Next up in our series of predicted lineups, we will take a look at a South American team for the first time, with Argentina’s starting lineup against Bosnia on Sunday the focus of today’s look forward. The Argentinians have proven more than capable of attaining glory at the highest stage of world football, with World Cup wins in 1978 and 1986 to complement their Confederations Cup glory in 1992 and a whopping fourteen Copa America titles between 1921 – 1993.
Fantasy managers far and wide will be looking to Alejandro Sabella’s side for some options regarding their fantasy teams, especially up towards the opposing end of goal – the sky blue and white striped outfit are one of the most exciting teams on the attack, and legendary strikers such as Diego Maradona, Gabriel Batistuta and Sergio Aguero have donned the famous shirt – the latter still plying his trade in the Premier League with newly re-crowned champions Man City. Barcelona star Lionel Messi – regarded by many as the finest player in the world today – will also turn out at this world cup in the shirt.
When looking forward at Argentina’s potential first team, we will assume Sabella will move on with a 4-3-3 formation, which seems to be one of preference for the 59-year-old.
In goal, Sabella has three stoppers to choose from – Agustín Orión of Boca Juniors, Mariano Andújar of Napoli (on loan at Catania) and Sampdoria custodian Sergio Romero, who has been on loan at French outfit Monaco this season. Romero seems to be the man most likely to snag the first choice spot, and given his 47 caps in five years his experience will surely serve the squad well. He only earn himself 30 points from our Euro League competition – the same as Andújar at Catania, though he only has 10 caps to his name, implying a sure status as Romero’s deputy. Go for the Sampdoria stopper to take the starting spot.
Sabella has named eight defenders in his squad, if you count versatile Barcelona star Javier Mascherano in the defensive role – he can play either in the back four or in a defensive midfield role, but our World Cup game has him in the flatter back four – feel free to choose him there, as he is likely to garner points. Considering Sabella’s 4-3-3 preference it could be argued that Mascherano’s most likely contribution may come from the back, so go for him in the middle, and with 130 points from 28 appearances (one as a sub) he may provide a solid, yet not spectacular contribution. His partner could be Napoli defender Federico Fernández, the 25-year-old central defender who has really made a place in the national side his own with 26 caps in the three years since he made his debut.
Fernández only earned himself 75 points domestically, however, and so while these two central defenders have not necessarily had their best respective seasons at club level they have been more than capable of doing enough to secure their places down in the national team in recent years. Martín Demichelis could be contesting for a starting lineup with these two after an impressive resurgence in form towards the end of Man City’s title-winning campaign, and should that prove enough to earn himself a starting berth then he could prove one of the dark horses of the tournament. It may still be wise to go for Fernández to start though, and with Ezequiel Garay also knocking on the door the Benfica man could also be a contender to start, though perhaps more likely in place of Mascherano, but go with the former Liverpool man.
Looking towards the full-back slots, Pablo Zabaletta of Man City and Marcos Rojo of Sporting Club de Portugal look like top contenders, with the former on the right and Rojo on the left. They will likely occupy attacking mentalities, supporting the inevitable wide men up front. Zabaletta snagged 255 points last season, and while Rojo was not in the European game last season he has enjoyed an extended run in the first team for Argentina, tallying 22 caps in little over three years since his first international outing.