Paulo DYBALA, Dario BENEDETTO to start against Nigeria

Paulo Dybala, Alejandro Gomez Argentina

Paulo DYBALA, Dario BENEDETTO and a whole set of new players are set to start for Argentina against Nigeria.

Jorge SAMPAOLI is expected to make eleven changes from the 1-0 victory against Russia for the game against Nigeria. We already know that Lionel MESSI will not take part in the second friendly match as he already left the team to go back to Barcelona.

In Sunday’s training session, the coach went with eleven changes. However, the line-up used in training is not necessarily the same which will start the match against the Nigerians. Here’s the team which training and the rumored line-up:

Argentina team in training:


Paulo DYBALA, Dario BENEDETTO up front:


According to Ole, the second line-up is the one expected to start. The only question remains on the left between Angel DI MARIA and Diego PEROTTI. If that were to be the team which starts against Nigeria, it would mean that goalkeeper Agustin MARCHESIN would get only his second cap for his country (the first coming in a 7-0 victory in October 2014 against Hong Kong). The same three which started against Russia would start this one, Cristian PAVON (who had the assist on Sergio AGUERO’s goal) would get his first ever start. Ever BANEGA would come in for Enzo PEREZ while Matias KRANEVITTER and Giovani LO CELSO would get back to back starts. Up front, it’s Paulo DYBALA and Dario BENEDETTO.


  1. shovan anwar

    He gained consciousness but the reason is still unkown. He is undergoing some tests.
    I am not looking too deep into the loss against the superEagles. Its just a Friendly and its a good thing Sampaoli tasted his first loss with the team. I think first half Argentina was SUPERB.
    Ofcourse i can see the loss of Aguero put a huge concentration lapse. But got to give it to Nigeria, They were fascinating to watch. Come WC this result would be reversed. Still have my faith on Sampaoli and hope he makes the best out of this loss. We were unbeaten under Sampaoli so far. He has work to do. Lets be patient.
    The game i would simply put it as

  2. Argentina2018

    One man team fails again when the one man is not there. I don’t think Argentina is ready for this world cup. No system no solid strategy and no solid plan. It will be one man show until messi retires.

  3. Kitty

    Confirmed starting Line up against Nigeria

    Marchesín; Mascherano, Pezzella, Otamendi; Enzo Pérez, Banega; Pavon, Lo Celso, Di Maria; Dybala & Aguero.

    Really interesting;

    1. Mik

      The Midfield looks good especially. Bangea, Enzo & Lo Celso will add much needed creativity from Middle.

      1. pallab

        Great na

  4. Dadir10

    There is a rumour about a friendly between Argentina and Saudi Arabia. Could this be one of the friendlies the local team will play? By the way, there is a news about Bauza fired by Saudi Arabia. If this is true then this guy is one of the worst and unluckiest coaches I’ve recenlty seen.

  5. Mik

    Well so the prediction(I don’t know who predicted i read somewhere) became True Italy & Holland is out of World cup 2 huge teams with pedigree, The World cup, what all FIFA Scandals are there still is the biggest Sporting event in the World which is tuned by almost all around the world. Its not only the Pride but the Truck Load off money which FIFA which can be used to develop the youth football etc.

    Italy will come back so as Dutch because they both have good League football, Especially Serie A.(Not the best but still good). If we think deeper MESSIAH not only saved Argentine Football but also the next 2 Generations for us. It would have been a death of Football in Argentina as we already have enough troubles in AFA.

    Its Sad that Italy is not there i don’t like Dutch,Spain,England,Portugal,Brazil, France But after Argentina any others which i have very little soft corner is Italy & Germany.

  6. vimaldass

    Good news. Argentina u15 beat the Paraguayans 3-0 just now and have qualified as leaders of group A. We will be facing the 2nd place team in group B during semifinals soon.

    I’ve watched 2 full matches of ours live and can assure you guys that our team is full of talented players especially in midfield and attack. The one notable player that we should look out for in future is none other than our playmaker, zeballos. The kid is immensely talented and can surely be a superstar soon if he works hard enough. Kudos to diego placente and his team for shaping them.

  7. MMH

    Congrats to Sweden. They fought for that and earned it. Italian only blame to themselves for this one.

  8. david carvajal

    Wow crazy about Italy. I wish i was able to watch the game live tomorrow… in order to win WC we havr alot of work to do.. hoping sampi can figure out our offense starting with our midfield… im also looking forward to seeing the outcome of spain/Russia

  9. Blue

    Can anyone tell me please if Marcos Rojo plays an important role in the Sampolis plan?

    1. MMH

      He needs to get fit and get his form back first

  10. DD

    This Sweden team & other teams like this which park the bus & make scoring difficult are going to give us hard times. I saw the first half of the match today & it reminded me of our encounter against them back in 2002. I feel really bad for Italy. They may be just above average, but didn’t deserve to be knocked out of the WC.
    In any case, we would have to be more effective in our set plays to break down defenses like this. We need massive improvements in this area.

  11. EnganChe

    Mama mia, no Italy! Ironically, it’s also an ABBA song…

  12. msi75

    Italy has very mediocre generation of players imo… Just compare the squad they had in the 90s, or even in 2006 and now… The fall of quality is stupendous.

    1. Gonzalo

      Still they were better than Sweden. The struggling and suffer of Italy reminded me our game against Sweden in 2002.

    2. Istiaque

      Doesn’t really help when your coach is also a moron.

      I mean who plays 3-5-2 when you need to win?

  13. Dfox1942

    Our cousins, Italy are on the brink of staying home for the WC!!

    1. Dfox1942

      Its over, they are not going.

      I feel bad, it really sucks and especially for My man, Buffon!

      We are so damn lucky and VERY Thankful indeed.

      Wow, No Italy…….too damn weird.

      1. Gonzalo

        I feel sorry too. Especially for Buffon.

      2. Joe

        Feel so sorry for the 4 times world champions

    2. Julker9

      We had a savior like Leo in our squad. Can’t believe Italy out!!

      1. Dfox1942

        Just shows you, NOTHING is Given in the World Of Football!!

        I was telling my dad yesterday that we might see Zlatan come out of retirement if Sweden by some miracle advances to the WC……you heard it Here 1st ;-).

        Italy 🙁

  14. Csabalala

    Another Argentina-England-Nigeria-Sweden group? 😀

    1. saant

      Absolutely possible.
      Argentina are in pot 1.
      In Pot 2, you have England, Croatia, Mexico, Spain, Switzerland, Uruguay, Colombia & Peru (if they qualify that is, cos they are ranked 10th in the world.) Since, Argentina cannot be grouped with fellow South Americans, the probabilities are high.
      Sweden will be in Pot 3.
      Nigeria are in Pot 4.
      Ironic, but there is a real possibility, since all 4 teams are in different Pots, making it eligible to be grouped together.
      Speking, of Peru qualifying. If they do, then we will have 5 Argentines coaches out of the 32 at the World Cup. I don’t know if there had been so many coaches from a single country at a World cup before.
      Sampaoli, Pekerman, Bauza (Saudi), Cuper (Egypt), and Gareca (if Peru make it.). WOW!

      1. saant

        Ok my Bad. Just came to know, that Bauza has been fired as Saudi coach. So, 3 coaches are confirmed, and Gareca in the line.
        In 2014, we had 3. Sabella, Sampoali and Pekerman.

        1. Dadir10

          Ramon Diaz is the candidate to replace Bauza. If he is appointed then he will be the fourth and Gareca is down the line.

  15. Chintu paul

    What is the situation of Lucas patenelli now the next messi, can any one know ?

  16. Dfox1942

    Papu looks like a midget next to Dybala!!

  17. Gonzalo

    Damn, working I will not to have the opportunity to watch tomorrow’s match live. Hope to find it soon after on YT. Possible line up looks interesting.

  18. canadien royal

    After the last game, I can see that Sampaoli switch from 3-4-2-1 to 3-3-3-1 with the 2 wingers playing a bit more closer to Messi. My view on the players per position:

    – GK: Romeo and Guzman for sure, 3nd GK between Marchesin and Rulli

    – Left Central back: Otamendi, the sub place between Rojo and Insua. I prefer Rojo as he is stronger in the air and more powerful.
    – Libero: Maschereno should be the first choice, very tough competition, 2 players to choose between Mammana, Funes Mori, Fazio, Pezzella, Mussachio or even Fernandez who has been playing well with his club since a couple of years. I think it’s over for Garay. Nobody should decline to play for his country when it is in trouble.
    – Right Central back: Mercado only as Maschereno can also play this role.

    – Defensive midfielder: Not obvious yet. Biglia was very disappointing during his last 2 games. He doesn’t do well with Milan neither. Kranevitter just played a decent friendly game and it doesn’t mean anything, I want to see Pizarro and Battaglia. To me Pizarro is the best among all these players.
    – Central midfielder: Enzo Perez and Di Maria for sure. 2 players to choose from Lo Celso, Banega and Paredes. I also wonder if Lanzini can play in this role. I am very sure that Lo Celso will be a better player than Verratti and will have a bright future. But maybe a bit green now given that he doesn’t play much with his club, let’s see …

    – Right winger: Salvio should have his place secured. Gomez and Pavon maybe, depending on their performance against Nigeria. But to be honest, I like none of them and I prefer by far Angel Correa
    – Left winger: Acuna for sure, the 2nd choice should be between Perotti and Joaquin Correa. Maybe Sampaoli will only take Acuna as Di Maria can play this role too in order to free 1 more place for an additional forward or playmaker.
    – Playmaker: Messi and Dybala. If 1 more place possible I wish Pastore. His vista is an asset.
    – Forward: Aguero should be the number one, tough competition between Icardi, Benedetto and Higuain(who knows).

    Let me know if I forget anyone in the list

    1. Gromoso

      My friend I don’t know what you expect from certain players but saying that Biglia was disappointing shows that you have to move closer to your TV or you confuse Biglia with another player. Biglia is one of the most consistent player that we have. If u put Mascherano, Otamendi, Mercado Biglia should be there as a very consistent. If you guys want people to share thoughts with you you have to be objective and respectful as well. Say what you see not what you heard someone says.

      1. Leandro

        I agree, people like to hate on Biglia but he is very very classy. Works hard, defends excellent, is always in space to receive the pass from defence and a back pass from offense, he plays smart one touch passing seldom loosing the ball in critical central mid areas (hello Banega!), He has the ocassional good through ball, he can shoot from outside, has experience, leadership, when games get gritty he doesnt back down, he feels the shirt, etc.

        The guy is a beast of a DM. He isnt flashy and he isnt quick (he has stamina and great positioning) so people dismiss him. Personally, those that do dont know futbol and want all players to be playstation. biglias short comings have been coaches surrounding him with other DMs rather than complementary box to box players like Enzo.Perez. Biglia, Banega, Masch was a retarded trio..

        1. Gromoso

          Thank you, not because you agree with me but you say the truth!

        2. mamoun elpipita

          I personally have nothing against Biglia, infact I will always feel indebted to him for his massive performance in the WC but he’s way too limited and one dimensional to make any impact IMO, especially since there are multiple players who I believe could do a better job such as Nacho Fernandez, Pablo Perez, Battaglia, Pizzaro, Enzo and Augusto (if he gets back to his pre-injury form).

          The game has changed and the days of having someone in the midfield purely for the dirty, defensive work are fast becoming a thing of the past. A successful midfield needs players who can play the box to box game and the players I have mentioned above have all shown that potential.
          Remember in copa 2016 where Argentina was bossing teams left and right with a masch-augusto-banega midfield yet when augusto got injured and biglia came in, that same midfield suddenly became completely insipid.

          1. canadien royal

            @elpipita, it depends really how the team is organized. Usually for those who play without a true DM, the fullbacks need to be very versatile and skillful, able to cover their midfielders and their central back. They also play with 3 box 2 box midfielders in order to compensate. PSG this year play in this way with Draxler-Rabiot-Verratti.

            However, the current version of the NT is a very different story, Sampaoli plays with only 3 central defenders(with 2 of them half full-back) and no true fullbacks, so in order to keep the balance, I think it’s necessary to have a true DM. In the past, the DM always played the most important role in his system: like Aranguiz with Chile and NZonzi with Sevilla.

      2. canadien royal

        Well Gromoso, I talked about the last 2 games of Biglia, not his entire career! We shouldn’t have seen the same games in this case. I suggest you to re-watch in youtube.

        Leandro, btw I don’t have any pretension to know football more than others but I know what’s a DM and my benchmark is Kante and Makelele, are they your “playstation-type” players? Biglia has his own qualities but as I mentioned, his performance is very below expectation for his last 2 games. Others deserve to have their chance to prove.

  19. Kitty

    Line-up used in the last training; Probably the starting line-up against Nigeria

    Four changes made from the one that started against Russia

    Marchesín; Javier Mascherano, Gremán Pezzella, Nicolás Otamendi; Banega, Matías Kranevitter, Giovani Lo Celso, Dybala, Pavón, Sergio Agüero and Ángel Di María.

  20. Arjunanmessi

    what sampolli done here is he already bring the team for next world cup 2022…
    LCB- may be foyth or rojo





    1. anuparno

      messi will be there in 2022 world cup also he will be only 34-35 years old and may play in xavi type of role a controller in midfield

      1. Arjunanmessi

        hmmm.. if he win world cup i think he will leave.. and come to argentina league… but i also want him in the 2022 world cup… but too much criticism.. thats why

  21. Antonio Montana

    Aguero is said to be starting. In lastest news …

    Otamendi pezzella mascherano
    Banega kranevitter lo celso
    Pavon aguero dimaria

  22. Sabellista

    I can’t criticize debutants Lo Celso Pezzella or Kranevitter (Sampa debut). They were playing their first match. So they were treading in the unknown. I think they did ok for their first game. I think the midfield is starting to take shape. I need to see the Nigeria game first but I see a hint of possession domination emphasis. The transitions are not yet convincing and I don’t think Sampa is satisfied with the slow tempo in the last third either. I hope to see Pizzaro, Paredes Lanzini/Papu/Perotti/J Correa combos tried at one point. I have seen how Sampa’s Sevilla team played at high tempo but I don’t expect us to see that type of football until he is settled on the core players.

    1. Arjunanmessi

      agreed i also think pizzaro paredes lanzini is best trio… padedes needs to challenge enzo perez place.. pizzaro can do well no 5

  23. Mik

    Well i somehow feel Paredes is not what Sampa looks for in the Midfield, He is always in the Squad but have not started yet even in the absence of other key midfield players. Lets see if he starts next match we can see what he brings. If he don’t then i don’t think Paredes will ever start for us soon before World Cup,because there is not many friendlies left.

    I just have feeling that playing Banega along with other 2 Mid fielders(1 DM + 1 Box to Box) will make him play better. Like Biglia-Enzo-Banega, Last time in Copa 2016 Banega-Augusto-Mascherano combo was looking good. So may be just may be Banega May click, Not sure though, I feel like this is his last chance to impress to even get a chance as a starter, Will he be able to withstand against tuff Nigerian players???

    1. Sabellista

      I think Banega needs to be dropped honestly. His lack of tenacity and lazy style makes him a liability to our midfield. Rodrigo Battaglia, Lanzini or Vasquez here are better options.

      1. Mik

        Well its true but i think tomorrows match may be his last as a Starter for us, He will most probably be there in he 23 Players for the World Cup, Sampa likes him, dont know why. Lanzini is a good player, Same as Paredes, but till now both haven’t been started for us under Sampa, If Lo Celso plays to his ability he can lock a place i guess. There r only 2 or 3 friendlies left for us before WC, So logically i don’t see that many new players added to our Midfield. Otherwise someone has to perform exceptionally well like Belluschi, Gago(before injury), Pablo Perez, may be Lanzini or Paredes too.

        1. Leandro

          I agree with @Sabellista.. Banega should be dropped. At best he is an ok sub.

          1. Mik

            But why is even players like Xavi is praising him? Sampa also said before that he likes Banega. There must be something that is striking for them, After all they are more tactically knowledgeable than us.

          2. Dadir10

            I also think Banega has to be dropped from the squad. Lanzini is the best player to take that position.
            @Mik, it’s true that Xavi praised him, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he always deserves to be in the squad. When a player performs well he has the right to be called up, but if he doesn’t perform well he will lose his spot to a better player. There is another player who was praised by Xavi and guess who is that player? Xavi liked Nicolas Gaitan when he was at Benfica and he said I don’t know why big clubs didn’t buy him since he is one of the most talented players in Europe. You see, players have ups and downs, so when they are in a great form they deserve great things and when they are in bad form they deserve less. Sampa used to like Banega but he has no confidence in him anymore.

          3. Arjunanmessi

            banega is quality player.. because his ball control and passing.. and he is similar to xavi.. but xavi is more intellegent.. banega is failed in that area thats why his final pass always worst and his decision making… xavi also have less pace.. but his decesion making and intellegent make him world class.. if that those thing clicks for banega.. he will have wonderfull game .. thats why sampolli xavi all are likeing no body have ball control like banega and pastore.. but they are week in tackling and defending… thats what sampolli looking.. thast why he choose lo celso.. he is doing both job.. thats what sampolli want.. other one can do that job is lanzini..

          4. Gonzalo

            Unfortunately I think Banega is still starter for Sampaoli. He should not be in team anymore.

      2. pallab

        I think banega biglia will not be dropped
        May be all coach love their play

        ☆Enzo ,biglia ,banega ,,dimaria will start in final position

        Sub -♡ Rigoni ,paredes ,Kranevitter, perotti ,lo celso

        1. Arjunanmessi

          sampolli already leave him… as a sub..but he give another opportunity if he dont use this others will get chance like.. lo celso even ascacibar can also get a chance.. rpy to @ganzalo

    2. imtiaz

      Paredes gives me the impression of something between a CDM and CM. His workrate isn’t enough to put him in either role.He is not a box to box midfielder. He is more like a “Relaxed” central midfielder. IMO his only realistic chance is to nail down the defensive midfielder role. With his creativity, if he adds more defensive work, he will be the ideal holding player for Sampaoli.

      1. vimaldass

        My exact thoughts about his attributes. When the team is dominating possession, he may be very useful with his precision in passing and unexpected creativity but when the team is defending he may be highly ineffectual. This may be the main reason of his persistent exclusion.

        1. Mik

          Yup Paredes looks like someone like an old fashioned player,Veron, Riquelme (If i am not wrong Paredes had been praised by Riquelme as his Heir during his Boca days) well not comparing but he looks like a player with the Pause.

          1. Gonzalo

            Paredes with defensive back up and someone more hardworking seems rational. I mean: still hope to see Paredes – Battaglia. Both may give some offensive contribution. First by passing, second by running. No way Kranevitter is better than Battaglia currently. But I must to say Kranevitter had decent performance against Russia.

          2. Gonzalo

            Paredes alined with defensive back up and someone more hardworking around seems rational. I mean: still hope to see Paredes – Battaglia. Both may give some offensive contribution. First by passing, second by running. No way Kranevitter is better than Battaglia currently. But I must to say Kranevitter had decent performance against Russia. Good tackiling.

          3. imtiaz

            I am actually against the idea of taking a midfielder solely on defensive purpose. That’s why I don’t want to see Biglia/Kranevitter as a starter. My idea is to put more defensive duty on a rather creative player and pair him with someone like Enzo Perez. Both of them will share defensive burden and minimize the gap among defence,midfield and attack. But Sampaoli clearly has different idea bcz he keeps selecting one of Biglia or Kranevitter.

          4. Rhaelyn

            I dont like both biglia and kranevitter but I think sampaoli is using either of them to help his 3-man defense.

  24. Sudhirfadi

    Due to lack of playing time at utd , Romero should starts as goalkie. Peredez remind me as a veron type so why he is not being used as a box to box midfielder.. 3-4-3 formation is useless against European teams……against very strong African team like Nigeria I will prefer
    Marcado( if not injured)/ salvio( false full back like Milner of Liverpool or young/ Valencia for utd)
    J. Silva/
    Mascerano/ bataglia
    di Maria ( as he was used during Real Madrid) a attacking mid or even poppu gomez
    Messi as holding midfielder
    Dybala as false 9
    Icardi/ Lucas alario
    Waiting for rojo! He is outstanding for albiceleste color

    1. Antonio Montana

      Messi as a holding midfielder?! Messi isnt and will never be a defensive mid My friend!

      1. anuparno

        he mayb in 2022

  25. Julker9

    I will like to see the first line up!

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