International Friendly Preview: Argentina v Bosnia-Herzegovina
By Football News
Bosnia-Herzegovina will begin preparations for the FIFA World Cup when they meet Argentina for the first time on Tuesday.
The Balkan nation ensured they will make their maiden appearance at the World Cup finals in 2014 with a 1-0 win over Lithuania last month.
That victory gave Safet Susic's men top spot in Group G of the European qualification section after they lost just one match throughout the campaign.
And Bosnia will aim to carry that momentum into their clash with Alejandro Sabella's side in St Louis, as they look to end a superb year on a high.
The performances of strikers Edin Dzeko and Vedad Ibisevic helped inspire Bosnia to the finals, with the duo scoring 18 of their nation's 30 goals in qualification.
And they will need to be at their best if they are to break down an Argentina side that lost just twice as they finished top of the CONMEBOL qualification group.
Sabella's team are set to make their 11th consecutive appearance at the World Cup finals next year, and go into the game on a run of just one defeat in their last 11 internationals.
But the South American outfit will be without their main talisman for the encounter, with Barcelona attacker Lionel Messi unavailable because of a hamstring injury.
Messi finished qualifying as Argentina's top scorer in qualification with 10 goals, but it will be up to the likes of Napoli striker Gonzalo Higuain and Manchester City forward Sergio Aguero to fill the void after they drew a blank in the 0-0 draw with Ecuador on Friday.
Javier Mascherano, captain of the side in Messi's absence, accepted that the performance against Ecuador was below par, but it is hopeful they can improve against Bosnia.
"It is not easy to settle with just two days of work ... we have to continue to grow," he said.