Copa America Centenario Preview: Argentina


Messi may be coming to Seattle

Group D

Schedule:  Chile (6/6 Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, CA) Panama (6/10 Soldier Field, Chicago, IL), and Bolivia (6/14 Century Link Field, Seattle, WA)

Head Coach: Gerardo Martino

Best previous finish in Copa America: Champions (1921, 1925, 1927, 1929, 1937, 1941, 1945, 1946, 1947, 1955, 1957, 1959, 1991, and 1993)

Players to keep an eye on: GK Sergio Romero (Manchester United), DEF Marcos Rojo (Manchester United), DEF Nicolas Otamendi (Manchester City), MID Angel Di Maria (Paris St. Germain), MID Javier Mascherano (FC Barcelona), FWD Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona), and FWD Sergio Aguero (Manchester City)


On paper, this is perhaps the deepest and strongest team in the tournament. Martino has brought a side to the States full big match and tournament experience. With ten of the twenty-three man roster having made over thirty appearances for the club Argentina is a side that will not be afraid of playing in a big match.

While Argentina may not necessarily be afraid of playing in a big match their recent experiences will play a factor in this tournament. Since their 1993 victory at the Copa America La Albiceleste has time and time again come up short in tournament football (two Olympic gold medal in 2004 and 2008 notwithstanding). 

The big key for Argentina will be the play of Aguero and Messi up top. Despite having two of the most prodigious goal-scorers of their generation Argentina have never really had both healthy at the same time. At the 2014 World Cup both were nursing injuries and although they were able to get Argentina to the Final neither looked to be in peak condition. The same could said for Messi at the 2015 Copa America. Their work at the youth level for Argentina indicates that they can work with one another that it is just a matter of being healthy at the same time.

If Messi is not fully healthy then it will be up to Gonzalo Higuain to carry the slack. Higauin torched Serie A defenses this season to the tune of 38 goals. Much like his brother Federico his first touch off of a pass is very deceptive and in tight spaces he is perhaps one of the best dribblers in the world.

It will also be interesting to see how their defense shapes up. Otamendi is cemented in as one of the center-back positions but the other seems to be open. Martino seems to favor Ramiro Funes Mori of Everton. Funes Mori, 25, was highly touted coming out of River Plate in 2015 but has yet to really find his footing at Goodison. Although tournaments can often be pomp and circumstance they can be a place where players get a short boost of confidence.

There is very little not to like about Argentina. With their depth in defense and in the attack Martino has ample resources to go against any team in this tournament. The question is now can he deliver the goods?

Interesting fact: Argentina is the birthplace of Cuban revolutionary Che Guevara.

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