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?

Argentina preview

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

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.

But most crucially of all is the mentality of the team. Most of this group have been involved in the two final losses. And although these players, in the main, have won silverware at club level, the pressure seems to grip Argentina in the really big moments. That’s something they must shake off if they’re to win their first title since 1993.

argentina-copa-america-streaming

Argentina preview: Group Fixtures:

Monday, June 6

Argentina vs. Chile, Santa Clara, CA, 10pm ET; FOX Sports 1, UniMas, Univision Deportes, FOX Sports Go, FOX Soccer 2GO and fuboTV (free trial)

Friday, June 10

Argentina vs. Panama, Chicago, IL, 9:30pm ET; FOX, UniMas, Univision Deportes, FOX Sports Go, FOX Soccer 2GO and fuboTV (free trial)

Tuesday, June 14

Argentina vs. Bolivia, Seattle, WA, 10pm ET; UniMas, FOX Sports 1, Univision Deportes, FOX Sports Go, FOX Soccer 2GO and fuboTV (free trial)

SEE MORE: See the complete Copa America schedule including quarter-finals, semi-finals and final

Argentina preview: Key Player:

Lionel Messi – There were tenuous reports the Barcelona forward was ready to walk away from international football last summer, with many pointing the finger at Messi for the team’s failure to win the final. But the bald truth is that if Argentina are to clinch glory, he’ll be at the heart of the effort.

By his own immaculate standards, this term hasn’t been Messi’s best. That includes a two-month spell on the sidelines due to injury earlier in the campaign and an early exit from the Champions League with Barcelona. However, for a player who notoriously wants to feature in every minute of every game, these opportunities to recuperate could be beneficial come the summer.

Messi, who has grown into the role of captain, turned in some virtuoso displays on the way to last year’s final. That included most notably the 6-1 win against Paraguay in the semi-finals. Not only will the pressure be on him to scale those heights again, but ensure Argentina finish this tournament with something tangible.

Argentina preview: Verdict:

Favorites – Argentina must be considered favorites, simply because they’re the standout squad in the competition. Additionally, Brazil seem to have other priorities, Chile are in transition and Colombia have been short of their best lately. Surely, after so many near misses, this is the summer in which they end their silverware drought.

Argentina home jersey

Copa America Jerseys

Argentina finished as runners-up in an exciting 2015 Copa America. For the 100th edition of this, the oldest continental tournament, the Albiceleste will look to bring home the trophy for the first time since 1993. This jersey sports a superior performance material with ClimaCool technology. 100% polyester.

Find out how to order the Argentina home jersey today.

Argentina away jersey

Copa America Jerseys

The 2015-16 Argentina Away soccer jersey also features vented mesh panels with adidas ClimaCool® technology to keep you cool, dry and performing at your highest levels.

Find out how to order the Argentina away jersey today.

Read all of the Copa America team previews

• Argentina team preview
• Bolivia team preview
• Brazil team preview
• Chile team preview
• Colombia team preview
• Costa Rica team preview
• Ecuador team preview
• Haiti team preview
• Jamaica team preview
• Mexico team preview
• Panama team preview
• Paraguay team preview
• Peru team preview
• United States team preview
• Uruguay team preview
• Venezuela team preview

If you have any questions about the Argentina preview, let us know in the comments section below.

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