Completesportsnigeria.com’s JAMES AGBEREBI profiles Argentina hard man Nicolas Otamendi as we continue to run the rule over the Super Eagles’ Russia 2018 World Cup group opponents and their key players…
At five feet 10 inches, Nicolas Otamendi is not the tallest of defenders but what he lacks in height, he more than makes up in his aggressive style of play.
Since joining Manchester City from Spanish LaLiga club Valencia in 2015, Otamendi, 30, has remained a regular feature for the current Premier League leaders.
Otamendi has made 83 appearances, scoring six goals so far for the Premier League leaders.
This season, he has been a part of the City side that has stream rolled all before them and are on the verge of being crowned league champions.
He has played 26 of City’s 27 league games this current campaign, scoring four goals.
On the international stage, Otamendi made his debut for Argentina and was in Diego Maradona’s squad for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa but missed the 2014 edition in Brazil.
He made the Argentina squad for the 2015 and 2016 Copa America where they lost both finals to Chile.
BEST POSITION: Otamendi plays mainly in the central of defence but can also slot into the right-back position.
STRENGTHS: Otamendi is very solid in aerial duels, ball interception and has a keen eye for goals just like his strike against Manchester United showed, which secured a 2-1 win for City.
WEAKNESSES: Like earlier mentioned, Otamendi is a hard tackler but can get into trouble as he can be rash when going into tackles.
STYLE: Though hard as nails, Otamendi is also adept when it comes to playing short passes as seen with Manchester City under Pep Guardiola.
He has the ability to initiate attack from defence by simply driving the ball forward.
He is also known for his tackling ability which is the hallmark of his play.
NATIONAL TEAM STATS: Since his debut in 2009, Otamendi has made 53 appearances for Argentina and has scored three goals for the national team.
DID YOU KNOW:
-Argentina were the first country to lose in the final of the FIFA World Cup. They lost 4-2 to Uruguay in the maiden edition in 1930.
-Pedro Monzon of Argentina is the first player ever to be sent off in a World Cup final. He was shown a straight red card against then West Germany in the 1990 final in Italy which Argentina lost 1-0.
-Argentina were the first team to lose a FIFA World Cup final match without scoring. They lost 1-0 to West Germany in 1990 final while previous finals dating back to the maiden edition in 1930 saw the losers scoring at least one goal.
-Argentina hold the record as the only country who had two players sent off in a FIFA World Cup final. Pedro Monzon and Gustavo Dezotti were both sent off in the 1-0 loss to West Germany in the 1990 World Cup final.
-Argentina’s only loss to an African team at the FIFA World Cup was against Cameroon at the 1990 edition in Italy. The Diego Maradona-led side were stunned 1-0 by a Francois Oman-Biyik header.
Do you feel the Super Eagles possess the strike force that can cause an Argentine defence led by Otamendi problems at the 2018 FIFA World Cup?