Historically Argentina has always been one of the most powerful teams in South America and even the world, but lately it has been the source of questioning. With the awful performances of the team with the last two coaches, Maradona and Batista, Argentina started to get questioned, the players were simply not responding as good as they did in their club teams and the inexperience of both of the coaches was reflected on the results.
Alejandro Sabella was assigned to the team almost immediately and the reactions were mixed. This new coach had a long term plan in mind, he is a risk taker but also a planner, and he wanted to create chemistry between the group, it worked. Messi is playing better than ever in the national team, Aguero and Higuain are back to scoring goals, and the defense seems to be settling.
The results speak for themselves when it comes to Sabella’s team, Argentina has qualified in first place of the South American qualifiers, and has managed to bring back its signature short passing game.
Two questions rise when it comes to the starting keeper, Is Romero in good enough form to be the starting goalkeeper? Are the backups better or at his level?
Playing for Keeps
Sergio Romero, currently the back up keeper for A.S. Monaco and starting keeper for Argentina, has never been able to show complete security between the posts. He has held the starting position since the last world cup in South Africa and his performance was fair, he wasn’t very firm when it came to retaining the ball and his ground game is very weak. Moving to Monaco has proved to be a mistake, he has played on cup game in the whole six months he has been on the team, and the lack of play at his club reflects at a national level. The only thing that Romero has going for him is the fact that he has been the starting keeper of Argentina for 5 or more years straight, making him a vital player in the group’s chemistry, after all, there is definitely something the coaches see in him.
Mariano Andujar and Agustin Orion are the two alternative choices for Sabella. Andujar has also been the backup keeper for Romero in the past world cup, he currently lost his starting position in Catania which also worries many. He is known to be more secure when it comes to retaining the ball and he has a stronger personality, but his level is also decreasing along with his team, Catania is relegating and he is not even starting.
Orion is the starting keeper for Boca Juniors, who has been quite irregular in the season, and he has shown his best form of his career. He has great reflexes and he is a true leader, he his weakness might be the lack of European experience but it is most certain he can hold his ground.
Others to watch for
Marcelo Barovero, currently at the best form of his career for River Plate, has been one of the revelations for Argentina. His thin physic is his only challenge on the field, he has quick reflexes and he is very good with his feet, a rare quality for goalkeepers.
Sebastian Saja has been outstanding playing for Racing, he has developed into a great leader and he has the ability to reform a defensive line. He is quick to come out and break a one-on-one and he is a great penalty kick taker, something that Argentina would benefit from.