Russia vs Argentina preview

November 9, 2017
By: Nemanja Lazarevic

The 2018 World Cup hosts Russia take on mighty Argentina in yet another warm-up game for the tournament finals, with both sides looking to show improvement on their recent performances.

Having failed to make it to the Confederations Cup semis, Russia have yet to prove they can successfully compete with world’s strongest sides next summer.

Head coach Stanislav Cherchesov has been making a lot of changes since taking over the reigns, but his side are still not playing to their potential.

Russia defeated Korea Republic (4-2) and shared spoils with Iran (1-1) in last two friendly matches, but they will have bigger fish to fry this weekend.

The head coach has surprised everyone with his squad for matches vs Argentina and Spain, leaving out Artem Dzyuba, Roman Shishkin and Aleksandr Samedov.

Meanwhile, Anton Zabolotny, Anton Shvets, Konstantin Rausch and and Anton Miranchuk are all included, and they will be hoping to stake their claim for a place in the World Cup squad.

Latest reports suggest that Mario Fernandes and Denis Glushakov have recovered from injury, but Zenit starlet Daler Kuzyaev is rated doubtful.

Probable starting line-up (3-5-2): Akinfeev – Dzikhiya, Vasin, Kudryashov – Fernandes, Dzagoev, Glushakov, Golovin, Zhirkov – Kokorin, Smolov.

Argentina national team were on the verge of missing the first World Cup finals since 1970, but 3-1 away win over Ecuador eventually proved enough to secure an automatic qualifying berth.

Nevertheless, with his team largely disappointing in recent games, head coach Jorge Sampaoli still has a point to prove.

The former Chile boss decided to take a strong team to Russia, although the likes of Gabriel Mercado, Lucas Biglia, Marcos Acuna and Mauro Icardi all miss out through injury.

This means that players like Cristian Pavon, Fernando Belluschi, Emiliano Rigoni, Giovani Lo Celso and German Pezzella could get a chance to shine.

With Leo Messi, Sergio Aguero, Paulo Dybala and Angel Di Maria all included, it is hardly surprising Argentina have been made 1.75 (3/4) favourites to emerge victorious.

Probable starting line-up (3-4-2-1): Romero – Fazio, Mascherano, Otamendi – Salvio, Paredes, Perez, A. Gomez – Messi, Di Maria – Aguero.

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