Colombia lock horns with Argentina as both South American teams face a real test towards preparing for the next edition of the Copa America.

Colombia and Argentina, two of South America’s footballing giants, will meet in New Jersey for a friendly affair, but this could be the game that marks the real beginning of the preparation for the next Copa America edition. This is the teams first game after their respective World Cup campaigns that they are facing a strong opponent, and sure is promising to be an exciting affair.

Colombia and Argentina both have interim managers for now after Jose Pekerman and Jorge Sampaoli both left their respective posts after the World Cup. But the major blow would be for the Colombians as Jose Pekerman was the reason Colombia find themselves as one of the strong teams in their continent as well as the rest of the World. As for Sampaoli, it was a fractious time with the Argentines and was expected to call it quits.

Colombia are now managed by the interim boss, Arturo Reyes and although he is only expected to be a practical experiment, could further continue his tenure if he is to get some results in the next few games.

Argentina, on the other hand, are managed by former Atlanta defender, Lionel Scaloni, who was playing for the Italian club till the end of the 2014/15 season. 40-year-old Scaloni will be assisted by former Valencia midfielder, Pablo Aimar and Ex-Inter defender Walter Samuel, both of whom only hung up their boots a little while ago.

Team News & Tactics

Colombia

Interim manager Arturo Reyes has made some significant shelving of the Colombian squad ahead of the Argentina clash. Of the 23 players who went to the World Cup in Russia, Reyes has only retained nine of them. Expect Reyes to start with a competitive and strong lineup against the Argentines, as this game would be considered vital for their Copa America preparations.

Radamel Falcao will lead Colombia against Argentina during their friendly in New Jersey. (Photo courtesy: AFP/Getty)

Radamel Falcao will lead Colombia against Argentina during their friendly in New Jersey. (Photo courtesy: AFP/Getty)

Despite selecting only nine players out of the 23 that went to the World Cup, Colombia’s squad still looks pretty strong considering the quality still left in it. Radamel Falcao, Juan Cuadrado and Tottenham defender Davidson Sanchez will all be headlining this side.

After their win over Venezuela in their first friendly game, Arturo fielded a strong side, and expect him to do so against the Argentines. David Ospina, Davinson Sanchez, Cuadrado, Falcao and Quintero are all expected to start.

Probable Starting-XI (4-3-1-2)Ospina; Arias, Sanchez, Tesillo, Borja; Cuadrado, Barrios, Uribe; Quintero; Bacca, Falcao

Argentina

Lionel Messi’s future with the Argentine national side is still uncertain, but he was anyway going to miss the Colombia game after being left out from the squad for the two friendlies. With Sergio Aguero also missing, Scaloni could take this chance to field some other star names which he has called up to the side.

The future of Argentine football? Paulo Dybala will want to take this chance in the absence of Messi and Aguero to stake his claim in the national side. (Photo courtesy: AFP/Getty)

The future of Argentine football? Paulo Dybala will want to take this chance in the absence of Messi and Aguero to stake his claim in the national side. (Photo courtesy: AFP/Getty)

This includes Serie A pair, Mauro Icardi and Paulo Dybala, with the former missing out entirely from the Guatemala game due to joining up late with the squad. That essentially means there would be a change to the front three from the Guatemala game, with Martinez and Pavon likely to pave the way for the forwards.

With those changes, expect Scaloni to maintain his midfield and defence from the Guatemala game, with Pezzella and Ramirez Funes Mori expected to start, although Sergio Romero could be preferred in goal for the Colombia game.

Probable Starting-XI (4-3-3)Romero; Saravia, Pezzella, Funes Mori, Tagliafico; Paredes, Lo Celso, Palacios; Dybala, Simeone, Icardi

Key Stats

  • Argentina have 8 clean sheets in their last 11 games against Colombia
  • Over 2.5 goals have been scored in five of Argentina’s last six games (before the Guatemala game)
  • Colombia have lost only one of the last eight games in 90 minutes (Before the Venezuela game)
  • Argentina are Unbeaten in their last three games against Colombia, winning the previous encounter in 2016 by a 3-0 scoreline.
  • As far as the head-to-head record goes Argentina have won 21 and drew 8 in the 37 games played against Colombia in their history.

Player to Watch

Mauro Icardi

Is this the chance Icardi has been waiting for with Argentina? (Photo courtesy: AFP/Getty)

Is this the chance Icardi has been waiting for with Argentina? (Photo courtesy: AFP/Getty)

Mauro Icardi was expected to be a part of this Argentine side for a long time now, but due to the presence of other more formidable forwards such as Gonzalo Higuain, Sergio Aguero and Lionel Messi, the chances have been hard to come by. With the prolific trio now absent, and Icardi being called up to the side, against Colombia he has the opportunity to show his worth for the Argentine team.

In the future, especially with the ageing Higuain, there is a chance for Icardi to nail a first-team spot and become Argentina’s first choice, central striker. It would be exciting to watch if the Inter Milan striker is able to bring his club form to the National team side when it matters, and with a long future ahead, this should be the game where he would want to perform at his best.

Prediction

Colombia 2-3 Argentina

Expect plenty of goals when these two sides meet. More than their defensive stars, these two teams have a depth of attacking talents. Falcao, Quintero, Cuadrado and Bacca are expected to score against this Argentine defence which may not be the best choice. But there are more than enough stars in the Argentine lineup to do more than that to this Colombian defence.

With the likes of Icardi, Dybala and new sensation, Giovanni Simeone in this Argentine side, there will be goals. But if we have to compare both the teams and their quality of players, the Argentines have a slight edge over the Colombians in this game.

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