Argentina are looking to surprise the competition and win it as the Copa America starts on Sunday. But too often, the over-reliance to let Lionel Messi carry the team cannot be done. Evidenced in last week’s CONMEBOL World Cup qualifiers game versus Chile. With all the talent Argentina possesses the other players need to step up and play their role. Don’t feel obligated to just feed Messi the ball. Instead, the role players need to play to their strengths.
Argentina Need The Whole Squad Not Just Messi
Argentina’s Improved Defense Could Help Win Copa America
The achilles heel in the past for Argentina has been their unreliable defense. A primary reason for the 2018 World Cup exit to France in a 4-3 loss.
The likes of Nicolas Tagliafico and Juan Foyth are good centre backs and along with regular playtime, this season plus with a reliable goalkeeper in Emiliano Martinez behind them; Argentina’s base looks a lot more settled. The 28-year-old Martinez was a top three goalkeeper in the Premier League and a vital reason for Aston Villa’s success. The last time Argentina had a reliable goalkeeper they went to back to back Copa America Final and World Cup final in 2014.
Obviously, the goalkeeper was Sergio Romero. Without a doubt, having a clear number one goalkeeper positively affects the rest of the team and instils confidence. Back in the 2018 World Cup Willy Caballero got replaced by Franco Armani during the group stage. Furthermore, this was a reason Argentina got in the tougher side of the World Cup bracket. Argentina needs to play in a 4-3-3 and not start with Nicolas Otamendi.
Argentina Need to Utilize Their Talent to Win Copa America
A positive outcome from Argentina’s 2-2 draw was Messi’s teammates, Cristian Romero and Leandro Paredes. It should be noted that Martinez left the game at the end of first half with an injury. Obviously, three points would’ve been ideal but getting a draw with a backup goalkeeper in a hostile environment is fine. Argentina maintains 2nd place in the standings.
Argentina’s attacking prowess is still terrorizing with the likes of Messi, Angel Di Maria, Lautaro Martinez and Paulo Dybala still pushing for places. Additionally, it’s still up in the air on Sergio Aguero’s status for Copa America. Unfortunately, late in his career injuries have reduced his playing time.
Firstly, Martinez and Dybala had some breakout games in the previous Copa America but they need to repeat their performances in this year’s Copa America. Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Di Maria is arguably Argentina’s second best player and he needs to be as influential. Consistency and avoiding mistakes will determine how far they go in the tournament.
Brazil, the reigning Copa America champions, looks like the best team in South America because of their talent. However, Alisson Becker did not have his best season for Liverpool and made various uncharacteristic mistakes. Possibly a weakness in the Brazil team and teams have to take advantage if he makes a mistake overall. The strength is the attacking players such as Neymar, Richarlison and Phillipe Coutinho. Clearly, Neymar is a world-class performer but at times this season when things aren’t going his way, he is prone to be theatrical.
With James Rodriguez, Colombia is always a threat. The football world was introduced to him in the 2014 World Cup. Luis Muriel the ultimate super sub for Colombia is a goal scorer. Along with Juan Cuarado and Duvan Zapata who always play well for the national team. Zapata looks to transition his sensational play with Atalanta to his national team. Uruguay‘s record in this competition speaks for itself. In order to have a shot, Edinson Cavani needs to play. It should be noted he has not played in Uruguay’s World Cup qualifiers.
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