Coach since November 2008
Little coaching experience. Made repeated team changes and unable to find a winning team and game plan with good players not reproducing their European club form. Does not like advice, nor media criticism which got him 2-months FIFA suspension for lambasting media with unprintable words in press conference. More of a motivator with players looking up to him as former world star, but some have had second thoughts.
Was the best goalkeeper in the Argentine league until he left for Italy last year and although Maradona has not seen much of him, is an obvious choice for reserve as he has similar attributes to Romero.
Colon Santa Fe
Only played in two of the B internationals with Argentine league players and the choice was not easy as the standard of several league goalkeepers tried out was even, but Maradona said that he would be third goalkeeper.
After several goalkeepers were tried out, it was finally the Olympic gold medal winners turn in the World Cup qualifier against Paraguay in which he impressed in the 1-0 loss. The athletic keeper with safe hands and good anticipation stayed for the last three qualifiers and two more full internationals since then. Sure to be number choice, Maradona says “He is so safe that it frightens me.”
Generally starts on the bench and responds well and with personality and strength when called upon, often when things are not going too well and is therefore a first replacement for any injured defender.
Obvious choice for centre-back for his good positioning, passing,as well as heading and is the best defender. A facial injury sustained against Germany in early March required operation and kept him on the sidelines for several weeks and Maradona complained that his club brought him back too soon, with a mask.
Surprise selection. Usually plays as a central defender or as a right full-back. Nicknamed Chino (Chinese).
A Maradona favourite in spite of several erratic performances in qualifying games. The 2004 Olympic gold medal winner is nevertheless skillful can play both in the centre and better on the flank moving up.
A regular since first called up and the best defender in the Argentine league. Safe and a good marker, but under the team’s system is not supposed to move up much (as he does with his club).
Clemente RODRIGUEZ Estudiantes de La Plata
Flank defender who played under Maradona in the B team of local players and only as reserve in the senior team which has given him little chance to stake his claim to a place and is only a possible choice. Safe in defence, but not outstanding while not moving up much (which again may be due to tactics).
A 2002 World Cup veteran they don´t him “The Wall” for nothing. Little gets past him in the centre of defence, but he had been out of favour (also injured) since the 2002 World Cup and was only called up recently to make an erratic defence more secure and because of his outstanding club performances.
Little international experience, but came into the reckoning when he scored the late goal against Uruguay in the last qualifying match which clinched Argentina´s place and also because of Juan Roman Riquelme´s withdrawal. Is being used as a replacement for Veron and has done well in the few minutes he has played. Tall, good passing, recuperation and an eye for goal.
Angel DI MARIA
Almost another striker in the usual 4-4-2 formation, good ball controller, moving up the wing dangerously, sending in good centres and shooting at goal.
14c. 1 g
Untiring, able to play on either side, strong in the tackle, continually moving up and down, helping in defence and prompting in attack with stamina lasting longer than that of other players.
When Maradona took over as coach he said “my team is Mascherano and 10 more” and made him captain. Mascherano has since not been in top form in the national team without really disappointing, but retained his place. A good retriever, he can make the team play from midfield to attack with good prompting. Forms a good “double 5” with Veron.
Will turn 21 during the World Cup as the youngest in the squad. With virtually no international experience, but outstanding in Huracan´s excellent 2009 team. Plays in any midfield position and could gain his place as a reserve because of his youth and exuberance.
Dangerous experienced attacking midfielder with good goal shot, but may be left on the bench by the good form of Jonas Gutierrez.
Juan Sebastian VERON
Estudiantes de La Plata
Experienced on-field general who dictates rhythm and rarely makes a bad pass. As the veteran of the team, he generally stands the pace well, although sometimes disappears from the game for periods. His experience makes him the leader and allows him to alter tactics, if necessary, during the game.
Has not impressed in his recent appearances in the national team and has not scored so much in Europe as other strikers available, but in spite of his slight build, can adapt well with any other striker and also has a big advantage. He is Maradona’s son in law and father of his grandchild and although he has not been picked for recent internationals, he has never been excluded from the list of possibles.
Maradona passed him over repeatedly and only called him up in the end because of his prolific scoring for his club, the lack of goals by the national team and possibly due to media and other pressure. When he finally played in the last two qualifying games the coach was well pleased and Higuain — who born in France of Argentine parents and was urged to play for that country — has been the number one striker ever since.
FIFA´s 2009 Player of the Year has never repeated his outstanding club form and goal scoring for his national team, but that is more the fault of the system, although he is generally marked by two or three opponents, frequently fouled and not protected by referees. His excellent ball control is wasted playing too far back instead of nearer goal in a three-men attack as with Barcelona (instead of two). Yet he has the skill to explode in the World Cup.
Another leading scorer in Italy who has not disappointed in the national team, but was included only once under Maradona and may not find it easy to get a place because of the number of leading scorers available.
12 caps 4 goals
Came into contention when scoring late winner in qualifier against Peru. Excellent header and Boca’s all-time top scorer. Featured in the Guinness Book of World Records for missing three penalties for Argentina in a single international match against Colombia for the Copa América 1999.
For some reason he was never a Maradona favourite and he has complained about the team’s style of play. But his excellent performances and goal scoring in the English Premier League cannot be ignored. Playing in any attack position, he has rarely been a starter in the national team and not given enough chances to shine.