Why Ezequiel Lavezzi is the Ideal Replacement for Sergio Aguero and Argentina

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Why Ezequiel Lavezzi is the Ideal Replacement for Sergio Aguero and Argentina
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Indications are that Ezequiel Lavezzi will start for Argentina against Switzerland in place of the injured Sergio Aguero.

The Paris Saint-Germain man is the best option to bolster Albiceleste's forward line, and may even have more of an impact than Aguero, who has struggled for fitness throughout the tournament.

Argentine journalists report that Lavezzi has been training in Alejandro Sabella's first XI as part of an otherwise unchanged lineup from the one that began the matches against Iran and Nigeria.

Fernando Vergara/Associated Press

Aguero came into the competition under an injury cloud, and he struggled to reach his usual high standards before eventually succumbing to a muscular strain in his left foot in the first half of the Nigeria game.

He is definitely out of the Swiss match but could recover in time to play should Argentina reach the quarterfinals. If Lavezzi shines in the round of 16, "Kun" may have trouble forcing his way back into the side.

Lavezzi may not offer everything that a fully fit Aguero does to Sabella's side, but he has some useful attributes of his own that make him a suitable replacement.

Most notably, the 29-year-old is possessed of prodigious pace. Not only is he extremely quick off the mark, he is skillful enough to dribble at speed, too, which makes him difficult for opposition defences to contain.

The energy and speed which Lavezzi can provide are elements which were lacking at times for Argentina during the group stages.

He also makes intelligent runs off the ball.

It is this last trait which sees him combine well with Lionel Messi, the centrepiece of Argentina's attack.

This combination is illustrated perfectly in the build up to this goal scored by Messi in a 2010 friendly against Brazil:

Lavezzi and the No. 10 exchange short passes before Messi sets off on one of his trademark solo runs. Lavezzi not only has the pace to keep up with him, he is also canny enough to draw defenders with him by setting off on an angled run.

For all his dynamism, the former Napoli player's decision-making is not always the best, and he often lacks composure in front of goal, which is something that can not be said about Aguero.

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After 31 appearances for Argentina, the tattooed forward only has four international strikes to his name.

While "Kun" can be the main man up front or play a supporting role, Lavezzi falls primarily into the category of sidekick.

He is not reliable enough of a goalscorer to lead the line, but in this Argentina side, with Messi in rampant form, a willing accomplice might be just what is needed.

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