Here’s our Argentina preview for this summer’s Copa America Centenario where Lionel Messi will lead out his team to try to win the prestigious competition that will be celebrating its 100th year in existence. Can Argentina surpass Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and the United States to go all the way to win the competition?
Manager: Gerardo Martino
Captain: Lionel Messi
Argentina preview: Squad:
GOALKEEPERS (3): Mariano Andújar (Estudiantes La Plata, ARG), Nahuel Guzmán (Tigres UANL, MEX), Sergio Romero (Manchester United, ENG)
DEFENDERS (7): Victor Cuesta (Independiente, ARG), Ramiro Funes Mori (Everton, ENG), Jonathan Maidana (River Plate, ARG), Gabriel Mercado (River Plate, ARG), Nicolás Otamendi (Manchester City, ENG), Marcos Rojo (Manchester United, ENG), Facundo Roncaglia (Fiorentina, ITA)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Éver Banega (Sevilla, ESP), Lucas Biglia (Lazio, ITA), Augusto Fernández (Atlético Madrid, ESP), Matías Kranevitter (Atlético Madrid, ESP), Javier Mascherano (Barcelona, ESP), Lionel Messi (Barcelona, ESP), Javier Pastore (Paris Saint-Germain, FRA)
FORWARDS (6): Sergio Agüero (Manchester City, ENG), Gonzalo Higuaín (Napoli, ITA), Erik Lamela (Tottenham Hotspur, ENG), Ángel Di María (Paris Saint-Germain, FRA), Nicolás Gaitán (Benfica, POR), Ezequiel Lavezzi (Hebeir China Fortune, CHN)
Argentina preview: Overview:
For two consecutive summers, downtrodden Argentina players have had to skulk past iconic pieces of silverware having come up agonizingly short in a major final.
In 2014, Mario Gotze’s late goal in the Maracana dashed the Albiceleste’s World Cup hopes, giving Germany a 1-0 win. Then 12 months on, before a raucous backdrop in Santiago, Argentina missed out in pursuit of Copa America glory. There, Chile beat them in a dramatic penalty shootout. They have an immediate chance for redemption this summer.
The squad is certainly there to do so, with some of the world’s finest attacking talent to call upon. The forward positions in this team are bursting with quality. And while finding the right balance in the attacking third has proved testing at times for the manager, there are goals aplenty in this team.
In midfield, previously an area of concern, there seems to be a wealth of quality too, with Augusto Fernandez, Lucas Biglia and anchorman Javier Mascherano all heading into this tournament on the back of excellent campaigns at club level. It means Argentina should be better placed to forge a foothold in matches. That’s something they struggled with in 2015.
Still, there are evident frailties. They still lack a steady presence between the sticks. Meanwhile starting center-backs Ezequiel Garay and Nicolas Otamendi have not been at their best this term. The same goes for Pablo Zabaleta and Marcos Rojo. They have struggled to nail down regular spots due to poor form and lack of fitness.