March 20th - Squad selection for the Friendly against Algeria
Heading quickly into the Copa América, we face the talented african side, and there's little room for experimentation now, with only two friendlies left before the continental competition.
Sergio Romero is injured, but even if he wasn't he wouldn't be selected. He just played 1 game in 2015, a calamitous defeat against Fiorentina, where he conceded 3 and ended with a 3.50 rating. Rulli, Marchesín and Batalla will be the goalkeepers for this fixture. There's almost no changes in the defense, just the inclusion of Cristian Ansaldi to cover up as right wing-back.
Ever Banega returns to the NT, while upfront I've decided to reward Juan Iturbe (with a 7.00 rating this season) and Gonzalo Higuaín returning to join Tevez as the strikers, while Agüero is out due injury.
March 21th - Musacchio out - Goltz in
With the former River and Villareal player unavailable, I've trusted Paolo Goltz from América (Mex) to step up and fill the place in the squad
March 27th - Friendly vs Algeria
Somehow, I've survived the week before the game without injuries in the squad, which is obviously good. However Di Maria, Messi, Banega, Lavezzi and Lamela can only play 45 minutes.
The XI was pretty much, the main team I've had in mind since the start of the campaign, only with Rojo playing as centre-back and Lavezzi in Pastore's place and Tevez in Agüero's.
As expected, we started the game with the possesion and the goalscoring situations, but Algeria set foot as the game goes by, with Feghouli and Slimani being a threat for Rulli's goal. The first half ended with a bitter taste where we should be superior in every term to Algeria. We had trouble to create chances and keep the ball.
Salvio, Iturbe and Lamela got into the pitch at halftime to replace Messi, Di Maria and Lavezzi. Despite those players have the instruction to play 45 minutes, it weren't their best display, not creating chances for Tevez upfront or being a threaten for themselves. I hope the young trio can put some spark in the final third of the field.
The second half started a lot better, with the team being quicker and creative. With Gonzalo Higuain replacing Tevez in the hour-mark we started to be a threaten in the air too, and the most clear chance came in the 75 minute when Lamela shot a volley and it hit the post.
Only minutes away for the final whistle, Lamela picked up a loose ball after a Higuain's challenge and slot it home to score his first ever goal with the National Team. In the additional time, Otamendi headed a corner to Lamela's feet who fired a powerful volley past M'bolhi and doubling his figure and Argentina's.
The game came to and end, and after a dissapointing first half, the changes payed off, with Lamela, Higuaín and Jonathan Silva (who won his first cap alongside Juan Iturbe, both as substitutes) being key for the win. The team improved in the second half, playing a very attractive football and being solid in the back.
On the downside, Lionel Messi seems demotivated, and its bad news as he is, well, of course, a key part of the team. Also we missplaced too many passes but it was also Algeria's merit.
However, we are looking forward for the last friendly against Japan, in 73 days
April 6th - Japan friendly cancelled
Well..lovely. The friendly has been cancelled and I can't arrange one before the Copa América. That's just perfect
April 26th - u-20 WC Draw
Our u-20, who won with flying colours the Sudamericano and qualified for the World Cup, including a 5-2 against Brazil in the finals, have their group drawed for the event. And it's gonna be a very interesting and difficult contest to make it into the next stage with Germany and United States in the same group, alongside South Africa. We all know that playing against the Germans it's like a classic for us, so Ferraro have a really tough but interesting job ahead. The best wishes for our under 20's
May 2nd - Superclásico de las Américas location
The pick for the next Superclásico against Brazil is the PPL Park, home of the Philadelphia Union of the MLS. The game will be hold September 5th
May 13th - Preliminary squad for the Copa América
The deadline came to give the 26-man squad for the Copa América. Ferraro gave the U-20 list days ago and the only player I was thinking of use in the tournament was Augusto Batalla, so I'm free to pick Rolón as RWB if necessary.
With Marchesin out, Romero, Barovero and Caballero will fight for two places and join Rulli, who will be my goalkeeper for the tournament. However I can choose 2 keepers instead of 3.
In the defense, Lucas Orban is who I pick for the WLB substitute, in the middle Allione, Romero and Banega will fight for a place. Other than that, everyone else are the usual suspects.
May 18th - Di Maria out
Talking about major blows, Ángel Di María can't be part of our team in the Copa América. The Manchester United winger suffered a hip injury. I've decided to call Lucas Ocampos as his replacement.
May 25th - The cut
I've to cut 4 players, and it's really difficult to decide who will miss this Copa América. Marcelo Barovero and Sergio Romero are out, Jerónimo Rulli and Willy Caballero will be our goalkeepers. I hope this gamble of bring only 2 GK's works out. Allione and Banega are also out, I'm gonna trust Lucas Romero's ability if needed to back up Mascherano.
This is the 22-man squad, even if I got critics of chosing Lucas Orban. A few days after the team meets in Philadelphia in order to prepare for the continental tournament.
Please join me and Argentina in the Copa América in the next post, where the group stage will be detailed