A preview looking at the rivalry between Argentina and Uruguay, this time in Montevideo.
Yet another chapter in the battle of the river plate will be written come Thursday night when Uruguay host eternal rivals Argentina. The home team currently sit in third place in the CONMEBOL World Cup Qualifying table with Argentina in fifth place which is also the playoff spot. It’ll be a much different Argentina team this time around from the last one when these two teams faced off. Argentina managed a 1-0 victory last September in Mendoza.
Four players who started that match for the Albiceleste will not be taking part in this one. Pablo ZABALETA (not called-up), Ramiro FUNES MORI (not called-up and injured), Emmanuel MAS (not called-up) and Lucas PRATTO (not called-up) were all in the starting XI in that game for then coach Edgardo BAUZA. The two substitutes (Lucas ALARIO and Nicolas GAITAN) also did not make the team this time around. That win also marked the return of Lionel MESSI to the Argentina National Team after announcing his retirement following the 2016 Copa America. Ironically enough, it was MESSI himself who scored the winner in that match while Paulo DYBALA was shown a red card.
However, this time it’s (for the most part) a different set of players. Pretty much one year to the day since their last encounter (the match in Mendoza was on September 1 while this one is August 31), the Albiceleste on paper look like a different side. Geronimo RULLI, Federico FAZIO, Nicolas PAREJA, Fabricio BUSTOS, Leandro PAREDES, Guido PIZARRO, Marcos ACUNA, Javier PASTORE, Manuel LANZINI, Emiliano RIGONI, Joaquin CORREA, Pablo BENEDETTO, Lautaro ACOSTA and Mauro ICARDI are all new additions to the team since the last time around. That ‘s also while disregarding Eduardo SALVIO and Manuel LANZINI who had to pull out of the team due to injuries.
A win for Argentina would see them leapfrog the Uruguayans with 25 points and depending on other results, Argentina could jump from fifth place into second place in the table before the end of this matchday. The TAS ruled that the current standings remain unchanged and that Chile would not be deducted any points.
Argentina coach Jorge SAMPAOLI has tried out three different formations in training this week. Which one he starts remains to be seen but here were the line-ups:
Argentina 3-4-3/3-4-2-1 starting eleven
ROMERO; MERCADO, FAZIO/MASCHERANO, OTAMENDI; DI MARIA, BIGLIA, PIZARRO, ACOSTA; DYBALA, MESSI; ICARDI
Argentina 3-4-3 starting eleven Tuesday
ROMERO; MERCADO, MASCHERANO, OTAMENDI; RIGONI, BIGLIA, PAREDES, DI MARIA; ICARDI, MESSI, DYBALA
Argentina 3-4-3 starting eleven Wednesday
ROMERO; MERCADO, FAZIO, OTAMENDI; ACUNA, BIGLIA, PIZARRO, DI MARIA; DYBALA, MESSI, ICARDI
One thing for sure is that looking at those line-ups, Angel DI MARIA, Lionel MESSI, Mauro ICARDI and Paulo DYBALA will all be starting in attack.