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Switzerland vs Argentina Preview

February 28 2012 By Gregory Sica
A star-studded Argentina will be hoping to continue with their gradual improvement under Alejandro Sabella when they travel to Bern to take on Switzerland in an international friendly on Wednesday.

Team News

Alejandro Sabella, the coach of Argentina, will field a close to full-strength squad on their visit to Bern to take on hosts Switzerland. Three regulars who have been forced out of contention due to injuries are Angel Di Maria, Ever Banega and Nicolas Burdisso, while in-form Napoli striker Ezequiel Lavezzi was overlooked by the coach.

Sabella has provided several future prospects, including Roma midfielder Erik Lamela, with opportunities to impress with the two-time world champions. 

According to reports, Sabella will opt for a 4-4-2 tactical formation, with Lionel Messi, Gonzalo Higuain and Sergio Aguero expected to form what appears to be a deadly three-man attack.

Ottmar Hitzfeld, the coach of Switzerland, has named a relatively young squad for what is likely to be an extremely stiff test. Two players will be making their national team debuts, and whilst the attack looks quite youthful, the Swiss midfield and defense contain a wealth of depth, with Stephan Lichtsteiner and Philippe Senderos two of their most important figures.

Form

Argentina have struggled to find any sort of consistency since the arrival of Sabella, but will be motivated by the fact that they picked up a crucial 2-1 victory over Colombia in their most recent World Cup qualifier last November. Under the former Estudiantes de La Plata coach, Los Albicelestes have managed to look significantly more organised than how they had looked when under Alfio Basile, and finally it seems that Messi has been able to reproduce something similar to his Barcelona form with Argentina.

Since their Copa America elimination to eventual champions Uruguay, Argentina have lost only twice in eight games, with these defeats coming against South American rivals Brazil and Venezuela.

Switzerland may have missed out on qualification for Euro 2012, but ended their campaign on a high note with a 2-0 victory over Montenegro in their final group game. Since then the Swiss held the Netherlands to an impressive goalless draw in Amsterdam and edged out Luxembourg 1-0 in their most recent game.

Players to Watch

Lichtsteiner - The Juventus right-back is not only known for his defensive qualities, but also because of the powerful runs he makes down his flank. If he manages to get the better of Fabian Monzon, he could cause the visitors problems.

Messi - The World Player of the Year has returned to his top form in recent weeks, and will be hoping to make his mark with his national team. If Messi is able to overcome the physical style of the Swiss, he should guide Argentina to victory.

Prediction

There is no doubt that on paper Argentina contain a much stronger side than the Swiss, however, in recent years they have failed to work as a team, which essentially saw them not only eliminated from the 2010 World Cup much earlier than they had expected, but also from last year's Copa America. If they find out a way to concentrate on group play, rather than on individual efforts, they will surely secure the victory.

The Verdict:

Switzerland 1-2 Argentina




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