CONMEBOL champions Argentina will line up against Uruguay for the 12th match of their Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifying campaign in Montevideo. Having seen bitter rivals Brazil secure their 2022 FIFA World Cup ticket only 24 hours earlier with a 1-0 win against Colombia, Argentina will be eager to pick up maximum points.
La Albiceleste have not lost a match in the qualifying campaign so far, winning seven and drawing four out of 11 matches. In fact, they have remained unbeaten in their last 25 matches since losing to Brazil in the semifinals of the Copa America 2019.
Their opponents Uruguay have won four, drawn four and lost four of their 12 matches in this qualifying campaign as they bid to qualify for a fourth successive FIFA World Cup. Uruguay will look to avoid defeat in three consecutive matches, having lost heavily to Argentina and Brazil only last month.
Provided that results go their way, Argentina can also secure their place in Qatar from this month's fixtures. La Albiceleste will be boosted by Lionel Messi being able to join the squad despite his recent injury issues, as well as the return to form of Paulo Dybala.
Here's how coach Lionel Scaloni will likely set up his Argentina side against their South American rivals on Friday.
Ever since staking a claim to be the first-choice goalkeeper for Arsenal towards the end of the 2019-20 season, Emiliano Martinez has made Argentina's goalkeeper issues disappear. The 28-year-old Aston Villa shot-stopper was a star performer as Argentina claimed Copa America glory over the summer.
Martinez will continue in goal for Argentina, having kept a clean sheet in each of his last three appearances for his country. Juan Musso continues to be a reliable deputy for Martinez and will be ready for action if the Aston Villa keeper is unavailable at the last minute.
In defense, Benfica stalwart Nicolas Otamendi is one of the first names on the Argentina team sheet for Lionel Scaloni. The ex-Manchester City man plays alongside Tottenham Hotspur's Cristian Romero at the heart of the Argentina defense, and the duo are expected to start against Uruguay once again.
Sevilla's Marcos Acuña could be utilized at left-back, and Nahuel Molina will play as right-back. As such, it is likely to be the same back four that appeared against Peru last month. Scaloni will see no need to change a backline that kept a clean sheet the last time they played together.