The two soccer powerhouses managed by two former World Cup winning players and captains are set to meet this Saturday, September 5th in a World Cup qualifier to be played in Rosario, Argentina at 5:30pm PST. When these teams meet, all bets are off! Current form usually means nothing. This clash promises to be as mouth watering as ever! Game is on PPV through Directv or Dish Network for $29.95 or can be seen at select restaurants or bars. It’s a sound investment if you’re a true soccer fan. If you can make a fiesta of it like big boxing matches or UFC fights, make it happen!
Latest team news and Results
Brazil, ranked #1 in latest FIFA rankings, currently leads the CONMEBOL WC Qualifying group with 27 points out of 14 matches played and are a virtual lock to make the World Cup. Just as impressive are their stats having the most goals scored (25) and least conceded (6). Only 4 losses in their last 4 games and a combination of results will see them miss out. They are coming off a successful Confederations Cup tournament where they defeated the United States in the final 3-2 after trailing 2-0 at half time.
Argentina, ranked #8th in latest FIFA rankings, is sitting in 4th place in the CONMEBOL WC Qualifying group with 22 points out of 14 games. A key note is that only the top 4 qualify directly to the world cup out of South America with the 5th place team having a playoff with 4th place CONCACAF team. Argentina is almost in a must win situation for the Super Clasico (derby game/rivalry game). Argentina is coming off humiliating 2-0 and 6-1 defeats in away matches in Ecuador and Bolivia. Their most recent competitive game being a 3-2 victory over Russia in Moscow last month.
Line Ups and Tactics
Brazil is no mystery when it comes to their lineup. With no injuries to any members of their squad they will play with the same line up employed in their Confederation Cup triumph. A 4-2-3-1 formation spearheaded by GK Julio Cesar. In a position where Brazil has historically been weak, they now boast the world’s best keeper. The back line will consist of Maicon (Inter Milan) on the right, Lucio (Inter Milan) and Luisao (Benfica) in central defense, and Andre Santos (Fenerbace) on the left. Brazil is a factory when it comes to producing outside backs in world football! They get up and down the wings and are seen 18 yard box to 18 yard box. Watch and learn! Their dual defensive mids will be Felipe Melo (Juventus) and Gilberto Silva (Panathinaikos). Their jobs will be to attempt to recover possession and give the ball to the play makers. In front of them will be the trio of Elano (Galatasaray), Kaka (Real Madrid), and Robinho (Man City). The lone target forward will be the lethal Luis Fabiano (Seville).
Maicon Lucio Luisao Andre Santos
Gilberto Silva Felipe Melo
Elano Kaka Robinho
*A surprise line up change could be Dani Alves in at left back to mark his FC Barcelona teammate Messi
Argentina’s lineup lacks consistency as they are still looking for team identity and players that can pull on the national team shirt and perform like they do on their European club teams. Argentina will play a basic 4-4-2 formation with Andujar in the goal. He is in great form after helping Estudiantes win the Copa Libertadores (South American equivalent to the champions league). That earned him a sale to Italian side Catania. The back line will feature the eternal Javier Zanetti (Inter Milan) who is Mr. consistent. Two completely inexperienced Center Backs who are teammates on Argentine Champion Club Velez Sarsfield in Ottamendi and Sebastian Dominguez. The left back will be Gabriel Heinze (Marseille). The Midfield will have Maxi Rodriguez (Atletico Madrid) on the right, Javier Mascherano (Liverpool) and Sebastian Veron (Estudiantes) in the middle, and Jesus Datolo (Napoli) on the left. Mascherano is arguably the best defensive midfielder in world football. Veron’s experience, precision passing, and set pieces can be key to unlocking this match. Datolo, will be playing in only his second game on the national team and his inexperience on the big stage in a huge question mark. Up top will be Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona), and either Carlos Tevez (Man City) or Sergio Kun Aguero (Atletico Madrid).
Zanetti Ottamendi Dominguez Heinze
Maxi Mascherano Datolo
Like I said, in these rivalry games you can throw current form and standings out the window. Look for Argentina to take the initiative in a must win game for them and put Brazil on the defensive early with high pressure up top from Messi and Tevez. An early goal will be critical to calm the nerves and let Argentina operate under much less pressure. The problem with the team is they lack identity. There is no continuity in their play or in their lineup since Maradona took over the helm. He looks as if he is tactically challenged as a coach and has failed in game planning vs Bolivia, Colombia, and Ecuador.
The ONLY “POSITIVE” aspect Maradona has brought to the team as manager is the players work their socks off for him and respect him since he is a living soccer GOD in Argentina. He has always been a great leader on the pitch and the best motivator! This weighs in heavily when managing million dollar superstars.
Brazil will be happy to let Argentina attack early and often since they are geared to defend and counter attack better than any Brazilian side I’ve ever seen. The speed and precision of Maicon, Robinho, Elano, Kaka, Fabiano to run at teams on the counter is poetry in motion. This can prove to be lethal as it was in these teams last encounter in the Copa America final in Venezuela 2007. Dunga really has this team playing with a great tactical purpose and awareness rarely seen in Brazilian teams! He has instilled his spirit and toughness in a team whose historic tendency has been geared towards joga bonito (showboating).
This will be the first game in history that Argentina does not play in River Plate’s Monumental Stadium in Buenos Aires. Per petition from the players and Maradona, the game was moved to Rosario, about 300 km north of the capital. The reason? The players feel that the fans can be closer to the field in this setting and make a huge difference putting pressure on the opposition. River Plate’s stadium has a huge track around the field and the fans support cannot be felt. Also, the actual turf is in much better shape in Rosario Central’s stadium so Messi can operate at this best.
The 12th man is now ready for war!
For Argentina: Can Lionel Messi perform on the biggest stage and steal the show like he did all season for FC Barcelona in gaining the title of world’s best player? Veron’s set pieces can open up a game of this nature. Will Argentina’s inexperienced Center Backs be able to handle Brazil’s World Class Strikers? That will be crucial if they are to get a result.
For Brazil: Kaka is the man! Along with Messi, he is the top player in world football. He’s got a tough match-up with Javier Mascherano, so look for Luis Fabiano to be the main target this Saturday. Can he expose the inexperienced Argentine Center Backs in Martin De Michelis’ absence? If he does, it can be a long day for the Argentine team and supporters.
The need for a victory will prove to be too much for Brazil to handle since they are under no pressure to win this game. For Argentina it is do or die, and that will show in 90 minutes.
What are your thoughts?