Madrid, March 26: Spain play Argentina in Madrid on Tuesday night in what promises to be one of the most interesting of the World Cup preparation matches this week.
The game will see some familiar faces take to the pitch as Atletico Madrid’s Wanda Metropolitano Stadium hosts its first international game, reports Xinhua news agency.
Argentina count on players such as Atletico’s Angel Correa, while Ever Banega is at Sevilla and Gonzalo Higuain spent several seasons with Real Madrid.
Argentina coach Jorge Sampaoli spent last season at Sevilla before being called on to help Argentina seal their qualification for this summer in Brazil, while Leo Messi needs no introduction to Spanish fans.
The FC Barcelona striker will probably only play half of the game as a precaution after struggling with a groin injury which saw him sit out Argentina’s 2-0 win at home against Italy. With FC Barcelona also in league action on Saturday, Sampaoli will not risk his star player.
Even without Messi’s injured Barca teammate Sergio Busquets, Spain produced another impressive display of controlled football when they drew 1-1 away to Germany on Friday night. Julen Lopetegui’s side would have beaten the World Champions but for some wayward finishing from Diego Costa.
Lopetegui has to decide whether to use Tuesday to give game time to players who didn’t figure in Germany and that could see Marcos Alonso given a chance to make his debut at left back, while Lucas Vazquez and Iago Aspas could also give some real pace to the Spain attack.
The Wanda is sold out as both Spanish and Argentinean fans take their chance to see two of this summer’s favourites go head to head with the question being perhaps, how many, or how few plans are Sampaoli and Lopetegui willing to give away.