Argentina World Cup Roster 2014: Updates on 23-Man Squad, Projected Starting 11

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistOctober 21, 2013

Argentina World Cup Roster 2014: Updates on 23-Man Squad, Projected Starting 11

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    After finishing in first place in CONMEBOL qualifying, Argentina proved that they will be legitimate contenders at the 2014 World Cup.

    While the South American table was certainly easier to win without Brazil—the host country did not need to qualify—Argentina took care of business with its outstanding offense. The squad outscored opponents 35-15 in 16 matches.

    Expectations are now as high as ever after moving up to No. 3 in FIFA's world rankings.

    Now the focus shifts to next summer, where manager Alejandro Sabella will have to find the best combination of players that can bring home the first World Cup title since 1986. 

    Here is a look at who will get a ticket to Brazil and which stars will make up the starting 11 to try to lead Argentina to victory. 

Oct. 21: Is There Enough Room on the Attack?

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    A coach in any sport would love to deal with the problem of "too much talent," but that is what Alejandro Sabella is currently sorting through.

    However, the manager has shown that he is willing to leave elite players off the roster. Jonathan Wilson of Fox Soccer breaks down the coach's style:

    Both Maradona and Batista seemed to feel burdened by the array of attacking talent available to them -- Messi, Higuain, Tevez, Di Maria, Sergio Aguero, Ezequiel Lavezzi, Javier Pastore -- and had tried to squeeze as many of those players as possible into the side. Sabella, given the perfect excuse to drop Tevez when he walked out on Manchester City and spent six months not playing competitive football, was bold enough to leave out stars. For him, as he had shown at Estudiantes, the system was key.

    Carlos Tevez has not been called up to the roster with Sabella as coach, and that currently appears likely to continue. Of course, it would still not be out of the question to bring someone of his ability to the World Cup.

    Still, there are plenty of other questions about who can earn a spot on the squad. One of the more interesting debates will be Erik Lamela, the former Roma and current Tottenham star who played in the last few qualifiers.

    Lamela is only 21 years old, but he has plenty of talent as a playmaker in the midfield, and he could help provide even more energy to this attack. 

    The problem is there simply might not be enough room for him with other more established players controlling the position.

Projected Starting XI

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    There are certainly a few players who make up the core of this squad, but there are still a few spots up for grabs in the starting XI.

    Here is a projection of the World Cup lineup, as well as a look at the other options available for Argentina.

    Projected Starting Lineup

    Formation: 4-3-3

    GK: Sergio Romero

    RB: Pablo Zabaleta

    CB: Federico Fernandez

    CB: Ezequiel Garay

    LB: Marcos Rojo

    RM: Lucas Biglia

    CM: Javier Mascherano

    LM: Angel di Maria

    RF: Lionel Messi

    CF: Gonzalo Higuain

    LF: Sergio Aguero

    Projected Reserves

    GK: Mariano Andujar, Agustin Orion

    D: Hugo Campagnaro, Jose Basanta, Fabricio Coloccini

    M: Ever Banega, Fernando Gago, Augusto Fernandez

    F: Rodrigo Palacio, Ezequiel Lavezzi, Erik Lamela, Javier Pastore

    Other Possibilities

    GK: Oscar Ustari

    D: Gino Peruzzi, Christian Ansaldi, Sebastian Dominguez, Nicolas Otamendi, Walter Samuel

    M: Maxi Rodriguez, Ricardo Alvarez, Rodrigo Brana, Jose Sosa

    F: Carlos Tevez, Diego Milito