Argentina vs Colombia, World Cup qualifiers: Preview

Argentina will take on Colombia in the World Cup qualifiers at the Estadio San Juan del Bicentenario on 15 November, Tuesday. The La Albiceleste will be looking to bounce back following their disappointing 3-0 defeat at the hands of Brazil last week.

The Argentine Football Association has been in turmoil since their defeat to Chile in the 2016 Copa America Centenario. Barcelona star Lionel Messi announced his retirement from international football, only to change his mind two months later.

Following their Copa America defeat to La Roja, Gerardo Martino stepped down from his post as Argentina manager. Despite having several world class managers across the globe with the likes of Mauricio Pochettino, Diego Simeone, Jorge Sampaoli and even Marcelo Bielsa in the world football, none of them decided on taking their national team's job.

Martino replaced by Edgardo Bauza and things have not improved under the latter's guidance. Since he took charge, Argentina have managed only one win in last five World Cup qualifiers, losing two and settling for a draw in the other two fixtures.

They are currently sixth in the table with 16 points from 11 matches, trailing leaders Brazil by eight points. A defeat on Tuesday will put a dent on their chances of making their way to Russia for the 2018 Fifa World Cup.

Colombia, on the other hand, enter this fixture after settling for a goalless draw against Chile. Jose Pekerman's side will be looking for a win when they face the World Cup finalists on Tuesday.

In the last six meetings between Argentina and Colombia, the former has won four and settled for a draw on two occasions. The previous clash between these two sides saw Argentina register a narrow 1-0 win in November 2015. However, considering the recent form, Colombia will be better placed to take advantage of struggling Argentina.

 

What managers say

Edgardo Bauza: "I never put qualifying for Russia 2018 in doubt. The points we've lost hurt, but we still depend on ourselves. The group is strong and that gives us confidence. We've lost points that we didn't think we would and it's normal that criticism has come out. Hopefully in San Juan the people can spread the importance that this shirt has. We need that support."

Jose Pekerman: "When we talk about James, we're taking about a player who has many virtues, in the final third there's no one who compares to him, and he's got a powerful left-foot shot, he's versatile and flexible - and a fundamental player within the Colombia setup and within the harmony which enjoys with his team mates whether he plays on the right, on the left or through the middle."

Team News

Argentina

Possible XI: Romero; Mercado, Demichelis, Musacchio, Zabaleta; Banega, Mascherano, Biglia; Messi, Agüero, Di Maria.

Colombia

Possible XI: Ospina; Arias, Mina, Murillo, Diaz; Aguilar, Sanchez; Cuadrado, Rodriguez, Falcao; Bacca.

Author: Naveen Ullal    Source: ibtimes

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