2014 World Cup: Argentina vs Bosnia preview

June 14, 2014
By: Nemanja Lazarevic

Argentina vs BosniaArgentina, one of the tournament favourites, take on Bosnia-Hercegovina, making their first appearance at the World Cup, at the famous Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro.

Los Albicelestes arrive in Brazil searching for their third title, having won the previous two trophies in 1978 and 1986, with many expecting Barcelona superstar Leo Messi to finally shine at international stage.

With Brazil out of the picture, Argentina eased off to the first place in the South American zone of the World Cup qualifiers, despite coach Alejandro Sabella constantly criticized for some of his choices.

The coach remained true to himself by leaving Carlos Tevez out of his World Cup squad, with Ever Banega and few more star players also missing out.

And while they opted for weaker opponents during the preparation stage, Argentina did well to beat Trinidad & Tobago and Slovenia to nil, and they are 2.38 (11/8) to do the same against Bosnia.

Even if Alejandro Sabella faces some selection problems, the most important thing is Lionel Messu is fully fit and he can be backed at 1.82 (5/6) to score anytime.

Gonzalo Higuain remains doubtful with an ankle problem, meaning he might have to settle for a place on the bench, with the boss reportedly set to field his team in a 5-3-2 formation, the same one he used in a 2-0 friendly win over Bosnia back in November.

Probable starting line-up (5-3-2): Romero – Zabaleta, Campagnaro, Garay, Fernandez, Rojo – Maxi Rodriguez, Mascherano, Di Maria – Messi, Aguero.

After twice coming close to qualifying for the tournament finals, Bosnia finally secured their maiden appearance at the World Cup by pipping Greece to the first place in their qualifying group.

Oddly enough, the Dragons faced Argentina in their first international friendly following the end of the qualifying campaign without knowing they would have to fight los Albicelestes in Brazil as well.

Bosnia were then defeated 2-0 by their more illustrious opponents, but they hope to fare much better this time out.

The Dragons impressed in the build up to the tournament finals, defeating Ivory Coast and Mexico with relative ease, but it remains to be seen how they will cope at their first major tournament.

However, with the likes of Edin Dzeko, Miralem Pjanic and Zvjezdan Misimovic all in the side, there is a good value in backing Bosnia to score at 1.91 (10/11).

Full-back Sejad Salihovic has picked up a calf strain in training, but boss Safet Susic is confident he will be fit to start.

Probable starting line-up (4-2-3-1): Begovic – Mujdza, Spahic, Bicakcic, Salihovic – Pjanic, Besic – Hajrovic, Misimovic, Lulic – Dzeko.

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