Led by the legendary Lionel Messi, La Albiceleste beat Brazil in the Copa America title clash at Maracana in 2021. After their first Copa America title in 10 years, Argentina is arguably the dark horse of the World Cup 2023. With current quoted odds of 8/1, Argentina is close on the heels of favourites Brazil and defending champions.
Impressive Performance in the World Cup Qualifiers
In the qualification matches for the World Cup, Messi’s wards remained unbeaten. They eventually finished second behind Brazil in their qualifying group. Messi and Lautaro Martinez were the most impressive players, scoring seven goals each.
Argentina’s World Cup Record
Argentina has won the World Cup twice before, in 1978 and 1986. Their title in 1986 will never be forgotten, coming as it did on the back of a magical performance by Diego Maradona. Maradona scored five goals and created five, including the pair of iconic goals in their 2-1 quarter-final victory over England. On two other occasions, in 1990 and 2014, the South American giants finished second, both times to Germany.
Argentina’s Squad for the WC 2023
Argentina’s squad will be managed at the World Cup by Lionel Scaloni. Each team at the global event can field 26 players. Argentina will probably choose their squad from the following:
- Goalkeepers: Armani, E Martinez, Musso, Rulli
- Defenders: Molina, Montiel, Pezzella, Otamendi, Perez, Romero, Lisandro Martinez, Tagliafico, Senesi, Acuna
- Midfielders: Rodriguez, De Paul, Palacios, Mac Allister, Lo Celso, Ocampos, Gomez, Di Maria
- Forwards: Messi, Gonzalez, A Correa, Lautaro Martinez, Dybala, Alvarez, J Correa
Messi will continue to remain their key player until the day he decides to quit international football. His 2021-22 season with Paris St Germain was disappointing by the star player’s lofty standards. However, he is considered by many experts as the greatest ever player in the history of the game. In keeping with that reputation, Messi is always capable of performing magic on the field when his team needs it the most.
Apart from Argentina’s captain, Lautaro Martinez has been in tremendous form ahead of his first ever World Cup. Martinez first played for Argentina in 2018. Since then, he has registered 20 goals in 38 matches for his country. Martinez had a brilliant domestic season with the Italian club Internazionale, scoring 21 goals in 35 Serie A appearances.
Another key player is 24-year-old defender Cristiano Romero. Romero stood out with 22 appearances for Tottenham in his first English Premier League season.
Argentina has been drawn into Group C, which also has Mexico, Poland and Saudi Arabia. Not surprisingly, they are expected to top the group. They will play their first match against Saudi Arabia on 22 November at the Lusail Iconic Stadium. They will meet Mexico at the same venue four days later, on 26 November. Their final group match versus Poland on 30 November will be played at Stadium 974.
In the round of 16, scheduled on 3 December, Argentina is likely to face the runners-up of Group D (if they expectedly win their group), in all likelihood, Denmark. Assuming that they win that game, the 2014 finalists will probably face off against the Netherlands in the semi-final fixture on 9 December. They will be favourites to win that game, following which they would likely meet England in the semi-final on 14 December.
In the 2018 World Cup, Argentina disappointed their innumerable fans, losing 4-3 to France in a round-of-16 match. France went on to win the Cup. However, after their victory over Brazil in the Copa America title clash, nobody would dare write Argentina off in the World Cup due to be held later this year in Qatar. That win came on the back of a solitary goal by Angel Di Maria.
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