When two of the more talented teams—and highest-scoring in this round of World Cup qualifying, as well—in South America meet, you know it's going to be a cracker of a match.
Strap in, folks—it's time for Argentina versus Colombia.
The star power on these clubs starts with Lionel Messi and Radamel Falcao, but while Argentina's lineup reads like a La Liga and Premier League all-star team—Pablo Zabaleta, Javier Mascherano, Angel di Maria, Sergio Aguero and Gonzalo Higuain—Colombia has plenty of talented footballers as well, including James Rodriguez and Juan Cuadrado.
With Argentina atop the group and needing just four points to qualify for the World Cup and Colombia third on the table and four points clear of Chile and Venezuela with a game in hand, neither team is in a must-win situation.
Then again, a win for either side would put them in very comfortable position in qualifying. This one is going to be fun.
When: Friday, June 7 at 5:55 p.m. ET
Where: Estadio Monumental Antonio Vespucio Liberti, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Watch: beIN Sport
Streaming: beIN Sport Play
What They're Saying
I'm not the only one who thinks this is going to be an entertaining match. Far from it—even the players think this one is going to be a lot of fun to watch.
Colombia forward James Rodriguez, who will link up with international team-mate Radamel Falcao as new signings for big-spending French club Monaco next season, expects tomorrow's clash to be an entertaining one between what he feels are the two leading sides in qualifying.
He said: "It is an attractive game due to the fact they are two top-class squads."
"Both sides know their game, how to play and they do it well. I believe it will be a nice, but hard game between the best teams of these qualifiers."
Argentina Players to Watch: Argentina's Back Line
Yes, I know the logical choice would be Messi. But considering the Argentine forward hasn't played much in the past two months and, honestly, is a pretty boring player to pick here considering we all know he's the world's finest footballer, let's instead focus on Argentina's back line.
Federico Fernandez and Ezequiel Garay will be given the tough task of stifling Falcao, one of the deadliest strikers in the world.
But Colombia is a very attack-minded team all across the pitch, and Marcos Rojo and Pablo Zabaleta will have their hands full with Rodriguez and Cuadrado on the wings and Pablo Armero and Juan Zuniga overlapping from their defensive positions when joining the attack.
Playing a very offensive style can be suicide against Argentina, which boasts some of the most dangerous attackers in the world, but if Argentina's back line isn't extremely sturdy in this game, Colombia will turn this contest into a shootout.
Colombia Player to Watch: Carlos Sanchez
That's right, much like I didn't choose Messi, I'm also not choosing Falcao. You already know to watch him and what he's capable of—why bother telling you more of what you already know?
But Sanchez has his work cut out for him. As the lone defensive presence in Colombia's midfield on a team that loves to attack, he must be a rock in the middle of the pitch and essentially function as a third centre-back when Armero and Zuniga pour forward on the attack.
And his job is all the more important against a team like Argentina, who have some of the top attackers in the world in Aguero, Higuain, Di Maria and, oh yeah, that Messi fellow.
On one hand, Argentina is the deeper, more talented side and is playing at home. On the other hand, this game is much more important for Colombia and they will pretty much be at full strength for this contest.
Something is telling me this will end in a very exciting, very competitive draw. Look for these teams to finish even, 2-2.
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