Featured Matches
Previous
Vitesse Arnhem
Chelsea
5:30 PM GMT
Game Details
AEL
Zenit St Petersburg
4:00 PM GMT
Leg 1
Game Details
Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk
FC Copenhagen
4:00 PM GMT
Leg 1
Game Details
Grasshoppers
Lille
5:00 PM GMT
Leg 1
Game Details
Feyenoord Rotterdam
Besiktas
6:00 PM GMT
Leg 1
Game Details
Legia Warsaw
Celtic
6:45 PM GMT
Leg 1
Game Details
Aktobe Lento
Steaua Bucuresti
3:00 PM GMT
Leg 1
Game Details
FK Qarabag
SV Salzburg
3:30 PM GMT
Leg 1
Game Details
AEL
Zenit St Petersburg
4:00 PM GMT
Leg 1
Game Details
Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk
FC Copenhagen
4:00 PM GMT
Leg 1
Game Details
HJK Helsinki
Apoel Nicosia
4:00 PM GMT
Leg 1
Game Details
Grasshoppers
Lille
5:00 PM GMT
Leg 1
Game Details
Feyenoord Rotterdam
Besiktas
6:00 PM GMT
Leg 1
Game Details
Ludogorets Razgrad
Partizan Belgrade
6:00 PM GMT
Leg 1
Game Details
Standard Liege
Panathinaikos
6:00 PM GMT
Leg 1
Game Details
AaB
Dinamo Zagreb
6:15 PM GMT
Leg 1
Game Details
NK Maribor
Maccabi Tel-Aviv
6:30 PM GMT
Leg 1
Game Details
Legia Warsaw
Celtic
6:45 PM GMT
Leg 1
Game Details
Vitesse Arnhem
Chelsea
5:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Chesterfield
Aston Villa
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Hartlepool United
Middlesbrough
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Walsall
Leicester City
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
York City
Nottingham Forest
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Brentford
Espanyol
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Bury
Blackburn Rovers
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Chester City
Tranmere Rovers
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Peterborough United
Charlton Athletic
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Plymouth Argyle
Yeovil Town
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Port Vale
Bolton Wanderers
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Sheffield Wednesday
Newcastle United
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Southend United
Queens Park Rangers
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
St Neots Town
Luton XI
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
DC United
Toronto FC
11:00 PM GMT
Game Details
New England
Colorado
11:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Chicago
Vancouver Whitecaps
12:30 AM GMT
Game Details
Real Salt Lake
New York Red Bulls
ESPN2 1:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Bolívar
San Lorenzo
12:15 AM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 0 - 5
Game Details
At. San Luis
Santos
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Mérida
Toluca
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Morelia
Necaxa
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Veracruz
Oaxaca
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Atlas
Dorados de Sinaloa
2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Celaya
Puebla
2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
UNAM
Atlante
2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Novo Hamburgo
ABC
10:30 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 0 - 1
Game Details
CR Vasco da Gama
AA Ponte Preta
1:00 AM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 2 - 0
Game Details
Bragantino
São Paulo
1:00 AM GMT
Leg 1
Game Details
Internacional
Ceará
1:00 AM GMT
Leg 1
Game Details
Manchester City
Liverpool
11:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Los Caimanes
César Vallejo
6:15 PM GMT
Game Details
UTC
Juan Aurich
8:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Universitario de Deportes
Real Garcilaso
1:00 AM GMT
Game Details
U. Católica
Mushuc Runa
5:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Emelec
Deportivo Quito
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Independiente del Valle
Club Deportivo Cuenca
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Olmedo
El Nacional
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Liga de Loja
LDU Quito
12:30 AM GMT
Game Details
Manta F.C.
Barcelona
12:30 AM GMT
Game Details
Antigua
Municipal
9:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Washington Spirit
FC Kansas City
11:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Houston Dash
Seattle Reign FC
1:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Next

Head to Head:
Life after Suarez

Liverpool Jul 16, 2014
Read
 Posted by Sam Kelly
Jul 8, 2014

Argentina must replace "Duracell bunny" Di Maria

Angel di Maria struck late to send Argentina through to the quarterfinals.
Angel Di Maria has played a crucial role in helping Argentina reach the semifinals and his absence is a setback for La Albiceleste.

In years to come, we might well remember Lionel Messi's pass to Ángel Di María during the first half of Argentina vs. Belgium as one of the best in World Cup history. I suspect, however, that most will be less quick to remember what happened next; a cut inside and a shot from Di María which resulted in him pulling up.

Minutes later he had to be substituted and the following day Argentina's head doctor Daniel Martínez confirmed he'll miss Wednesday's semifinal against Netherlands. Di María's technical and tactical abilities are important for Argentina, of course, but they're arguably secondary and tertiary, in some ways, to the one thing that sets him aside from almost every other player in the world: the ability to run, run, run some more and then keep running long after everyone else has stopped.

- McIntyre: Robben vs. Messi -- Stars collide
- Top Tenner: World Cup semifinals

So how will Argentina be affected by not having their Duracell bunny in midfield?

There are a couple of possibilities and at the time of writing it's not clear which Alejandro Sabella is going to use. The first is that Argentina stick to the rough 4-4-2 they employed against Belgium, with Ezequiel Lavezzi on the left of midfield, bringing a replacement in on the right. That might be Benfica midfielder Enzo Pérez -- the tactically versatile utility man who had an excellent season just gone as a defensive midfielder but can also play further forward -- or it could be former Liverpool winger Maxi Rodríguez.

Pérez replaced Di María against Belgium but of course by the time that happened Argentina were already a goal up, so whether Sabella will go with him from the start if the 4-4-2 is the system of choice isn't clear. All the same, the Benfica player seems to be the favourite at present to start on the right.

That could change, however, if Sabella decides that the best way to counter the threat of the Dutch attack is a return to the 5-3-2 used in the opening match against Bosnia-Herzegovina. Marcos Rojo seems set to return from suspension at left back whatever, so the back five would see José Basanta move into the middle and Ezequiel Lavezzi dropped from left midfield to accommodate Rojo; Rojo and Basanta would thus be charged with doubling up on Arjen Robben on the Dutch right.

If that strategy is used, it seems most likely that Argentina's midfield three would consist (from right to left) of Pérez, Javier Mascherano and Lucas Biglia. That seems uninspiring, but crucially it has a lot more balance to it than the midfield three used so poorly in the Bosnia-Herzegovina match; Maxi Rodríguez played on the right in that trio (with Mascherano and Di María), and hared up the pitch every time Argentina won the ball back, leaving Mascherano with no-one to give it to.

Clearly, however Argentina line up they'll be weaker for Di María's exclusion. Whether he's played well or not, his running has provided a spark from midfield to complement Lionel Messi's iron will and nerves of steel which have defined Argentina's tournament so far. Without Di María, adaptation will be essential for Argentina's survival. On Wednesday, we'll learn a lot about just how versatile this side really are.

Comments

Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.