Alejandro Sabella is set to name his preliminary 30-man squad for the World Cup tomorrow ahead of narrowing the final 23 on June 2nd. Argentina appear to have one of the most settled squads going into the competition so what can we expect from Sabella’s announcement?
The nation waits to see who will be chosen to attempt to capture World Football’s greatest prize but there are few surprises expected from tomorrow’s 30. There are a couple of injury doubts over Éver Banega and Augusto Fernández but are we likely to see any shocking call ups by a Coach who has been strong enough in the past to ignore public clamour.
It would appear that 19 of the 23 man squad are completely assured of a place on the plane. They would be:
- The goalkeepers – Sergio Romero, Mariano Andújar and Agustín Orion.
- In defence – Ezequiel Garay, Federico Fernández, Pablo Zabaleta, Marcos Rojo, José Basanta and Hugo Campagnaro.
- In midfield – Javier Mascherano, Fernando Gago (despite his current knee injury), Ángel Di María, Lucas Biglia and Maxi Rodríguez.
- In attack – Lionel Messi, Sergio Agüero, Gonzalo Higuaín, Rodrigo Palacio and Ezequiel Lavezzi.
So who else makes up both the 23 and the 30-man squads?
Éver Banega is currently struggling with a lung infection while Celta Vigo midfielder, Augusto Fernández is nursing a knee injury. National Team Doctors are monitoring their situations but both are expected to be named tomorrow while they continue to treat the issues.
During the qualification period, Sabella was loyal to both his five strikers and his 3 goalkeepers and so it is unlikely that we will see a fourth keeper or a sixth striker. So a late call-up for Carlos Tevez or Mauro Icardi would be an incredible turn of events. It has been suggested that former Wigan striker, Franco Di Santo is more in-line for a place in the 30.
Even a fourth goalkeeper in the preliminary squad would not be absolutely unheard of. In 2006, José Peckerman called up Óscar Ustari to his 30-man squad in addition to Roberto Abbondanzieri, Leonardo Franco and Germán Lux, and when the time came it was Lux who was dropped from the final squad. If there was to be a fourth goalkeeper this time round, then perhaps Sabella will look to someone who may be the future of Argentina goalkeeping, Estudiantes’, Gerónimo Rulli.
With this in mind the extra spots are likely to come from midfield and the defence. In defence, the names who were included in the most recent squads will be in consideration which would mean call ups for Nicolás Otamendi, Lisandro López and Gino Peruzzi.
In midfield, provided that the 5 definites and 2 injured players get called up it would leave a little space for one or two of the players Sabella has previously called upon. Another of his Estudiantes links, José Sosa is an obvious candidate along with Ricky Álvarez, Benfica’s Nico Gaitan or even Tottenham’s, Erik Lamela.
However, there are two other names in the running picked from the Argentine Primera and they are River Plate youngster, Matías Kranevitter and Vélez youth product, Lucas Romero. Perhaps with an eye on the future it would be a good chance to provide some experience to two of Argentina’s most promising midfielders.
We will learn the 30 tomorrow and then just a few weeks to learn the final 23. With the World Cup coming soon and domestic football around the world wrapping up in the coming days, the excitement that comes round every 4 years is growing.