Soccer World Cup

2014 World Cup: Predicting Argentina’s Starting XI

2014 World Cup: Predicting Argentina's Starting XI

Predicting Argentina's World Cup Starting XI
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Argentina coach Alejandro Sabella will train his team to play an attractive brand of soccer. There are up to five players who can convert in the smallest windows, which will work well in his attacking scheme. However, the back line is a potential problem that will be tested when Argentina get deeper into the World Cup.

GK: Sergio Romero

Sergio Romero
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GK: Sergio Romero

Sergio Romero
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The battle is ongoing, but Romero is the top choice at the moment. It is a three-man competition with Crystal Palace’s Julian Speroni and Mariano Andujar. Romero won the gold medal at the 2008 Olympics as the starter. He was loaned to Monaco this season, but did not start every match.

LB: Marcos Rojo

Marcos Rojo
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LB: Marcos Rojo

Marcos Rojo
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The biggest outfield player battle is at right-back. Rojo is a strong, young player who generally plays at center-back for Sporting Lisbon. His fitness and size give him the advantage. Jose Maria Basanta is challenging Rojo for the spot, but he has 13 fewer appearances for the national team.

CB: Ezequiel Garay

Ezequiel Garay
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CB: Ezequiel Garay

Ezequiel Garay
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Garay had a breakout season and is targeted by many big European clubs after being a mainstay for Benfica. His face is still recovering from catching a Paul Pogba bicycle attempt just under the nose, but that will not keep him from being a top choice for Argentina.

CB: Federico Fernandez

Federico Fernandez
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CB: Federico Fernandez

Federico Fernandez
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Fernandez has been a top choice for the last two years, but there is limited flexibility behind him. He scored twice in a Champions League match in 2011 and has been a known commodity since then. Fernandez has 24 appearances for Argentina.

RB: Pablo Zabaleta

Pablo Zabaleta
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RB: Pablo Zabaleta

Pablo Zabaleta
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Zabaleta has been the top choice right-back for years. He just shared a Premier League title and will be the leader on the back line while the other options are still maturing.

CDM: Javier Mascherano

Javier Mascherano
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CDM: Javier Mascherano

Javier Mascherano
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Mascherano will most likely play his 100th game for Argentina in Brazil. He made his senior team debut in 2003 prior to playing a minute for River Plate, his first club team. He played every minute at the 2006 World Cup and became the captain at the 2010 tournament.

LM: Angel di Maria

Angel di Maria
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LM: Angel di Maria

Angel di Maria
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The Real Madrid player will have to bond with Barcelona's Mascherano. His dribbling ability and pure speed will spur the attack. He should contribute a couple of goals in Brazil.

RM: Lucas Biglia

Lucas Biglia
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RM: Lucas Biglia

Lucas Biglia
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Biglia was a member of the Argentina squad that won the 2005 FIFA World Youth Championship. It took him six years to get into the senior team picture and now he looks to be starting on the right.

F: Gonzalo Higuain

Gonzalo Higuain
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F: Gonzalo Higuain

Gonzalo Higuain
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The front three will interchange freely upfront with plenty of chances coming for all of the attackers. Higuain recovered from a bruised shin to help Napoli win the Coppa Italia. He set up the first goal in that match, showing his ability to distribute.

F: Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi
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F: Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi
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Messi has played behind the striker or on the wing for Argentina, but it looks like he will get the first chance as the central striker. This should open up his scoring chances and allow him to find Higuain and Sergio Aguero.

F: Sergio Aguero

Sergio Aguero
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F: Sergio Aguero

Sergio Aguero
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Aguero can be deadly. He scored 17 goals in 23 appearances during the Premier League championship run for Manchester City. He also scored six times in six Champions League matches.