Argentina coach Lionel SCALONI confirms line-up, Mauro ICARDI of Inter starts


Argentina coach Lionel SCALONI has confirmed the starting line-up and Mauro ICARDI will start.

As we reported earlier today, SCALONI tried a new eleven in training on Monday and that line-up has been confirmed with one change. Maxi MEZA in place of Angel CORREA. Here is the starting eleven:



  1. My complete guess is that with Mercado in the squad I am expecting similar ideas to first game. The first game Scaloni followed patterns he and Sampaoli used at Sevilla.

    Moving the ball only in the direct channels on the flanks, bypassing/avoiding the midfield, simple straight lines between wingbacks and forwards to advance (or direct 1-2 triangles with locelso on the sideline when available), pressing when ball is contested especially on sidelines or when opponent facing goal, not overcommitting the press and keeping one or two men available to fall back into a back 4 or 5 again while avoiding midfield battle, a ‘line of forwards’ pressed against the opponent back line to find with the 1v1 straight ball etc.

    Familiarity with this stuff is the reason I think Gabriel is in squad and lineup.. Reading the lineup the only difference i see is actually dropping tagliafico to add one more midfield presence. Maybe he did not like the 4v2 or 3v1 situations locelso/parades faced in the middle. But the other ideas i expect to see repeated.

    Or maybe they do play a 4-5-1. Let’s see.

  2. If the team is to play a Sabella lite, i.e. strong defense and midfield, with both Ascacibar and Bataglia playing, I know it’d be narrow, and it depends on Messi coming back, but would you guys rather play a

    Ascasibar Paredes Bataglia
    Lo Celso
    Messi CF

    or a

    Ascacibar Lo Celso Bataglia
    Dybala CF

    the 2nd one can even change into a 4 3 3 with a winger instead of Dybala and the CF (I’d put Pereyra somewhere there, and another more “true” winger), with Messi f9.

    So out of these, well, three options, would any work? Thoughts why yes why no? Thanks!

    • until messi retired, Argentina always has chance of winning it, with a solid defense Argentina almost won it in 2014

      • Idiot Sampoali could have done that against France. We could have beaten them with two DM and Augero front with Messi behind him or 442. We were given luck to goes 2-1 against them but idiot Sampoali destroy just like his classless dressing by showing tattoos during the world cup.

    • I agree man. SouthAmericas should also make something similar like UEFA League Nation Cup just so that players can develop chemistry between them. They should organize just between top teams like Chile, Arg, Brazil, Uruguay, Colombia and give some kind of prize. I think UEFA League Nation cup will give absolute advantage to these European teams to develop chemistry. I think with Proper chemistry, Argentina cannot be stopped but we need we play frequently. Not twice a year and try to emulate Barca like idiot Sampoali. I cant forgive Sampoali for his tactics against France. What an idiot who was given life line after Nigeria game.

    • if one Argentinian don t feel like Argentinian and he choose to turn his back to his own country he has no place to the national team.

      so that player is from Paraguay. he is not from Argentina.
      so we didn t lose anything.

      • Except he wasn’t even argentinian per so….
        Batista, in the early 2010′, tried to snatch him fro Paraguay and succeeded, allowing him to represent Argentina at youth level. He went back to Paraguay when he saw he wouldnt be able to integrate the senior NT and when, most importantly, he was failing right and left in clubs during that time.
        I think we were talking about Iturbe just after the 2014 WC as a potential newcomer along with Lamela and Pastore… Back then.

  3. Though it’s too early to comment but still I think Scaloni is bringing a certain stability to the squad. Some idiots are saying that he is doing the same experimental work like the bad baldie but it’s not the truth he got his squad in his mind. We already know 70%of the squad that will reach the Copa. Let’s see how it may look.

    GK: Romero, Armani, Rulli/Gazzaniga/Merchesin (Or Andrada might sneak in)

    CB: Pezzella, Otamendi, Funes Mori, Foyth/Kannemman/ Mammana

    RB: Saravia, Mercado

    LB: Tagliafico, Acuna (A utility player who can be used offensively when needed)

    DM: Ascacibar, Battaglia

    CM: Paredes, Lo Celso, Palacios, Vazquez (He might be ommited to make space for Messi)

    AMC: Dybala, Messi ( If the king comes back)

    AML: Pity, Cervi/ De Paul / Correa

    AMR: Pavon, Lamela (Will be useful as AMC as well)

    ST: Icardi, Lautaro, Simione (He might be ommited If kun comes back)

    So u see Scaloni has already built the structure of the team. He is rotating the squad to give play time to the uncertain players so that he can take the final decision on them before deciding the squad. Also this may allow to create various combinations among the players.

    He is also tolerant to some players like Meza, Vazquez. It’s good that he is allowing them a time span to prove their worth instead of throwing them out after one bad show, but I would like to know for how long has Scaloni given to them.

    Maybe today’s match would be the last match for these players to show their worth to the team. Hopefully the next matches will be more Copa focused when Scaloni gets back the whole team comprising of Pity, Palacios, Armani, Pavon.

    Let’s wait and watch how well Scaloni does tactically.

    • it’s not about squad, it is about building team chemistry which can happen only after playing matches with together but scaloni still failed to select best XI, team is unstable which is concerned. Messi Dimaria Aguero all of three will be back as well as benega. But Scaloni still can’t settle playing XI with youngsters, except Palacio Foyth Saravia no players leave their marks. Argentina copa playing XI will be again with world cup 2018 expect lo celso paredes in place of biglia masche

  4. Greizmann, Varane, and Modric are the ballon dor finalists. Of course Messi should be there but I ain’t mad cause at least CR7 ain’t going to win it…

      • Messi is the victim of his own success and genius. Messi’s below average performance is their best performance for other top players like Grizemann, Dybala etc. Until Messi Mesmerize with all his skills, he is not given credit. I think Barca will suffer so much after Messi retire. It will be worse than Man united than only people realize the importance of Messi. Messi has been carrying Barca on his back for so long. They were touched to be in decline when Neymar left but next season, they almost went unbeaten in the league. Messi alone has destroyed teams like RM or other European teams.

    • I am actually glad that Messi is not there, so is Ronaldo. Ronaldo’s PR campaign has been in full swing lately to promote their client however I think people are starting to realize that Ronaldo is opportunistic and rely on team mates and perform just enough to get that award. Also if Grizemann win(as per report), it will show how joke of award it will be. Grizemann is 20% of Messi. Messi not winning Ballon dor will make him even greater while significantly decrease the prestige of that award. No Modric or Grizemann has audacity to claim that they are better player than Messi. Ronaldo is stupid to say that anyway for long time.

      • Then Messi should have win in 2014 or one player from Germany. You cant use logic in these awards. They are like trending topics in social media, no substance just the form.

  5. Today should be the last match to test new players. In March we should have the starting line-up for Copa. Until squad announcement in June there are only 2 friendlies left (both in March).

  6. argentina should never try 3 5 2 formations, they dont have world class wing backs for this formation 2 wing backs should be very fast, to be strong defensively and also very good crosser of the ball, acuna is not good enough defensively.

  7. Instead of scaloni trying to establish core team and build up chemistry between players continue keeping experiment after experiment. My question is what is the need from this, is it going to help Argentina, Ans: Big No. Noone settle of the team except two CB Otamendi Pazella and LB Tagliafico. What is the point of dropping saravia whom assuming to be playing XI in copa, in friendlies it’s important to build up chemistry in midfield what’s point of dropping lo celso and paredes who are considered to carry Argentina next 4-5year. Dybala supposed to be the messi successor, what is the point of dropping him after his best NT performance. The playing XI should be Romero – Saravia Foyth Kanemman Tagliafico – lo celso paredes paraya – Dybala icardi lamela
    Moral: Just fired clueless meza boyfriend scaloni

  8. I think the performance against Spain is the best performance of Meza’s career. Whenever I see him again I find that he’s not good enough to be in the team. He is slow and not making the right decision and looses the ball quite frequently. I would chose Pereyra instead.

  9. Either you go for 433 without Lamela and Meza but with Lo Celso and Paredes who can supply the 3 guys upfront. Or you replace Lamela with a real playmaker like Vazquez.

    If you want to play half 9 like Lamela or Dybala, you need to have a regista behind who ensures the transition so that the half 9 no need to drop too deep.

    Me I’d like to see regista, playmaker and half 9 on the same pitch. Argentina played once like this in 2007 and it was great before the final. With the players we have, Paredes as regista, Vazquez, Lanzini or Pity as 10 and Dybala or Lamela as half 9. Seems to me only 352 can allow this.

    • A regista often needs a DM next to him. think of Sami Khedira and Xabi Alonso at Real Madrid under mourinho in a 4 2 3 1.
      I see 3 5 2 as the only formation that allow a regista, playmaker, 9 1/2 at the same time

    • Lamela can be a 10 like he was his youth career…with the current players, it would be best to pair him with loCelso in an attacking 4-3-3 with parcedes anchoring the midfield…

  10. Hopefully Icardi can finally open his tally for Argentina and starts banging in those goals like he does for Inter.

    • I wish icardi & dybala play together this match also. More time together will help them build chemistry.
      Meza is the new Sosa.
      Would have been great to see Mammana getting a chance.

  11. 4231 never worked for Messi because the 2 DM tend to stay deep which forced Messi to drop deeper to get the ball. By the end, it was more like a 433 and the team was cut into 2.

    Now in this new version, I don’t see how Lamela can do better. Maybe the difference come from the 3 upfront who are good in scoring goals. But still the ball need to come to them. Long pass is not Lamela’s strength, also not for Ascacibar and Meza.

        • According to Peter Coates of Golazo Argentino, the formation is 4-3-3 with Meza on the right and Lamela on the left and midfield of Ascacibar, Pereyra and De Paul. If true, I think we can see a full range of passing from De Paul.

          Mercado—–Funes Mori——–Kannemann—-Acuna
          ————De Paul—————–Pereyra————-

          • Do you find this strange? Lamela on the left and Meza on the right? don’t you think it would be better if they switched positions? Or use Correa in place of Meza?

          • It depends what Scaloni is trying to do. If all he wants is for Icardi to be supplied with crosses then Lamela and Meza can stay where they are and simply cross with their strongest foot. It’s a primitive, old fashioned, English style of football. I personally prefer inverted wingers and intricate play where players can cut inside onto their strong foot and combine with the midfielders and create something with those combinations. For that you typically need a striker who is good at build-up, something Icardi is not. Give him service on a regular basis and he will score goals for you, otherwise don’t expect much else.

  12. I read some one posted about Paredes. As per me We can’t depend on Paredes as a True destroyer in midfield like Mascherano. Paredes is an upgraded version of Biglia with much better passing and free kick taking abilities etc. Biglia was better in defence, but that’s it. Biglia didn’t contributed anything in build up plays too. Paredes clearly can do that. To be precise he is a Deep lying playmaker. I would even like to see him play as an True Enganche like Riquelme in a 4-2-3-1where Paredes can play more advanced position. (He may not work in that position but just a thought) He is an Degraded version of Riquelme. Against better teams we can’t trust his defensive ability.

    Put him aside a True destroyer like Ascacibar or Battaglia then he can thrive better. But as of now we don’t have a backup for Paredes. One of a kind player. Palacios, Lo Celso, Nico Dominguez etc r more of a box to box players. Who can back up each other. But as a deep lying playmaker with wide range of passing then Paredes is the man. As per me. I may be wrong.

    Thinking of which Lo Celso can also play as an true Enganche a position which he started his career with.

        • Agree, To a certain point. If We are looking for a destroyer, enforcer DM, then it’s Ascacibar. I support the concept of having an enforcer HARD MAN in every single match to screen the defense and break up play. I do not want my DM to play Box to Box to preserve his energy,This player will set the tempo of the squad. One thing Ascacibar is not grerat at, long passes which I think he will get better at.
          I would partner him with a Paredes/Banega/Lo Celso/Palacios/Meza type of a player which will act as deep lying play maker,too

    • It depends, many teams like Juve plays with a regista plus 2 box to box without destroyer and works for many years. But without a true DM, you gotta be 3 in the middle otherwise too light.

      • Vazquez(hard to ignore with his great form at club) , Lanzini(once he recovers) and Pity can do it well too. But I agree that he should play in a more advanced position. I like to see Paredes and Palacios behind one of them.

    • I agree with you on Paredes, in my opinion we don’t take advantage of neither Paredes nor Locelso. I do beleive if we add a typical DM like Aacacibar we will be able to give more freedom to Paredes and Locelso. Paredes should play the position that Locelso played in the last game and LoCelso as a playmaker with less defensive responsibilities. We need to create the link between the middle and the attack. With the characteristics that our new players have we sould be able to dominate the midfield and we still can’t. This is the big issue that I have with new coach.

    • “Against better teams we can’t trust Paredes.” – This line sums up pretty much everything I wanted to say. Enganche, Regista or, whatever you call a player, No one is allowed to jog in the middle and do minimal defensive work these days. Paredes has to do much better defensively.

      Ascacibar-Paredes logically works in theory. But once again, two very one dimensional players who can do one thing very good(either attack or, defend) and poor in the other. This pair may still work if the coach adjusts his tactics properly. Mourinho was a master of 4-2-3-1 at Inter. So Paredes-Ascacibar isnt impossible.

      • Paredes is the best deep lying playmaker no matter what
        People said about him
        Football expertise love
        Paredes and said he is
        What Argentina been missing
        Long time … That is true

  13. Meza!!!!!! WTF !!!!!!!
    Why do they keep picking this clown?

    And also in my opinion playing Mercado is a waste of a selection,his time is up, keep playing Saravia.

  14. Only two confusions
    1. Why use a make shift LB in Acuna when we have a proper one in Tagliafico? I know Acuna have played as LB in some matches in his club, but that his not his natural position.

    2. If I Change my Surname to Meza , can I Play in the Argentina national Team??

  15. Well from outside its not a fascinating 11, But there r some hard working players like Pereyra, Lamela and Ascacibar(If i m not wrong he havent started for us yet against a tougher opponent. De Paul and Acuna can put on decent Crosses from Left side so that Icardi can take advantage and finally score a Goal. Another player whom need to watch out for is Kanneman he too has not started against tougher opponents. One player who is really missing is Gazzaniga. He should have started ahead of Rulli(Who seems a bit lost course in his Club form)

  16. Imo-The show Meza gave against spain has mesmerized Scaloni …otherwise MaxiMeza don’t deserve to be selected…only the coach or someone in AFA is backing him again and again……..

    Locelso /Dybala /Vasquez/ Cervi should have selected in this game in place of Meza

    Hope Meza proves us wrong…

    • Meza has what a lot of the players lack, Pace.
      in a 4 2 3 1 he can be very helpful.
      Many stamped this guy as a failure already, He is among the hardest working members of the squad, this coming match pay attention to him, and see how many mistakes he commits, and compare himk to the rest of the squad. I don’t think he was bad last match. There is too much negativity around him left over from the last WC. Most of the players under performed in the past friendlies, not just Meza. If the coach keeps calling him, then he must do good in training and waiting to replicate that. Let us just give players the benefit of the doubt until WE are sure they are not needed.

      • I am not a fan of pavon, but we desperately need his pace.
        Because dimaria is 30 now but still watch his ability in amazing display for argentina’s 2nd goal vs france but i think he has lost his confidence.

      • Ebo please stop your Meza love , other players also deserve fair share of chance. We have enough young players in Meza position it is better to give them chance to grow their confidence because their are not may friendlies ( only 3 ) available before copa 2019. I would like to give chance to exiquel barco rather than MEZA..

        • Chintu paul
          “I would like to give chance to exiquel barco rather than MEZA..”

          Great!!, keep calling new faces every day-which is counter productive and only adds to the problem- while we have only 3 friendlies left before Copa. How do you think we will establish Chemistry between players if we constantly keep switching this player for that?
          Let’s work with what we have.

          • Meza getting chances from the WC continuously and failed miserably & still picked in the team it’s not only weaken the team but also detrimental to the moral of the other players those want to earn their place in the team by performing better. As for exiquel barco if he did not make the wrong decision to go to mls rather than stay with indipendiente he would have been in the WC , barco was more instrumental in copa sudaamerica final , gremio struggled to handled barco in both leg , barco comprehensively better than gremio Star man paqeata ( who Milan bought for 35 million) .

  17. scaloni called a lot of good players ….
    but my question is all about their positions ….
    just put the player in the place that he can add more value to your squad.

    For example i believe lo celso was not comfortable in the last game … he was too far from the action area .

  18. Looks like a 4-5-1 now but we have to pay attention to the positioning of Mercado and Acuña to see what that really means. If Mercado stays back while Acuña ventures forward the formation will end up with three at the back (Mercado, Funes Mori, Kannemann).

    Meza better step up his game because there are others that deserve to be given another chance too in my opinion, e.g. J.Correa, Ocampos, Pusetto, Vargas.

    • This looks very much like 4 2 3 1 (4 5 1). As for Mercado and Acuna, I think they are playing wing backs. You need wing backs in a 4 2 3 1. that explains Lamela and De Paul who are both wingers.
      Ascacibar and Meza will play double pivot, with Meza ahead of Ascacibar to the left joining the attack with his Pace and go back and defend.
      Preyera will be the classic 10 behind Icardi. Lamela and De Paul will try to dribble out wide on the wings and cross, or cut inside and shoot at goal.

      I think WE will have a better show than the first match.

      • I’m hoping for Ascacibar, De Paul, Pereyra and Lamela to have a great game. Those four bring a lot of energy and dynamism.

        And for Icardi to finally score his goal.

        • Yes I agree, those four bring a lot of action. Ascacibar is the enforcer and and conductor. He will set the tempo.
          Only if Ascacibar works little bit harder on his passing, He will be the best DM. I really like his tackles and play break up, and wish him the best of luck.

  19. My fellow aficionados,

    I’ve got to share my story for if I don’t I fear I will burst with anguish.
    I am an Argentino, I was born and raised in that beautifully tumultuous land until the age of 10.
    I have a clear and strong impression left in me at the tender age of 6, when I witnessed what few see in their lifetimes. I became aware of the approaching event a few weeks prior to its occurrence and eagerly anticipated it.
    The majestic memory of it will be left with me til
    my days are spent, and no I’m not talking about our glorious triumph with that wonderfully picaro of a man Diego. I witnessed Hales comet. Our glory with the beautiful game left no impression. Try as I might I cannot remember a single moment.
    It was not until WC Italia that my memory of the Albiceleste begin with a sad dejection.
    That was also the year I moved, from the land of “fútbol” to Canada the land of ice. Where “soccer” was a third tier sport seldom played and never watched. As time passed the memories of our beautiful team faded and became a distant dream. The memories of watching el partido with my father and falling asleep to commentators calling out last names “Simeone” where forgotten.
    94 USA went by leaving a pang in my heart longing for home and my family.
    France 98 I was too young to go to sports bars and was barely aware of it.
    2002 was over before it began, again a feeling of emptiness and a thought that it was best to forget the pain.
    It was 2006 that rekindled my passion. It was ours that cup, we played the most beautiful game. Yes we didn’t win and yes I was dejected, but for me the passion was back!
    It all came back, the memories the singing and chanting. I was head over heels.
    2010 was a show, I had hope but very little expectation and I was saddened but still held the dream
    2014, the copas and this last debauchery have left me with an uneasy feeling in the pit of my stomach. I have this long unfulfilled longing to see my compatriots in the whitest of white and the softest of blue celebrate in the glory of the beautiful game… But I fear. I fear that I may reach the old age of 82 and witness Hales return without ever being enthralled in the glory of our game.

    Vamos que se puede.

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