So far the strongest options for the debut against Ecuador seemed to be Armani and Andrada. But Scaloni can choose Martínez. What does each contribute? What are your weaknesses?
Sergio Romero left a big hole in the National Team. Chiquito he became a giant with Argentine gloves and marked an era. With or without continuity in his clubs over the years, the missionary was the last owner of the National Team’s goal, with no less than 96 games (60 wins, 23 draws and 13 losses) and 74 goals against. But the hero in the 2014 World Cup semi-final against the Netherlands was no longer on the albiceleste radar for his lack of activity in Manchester United and a stable replacement is still being sought. The Argentine goalkeeper is the team’s biggest unknown and now Lionel Scaloni must define who he chooses to start the Qualifiers for Qatar 2022: Emiliano Martínez, Franco Armani or Esteban Andrada.
There are three names for a pair of gloves that wait for hands that provide security under the three clubs, but also a command voice to order from the background and assistance on the playing circuit when required. Each of the candidates has some advantage over the other and also points against. Who will be this Thursday at the Candy box against Ecuador, from 9:30 p.m.?
If the road to the next World Cup had started in March, as it was scheduled before the coronavirus pandemic broke out, the bid would have been reduced to the Superclassic between the Boca and River goalkeepers. But from Europe Emiliano Martínez was gaining ground, who due to the injury of Bernd Leno he had continuity at Arsenal towards the end of the season and managed to make great saves to win the FA Cup and the Community Shield.
Thanks to that, he became the most expensive Argentine goalkeeper in history when Aston Villa bought him for almost 22 million euros. This man from Mar del Plata, who never stopped in the First of his country since at age 16 he left the inferiors of Independiente to England, finally achieved the stability he wanted. In the premiere in his new team he saved a penalty and until now he received two goals in three presentations. So yesand he got fully into the dispute that was previously closed between Armani and Andrada.
Armani is the one who has the most experience with light blue and white clothing. For the rude mistake of Wilfredo Caballero in the duel with Croatia at the 2018 World Cup in Russia, the goalkeeper of the Millionaire got his chance. Although he had some disengagements in his first matches, he did not clash, but he did not shine with winning saves like those that Núñez’s fans have used to since he arrived.
Add 11 presentations with 15 goals conceded and three unbeaten hurdles. He stopped in the Copa América in Brazil, a contest in which Scaloni was analyzing the possibility of including Andrada, but Sabandija he was disaffected a few days before the first game. A great advantage is that he already knows Gonzalo Montiel and Lucas Martínez Quarta, who will make up the starting defense.
The one of Boca only has four meetings in the Selection, with two so many against and three goals in zero. Although it is not to have the spectacular flyings with which Armani shines, Andrada presents a greater deployment outside the small area, something that River’s does not have so oiled. He is a man of the entire large area and has greater agility, although in his must he lacks some consecrating performance in a decisive duel and he lacks experience with the national diver. Another plus point is his good handling with the ball at his feet.
Martínez, for his part, is the one who has accumulated the most filming in the last time, something no less taking into account the lack of time to prepare these commitments. He is complete and stands out for his good reflexes, his skill with his feet and his command voice, a necessary question below. His disadvantage is that he has no antecedents in the national team’s arc since he had been summoned last year but did not play for a minute.
Scaloni likes it a lot and it would not be unreasonable for him to make his debut this Thursday when the ball rolls through the points again.
Whoever is chosen will have the chance to start building a long story if they take advantage of every moment. The search for a goalkeeper is something that the coach still could not solve: he has already quoted a total of ten players in that position since he is in charge of Argentina. And the time seems to have come to make a decision.
The rest of the team to host Ecuador seems pretty clear. The last line would have Montiel, Martínez Quarta, Nicolás Otamendi and Nicolás Tagliafico. In the middle are Leandro Paredes and Rodrigo de Paul. Captain Lionel Messi will have company upstairs with Lucas Ocampos and Lautaro Martínez. It remains to know who will be the other offensive midfielder: Marcos Acuña, Exequiel Palacios and Alejandro Papu Gomez have their chances.
Everything will be defined this Wednesday in the second and last test before taking the first step in the Qualifiers.