Lionel scaloni I knew it before arriving in the country last Thursday from Mallorca: the AFA wants the game against Bolivia, on Thursday, September 9, in the Monumental, be the first that counts on the return of the public to the Argentine courts. The technician thought it was a very good idea when the president of the AFA, Claudio Tapia, communicated it to him from a distance a few days before. It would be, at the same time, the first test bench for the return of the fans in the local tournament and a good way for the National Team players to celebrate with the people winning the Copa América in Brazil, after 28 years drought. Within the coaching staff of Argentina they understand that this match against Bolivia and the previous two, against Venezuela and Brazil, will be decisive to know if the qualification for the World Cup will be one step away or if the road to Qatar 2022 becomes a little thicker, as happened with the passage to Russia 2018, anguishly achieved on the last date against Ecuador, in Quito. And Scaloni will ratify their confidence – he will give them a well-deserved award – to the majority of those who made the Olympic lap in the Maracana.
Argentina is second in the Qualifiers with twelve points, six less than Brazil, the pointer. And Ecuador, the third, has nine units. Uruguay and Colombia are in fourth and fifth position, respectively, with eight points each but better goal difference for the “charrúas” (zero against minus two). In the Qualifiers for Russia, Argentina finished third with 28 points, behind Brazil and Uruguay, which added 41 and 31 points, respectively. The fourth and last direct place was for Colombia, which gathered 27 units. So if the last qualifying rounds are taken as a parameter, Argentina’s projection is positive, despite the fact that so far it has achieved three victories and three draws.
Scaloni and company believe that the best thing to face the crashes in front of Venezuela (on September 2 at 9 p.m. in Caracas), Brazil (on September 5 at 4:00 p.m. at the Corinthians Stadium) and Bolivia (9 at 20:30 at the Monumental) is to bet again – almost as a way of gratitude – for the players who were in the Copa América in Brazil, those of the historic title at the Maracana in front of the locals.
Of the 28 who went to the Copa América, Scaloni will not be able to count on two due to different injuries: Sergio Aguero, who is recovering from a tendon injury to the inner calf of the right leg, and Agustín Marchesín, who underwent an operation on his right knee and will have at least two months of recovery. Mauro Icardi I was going to be in the place of Kun Agüero, but on Friday he suffered a acromioclavicular sprain on the right shoulder in the match that Paris Saint Germain beat Brest 4-2 for League 1 in France and will have at least 20 days of recovery. Icardi’s last match with the Albiceleste jersey was with Scaloni as coach, on November 20, 2018, in a 2-0 victory over Mexico, in Mendoza, in which the PSG forward scored one of Argentina’s goals (the another was by Paulo Dybala).
At the time of the closing of this note, the names that had the possibility of being in the place of Agüero and Icardi were those of Dybala, Giovanni Simeone and Adolfo Gaich among those found in European football. AND Jeremiah Ledesma, from Celta de Vigo, and Esteban Andrada, from Mexican Monterrey, were the candidates to replace Marchesin: For now, they are part of the preliminary list that the AFA presented last Sunday before Conmebol to meet the administrative deadlines.
That preliminary list also includes Juan Foyth, Jose Luis Palomino, Emiliano Buendía and Lucas Ocampos, the four who suffered the final cut prior to the Copa América. Instead, the one who was absent again is Lucas Alario, who recovers from a tear.
The AFA will announce this Monday the list of summoned for the next three Argentina matches. The 29 who have a guaranteed place are the archers Emiliano Martinez, Franco Armani and Juan Musso; the defenders Gonzalo montiel, Nahuel Molina, Foyth, Cristian Romero, Lucas Martínez Quarta, German Pezzella, Nicolas Otamendi, Lisandro Martinez, Nicolas Tagliafico and Marcos Acuña; midfielders Rodrigo De Paul, Leandro Paredes, Exequiel Palacios, Giovanni lo celso, Guido Rodriguez, Nicolas Dominguez, Alejandro Gomez, Angel Di Maria, Good day and Ocampos; and the forwards Lionel messi, Lautaro Martinez, Angel Correa, Nicolas Gonzalez, Joaquin Correa and Julian Alvarez.
In addition to Armani and Julián Álvarez, Scaloni is closely following three other local soccer players: Matias Suarez; Fabrizio Angileri, who recovers from a tear; and Facundo Farías, the youth of Colón who will turn 19 on the 28th of this month.
Secondly, Cuti Romero and Paredes, two of the players most valued by the coach, they will not be able to play against Venezuela because they owe a suspension date for having reached the two yellow cards in the 2 to 2 match against Colombia, in Barranquilla, the last match of the Qualifiers before the Copa América. Pezzella and Martínez Quarta they will fight to be in place of Romero against Venezuela and Guido Rodriguez is emerging as the replacement for Paredes.
At the same time, there are nine national team players who must take care of themselves against Venezuela as they are at the limit of yellows since they could miss the classic against Brazil: Montiel, Martínez Quarta, Tagliafico, De Paul, Lo Celso, Palacios, Nicolás Domínguez, Ocampos and Lautaro Martínez.
Since Thursday, Scaloni has been at the AFA property in Ezeiza, complying with the mandatory isolation after arriving from Mallorca, the Spanish city where he lives with his family. There is a health bubble in which the other members of the National Team’s coaching staff are part: Walter Samuel, Roberto Ayala and Pablo Aimar. They are also the physical trainer, Luis Martin; the goalkeeper coach, Martín Tocalli; and the video analyst, Matías Manna.
All of them distributed their hours planning the three games for the Qualifiers and watching a lot of football, the Argentine championship and also the different European leagues. And also praying that today there are no more injuries like the one Icardi had, who was a regular for this call but will have to keep waiting to return to the National Team.