Jorge Sampaoli’s Argentina will take on a formidable Brazil side tomorrow in Melbourne, Australia in what is, officially, a “friendly” match. When it comes to these two teams, however, one can be sure that there is no love lost, and tomorrow’s match will be no exception.
Having been announced as Edgardo Bauza’s successor last month, Sampaoli has taken little time to put his stamp on the Argentine national team, naming a previously ignored Mauro Icardi among several changes to the squad.
Speaking at a press conference earlier today, Sampaoli made clear his intentions to breathe new life into the side, offering a new style and formation that he hopes will provide them with an edge over their Brazilian neighbours.
“This is a warm-up game but it is also a clasico. I am excited about the game, the circumstances, the lead up to it”, he said.
Sampaoli also drew attention to his team’s need for ambition, something that was often missing in Bauza’s side.
“Beyond the rival, which is important, it is much more about the way of feeling our football…that feeling of freeing ourselves to develop a style. We prioritize the execution of ideas without having fears.”
Read more: Argentina to face Brazil in front of 100,000
Formation-wise, it’s expected that Argentina will set up in a 3-3-3-1 shape, with Lionel Messi (right), Paolo Dybala (centre) and Angel Di Maria (left) all supporting Gonzalo Higuain as a lone striker. Striker Mauro Icardi, meanwhile, who has been so regularly ignored by the national side, is hoped to come on as a substitute – he sustained a muscle injury during Inter Milan’s final game of the season.
Brazil, on the other hand, are expected to rest the majority of their big-name players, as coach Tite’s side have already confirmed their qualification for next year’s World Cup in Russia. Starman Neymar will miss out through injury, while captain Thiago Silva is expected to make a return.
For Argentina, a lot of hope, as always, will rest on the shoulders on talisman Leo Messi, while many will also be keen to see how the dynamic between him and new kid on the block Paolo Dybala unfolds.
It’s also expected that starting places will be handed to River Plate defenders Jonatan Maidana and Gabriel Mercado. It will also be the first cap with the white and sky-blue for Atalanta’s Alejandro ‘Papu’ Gomez.
Full expected line up: Romero; Otamendi, Maidana, Mercado; José Luis Gómez, Biglia, Banega; Messi, Dybala y Di María; Higuaín
Argentina vs Brazil kicks off at 07:05 AM, Argentine time and will be available to watch on TyC Sports.