After four days of speculation, analysis, and a dozen sketches of how Argentina might line up, I will admit to feeling pretty stupid after hearing news that Maradona is going to start the exact same team against Germany that he did against Mexico.
Granted, this isn't the first time Diego has surprised me, but I think I can say for a fact that almost everyone who watched Argentina play Mexico was convinced that some adjustments were needed. But not Diego, or at least so it seems.
Although no starting lineup has officially been given, all signs seem to indicate that we will see the exact same lineup and formation that faced Mexico, with one possible exception: Walter Samuel for Nicolás Burdisso.
Sources close to the Argentine manager have indicated that he sincerely feels that Argentina had an acceptable performance against Mexico, and that he trusts in those same players to improve against Germany.
What seems most surprising in all this is the fact that, throughout the press conferences this week, players and manager alike have placed emphasis on the importance of "taking the ball away from Germany" and "controlling the match." The reason why it's surprising, is because that's exactly what Argentina was unable to do against Mexico.
So it stands to reason that the same players would get a similar result against Germany, especially since Argentina's difficulties against Mexico were not just about weak performances; they were about the limiting characteristics of certain players.
But hey, I'd definitely love to be proven wrong on this one. It wouldn't be the first time Maradona has proven many of us wrong.
Just one final thought on this: Could Diego possibly be bluffing? After all that's been said in the media, and the comments that have come and gone leading up to this match; could the little man be trying to fool us all?
I certainly wouldn't put it beyond him.
Argentina's starting lineup vs. Germany
Otamendi Demichelis Burdisso Heinze
M. Rodríguez Mascherano Di María