Argentina coach Sergio Batista is likely to make only one change for the match against Colombia at the Copa America on Wednesday as he seeks improvement from the lackluster 1-1 draw with Bolivia in the opener.
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Batista is set to start Pablo Zabaleta at right back, replacing Marco Rojo. The rest of the team should remain the same with Lionel Messi, Carlos Tevez and Ezequiel Lavezzi in attack, supported by midfielders Esteban Cambiasso and Javier Mascherano.
Pressure will mount quickly on Batista if Argentina does not play better. The same is true for Messi, who failed to show much in the match.
”We’re not going to go crazy because we didn’t win the first match,” Batista said in a column Monday in the daily newspaper Clarin. ”We know it’s all just begun and we’ll keep improving.”
This could be the moment for Sergio Aguero, who scored the equalizer against Bolivia and has said he does not want to return to his club Atletico Madrid.
Against Bolivia, Messi again failed to produce for Argentina. He struggled without players like Xavi or Andres Iniesta at Barcelona providing him with perfect passes.
”At Barcelona everyone wants to give Messi the ball, no matter where he is,” former Argentina midfielder Juan Barbas said. ”Here, they have him alongside and the ball goes to someone else. It seems to me there are many who are stars with their club teams, and they look for the same here.”
Julio Grondona, president of the Argentine Football Assocation, said after the match that the other players were the problem – not Messi.
”Messi never plays badly,” Grondona said. ”Those who play badly are those around him.”
Argentina and its fans have high expections to win the Copa America, hoping to celebrate the country’s first trophy in a major international event in 18 years. It lost the last two finals of the South American championship to archrival Brazil.