Featured Matches
Previous
Manchester City
AC Milan
5
1
FT
Game Details
Liverpool
Olympiakos
1
0
FT
Game Details
Leicester City
Everton
1
0
FT
Game Details
Vancouver Whitecaps
FC Dallas
2
2
FT
Game Details
Montreal Impact
Portland Timbers
2
3
FT
Game Details
Leicester City
Everton
1
0
FT
Game Details
Doncaster Rovers
Sheffield Wednesday
2
2
FT
Game Details
Milton Keynes Dons
Nottingham Forest
1
0
FT
Game Details
Yeovil Town
Cardiff City
1
4
FT
Game Details
Plymouth Argyle
Swansea City
0
4
FT
Game Details
Manchester City
AC Milan
5
1
FT
Game Details
KV Mechelen
Racing Genk
3
1
FT
Game Details
Anderlecht
Mouscron-Peruwelz
3
1
FT
Game Details
Zulte-Waregem
KV Kortrijk
2
0
FT
Game Details
SV Grodig
SK Sturm Graz
2
1
FT
Game Details
Randers FC
Hobro IK
2
1
FT
Game Details
Esbjerg
Sonderjyske
1
1
FT
Game Details
Brommapojkarna
Atvidabergs FF
2
2
FT
Game Details
Mjallby
IFK
3
0
FT
Game Details
Elfsborg
IFK Norrkoping
3
0
FT
Game Details
Helsingborg
Orebro SK
1
1
FT
Game Details
Haugesund
IK Start
5
1
FT
Game Details
Bodo/Glimt
Sarpsborg FK
3
4
FT
Game Details
Molde
Rosenborg
3
1
FT
Game Details
Sogndal
Odd Grenland
1
3
FT
Game Details
SK Brann
Viking FK
0
1
FT
Game Details
FC Vaduz
FC Zürich
1
4
FT
Game Details
Young Boys
FC Aarau
1
1
FT
Game Details
FC Basel
Lucerne
3
0
FT
Game Details
UCD
Derry City
1
6
FT
Game Details
Dundalk
Bray
5
1
FT
Game Details
Sligo
Limerick FC
2
0
FT
Game Details
Vancouver Whitecaps
FC Dallas
2
2
FT
Game Details
Montreal Impact
Portland Timbers
2
3
FT
Game Details
UNAM
Guadalajara
0
1
FT
Game Details
U. de G.
Queretaro
0
1
FT
Game Details
FC Edmonton
Indy Eleven
0
1
FT
Game Details
Lanús
Colón de Santa Fe
0
1
FT
Game Details
Racing Club
San Martín de San Juan
1
0
FT
Game Details
River Plate
Ferro Carril Oeste
(6) 0
(5) 0
FT-Pens
Game Details
Atletico Paranaense
Fluminense FC
0
3
FT
Game Details
Corinthians
Palmeiras
2
0
FT
Game Details
Goiás EC
São Paulo
2
1
FT
Game Details
Sport
Atlético MG
2
1
FT
Game Details
Flamengo
Botafogo
1
0
FT
Game Details
Gremio
Coritiba FBC
2
3
FT
Game Details
Cobreloa
Santiago Wanderers
1
2
FT
Game Details
Ñublense
Arica
2
1
FT
Game Details
Cobresal
Palestino
0
1
FT
Game Details
Colo Colo
Municipal Iquique
2
0
FT
Game Details
Once Caldas
Patriotas F.C.
2
0
FT
Game Details
Boyacá Chicó FC
Alianza Petrolera
1
0
FT
Game Details
Independiente Santa Fe
Fortaleza CE
2
0
FT
Game Details
Atlético Nacional
Deportivo Cali
2
2
FT
Game Details
Manchester City
AC Milan
5
1
FT
Game Details
Liverpool
Olympiakos
1
0
FT
Game Details
San Simón
Los Caimanes
2
4
FT
Game Details
Inti Gas Deportes
Universitario de Deportes
2
0
FT
Game Details
12 de Octubre
Guaraní
1
1
FT
Game Details
3 de Febrero
Olimpia
1
3
FT
Game Details
General Díaz
Cerro Porteño
3
2
FT
Game Details
Shimizu S-Pulse
Kashiwa Reysol
3
0
FT
Game Details
Urawa Red Diamonds
Kashima Antlers
1
1
FT
Game Details
FC Tokyo
Vegalta Sendai
3
0
FT
Game Details
Cerezo Osaka
Sagan Tosu
0
1
FT
Game Details
Kawasaki Frontale
Albirex Niigata
1
0
FT
Game Details
Nagoya Grampus Eight
Yokohama F. Marinos
1
1
FT
Game Details
Omiya Ardija
Tokushima Vortis
1
3
FT
Game Details
Sanfrecce Hiroshima
Vantforet Kofu
1
1
FT
Game Details
Vissel Kobe
Gamba Osaka
1
5
FT
Game Details
Malacateco
Petapa
2
0
FT
Game Details
Guastatoya
Universidad de San Carlos
3
2
FT
Game Details
FC Kansas City
Sky Blue FC
2
1
FT
Game Details
Seattle Reign FC
Portland Thorns FC
5
0
FT
Game Details
Next

Five Aside: Gotze's historics secure glory

Five Aside Jul 13, 2014
Read
May 30, 2014

Sabella building Argentina around group dynamics

ESPN FC's Santiago Solari believes Lionel Messi needs a World Cup trophy to add to his resume.

Friday saw Angel Di Maria's arrival for training with Argentina, completing their group after taking a few days of well-earned rest with his family in Rosario. "He's a friend who's reached the top," said goalkeeper Sergio Romero in a video interview with ESPNDeportes.

That fact -- not Di Maria's form, although that's vital too, of course, but the friendship -- is a huge part of the cautious optimism that seems to pervade the Argentina camp when they speak publicly at present. It's not just that Di Maria is popular with the other players, it's that they're all popular with one another. Alejandro Sabella has placed a high premium on the group dynamic, and hopes to see it come to fruition in the next couple of weeks of training together.

The importance of the group is why Carlos Tevez -- aside from his very pedestrian record at international level -- wasn't called up, it's why Federico Fazio, near the end of a fine season for Sevilla, knew he was out of the reckoning after an angry radio interview in which he accused Sabella of "lacking respect" for a player playing "at a high level." It's also why a rumour that Lionel Messi doesn't get on with Willy Caballero, leading to the latter's exclusion, has spread in recent months, although to all appearances that seems to be rubbish -- photos emerged of the two hugging in the tunnel ahead of Barcelona's latest match against Malaga.

The group is vital for Sabella, and in one way that is why Caballero's not been called up; whether his relationship with Messi is perfectly cordial or not, it's clear that Romero's relationship not just with the attacking talisman but with the whole squad is fantastic. "We're a group of good friends," he told ESPNDeportes.

- Kelly: Di Maria crucial to Argentina

- Sabella: Teammates must help Messi

It's clear that this has been Sabella's thinking from the start; a focus on the group and on flexibility ahead of players -- Romero for Caballero being perhaps the most obvious example -- who might seem more talented or have more playing time.

There's no shortage of examples of how this has worked in the past, of course. We needn't even leave Argentina, in fact, to see how keeping the side's best players happy and breeding a good group atmosphere can lead to success. As Jonathan Wilson notes in "Inverting The Pyramid," Carlos Bilardo experimented with using a 3-5-2 on a tour of Europe in 1984 and decided to implement the formation -- becoming the first, or one of the first, managers to do so at international level -- for the 1986 World Cup, realising it was an ideal system to combine the players he had while getting the best out of Diego Maradona.

At that same World Cup, Bilardo gave a call-up to a 32-year-old Ricardo Bochini. Largely recognised as the greatest player in Independiente's history, Bochini was Maradona's idol, and was included in the squad at the playmaker's express request. When he was given a late run-out with Argentina 2-0 up in the semifinal against Belgium, Maradona trotted over to him and welcomed him to the pitch with the phrase, "Maestro, we've been waiting for you."

Four years later, Bilardo again deferred to Maradona for at least one decision on the squad; River Plate legend (and until this week, manager) Ramon Diaz was in the form of his playing life, in the midst of a brilliant run of goalscoring form for Monaco, and was seen as an obvious inclusion in the squad for Italia '90. Diaz wasn't called up, though, and the story has persisted ever since -- a very open secret -- that it was Maradona who told Bilardo not to call him up.

I very much doubt Sabella's bowing to individual players to anything like that degree this year, but avoiding the kind of internal arguments witnessed at recent tournaments by certain other nations -- France come to mind, as perhaps inevitably do the Netherlands -- is key for him. This really does seem to be a group of friends, and all Argentine fans will be hoping things remain that way.

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.