With the kick-off set at 00:00, “El Monumental” from Buenos Aires, will be hosting the 97th Argentina vs Brazil duel. This is definitely one of the most interesting fixtures that the football world has to offer and the fact that neither of the two teams kicked-off the qualifiers campaign too well.
Argentina is 7th in the qualification run so far, with only a point gathered after 2 rounds and a goal record of 0-2. Their most previous clash was against Paraguay, ending in a scoreless draw. There is still plenty of time for the “Pumas” to bounce back. The main problem for them is that after this clash against Brazil, another very challenging match-up against Colombia awaits 5 days later. It seems that Argentina is quite struck by misfortune, especially with Messi, Aguero and Tevez all injured. This will mean that everything relies on Higuain, Napoli’s striker who hasn’t been played by “Tata” Martino in the first 2 rounds. The former coach of Barcelona also has Zabaleta and Garay unavailable, making it an ever harder task for him to line-up a first eleven. The main question mark however is who is going to play alongside Higuain. The most obvious of tactics would be to put di Maria and Lavezzi behind the striker, but there are some optimistic fans which say that Dybala or Correa will be entering the first 11, with di Maria having a deeper role. As we know “Tata” Martino, he may as well as be rooting for a 0-0.
Brazil is currently occupying the 5th spot, with 3 points and a goal record of 3-3. After losing in the opening round to Chile, score 0-2, the Brazilians had the perfect opponent for them to bounce back, namely Venezuela. They won that clash with 3-1. Dunga, a coach that’s very controversial when it comes to selection and tactics has infuriated everybody before this game. Ok, Thiago Silva is not being selected anymore because they had an argument, but the most in-form players from Liverpool, Coutinho and Firmino have also been inexplicably left out. Kaka, at 33 years old is meanwhile still playing for Brazil. Even if Brazil won all of the 12 friendly matches played, coach Dunga seems to be making the wrong choices when it comes to games that actually matter. The good news is that Neymar’s suspension has worn off and he’s finally able to play. Marquinhos and Marcelo are also both injured.
Romero – Rojo, Fuentes Mori, Otamendi, Mas – Mascherano, Biglia, Gaitan – Di Maria, Lavezzi, Higuain
Alisson – Alves, Luiz, Miranda, Luis – Elias, Gustavo – Costa, Oscar, Willian – Neymar
There’s perfect equality so far as far as wins are concerned, with 36 for each nation. The last time these two sides met was last year in Beijing, Brazil winning back then 2-0 thanks to the double scored by Tardelli. “Tata” Martino vs Dunga unfortunately doesn’t stand for one of those “romantic” Argentina vs Brazil clashes that we got accustomed to in the glorious years, but a much more tactical game and with plenty of fouls. The atmosphere throughout the “El Monumendal” stadium is something that’s impossible not to be affected by, no matter which side you’re playing on.