Romania vs. Argentina: Preview and TV schedule

Paolo Bruno

There's just a few spots left for Argentina players looking to get on the plane to Brazil - will the match against Romania be the deciding factor?

For most countries involved in the World Cup, this midweek round of friendlies gives a chance for coaches to tinker with their squads, making sure they're set to name the best 23 players possible come May. Not so with Alejandro Sabella. The Argentina manager has more or less decided on the players heading to Brazil, the majority of whom have received cap after cap since Sabella took over in 2011.

The biggest name is a certainty, of course - barring a a tragic injury, Lionel Messi will captain the albiceleste. He'll be joined by some other big names: Pablo Zabaleta, Javier Mascherano, Ángel di María, Ezequiel Lavezzi, Gonzalo Higuaín and Sergio Agüero. Meanwhile, no matter how good a season he's having at Juventus, it seems Carlos Tévez is destined to remain ostracized, and will be watching the World Cup from his favorite bar.

Sabella's also not likely to take Martín Demichelis, but really, is anyone besides Manuel Pellegrini surprised by that decision?

With Argentina's starting lineup seemingly locked down, there's not much to do except give a few minutes to those on the periphery. Sabella has a thing for Lucas Biglia and has called him for the friendly, despite his failing to impress with Lazio. Gino Peruzzi, one of the few bright spots in Catania's season, has a chance to prove himself. So do Lisandro López and José Sosa, both playing in La Liga right now.

Romania has no such concerns. They finished second in their World Cup qualifying group, behind Netherlands. That meant a playoff with Greece, which they lost 4-2 in what was one of the only matches in history in which Greece scored more than one goal. That means Romania are just in this for the fun of it all, and possibly for the chance to bring in some cash from fans that want to see Messi in the flesh. It might be vague preparation for Euro 2016, but there's probably not all that much Victor Pițurcă is hoping to gain from this game, as qualifying for the tournament won't start for another six months.

Romania Squad

Goalkeepers: Costel Pantilimon, Alexandru Buzbuchi, Ciprian Tătărușanu
Defenders: Răzvan Raț, Alexandru Mățel, Paul Papp, Srdjan Luchin, Steliano Filip, Florin Gardoș, Dragoș Grigore, Laurențiu Rus
Midfielders: Gabriel Torje, Cristian Tănase, Alexandru Bourceanu, Mihali Pintilii, Costin Lazăr, Alexandru Maxim, Alexandru Chipciu, Paul Anton
Forwards: Ciprian Marica, Bogdan Stancu, Gheorghe Grozav, Raul Rusescu

Argentina Squad

Goalkeepers: Sergio Romero, Mariano Andújar, Agustín Orión
Defenders: Pablo Zabaleta, Federico Fernández, Marcos Rojo, Ezequiel Garay, Nicolás Otamendi, Hugo Capagnaro, José María Basanta, Lisandro Ezequiel López, Gino Peruzzi
Midfielders: Javier Mascherano, Maxi Rodríguez, Fernando Gago, Ángel di María, Éver Banega, José Ernesto Sosa, Lucas Biglia, Augusto Fernández, Ricky Álvarez
Forwards: Lionel Messi, Sergio Agüero, Gonzalo Higuaín, Ezequiel Lavezzi, Rodrigo Palacio

Match Date / Time: Wednesday, March 5 at 2 p.m. ET
Venue: Arena Naţională, Bucharest, Romania

TV: ESPN Deportes (USA)

Online: ESPN3 (USA); bet365, bwin

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