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Russia vs Argentina – Friendly Preview

10 August 2009 by

“For one of our players to get hurt would be catastrophic.”

With key back to back qualifying matches against Brazil and Paraguay in September, it is no surprise that Diego Maradona is apprehensive about his team’s friendly match with Russia on Wednesday. Normally, you find international managers appreciate the oddly timed friendlies as it gives them the chance to prepare and experiment with their team selection. However, in this case, Maradona has unsurprisingly questioned the logical thinking of staging a possibly injury threatening encounter before two games that will go a long way to deciding whether or not Argentina will be present at the 2010 World Cup.

The Argentina coach has already had the unwanted news that solid centre back Martin Demichellis is out for six weeks with a torn ligament meaning he will miss the two qualifiers in early September. Add this to injury doubts over midfield rock Fernando Gago and precautionary withdrawels from Juan Sebastien Veron and Carlos Tevez and you can see why the under fire boss is concerned.

Tevez - Released by Maradona at the request of Man City boss Mark Hughes

Despite injury worries, Maradona’s squad selection has once again come under scrutiny for the failure to pick certain players. For what exactly Gonzalo Higuain and Esteban Cambassio have done to be completely ignored again is something that only the manager knows. Higuain’s chances for a future call up look rather dead and buried considering all the recent arrivals at Real Madrid. Add to the fact that Hernan Crespo looks to be guaranteed a starting spot at Genoa and Javier Saviola has a fresh challenge at Benfica and there are alternative viable options who will be more in Maradona’s favour if there is a striker shortage.

The squad as a whole looks fairly familiar although there are call ups for the uncapped trio of Espanyol defender Nicolas Pareja, Huracan midfielder Mario Bolatti and Napoli winger Jesus Datolo. Considering it’s only a friendly, these three may win their first caps but it’s a thankless task attempting to predict who Maradona will start with and bring on.

The Russians have picked what they would consider to be their first choice squad. The only notable absentee is new Chelsea signing Yuri Zhirkov who is recovering from injury whilst Roman Pavlyuchenko joins up with the team only hours after scoring for Tottenham in a pre season friendly.

Possible line up:





Other: Carrizo, Otamendi, Papa, Pareja, Bolatti, Datolo, Lavezzi, Lopez

Prediction: Russia 2-0 Argentina

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  • Trimbombom

    I think that the Argentine national team might not be sufficiently motivated for this match. It is a pity. Maradona refused to talk with Russian journalists, and he not came at a press conference. It seems he have got a bad nerves, something similar to hysteria because of the fear of losing match with Brazil.

    My prediction – Russia will win in this situation. They are better motivated. But for Russia match any result only in benefits. Gain – gain confidence, lose – will see the error of his ways. Not know which is better. I’m from Russia, I will root for Russia team.

    Argentina, gather and go in the final of the World Cup and not a break we feast 🙂

  • audie in leicester uk

    so much for predictions i predicted 3-1 to argentina witch it nearly was i also thought messi would not play as barca dont want it and brazil game is to close

    that line up predicted you say on what grounds maradona has never played 4-3-3 ever with argentina

    a reserve argentina beat russia at home with mighty guess as manager


    wen argentina beat brazil and spain in the december freindly we shall see how cough stupid maradona is

  • leewilson (author)

    Looks like I was right about Maradona being stupid then……..

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