At the top of Group B with six points, Argentina looks set to approach their third group stage match as if they're through to the final round. Small problem: They are not. They have three point leads on both South Korea and Tuesday's opponent, Greece. With a draw, the Albiceleste is through to the next round, but rumored to be making up-to-eight changes for today's match, Argentina may be leaving the door-open to a shock result.
But if that door is open, it's barely so as it concerns Argentina's chances of losing this group. Argentina needs to lose to Greece by three and have South Korea win by three for them to miss-out in the next round, so Diego Maradona seems safe making his changes; however, Argentina is heavily influencing the race for Group B's second place. Even if Greece can't pass Argentina, their chances to move past South Korea and into second place improve with each concession Maradona makes.
Argentina, Going Forward: This is where Maradona's proposed wholesale changes could stagnate the Albiceleste. Where Greece has typically been very disciplined at the back, you think a certain level of cohesion amongst teammates necessary to break-down the Greeks. But with all the changes Maradona proposes to make, that cohesion will be absent.
There are two points the Argentina fan can make in retort to his whole cohension mumbo-jumbo. First, look at Greece's results in qualifying, friendlies, and in this tournament, and you're not seeing a lot of instances where their stalwart defense is having to go against Sergio Aguero, Diego Milito, Javier Pastore - the talent Argentina will be throwing at Greece. Second, Greece is still allowing goals on set pieces, and the heads of Milito and Martin Palermo should not be underestimated.
Greece, Going Forward: The Greeks normally feature three attacking players: Theofanis Gekas and Angelos Christeas being set-up by Giorgios Samaras. But against Nigeria, Otto Rehhagel started Samaraas on the bench, only bringing him after Greece went up a man. Point: who knows what Greece is going to do to create goals.
Their two goals against Nigeria give Greece supporters little hope for the Argentina match. The first goal got a generous deflection to evade Nigeria goalkeeper Vincent Aneayama. The second goal saw Aneayama cough-up a rebound for an easy finish. Neither of these goals should be considered replicable.
Until we see what Argentina will do with their defense, it's difficult to say how Greece should approach Tuesday's match, something that will affect Rehhagel's preparation. Instead of focusing on particular ways to break down their oppoonent, Rehhagel is going to have to concentrate on the basics. Who are his best players? How can they work together to score goals?
How The Match Turns: Maradona's lineup changes concede to his team that Argentina should be preparing for the next round. Even with their second team, they should still get a result from Greece, but whether they will depends on the attitude the replacements carry into kick-off. A sense of pride or a desire to improve chances of playing in the next match needs to lift the Argentines to a result.