FIFA World Cup

A Fit Sergio Aguero Should Start for Argentina vs. Netherlands

Nigeria's Efe Ambrose, left, and Argentina's Sergio Aguero battle for the ball during the group F World Cup soccer match between Nigeria and Argentina at the Estadio Beira-Rio in Porto Alegre, Brazil, Wednesday, June 25, 2014. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)
Michael Sohn/Associated Press
Dan ColasimoneContributor IJuly 7, 2014

Striker Sergio Aguero has been declared fit and ready to play by Argentina's team doctor, and he should therefore be slotted straight back into the starting lineup for the World Cup semi-final match against the Netherlands.

With the loss of Angel Di Maria for the semi-final at least, the Albiceleste need to utilise all of the talents at their disposal if they are to get past a determined Dutch outfit.

Aguero would be the first to admit he was not having the best of World Cups, even before he suffered a leg muscle injury against Nigeria in the third group game that forced him off the pitch.

He missed Argentina's second-round clash with Switzerland as well as the quarter-final win over Belgium, but he is now ready to return, should he be needed.

Even considering his mediocre form in the early stages of the competition, "Kun" is worth risking from the start against the Netherlands due to his match-winning abilities and his excellent understanding with the team's talisman, Lionel Messi.

With only two wins between Argentina and World Cup glory, this is no time for coach Alejandro Sabella to keep his biggest stars in cotton wool.

Aguero's replacement in the last two games, Ezequiel Lavezzi, has done a fair job of supporting fellow attackers Gonzalo Higuain and Messi. He is not, however, a proven goalscorer like the Manchester City man.

For all his pace and energy, Lavezzi has just four goals in 31 appearances for his country. He is best used as an impact substitute when opposition legs are tiring.

Rodrigo Palacio is another forward who deserves to be considered for a starting role. Like Lavezzi, he is prepared to work for the team and has shown at club level that he is a striker of real class.

At this World Cup, Palacio's performances have been solid but not truly outstanding.

Sabella has a pair of fine backup players at his disposal, then, but to play either of them in place of a healthy Aguero would be an overly conservative approach.

VESPASIANO, BRAZIL - JULY 06: Marcos Rojo and Sergio Aguero during the Argentina training session at Cidade do Galo on July 6, 2014 in Vespasiano, Brazil. (Photo by Netun Lima/Getty Images)
Netun Lima/Getty Images

With Higuain finding his form and the back of the net against Belgium, Sabella's best option is to revert to the attacking trident which has always appeared to be his favoured option.

Should Kun reveal himself to be off the pace, or pull up injured again, the manager can revert to his Plan B and introduce a fresh Lavezzi.

But Aguero, Messi and Higuain were touted by many as the most fearsome forward line in international football before the World Cup began, and although they have not yet completely clicked as a unit in this tournament, these latter stages present the perfect scenario for them to demonstrate their champion qualities. 

 

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