Familiar faces back for Argentina's friendly vs. Spain
BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) -- Esteban Cambiasso, Javier Zanetti and Gabriel Milito will make their Argentina comebacks against world champion Spain in a friendly at the River Plate stadium on Tuesday.
The trio were overlooked by Diego Maradona for the recent World Cup finals in South Africa, where Argentina crashed out in a 4-0 quarter-final defeat by Germany.
"Gabriel has shown me can bring the ball out well from defence, he has good left foot with good touch," Sergio Batista, Maradona's successor, said of Barcelona centre back Milito.
"Javier is a player of great experience who moves into attack with conviction," Batista told a news conference on Monday speaking of the return at right back of Zanetti, who has an Argentine record 136 caps.
"Cambiasso is a coach on the pitch," he added of the midfielder, a key player in the Inter Milan side that won the European Champions League in May.
Batista took over on a temporary basis after Maradona was not retained as coach and will be hoping to be confirmed in the job when the Argentine Football Association makes its decision on who should steer the team towards the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
"The idea is to maintain a playing identity. We have players capable of that," said Batista, a commanding central midfielder in the Argentine side led to the world title by Maradona in 1986.
Batista has, however, retained Maradona's attacking trident of Lionel Messi, Gonzalo Higuain and Carlos Tevez. He has given the midfield greater substance, however, after captain Javier Mascherano found himself almost alone against a packed German midfield in the June debacle in Cape Town.
"Mache will have to be beyond the halfway line to play more," Batista said. Mascherano will be flanked by Cambiasso to his left and on the right by Ever Banega, who was also overlooked for the World Cup but returned for Batista's first match in charge, a 1-0 friendly win over Ireland in Dublin last month.
Batista said he would like his Argentina side to emulate the Spanish possession and passing game but it would take time.
"It's six years of work against six days," he said.
Team - Sergio Romero; Javier Zanetti, Martin Demichelis, Gabriel Milito, Gabriel Heinze; Ever Banega, Javier Mascherano, Esteban Cambiasso; Lionel Messi, Gonzalo Higuain, Carlos Tevez.