Argentina 2022 World Cup preview: Will Lionel Messi lift the biggest trophy of them all?
Dark, ruinous and depressing probably described Argentina’s international record of the past decade. However, after their recent triumph against Brazil in 2021 Copa America, the Blue and white rob Qatar 35 games unbeaten; second favorites of the competition.
This is believed to be the last time Argentina fans will see Lionel Messi at the World Cup, after earlier this year he announced that it would be his ultimate attempt to lift the trophy he had dreamed of since childhood.
This may be his best chance yet.
Will Argentina’s second most famous Lionel be able to be the first manager in history to win a world Cup without having managed another club or country before?
Head Coach: Lionel Scaloni
When pairing Argentina and the name “Lionel”, most would only think of the Argentine Captain, however, Scaloni also deserves some recognition. blues and whites the head coach does not have the most prestigious of management records that many managers have at the national level.
Before taking on roles in Argentina, the 44-year-old had only been an assistant manager at a Spanish club. Seville, a fairly short stint lasting less than a year. Similar to his days as a football player, when the former winger was a surprise selection for Argentina in the FIFA 2006 world Cuphis international nomination also came as a shock to many.
Just one year after being appointed by Jorge Saompoli assistant, Scaloni was named acting director alongside Pablo Aimar after Argentina’s lackluster performance in the 2018 world Cup in Russia. After being confirmed as head coach at the end of November, he led the team to a respectable third place in the 2019 Copa America.
The ex-player then ended Argentina’s big trophy drought – which lasted 28 years – when he won the 2021 Copa America title after beating main rivals Brazil 1-0, ending their spotless home record that lasted over 2,500 days.
Earlier this year, Scaloni then continued to dust off Argentina’s trophy cabinet by winning the 2022 Finalissime (Conmebol UEFA Cup) beating Italy in a hugely impressive spectacle that saw the sky blue and white win 3-0.
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Argentina have been placed in Group C for the 2022 season Qatar world Cup, where they will face: Saudi Arabia, Mexico and Poland.
With the club captain Lionel Messi playing some of the best football he’s ever played, combined with Argentina’s 35-game unbeaten streak, L’Albiceste fly to qatar 2022 world Cup with huge optimism to win the competition they last won in 1986, as well as ending Europe’s 16-year hold on the trophy.
Group match dates
Saudi Arabia, Tuesday 22n/a November, 10 a.m. (GMT), Stade Lusail
Mexicosaturday 26e November, 7 p.m. (GMT), Stade Lusail
Polandwednesday 30e November, 7 p.m. (GMT), Stadium 974
Guardians: Emilano Martinez (AstonVilla), Francois Armani (River Plate), Geronimo Rulli (Villareal).
Defenders: Nicolas Otamendi (Benfica), Nicholas Tagliafico (Lyons), German Pezzella (Real Betis), Nahuel Molinia (Atlético Madrid), Gonzalo Montiel Christian Romero (Tottenham), Lisandro Martinez (Manchester United), John Foyth (Villareal).
Midfielders: Marcos Acuna (Seville), Leandro Paredes (Juventus), Guido Rodriguez (Betis), Enzo Fernandez (Benfica), Rodrigo de Paul (Atletico Madrid), Exequiel Placios (Bayer Leverkusen), Alexander Gomez (Seville), Alexis MacAllister (Brighton and Hove Albion).
Forwards: Paulo Dybala (Rome), Lionel Messi (Paris Saint Germain), Angel Di Maria (Juventus), Nicholas González (Fiorentina), Joaquin Correa (InterMilan), Lautaro Martinez (Inter Milan), Julian Alvarez (Manchester City).
Member national teams of the South American soccer confederation undertook an 18-game round robin qualification process against other confederation teams. The four teams with the most points automatically qualify for Qatar while fifth place enters an Inter-Confederation play-off.
Argentina finished second to Brazil with 39 points. Argentina only ended up playing 17 games due to their draw being suspended just five minutes into the game when Brazilian health officials entered the pitch accusing four of the Argentine players of having breaking COVID quarantine rules.
Scaloni’s men officially qualified for Qatar on 16e November – after winning 11 games and drawing six.
Martinez and Messi both finished with seven goals, while De Paul was a model of consistency starting the most games with 16 appearances.
Argentina is one of the most successful teams in the history of the world Cup.
They won the competition twice, 1978 – beating Netherlands 3-1, and in 1986, beating Germany in a 3-2 thriller.
They also finished runners-up three times. Impressively, they have qualified for all but four editions of the world Cup since its inauguration in 1930, the fourth highest number of qualifications held by any country.
The South American country has an exceptional trophy cabinet. They won: Copa America 15 times, The Pan American Cup (third and last), Conmebol – UEFA Champions Cup twice and the FIFA Confederations Cup.
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Player to watch: Rodrigo De Paul
Although statistically speaking the 28-year-old is unlikely to be directly involved in many of Argentina’s goals, he is the complete central midfielder and is the heart of the team.
Technically extremely good, possesses excellent dribbling and his progressive passing allows Scaloni’s men to play dynamic and fluid football and use their individual talents.
De Paul’s performance against Brazil in the final of the Copa America, really pointed out how good he is. He dominated the Brazilian midfield throughout the game and showed his defensive skills in intercepting passes in the final third of the opposition, as well as his impeccable stamina which allows him to maintain a high intensity of pressing throughout. Match.
The Atlético Madrid player has the second highest average rating on SofaScore of all Argentina preliminary team players – 7.28, behind only Lionel Messi which boasts an incredible average score of 7.79.
The underdog midfielder will be the marquee for Argentina’s 4-3-3 system and its potential success in Qatar.
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Martinez; Foyth, Romero, Otamendi, Tagliafico; Paredes, Rodriguez, DePaul; Messi, Martinez, Gomez. (4-3-3)
This will more than likely be Messi’s last call-up to the international stage, at least at major tournament level.
The 35-year-old will be looking to finally get his hands on the trophy he has dreamed of winning since childhood. The PSG star will inevitably go down in history as one of the greatest players of all time, and arguably the best Argentina has ever produced.
Although considered the greatest by many, at international level Messi hasn’t won as many trophies as he would have liked – with him winning the FIFA U20 World Cup, the Copa America and CONMEBOL UEFA Cup of Champions, as well as an Olympic gold medal.
As previously reported, Messi currently boasts an average rating of 7.89 on SofaScore for Argentina, but even more impressively, he has the highest average rating among Europe’s top five leagues – 8.54.
The Argentina captain, although aging, is playing at one of the highest levels we have ever seen and is sure to wreak havoc on many Qatar defences.
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Prediction: Argentina will reach the semi-finals
While Argentina are expected to progress through the group stages, they will face the finalists of Group D, which will most likely be Denmark. Still, blues and whites should comfortably put The danish aside, despite their international success lately.
Scaloni’s men will then most likely face Netherlandss in the quarter-finals, which will be the toughest game they have played since the Copa America final against Brazil. Although they are tougher than the other teams they have faced, they should beat The Dutch XI with the talent they have.
It is then likely that they will face Brazil in the semi-finals – perhaps Argentina’s biggest rival – in what could be the match of the tournament. However, with the incredible depth and talent of the Brazilian team, I think this is where their three-year unbeaten run will eventually come to an end.
Best striker: Messi
Most assists: Martinez
Best Player: Messi