How Argentina should line up against Nigeria
It has been an embarrassing World Cup for Argentina so far. After two games they sit on one point after a disappointing 1-1 draw to Iceland and a humiliating 3-0 loss to Croatia. Going into the final game against Nigeria the Albiceleste must defeat the Super Eagles and hope Iceland don’t get anything against Croatia to go through.
Finalist 4 years ago, there is a very good chance that Argentina will crash out in the group stage and for anyone who followed their qualifying campaign, this comes as no surprise. A Lionel Messi hat-trick in the final qualifying game against Ecuador sent the country to the tournament.
Argentina were abysmal during qualification and a moment of magic made the difference. But now in Russia, there has been no magic to bail them out. Coach Jorge Sampaoli has had an absolute nightmare so far as boss. This team lack an identity, style of play and any real sense of the game plan. This side are on the brink of disaster and it will take a massive change in everything from tactics to personal to save this team from embarrassment. Nothing he has done so far has been right.
And now everything hangs in the balance against Nigeria. Sampaoli has to get his team selection spot on. In both games, he has made some decisions that have been baffling. In the first game he played his favourite 4-2-3-1 but changed it to a back three against Croatia. Both games lacked the players to get the job done and the most frustrating thing is he could easily have changed things up and fixed most of his problems.
This is how I think Sampaoli should lineup his side against Nigeria in this must-win game. This lineup will tackle Argentina's biggest problems, defensive frailties, lack of forward thinking midfielders, not starting some of the squads most exciting players and most importantly, Argentina's biggest problem, getting the ball to Messi.
Argentina did not look at all comfortable in a back three so I’d start their more fancied 4-2-3-1.
It absolutely baffles me that Willy Caballero is the best goalkeeper Argentina have available to them, except he isn't. River Plate’s Franco Armani has been to many the best goalkeeper in South America over the past few years.
Caballero hasn't been a starting keeper at his club since he left Magla in 2014, playing only 26 league games in 4 years. And after his absolute howler allowed Croatia to take the lead it's time to change it up between the sticks.
Armani may not be the most well-known player to the European audience, but like I mentioned South American followers will certainly know who he is. Armani is much better than Caballero and should have started the tournament as number 1.