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SPORTS | 27-03-2023 11:17

Scaloni prepares to ring the changes for Argentina's friendly against Curaçao

Reigning world champions Argentina are likely to make several changes for the second friendly of international window in Tuesday's match against Curaçao in Santiago del Estero.

Reigning world champions Argentina are likely to make several changes for the second friendly of international window in Tuesday's match against Curaçao in Santiago del Estero.

The Albiceleste squad had a day off on Sunday after a 2-0 friendly win over Panama and another informal run-out against River Plate (which finished 4-1). The team have a training session scheduled for Monday and will travel to Asunción where they will be honoured by the CONMEBOL regional football federation for their triumph in Qatar 2022, ahead of the group draw for the Copa Libertadores and Copa Sudamericana.

For the match against Curaçao, scheduled for 8.30pm local time on Tuesday, coach Lionel Scaloni is likely to make several changes to the site that started against Panama last week – the same line-up that began the final against France at the Lusail stadium last December.

The only surety is that skipper Lionel Messi will start, in what will be his 174th game in Argentina's light-blue-and-white shirt. The PSG star could even bag his 100th goal for the national team. 

After Thursday's celebratory affair at the Estadio Monumental in front of 83,000 people, Argentina will continue their festivities at the Estadio Madre de Ciudades. The stadium, which was only inaugurated two years ago, normally has a capacity of 30,000 spectators, but seats have been removed temporarily to raise the capacity to 42,000 for this single match

Argentina's coaching team said prior to the this round of fixtures that all of the squad who played in Qatar would get on the pitch over the two games, but Scaloni also wants to give playing time to those who suffered injuries and missed the World Cup, such as Nicolas Gonzalez and Giovani Lo Celso. He also wants to give caps to Giovanni Simeone and Lautaro Blanco.

Scaloni has got in the habit of defining his team at the last minute, in order to avoid leaks, but a likely line-up would be: Emiliano Martínez; Gonzalo Montiel, Nicolás Otamendi or Germán Pezzella, Lisandro Martínez and Marcos Acuña; Rodrigo De Paul or Exequiel Palacios, Leandro Paredes and Giovani Lo Celso; Lionel Messi, Lautaro Martínez and Ángel Di María or Ángel Correa.

The next international double-header will be in mid-June, but Argentina could be playing in Asia for those fixtures. The World Cup qualifiers for the 2026 tournament in Canada, the United States and Mexico begins next September, with an opening fixture against Ecuador at home and a visit to Bolivia on the second matchday.

 

– TIMES/AFP

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