Winners of the Copa America against their arch nemesis Brazil, Argentina now aim to win the World Cup which could be the last for Lionel Messi. His teammates will do anything to give him the best outing.
After 1978 and 1986, Argentina is looking for a third world crown and especially Lionel Messi’s first. By winning the Copa America, the PSG striker overcame the curse that cost him selection as he had never won any major titles.
This title allowed him to reduce the pressure a little, he will not end his career without a title in Argentina. But he wants more, he wants to get this world trophy that almost eluded him in 2014 in Brazil when Argentina lost in the final against Germany. In 2018, France led by a super Kylian Mbappé destroyed the dream of the Argentines in the round of 16.
All that is in the past now and all Argentinian eyes are on Qatar where Argentina will be favorites with Brazil and Germany not to be forgotten in the predictions. Hope is in order since Lionel Scaloni has given soul to this team, it can evolve into some system. He does not hesitate to change the system during the match, he is not a careful coach and he adapts to the opponent when necessary. During the qualifying matches, he was in a 4-4-2 or 4-3-3 while in the Copa America he was more of a 4-2-3-1.
The Argentinians will rely like in the Copa America on experienced players, Palacios, Nicolas Otamendi, Leandro Paredes, Angel Di Maria or Lautaro Martinez and of course Lionel Messi. The list will not have too many surprises, this is not the time for Scaloni to experiment and no youth has emerged in recent months to disrupt the hierarchy.
A midfielder in question
Messi has been in good form since the start of the season and should have a good World Cup. Although it is one of the favorites, Argentina has some flaws, especially in midfield. The midfield is inferior to that of Brazil, Germany or Spain. But if Argentina have problems in this sector during the competition, it will be up to Messi to turn the matches around in a stroke of genius. He wants this title, this is the big goal at the end of his career, he has prepared himself to do well in Qatar and when Messi is motivated and physically ready, few players can stop him.
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How did Argentina qualify?
It was against great rivals Brazil and despite a miserable 0-0 in a match we expected to be spectacular Argentina validated its ticket for Qatar. Messi’s team-mates finished runners-up to Brazil by six points as they conceded some surprising draws. In particular, we are thinking of the 1-1 against Paraguay and Chile at home. Brazil finished with 14 wins and 3 draws against 11 wins and 6 draws for the Argentinian.
They are the only two unbeaten options in these qualifiers in South America, Uruguay, 3rd, finishing eleven points behind Argentina. Despite their excellent attack, Scaloni’s team scored only 27 goals tied with Ecuador, far behind Brazil and their 40 goals. He also finished in 2nd defense (8 goals against 5 for Brazil).
The number: 5
Argentina played in five World Cup finals, winning two in 1978 and 1986. Only three countries have played more than them; Germany (8), Brazil (7) and Italy (6).
Player to watch: Has Messi been crowned?
Lionel Messi wins almost everything. After his first victory in the Copa America in the summer of 2021, the seven-time Ballon d’Or has only one thing in mind: to win his first World Cup. At 35, he won’t have many chances to win a World Cup, especially since it could be his last. Finalist of the 2014 edition, he also wants to erase the difficult elimination of 2018 against France in the round of 16. After the World Cup, it is time for the former Barcelona player to think about his future. At the end of the contract with PSG, he can return to Barcelona or leave to try his luck in MLS.
Argentina will be keen to offer their star a world title, but the team is less complete than Brazil in particular. It has a good attack but the midfield, defense and goalkeeper are inferior to other options. He is an underdog not the favorite.