Argentina U17 – Match Report vs. Peru U17 (24/10/2022)

The Estadio 20 de Octubre was almost full to capacity for day 1 of the Copa Ciudad de Ezeiza, a friendly quadrangular tournament held in Buenos Aires between the Under 17 national teams of Argentina, Ecuador, Peru and Uruguay. The Albiceleste hosted a weak Peruvian team, who waited the 90th minutes on their half giving Argentina all the possession. Pablo Aimar set up a 4-3-3 wide in a team full of technical quality with some very promising prospects, where Gianluca Prestianni and Claudio Echeverri stole the night in what was a game totally dominated by the locals who ended up beating the Peruvians 4-0.

Youth Ratings

1 – Ready for the first team
2 – Good, potential to be first team
3 – Decent, could make first team squad
4 – Decent potential, unlikely to make it to first team
5 – Unlikely to make first team

Claudio Echeverri

  • Nationality: Argentine
  • Age: 16
  • Date of birth: 2/01/2006
  • Club: CA River Plate Reserva
  • Career: CA River Plate Youth – CA River Plate Reserva
  • Position: Offensive Midfielder
  • Preferred foot: Right

Echeverri started as an attacking midfielder and had a great performance. With a slim build and a height of approximately 1,70m.  El Diablito, as he is called in River Plate Youths, has an exceptional technique with the ball. Being the main offensive threat behind the 9, Echeverri had total freedom on the pitch to move and ask for the ball. In possession, the Argentinian used to move forward quickly with quality ball control and strong balance despite his height, which made it very difficult for opponents to get the ball off him. He was very aggressive when attacking, and although sometimes he should have raised his head up and waited a little longer, that is not his nature, the Argentinian gave no respite on any play and was dangerous every time he was involved in the attack. Echeverri was really good being the first to anticipate on the offensive plays, you could see that he predicted the movements of his team-mates very well, constantly making definitive passes until he got the assist for the second goal when he sent an unexpected first touch diagonal cross into the box, displaying great vision. He linked up very well with left winger Prestianni, constantly creating space and breaking lines thanks to his powerful acceleration to win duels. His agility made his movements very unpredictable when changing direction, and he had no problem using both feet depending on the need of the situation. He created a lot of free space with his passes on the flanks as well as off the ball by constantly moving around the whole pitch. In defence he was quite static, he doesn’t seem to be a player who supports in transitions nor did he make many sacrifices to win the ball back when he lost it. He also tried long-range shots which were decent enough.

Echeverri possesses great qualities of a classic number 10, and should take advantage of his age and balance to start fortifying his physique and become stronger in physical disputes. He is clearly technically gifted and still has time to develop his body. In a match against a weak opponent he shone in a favourable context, but he still has a lot of room for improvement. I think the mental aspect in this type of player is key to his potential and although Claudio is said to be quite focused on his thing, I will keep an eye on his upcoming performances in more difficult games.


Echeverri’s football is quite enjoyable for the neutral spectator and fits very well with the philosophy of Gallardo’s River Plate, where I think he would have made his debut the following year if hadn’t been for the coach resigning. It is still early days but I think Claudio has the potential to make it to the first team of River and make his debut before turning 19.

Gianluca Prestianni

  • Nationality: Argentine
  • Age: 16
  • Date of birth: 31/01/2006
  • Club: CA Vélez Sarsfield
  • Career: Ca Vélez Sarsfield Reserva – CA Vélez Sarsfield
  • Position: Left Winger
  • Secondary Position: Attacking Midfielder, Right Winger
  • Preferred foot: Right

The young Argentinian played 60 minutes and was decisive in the result despite not scoring. Against a passive opponent, the diminutive winger of 1.65m found himself in the ideal game to show his technical qualities, never missing the chance to get forward with the ball and take on whoever was in front of him. Technically gifted for his age, Prestianni makes the most of this quality by playing on the left wing with a very distinctive and offensive style. His excellent ball control combined with his quick decision making made him unstoppable in the final third. He liked to cut inside until he found space to finish or look for a through pass, usually looking for the overlap of Echeverri or number 9 Sciancalepore. The Argentinian has a slim build for his age and is clearly not strong. He has decent balance to hold his ground in physical duels. However, he did not feel comfortable in physical situations where he was passed over failing to get his own. The Peruvian full-back always tried to take him into a physical duel, but Prestianni showed a great lecture of the game by knowing where to drive the ball to avoid such a situation. He has a pretty decent pace over long distances but what really gets him past opponents and win duels is his flair dribbling. This makes him very comfortable in tight spaces and he was able to win most of his 1v1 duels thanks to his ability to use both feet and changing directions quickly.

While he didn’t score or assist, Prestianni was present in the build-up on the first two goals until he was subbed, showing great vision on his passes. I think that with more freedom on the pitch he would have stood out even more but that was not possible due to the presence of Echeverri. Even so, he was the player who connected best with the players in midfield, having no problem in giving the ball to maintain possession when necessary. It is clear that this trait has taken root on him with time as he has gained more minutes in the Velez first team and he is now a more mature player.

During some moments in the game he looked very relaxed and at times he was overconfident in his abilities which made him lose the ball. Generally, he took good decisions but also was very individualist sometimes. I think mentally he needs to continue to progress in that sense but he is on the right track. He has time and should improve in his physique to look more dominant in duels. The Argentinian has a great ability to do the unexpected and he looks quite ready for professional football despite his age. I don’t think his physicality is a problem as he makes up for it quite well with his technique.


In the cradle of South American talent, the name of Gianluca Prestianni is the one that sounds the loudest in the 2006 category. Despite his age, he has already made great strides in his career as the youngest player in history to make his debut for the Velez Sarsfield first team at 16 years, 3 months and 22 days. He could be a first-team regular for 2023 and I believe he is capable to make a name for himself in the Albiceleste in the future. If he can keep his progress at the same pace through next years, we are talking about a top talent.

Valentino Acuña

  • Nationality: Argentine
  • Age: 16
  • Date of birth: 27/01/2006
  • Club: CA Newell’s Old Boys Youth
  • Career: CA Newell’s Old Boys Youth
  • Position: Central Midfielder
  • Preferred foot: Right

Valentino Acuña provided the balance between attack and defence for the Argentinian team, occupying a somewhat static but intelligent role as the left midfielder. Argentina imposed themselves on opposition territory from the outset and the 16-year-old’s task was to be the link between the team build up from the back and the start of the attack on the final third. Acuña occupied the spaces behind the Peruvian midfield line well and was usually very well positioned to receive, hastening the offensive transitions by making quality first touches. In possession, he made really good decisions thanks to his vision, making trough passes that left the Peruvian defence vulnerable. He was able to set the tempo of the game and knew when to rush and when not to, partly thanks to the lack of pressure from the opposition. This showed the tactical maturity of Acuña, who had all the time to read the movements of his teammates and was quick enough to assist at first sight of open space. Acuña has great technique with his feet although he used his skilful foot most of the time. He didn’t make much use of dribbling, he did not tend to advance much with the ball preferring to raise his head looking for the best option.

He has a physique still to develop, with a normal build and standing between 1,74-1,77m. he did not participate in many physical duels although he recovered some balls making good tackles, as well as losing a few by not using his body well. Logically he didn’t have much work defensively. Surely in the match against Uruguay there will be much more to analyse in this aspect.

Acuña has the soul of a playmaker both technically and mentally. Always looking for free spaces to receive, he kept raising his arms asking for the ball and then taking quick decisions to change the game with a pass. In this trait he had almost no mistakes, displaying great football maturity. He showed composure throughout the game and was not afraid to take the riskiest path. Off the ball, he occupied the spaces very well. Despite his good decision making, I think he should have been more daring at times trying a long shot, but he preferred to stick to his forte: passing the ball.


Players like Prestianni and Echeverri are clearly the most eye-catching, but behind them Acuña stood out in a team full of technical richness thanks to his positioning, vision and good decision making. While it was not the best match to analyse such a player and he needs to be seen more in physical and defensive aspects, his potential as a deep lying playmaker is promising. I think Acuña will have his debut for Newell’s first team before reaching 19 and has the potential to be an important part of the team in the future.

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