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Sampaoli to shake up his lineup for Croatia clash

Argentina shakeup: Sampaoli planning new-look starting XI vs Croatia

June 19, 2018 By Ali M.
Three players that started in the disappointing Iceland draw are set to be axed from the lineup.

It’s fair to say that Argentina’s opening World Cup game did not go down well. The South American giant locked horns with debutant Iceland but was unable to break down the small nation despite their star-studded squad, with the game ending in a disappointing 1-1 draw.

Lionel Messi took the heat after the final whistle and even publicly shouldered the blame after missing a second-half penalty, but everyone knows the problem lies deeper. A number of players went missing, not only Leo, while Sampaoli got the tactics completely wrong from the get-go.

As a result, the Albiceleste tactician is set to shake up his starting lineup for their upcoming game against Croatia. This is according to a report by Ole which claims a change in formation and set-up is due.

Firstly, Sampaoli will revert back to his favored three-at-the-back lineup. This means we will be looking at a 3-4-1-2 formation for their second group-stage tie.

To make this system work, a few names will be dropped from Saturday’s match. First, Marcos Rojo will be dropped in favor of Gabriel Mercado of Sevilla. Secondly, Lucas Biglia will be sacrificed for Acuna.

Lastly, Angel Di Maria will also be axed after his lackluster performance in their opener. Cristian Pavón, who replaced the PSG midfielder in the Iceland encounter, will come in to add “energy, speed, and ideas”.

Meza, who started out wide in their first game, will reportedly play in the middle this time around, partnering Mascherano in midfield. Messi will maintain his role as the number 10, but the fact that both Pavon and Aguero will be playing in front of him should give the Ballon d’Or king more options in the final third.

Jorge Sampaoli, Lionel Messi, Pavon, Aguero, Mercado, Mascherano, Argentina National Team, Croatia National Team, FIFA World Cup

Argentina will come face-to-face with Modric and Co. on Thursday knowing that failure to win could result in an early exit for the 2014 runner-up. Croatia currently leads Group D courtesy of their 2-0 win over Nigeria and will thus be a tough test for the South American powerhouse.

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