Argentina will travel to Qatar in the hopes of winning the World Cup for the first time since 1986..
The South American team, led by Lionel Messi in his fifth tournament, will be one of the favorites to win the prestigious trophy.
Making it to the final will be the minimum expectation, but nothing is simple in knockout football.
Argentina’s group schedule and kick-off times in the United Kingdom Argentina vs. Saudi Arabia (Tuesday, November 22, 10am)
Mexico vs. Argentina (Saturday, November 26, 7pm)
Argentina vs. Poland (Wednesday, November 30, 7pm)
Argentina’s Quest for Qatar 2022
Argentina easily qualified for the tournament, finishing second in South American qualifying behind rivals Brazil..
Both countries were undefeated in their 17 matches, though a game between them was called off last September due to potential violations of coronavirus protocols by some Argentina players.
On their way to Qatar, Lionel Scaloni’s side scored 27 goals and conceded only eight, as La Albiceleste qualified for the World Cup for the 18th time.
Argentina’s possible lineup
Because Argentina’s squad is so deep, there are several players who could challenge for a starting spot..
Emiliano Martinez is the squad’s undisputed goalkeeper, with Cristian Romero and Nicolas Otamendi settling in at center-back and Nicolas Tagliafico and Nahuel Molina typically playing as full-backs.
Rodrigo De Paul and Leandro Paredes are expected to provide some midfield stability, with Alexis Mac Allister or Enzo Fernandez expected to play more advanced roles.
Messi, Angel Di Maria, and Lautaro Martinez are expected to lead the line, and Manchester City forward Julian Alvarez will be ready to take advantage of any opportunities that come his way.
Martinez; Molina, Romero, Otamendi, Tagliafico; De Paul, Paredes, Fernandez; Messi, Martinez, Di Maria; Predicted XI: Martinez; Molina, Romero, Otamendi, Tagliafico; De Paul, Paredes, Fernandez
Lionel Messi is the standout performer.
Messi has regained his best form after a difficult first season at Paris Saint-Germain..
The Argentine talisman has 17 goals in 13 Ligue 1 matches for the French champions this season and enters the tournament with a point to prove.
Messi is closing in on a century of goals for his country, and his performance on the biggest stage will be crucial if he is to win the one trophy that has eluded him throughout his glittering career.
Julian Alvarez is one to keep an eye on.
Alvarez, who has 11 international caps, is emerging as one of the world’s top talents.
The 22-year-old is beginning to play a larger role in Argentina’s squad, but due to competition for spots, he has only played 90 minutes once..
However, with Messi and Di Maria likely to play their final World Cups, Alvarez represents the next generation of stars and will play a role in Qatar.
Lionel Scaloni is the boss.
Scaloni led the country to victory in the Copa America last year and will look to add the Jules Rimet trophy to his collection in December.
Appointed in 2018, the 44-year-old has rebuilt Argentina’s squad and experimented with a variety of formations during his reign, preferring to use a 4-4-2 when possible.
The former Sevilla assistant coach has instituted defensive stability, but the World Cup will be his most difficult test yet.
Argentina’s official World Cup squad of 26 players
Franco Armani (River Plate), Emiliano Martinez (Aston Villa), and Geronimo Rulli are the goalkeepers (Villarreal)
Defenders: Marcos Acuna (Sevilla), Juan Foyth (Villarreal), Lisandro Martinez (Manchester United), Nahuel Molina (Atletico Madrid), Gonzalo Montiel (Sevilla), Nicolas Otamendi (Benfica), German Pezzella (Real Betis), Cristian Romero (Tottenham), Nicolas Tagliafico (Sevilla), Nicolas Tagliafico (Sevilla), Nicolas Tagli (Lyon)
Midfielders: Atletico Madrid’s Rodrigo De Paul, Benfica’s Enzo Fernandez, Sevilla’s Alejandro Gomez, Brighton’s Alexis MacAllister, Bayer Leverkusen’s Exequiel Palacios, Juventus’ Leandro Paredes, and Juventus’ Guido Rodriguez (Real Betis)
Attackers: Manchester City’s Julian Alvarez, Inter Milan’s Joaquin Correa, Roma’s Paulo Dybala, Juventus’ Angel Di Maria, Fiorentina’s Nicolas Gonzalez, Inter Milan’s Lautaro Martinez, and Barcelona’s Lionel Messi (Paris Saint-Germain)
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