My starting lineup:
Defense: Five out of my six defensive players came from Serie A. I intended to play a classic Italian “web” defensive system. On paper, it is as good as any Serie A team. All of them, except Pepe, started for one of the top 5 teams in Serie A or Italian NT, and should understand the syetem & their roles very well.
Riquelme is the key to ASF's team. He has problems playing with another playmaker in the past and needs two DM's to support him.. So I am going to borrow a page out from Dunga's playbook. My defenders will stop Riquelme from getting into his game. They will not allow him to have the ball for too long, but also not to foul him in dangerious position and give him the chance to score on set pierce. They will force him to play backward. With Riquelme out of the equation, his attack will be limited. Yakubu has great European continental experienses, but mostly in the UEFA Cup or the earlier rounds of CL. Pepe should know how to handle his former teammate, Lisandro López. Lavezzi has a wonderful season, but he lacks international experienses. They won't cause my team troubles on their own. However, ASF should also know this better than me. He will use two forwards. Instead, he will start another midfielder to support Riquelme. Can Rquelme co-exist with any creative player? Or can Cambiasso & Perrotta take Riquelme out of the game(easier said than done to be honest)?
Offense: ASF probably will do the same thing to me. He will play two DM's as Riquelme is useless defensively. The game will be a battle of midfield. It will be a sluggish game. His two DM's will cause my team plenty of troubles. Nasri will be invincible from time to time just liked Riquelme to his team.. Cambiasso and Perrotta can carry the ball better than ASF's two DM's. My transitional game will be better than his. This could be the deciding factor of the game.
Below will be the same basic tactics I used against against megamac.
Offense: Cambiasso and Perrotta are to take control of the midfield. They need to win the ball back and move it up field. They need to free up Nasri, Ronaldo & my two wingbacks. Nasri will be distributing the ball to the wings or directly to forwards. I need his flare on the midfield. If he is taken out of the game, Cambiasso and Perrotta could easily step up and become the playmakers themselves. Ronaldo would be given a free role to roam the entire offensive half of the field.. He can move from right to left as the game progressed. He can either cut inside and shoot, or move down to the baseline and cross. He would would also play combinations with his pal, Rooney. Oddo & Pasqual would surge forward to support my wings. Pasqual is No Beckham, but he is considered to be one of the best crossers of the ball in Serie A. The left wing will be more direct approach. The Pasqual-to-Huntelaar combo will be an extra option on the attack. Roony or Nasri needs to support Pasqual occassionally as my left side is weak.
Despite being the 2nd highest scorer in Europe this year, Huntelaar would not be the main scoring threat. His main job is to be the decoy and to open space for Rooney and Ronaldo. He need to hold the ball. Of course, he can still bang in a goal or two with services from Ronaldo or Pasqual.
If I take the lead: Nihat will come in for Huntelaar and become my “Tevez”. My three forwards will constantly switch roles and sides just liked the new Man Utd. Nasri will be “Paul Scholas”. Finally, at the end, Cristiano Zanetti and/or Materazzi will come in for my attackers.
If I am losing or tied, Montolivo will come in for Perrotta. Ronaldo, Huntelaar and Rooney combined for over 70 goals this year. I doubt it will be their fault if I could not score. So it must be the “supplier”. Montolivo will be the deep laying playmaker and Cambiasso plays as the lone DM as he have done for Argentina before. Finally, Nihat will come in for Pasqual if it still does not work.