Aguero to score again!

  13. A very important game we will see if we could rise together as a team or we re just gonna see the same attitude of the first game. In that game the problem was not the bus parked come on guys we re argentina do you think that opponnents will face us with the same weapons which is playing? We always gonna have those bus parked you will see tomorrow. Do you think that the other defense will let messi putting 3 goals everybody knows that he s not ronaldo sitting on the 18m line. We must play with all these constraints that s why we need dybala cause in the same role of messi he could skip to the defenders even if defensively we will be more exposed cause just like messi he still walking on defensive phases but at least we could create opportunity to score and when defense is feeling in danger there will be more mistakes not as Iceland game where their defence wasn t stumbled at all they just put 3 defensive player on messi and the rest does work
    For the first time since long time ago i m not too worry cause if it doesn t work tomorrow that just means that messi wasn t the player that all Argentinians were waiting for that s it we will wait for next generation maybe dybala will have more guts

  14. Anyway, only two outcomes – a team boosting win or a disaster lost. I don’t think there will be a draw or lucky win.

    I think this formation is what Sampaoli has always been thinking, a 3-4-3. Now, it’s the time that can prove himself. I hope those players can execute coach’s plans. (clearly, Biglia, Headless chicken, and Rojo didn’t execute anything in the first match)

  15. Mad mad sampaoli… how can he switch after all we do 4 backline.
    Croatia is much better than iceland. Only miracle will put argentina through.
    No dybala, no celso, i dont know why?

    No creativity ..
    only Messi and Aguero who are sharp. Others just play

    • We didnt have 4 last game. Salvio is not and will never be a fullback. We had 3. Tagla was high up, so 2 really plus mascherano.

      The biggest difference with this new lineup is more offensive central mid and shedding lethargic players.

  16. We need MAD to debut!!!!!
    Messi, Aguero, & Dybala!! The front three that will win Argentina the World Cup!
    As Messi had Neymar and Suarez to help him conquer all of Europe, Messi needs Aguero and Dybala to help him win the World Cup!

    Pavon-Mascherano-Lo celso-Tagliafico
    Messi-Aguero-Dybala (aka MAD!!!)

    Hopefully the play!

    • I agree with you, no creativity in the midfield; am already tired of watching the team like this, get it over with, if we can’t defeat Croatia comfortably, we won’t go any where. Am a dying fan but realistic, if other team are better prepared, we keeping on worship Messi while the other team are preparing to stop; good luck with that.

  17. Dybala will probably come on as a sub
    He’s my boy, he will get his chance
    He’s a happy man today, Gonzalo shared half of his fried chicken dinner with him
    Real motivated for tomorrow that lad

    • Sampbaldy: let’s be real here, you know without Lo Celso and Dybala in your starting line up, you basically provide Croatia with a comfortable start, but if you want to really unsettle them, unleash both Lo Celso and Dybala from the get go and assure Messi they won’t outshine him so he can permit their starting chances.

      You also know sending Dybala in 70th min if we are chasing the game, nothing he can really do when Croatia get to park the bus by then and claim their victory.

      Are all baldy guys stubborn like you?

      • Hey as they say, if ain’t broke don’t fix it.
        I may be experimenting more on this team than a Beverly Hills socialite does on her pet chihuahua’s hair, but some things should not said.
        That said, I have still not finalised my starting lineup. I’m as confidential about my lineups now as Marvel is with the Infinity War script

    • Messi will perform. Because it’s a do or die situation, he will perform. People will cite so much shit about Messi not handling the pressure before, and the next day he usurps all expectation and shuts critics up.

      Reports suggest that Croatia will line up with a defensive midfielder in order to stifle the midfield and have another centerback in for Strinic. Thus Argentina will have a field day on the wings with Pavon and Acuna, and hopefully Messi and Salvio as well on the right.

    • He will go with Perez to support Mascherano against Rakitic and Modric.
      Besides 5 attacking players will be enough.
      Dybala surely should get minutes in this game. Probably in for Pavon at some stage. Meza on for Perez if we are chasing the game. But can’t see it happen. 2 nil.

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