By Douglas Smith @DFresh39 on April 14, 2014
The talent level on the Argentinian squad outweighs the flaws, but anything can happen on the World Cup stage. Many of the issues with Argentina are problems that any national team coach would love to have ahead of the tournament. Alejandro Sabella has the task of sifting through the five issues stated here and getting his team to live up to their billing as a top four favorite.
The most talent-filled position on the Argentina National Team is at striker. Besides Messi, who I will get to later, there are at least four other players capable of playing up top. That does not include Carlos Tevez, who has fallen out of favor with Sabello. Angel Di Maria, Ezequirl Lavezzi, Gonzalo Higuian and Sergio Aguero will see time in attack. Finding the best combination could be tough.
The midfield has been described as pedestrian. That may be a stretch, but it is clearly below the forward position in terms of talent. Fernando Gago and company will be asked to win back tackles and provide cover. It is an easy game plan. Win the ball, make the right pass and get out of the way.
It seems Sabello has realized that playing Messi at center forward, like he plays at Barcelona, is the best tactic for success. However, Messi's goal scoring average on the international level is well below his pace at Barca. Obviously the overall competition is better, but this statistic is also a result of Messi playing all over the field.
Pablo Zabaleta is firmly planted at one of the outside back positions, but it is unclear which one he will play. Marcos Rojo has been tested as the fourth defender but has competition from Gino Peruzzi and Jose Maria Basanta. Depending on who wins the job, Zabaleta could be asked to play on his weaker side.
Sergio Romero plays for a top club but is not getting much playing time at Monaco. He is the clear No. 1 but has not seen game action. Backup Mariano Andujar has emerged as the No. 1 at Catania and third choice keeper, Agustin Orion, is the starter with Boca Juniors. Would Sabella have a quick hook if Romero looks rusty in late May when final preparations begin?
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