Although all the talk seems to be about their South American rivals Brazil, Argentina have got on with things reasonably quietly under the radar. In regard to the usual debate as to whether it will be Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo that will produce the goods on the world stage, attention seems to be focused more on the home nation and whether the likes of Hulk or Neymar will assert themselves as one of the greatest players in the world, therefore allowing the likes of Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero and Gonzalo Higuain to quietly get on with preparing themselves and their team-mates in the best way possible for this summers competition.
In his 23 man squad, so talented is Argentina’s current crop of eligible players that Alejandro Sabella can omit the likes of Carlos Tevez and Erik Lamela and still boast a wealth of attacking talent that any defender would be more than fearful of. Expectedly, Argentina name Liga BBVA duo Lionel Messi and Angel Di Maria whilst Sergio Aguero also makes the squad despite a season plagued by recurring injuries. Gonzalo Higuain keeps his place in the side but as mentioned, there is no place for Juventus forward Carlos Tevez with Rodrigo Palacio of Internazionale preferred as the Argentinian fourth choice striker. In a bid to stake their claims for places in the side, both Ever Banega and Nicolas Otamendi left Valencia to travel on loan whilst Jose Sosa aimed to earn a place after a series of substitute appearances for Atletico Madrid in their Liga BBVA title winning season. Unfortunately for the three loan rangers, they all miss out with likes of Martin Demichelis, Lucas Biglia and an in-form Enzo Perez of Benfica replacing each of them like for like. Sabella has also found a place for Garay also of Benfica but there is no call-up for fellow team-mate and Argentine Nicolas Gaitan. Sergio Romero remains as first choice goalkeeper despite concerns over his current form whilst Federico Fernandez of Napoli and Basanta may also be seen as surprise inclusions in defence, despite frequent appearances for the national side in qualifying.
#talkingtikitaka Star man: Lionel Messi
#talkingtikitaka One to watch: Enzo Perez
Likely line up: Romero, Rojo, Fernandez, Garay, Zabaleta, Mascherano, Gago, Di Maria, Messi, Higuain, Aguero
CONFIRMED ARGENTINA 23 MAN SQUAD:
Goalkeepers: Sergio Romero (Sampdoria), Mariano Andujar (Catania), Agustin Orion (Boca Juniors).
Defenders: Pablo Zabaleta (Manchester City), Federico Fernandez (Napoli), Ezequiel Garay (Benfica), Marcos Rojo (Sporting Lisbon), Hugo Campagnaro (Inter Milan), Martin Demichelis (Manchester City), Jose Basanta (Monterrey).
Midfielders: Javier Mascherano (Barcelona), Fernando Gago (Boca Juniors), Lucas Biglia (Lazio), Ricardo Alvarez (Inter Milan), Augusto Fernandez (Celta Vigo), Angel Di Maria (Real Madrid), Maxi Rodriguez (Newell’s Old Boys), Enzo Perez (Benfica).
Forwards: Lionel Messi (Barcelona), Gonzalo Higuain (Napoli), Sergio Aguero (Manchester City), Rodrigo Palacio (Inter Milan), Ezequiel Lavezzi (Paris St-Germain).