Copa America 2019: Argentina National Team | Final Squad, Preview and Fixtures
There are few teams in the world who depict romanticism as well as the Argentina National Football Team. Since the advent of Football, the world has been divided into fans of Argentina and Brazil. Even though Argentina has not been as successful as their South American counterparts in recent years, there has been no dearth of passion from their loyal fans.
When La Albiceleste crashed out of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, it was clear that the squad needed a vast revamp. The team under Jorge Sampaoli looked lost and uninspired. Even the presence of arguably the Greatest Footballer of All Time, Lionel Messi, could not motivate the team to charge for the trophy.
Since then, Sampaoli has been replaced by Lionel Scaloni, the former Argentinean right-back, who was drafted in as the caretaker coach to steer the National Team through the turbulent times. Scaloni had been a part of Sampaoli's coaching set up at the 2018 FIFA World Cup and in November 2018, he was selected as the permanent manager of the National Team until the end of the Copa America.
Argentina's recent record in the Copa America is enough to bring tears in the eyes of most fans. They have reached the final in 4 out of the last 5 tournaments, but sadly, have been on the losing side on all 4 occasions. Three of those defeats have been on penalties, including the last two times, in 2015 and 2016, when they lost to Chile on both occasions!
However, only Uruguay have won the tournament more times (15) than La Albeceleste, who have been champions on 14 occasions. The last time they won the Copa America was in 1993, so Lionel Messi and Co. are desperate to get their hands on the trophy this year!
Argentina are in Group B this time, alongside Columbia, Paraguay and invitees Qatar. While the group does look easy on paper, Scaloni does have his work cut out when the team takes to field on 15th June.
The Argentina manager has made big changes to the squad that flew into Russia for the 2018 FIFA World Cup; only 9 players from that bunch have made it to the Copa America Squad.
Argentina National Team Squad
Goalkeepers: Franco Armani (River Plate), Agustin Marchesin (Club America) and Esteban Andrada (Boca Juniors).
Defenders: Juan Foyth (Tottenham Hotspur), Nicolas Otamendi (Manchester City), German Pezzella (Fiorentina), Nicolas Tagliafico (Ajax), Ramiro Funes Mori (Villarreal), Renzo Saravia (Racing Club), Marcos Acuna (Sporting Lisbon) and Milton Casco (River Plate).
Midfielders: Leandro Paredes (PSG), Guido Rodriguez (Club America), Giovani Lo Celso (Real Betis), Guido Pizarro (UANL), Roberto Pereyra (Watford), Rodrigo De Paul (Udinese), Angel Di Maria (PSG).
Forward: Lionel Messi (Barcelona), Sergio Aguero (Manchester City), Lautaro Martinez (Inter Milan) Paulo Dybala (Juventus), Matias Suarez (River Plate).
The Barcelona skipper has been in scintillating form once again this season, scoring 51 times in 50 games in all competitions for the Blaugrana. He finished the season with the LaLiga Golden Boot as well as the European Golden Shoe, however, he could only win the LaLiga with his club this season.
The Champions League campaign ended in disappointment, as Barcelona lost to Liverpool in dramatic circumstances in the semi-finals. The Catalans were also defeated in the final of the Copa del Rey by Valencia.
However, Lionel Messi is still the Best Player in the world and is coming into the Copa America on the back of a brilliant season on the personal level. He is also the top assist provided in Copa America, with 11 assists. Lionel Messi is his country's all-time top goalscorer and instantly makes Argentina one of the favourites of the tournament.
The Manchester City striker has enjoyed another stellar season with his club, scoring 32 goals and picking up 9 assists from 46 games in all competitions. Aguero completed a fantastic domestic treble with City, winning the League Cup, FA Cup as well as the Premier League. He combines very well with his good friend Messi and should be raring to go in the Copa America as well.
Argentina will be riding on his smart runs, his positioning and his exceptional finishing abilities to mount a challenge on the Copa America title.
Giovani Lo Celso
The Real Betis midfielder enjoyed the best season of his career with the LaLiga side, where his talents propelled him into the attention of many big clubs in Europe. The 23-year old made 45 appearances for Real Betis this season and picked up 16 goals and 5 assists from midfield.
A central midfielder who likes to attack, Lo Celso is blessed with great dribbling abilities but does not shy away from the dirty work either. He is also great at attempting shots from distance. In this Argentina team, Lo Celso should be the mainstay in the midfield, alongside Leandro Paredes.
Saturday, June 15: Argentina vs Colombia, Venue - Itaipava Arena Fonte Nova, Salvador
Wednesday, June 19: Argentina vs Paraguay, Venue - Estádio Mineirão, Belo Horizonte
Sunday, June 23: Qatar vs Argentina, Venue - Arena do Grêmio, Porto Alegre
Also see : Copa America 2019 Schedule