ARGENTINA VS PARAGUAY
Argentina is set to face off against Paraguay at the Estadio Nacional Mane Garrincha on Tuesday in the group stages of Copa America 2021. This fixture is bound to be an intriguing contest as it will have a major say in how Group A shapes up.
Argentina has had a positive start to their campaign, going into this game off a 1-1 draw with Chile followed by a 1-0 win against Uruguay. Under Lionel Scaloni’s leadership, La Albiceleste has developed into a tough unit to beat as the team is presently on a 15-game unbeaten streak that stretches back to 2019.
However, Argentina’s approach in each encounter may provide cause for concern as the tournament progresses. For example, in the victory over Uruguay, Argentina put in a lot of effort, but it was a victory gained by exploiting Uruguay’s weaknesses, which include possession and speed. A similar tactic would not work against teams like Brazil, Ecuador, and Colombia, who can attack and do so with width. But of course, 3 points against a side like the Sky Blues is not only a big feat but also impactful.
Paraguay’s Copa America campaign got off to a flying start with a 3-1 win over Bolivia. Prior to this match, Paraguay was on an eleven-game winless streak (6D, 5L) in Copa America. Paraguay has won the Copa America twice, but not since 1979 has La Albirroja lifted the ultimate accolade.
Their best finish since then has been making it to 2011 final, which they lost to Uruguay. Paraguay did make it to the 2019 quarter-finals, where they were defeated on penalties by eventual champions Brazil. Faced with a difficult matchup in Argentina, Paraguay will be confident and motivated to snap Lionel Scaloni-led side’s undefeated streak or at the very least eke out a draw.
Argentina has no injury issues or suspensions ahead of their Copa America match-up against Paraguay. Lionel Scaloni is expected to deploy a 4-4-2 diamond formation as he has in Argentina’s previous two Copa matches, with Messi behind the front two and no wingers in the attack.
Argentina Probable Starting Lineup: E.Martinez; Molina, Otamendi, Lisandro Martinez, Tagliafico; Rodriguez, Lo Celso, De Paul, Messi; Gonzalez, Lautaro Martinez
Eduardo Berrizo, Paraguay’s head coach, does not have any injuries or suspensions to be concerned about. On paper, he generally lines up his squad in a 4-3-3 system since they like to work the ball up the flanks a lot.
Paraguay Probable Starting Lineup: Silva; Espinola, Gomez, Alonso, Arzamendia; Villasanti, Da Motta, Almiron; Kaku, Romero, Avalos
GIOVANI LO CELSO
There is no denying that Leo Messi is the driving force behind Argentina’s success. An engine that propels the unit on and off the pitch. However, Giovani Lo Celso is the force that holds the entire train together. And if this force is minimal or non-existent, the team jiggles as it moves ahead. The midfielder played 67 minutes against Chile before being replaced by Di Maria. He finished the first half with 100% pass accuracy and won 100% of his duels, while also creating two big chances. Clearly, the squad performed better in his presence and went down when he was withdrawn.
Giovani Lo Celso Vs Chile:
-14 passes completed (100%)
-3 key passes
-2 big chances created
-2 fouls provoked
-3 ground duels won (75%)
Making the difference in a few passes👏 pic.twitter.com/rqKOABYAuO
— FutureCentro – Players Of The Future (@FutureCentro) June 15, 2021
Because of him, the shift from progressive to creative zones is smooth for Argentina. His ‘hole’ presence between the lines and close to Messi, as well as carrying the ball for little but crucial metres before unleashing a deadly pass to Nico/Lautaro, does wonders for Argentina.
Angel Romero is a dagger on the flanks. The 28-year-old stood out in Paraguay’s dominating 3-1 victory over Bolivia, scoring a brace to snap his country’s 11-game winless skid in the South American tournament.
He is a major focal point for Paraguay in order to unbalance defences. His shift of rhythm and acceleration is as impressive as his technique. Romero is a very aggressive player who always seeks to extend the pitch vertically by taking on his defender and is incredibly creative with his dribbles regardless of where or in what situation he receives the ball.
Argentina is yet to establish an attacking momentum and will need to find a way to score goals if they are to go farther and eventually win it all this time. While Paraguay will be motivated following their opening match victory, Argentina’s individual talent may provide them with an edge.
FootTheBall predicts Argentina 2-0 Paraguay