Argentina face Switzerland in the last 16 in Sao Paulo later today and it is expected that Alejandro Sabella will name Ezequiel Lavezzi in his starting eleven in place of the injured, Sergio Agüero. In the usual 4-3-3, Lavezzi’s boundless energy will also provide Argentina with a little more defensive stability as he tracks back. There is no room for mistake now we are in the knockout stages.
Argentina have yet to find their form but with 3 wins from their 3 group stage matches they have found a way. Mainly due to the form of captain, Lionel Messi, who with 4 goals already is looking to score for a fourth consecutive World Cup game, a feat no Argentine has managed since Guillermo Stábile in 1930.
It is hoped that the introduction of Lavezzi will make for a more potent Argentine attack, as Agüero’s performances prior to his injury were below-par and Lavezzi has looked more dangerous in his substitute appearances.
Against a Swiss side who just defeated Honduras 3-0, thanks to a Xherdan Shaqiri hattrick, it is the defence who will need to be far tighter than they were against Nigeria. Sabella’s side can ill-afford to concede in the manner they did and expect Messi to bail them out too many times.
Switzerland will be looking again to Bayern Munich’s Shaqiri to provide their spark. Playing in behind striker, Josip Drmic, Shaqiri will be looking to receive the ball in the space in front of the defence and will need to be well marshalled by Javier Mascherano.
Gonzalo Higuain will know well the Swiss midfield as Napoli teammates, Gökhan İnler and Valon Behrami will line up in what is a strong central core.
Where Argentina will hope to have some success is against the Swiss central defence of Johan Djourou and Fabian Schär who will most likely play after Steve von Bergen was ruled out through injury. Switzerland shipped 5 goals against France and Alejandro Sabella will no doubt have studied the success that the French had in this earlier match.
ARG – Sergio Romero; Pablo Zabaleta, Fedé Fernández, Ezequiel Garay, Marcos Rojo; Fernando Gago, Javier Masherano, Ángel Di María; Lionel Messi, Gonzalo Higuaín, Ezequiel Lavezzi
SWI – Diego Benaglio; Stephan Lichtsteiner, Johan Djourou, Fabian Schär, Ricardo Rodríguez; Valon Behrami, Gökhan İnler, Granit Xhaka, Xherdan Shaqiri, Admir Mehmedi; Josip Drmić