European champions Italy are going through a bit of a slump as they prepare to take on Copa America winners Argentina in the 2022 Finalissima. Roberto Mancini's men have failed to qualify for the FIFA World Cup for the second consecutive time. They have picked up just two wins in their last six games.
That includes a shock defeat against North Macedonia in an important World Cup qualifying playoff game. Meanwhile, Argentina have not looked as formidable as they do right now in a very long time. They haven't lost since July 2019 across 31 games.
The 2021 Copa America champions went unbeaten in the CONMEBOL World Cup Qualifiers. They have a star-studded side and are the favorites heading into the 2022 Finalissima against Italy.
Without further ado, let's take a look at five reasons why Argentina will win against Italy tonight.
#5 No Federico Chiesa and Ciro Immobile for Italy
Italy will be without Federico Chiesa and Ciro Immobile, two of their main attackers. Immobile hasn't been called up and players like Domenico Berardi, Moise Kean, Nicolo Zaniolo and Andrea Pinamonti have pulled out of the squad due to injuries.
Chiesa is ruled out of action until August after suffering an ACL injury in January. Italy will need to rely on the likes of Federico Bernardeschi and Gianluca Scamacca to do their bidding in attack. As such, Italy's attack is not at full strength and they could struggle to cause problems for Argentina's backline.
#4 Italy's poor form
Italy have been victorious in just two of their last six outings. They've drawn two and lost two. The Azzurri have also failed to qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. They were in great form in 2021, winning the European championship and making it to the semi-finals of the UEFA Nations League.
However, that form has tailed off and they haven't looked like a very cohesive unit in recent times. They suffered a shock defeat to North Macedonia which led to them failing to secure a berth at the 2022 FIFA World Cup. The only team they've beaten convincingly since their Euro 2020 triumph is Lithuania.
The Azzurri beat them 5-0 in a World Cup Qualifier on September 9.
#3 Argentina are unbeaten in 31 games
La Albiceleste last lost a game of football all the way back in 2019. That defeat came against Brazil in the semi-final of the 2019 Copa America. Since then, Argentina have been a solid unit and have played some really good football.
They've since won the 2021 Copa America, went unbeaten in the CONMEBOL World Cup Qualifiers and finished second in the table behind an thoroughly dominant Brazilian side.
Argentina have gotten into the habit of not losing games. They're a well-balanced team with many world-class players and should be able to keep an out of form Italian side at bay.
#2 Argentina have better bench strength
Italy's bench strength is rather poor in comparison to Argentina. Lionel Scaloni will have plenty of in-form players to call upon from the bench. This obviously facilitates better in-game management.
Argentina will have players like Paulo Dybala, Julian Alvarez, Joaquin Correa and Angel Correa on the bench. Meanwhile, Italy are without Chiesa and Immobile, two of their most reliable forwards.
They don't have as much quality as Argentina do on the bench. That could very well be a game changer tonight.
#1 The Lionel Messi factor
Although Lionel Messi has been nowhere near his best this season in terms of goalscoring, he has still been a creative force for Paris Saint-Germain in attack. He continues to be one of the most dangerous forwards in the game.
Messi will be ably supported by Lautaro Martinez and Angel Di Maria in attack. The 34-year-old will be desperate to add more international trophies to his collection.
A motivated Messi is bad news for any team. The seven-time Ballon d'Or winner will want to silence his critics after what's been an underwhelming season by his own lofty standards.