Penpix of Argentina squad
Sergio Romero (AZ Alkmaar). Goalkeeper. Born Feb. 22 1987. Caps: 5.
Big man, 1.92 metres tall, who caught coach Diego Maradona's eye at the Beijing Olympics where he helped Argentina to win a second successive gold medal but he earned the number one slot only in the qualifiers against Paraguay in September. Commanding in the air and good at closing down the options when one-on-one with an attacker.
Mariano Andujar (Catania). Goalkeeper. Born July 30 1983. Caps: 4.
Helped Estudiantes de La Plata win the Libertadores Cup last year, setting a tournament record of 800 minutes without conceding a goal before earning a move to Italy's Serie A. Good in the air and on his line but lost Maradona's faith in the 3-1 defeat by Brazil in Rosario, coming out poorly for the third goal scored by Luis Fabiano.
Diego Pozo (Colon de Santa Fe). Goalkeeper. Born Feb. 16 1978. Caps: 3.
A veteran who earned his international chance last year thanks to Maradona's penchant for an ever-changing home-based squad. Agile, quick off his line, very good at defending long-range shots.
Nicolas Otamendi (Velez Sarsfield). Defender. Born Feb. 12 1988. Caps: 6.
The best discovery in the home-based squad, he could start the World Cup on the right of a back four made up of four central defenders and could struggle if faced with a nippy left wing. Good ball control on the ground, strong in the air in defence and when attacking at corners and free kicks.
Martin Demichelis (Bayern Munich). Defender. Born Dec. 20 1980. Caps: 25. Goals: 1.
Helped his club to reach the Champions League final despite an early return from a serious facial injury. Caught the eye as a talented teenager at River Plate. Good coming forward out of defence, he has also played as a defensive midfielder. Went into a depression when he was discarded at the last minute for the 2006 finals in Germany by coach Jose Pekerman.
Walter Samuel (Inter Milan). Defender. Born March 23 1978. Caps: 54. Goals: 4.
A veteran of Argentina's failure at the 2002 World Cup, he missed out on the 2006 finals and has won only one cap under Maradona but impressive displays this season for Inter by the man nicknamed "The Wall" when he was at AS Roma have earned him a recall. Good header at both ends of the field, he has scored crucial goals for his club.
Gabriel Heinze (Olympique Marseille). Defender. Born April 19 1978. Caps: 63. Goals: 2.
"El Gringo" is one of the least popular choices among Argentine fans and media who see him as a liability in defence but he is loved by Maradona who sees this committed, never-say-die player as epitomising the kind he wants in Argentina's colours.
Nicolas Burdisso (Inter Milan). Defender. Born April 12 1981. Caps: 28. Goals: 2.
Former Boca Juniors central defender who can also perform well on the flanks and would make a good reserve for any of the back four, he has good control and is a fine header.
Fabricio Coloccini (Newcastle United). Defender. Born Jan. 22 1982. Caps: 33. Goals: 1.