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Season 2013/14

World Cup 2014 Ladder: Aguero, Zabaleta and Tevez

  • 21 June 2013 15:49
  • Posted by @dclayton_mcfc

We examine the prospects of Argentina's Sergio Aguero, Carlos Tevez and Pablo Zabaleta for Brazil 2014...

Sergio Agüero

Age: 24

Caps/Goals: 45/18

International career to date…

After excelling at Under-20 level when he became only the fourth player in history to obtain both the Golden Ball and Golden Boot in the same competition, Aguero broke into the senior Argentina side on 3 September 2006 in a friendly against Brazil held in London.

He came on as a substitute in the 65th minute for another future City striker, Carlos Tevez. Since then, the pairing of Aguero and Lionel Messi have been nothing short of phenomenal, scoring 53 goals between them.

Will his nation be there?

Argentina are looking extremely strong in their bid to qualify for next year’s World Cup, losing just one of their last 13 games. They stand clear at the top of their group and with a squad that has so many household names, it looks like they will be certainties to compete in Brazil.

Who’s the competition?

Despite Argentina’s wealth of striking talent, Aguero’s position in the squad is rarely questioned. The only forward to have more caps is Messi, and with Tevez not appearing in Argentina’s squad since 2011, he will be a certain choice for Coach Alejandro Sabella.

However, despite an embarrassment of riches, Argentina do have other options. With Ezequiel Lavezzi involved more frequently than ever before he is a clear option if Sabella looks at other options. Gonzalo Higuaín has a better goals-to-games ratio than Aguero, with 20 goals in 33 appearances, so he in particular could be the one to keep Sergio on his toes.

International highlight

Aguero had an impressive run of games in the 2011 Copa América. During the competition he scored three important goals to help his team secure second in their group, sending them to the quarter-finals. He also took part in the 2010 World Cup, but his most prized possession is an Olympic gold medal, secured at the 2006 Games where he also scored two goals in the semi-final against Brazil.

Zabaleta

Pablo Zabaleta

Age: 28

Caps/Goals: 31/0

International career to date…

Like Aguero, Zabaleta had an exciting youth international career earning more than 75 caps at various levels. Pablo broke into the senior national team in August 2005 in a 2-1 victory against Hungary. He was excluded from the squad during the 2010 FIFA World Cup; but under the new Argentina manager he has established himself as first choice at right back.

Will his nation be there?

Yes.

Who’s the competition?

In recent matches, Zabaleta has excelled for Argentina. With 31 caps, 13 more than his nearest rival Clemente Rodríguez, Pablo seems the natural choice for coach Sabella to take to Brazil.

Gino Peruzzi may have only made two appearances for Argentina so far, but at the age of just 20 he could be a fascinating future prospect. Given more opportunities, he could be the one to apply pressure on Pablo for his place, though experience should win the day.

International highlight

On June 1 2011, Zabaleta wore the captain’s armband for Argentina for the first time in a friendly against Nigeria. Pablo is also immensely proud of is his 2008 Olympic Gold medal.

Tevez

Carlos Tevez

Age: 29

Caps/Goals: 62/13

International career to date…

Carlos began his senior international career in 2004. Throughout his time playing for Argentina, Tevez has had numerous international altercations including being sent off twice in a three game stretch during the 2010 World Cup Qualifiers. Carlos missed a vital penalty against Uruguay in 2011 which saw Argentina eliminated from the Copa America at the quarter-final stage and subsequently, he has not played for the national side since.

Despite Tevez’s rollercoaster international career, he has been described as ”Argentine prophet for the 21st century” by Diego Maradona for his strong and powerful performances during his youth and senior international appearances.

Will his nation be there?

Yes.

Who’s the competition?

With a two-year international exile, Tevez claimed earlier this year that he is now surplus to requirements, stating: ‘Nowadays the Argentine national team have better strikers than me.' A call-up for the World Cup next year seems unlikely, though after a fine season with the Blues, it seems odd he isn’t even making the squad anymore.

International highlight

Tevez earned himself a Gold medal at the 2004 Olympic Games but his two goals v Mexico in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa is probably his high point for the national team. He also played and scored in the 2006 World Cup.

Join us on Saturday when we take a final look at the World Cup prospects of our players, finishing with Vincent Kompany and Belgium.

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