Portugal vs Argentina is perhaps the glamour international friendly of 2014 due to the presence of maestros Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.But both managers will take the event seriously as they prepare for their upcoming tests. Fernando Santos’ Portugal are still developing under a new regime, and Argentina are less than a year away from the 2015 Copa America.
Portugal have started carefully and slowly under Fernando Santos, adjusting to a very different life than the one experienced under Paulo Bento. Gerardo Martino, also fairly fresh from taking the reins with Argentina post-World Cup, will continue his push to get Messi on the ball in dangerous areas as often as possible.Ronaldo is now merging into a striker’s role, and against Denmark, Santos tried Nani up front alongside him. Both looked superb when darting in behind and taking advantage of space relishing being on the ball so often in central areas and the full-backs pushed up aggressively to create width.In quick turnovers and transitions, Argentina’s midfield three will have at least three, if not four, runners heading straight past them in central areas. As Portugal swarm forward, they’ll also need to think about slipping wide to help cover their own full-backs.It’s not pleasant to defend against. Santos has Portugal frightening defences once again.As we saw against Hong Kong and against Croatia at Upton Park, Messi now plays on the right-hand side of a 4-3-3 under Martino.Every manager’s brief with Argentina is to get the best out of Messi, and while Alejandro Sabella began with Messi wide right in World Cup qualifiers, he eventually moved into a No. 10 position behind Higuain. Martino sees value off the right, cutting onto his left and shooting. Meanwhile youngster Jonathan Silva is more likely to replace Marcos Rojo who got injured last month while playing for Manchester United.
With Old Trafford being the venue for the match, Cristiano Ronaldo turned out to be the cynosure of the Manchester United fans as he arrived at the stadium for training. After all , in this match we could see Manchester United’s old number 7 (Ronaldo) and the new no 7 ( Di Maria) facing against each other at Old Trafford. Though its a friendly, a fierce clash between the two teams is expected to keep everyone on the edge of their seats.
Argentina vs Portugal probable playing XI line up squad
Argentina squad: Lionel Messi(C), Aguero, Romero(GK), Zabaleta, Silva, Fazio, Vergini, Pereyra, Perez, Mascherano, di Maria.
Portugal squad: Ronaldo (C), Pepe, Nani, Patrico(GK), Bosingwa, Carvalho, Guerreiro, Tiago, Quaresma, Postiga, Moutinho.