COPA AMERICA 2021 PREVIEW: ARGENTINA VS URUGUAY, SOUTH AMERICAN HEAVYWEIGHTS COLLIDE IN THE GROUP STAGE

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Ex-teammates Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez will face off in the next Group B fixture of 2021 at the National Stadium, Brasilia. Both Argentina and Uruguay are strong contenders to lift the CONMEBOL trophy and will look to make their mark by defeating their direct rivals for the top spot in the group.

Argentina played their first group stage game against bitter rivals Chile could only manage a draw despite a majestic free-kick from Lionel Messi after Vargas’ second half equalizer. Argentina comes into the tie on the back of four draws in their last five fixtures as Lionel Messi’s endeavour of lifting the first major international trophy with Argentina continues.

 

 

Uruguay is the most successful team in the continent with 15 titles to their name, winning most recently in 2011. It will be the opening fixture in this year’s tournament for La Celeste and they would be looking to kickstart their campaign with a win.

 

 

The Diego Godin-led team have only managed one win in their last five outings and are going through a tough phase. The influx of several young players has increased their chances of a 16th title, but the command will still be in the seasoned legs of Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani.

 

TEAM NEWS

Argentina head coach Lionel Scaloni has a nearly fully fit squad available for the Uruguay fixture, with Giovanni Lo Celso also coming in after a poor injury-ridden domestic season. Centre-bacl Cristian Romero missed the match against Chile and his return is not confirmed yet.

Scaloni will be disappointed after losing points from another winning situation and might tweak the lineup against Uruguay’s fierce attacking duo.

 

 

Lionel Messi and Lautaro Martinez will be partnered with Nicolas Gonzalez on the left flank while the defensive responsibility will be on the shoulders of Nicolas Otamendi and Cristian Romero

Argentina Probable Lineup: Martinez; Tagliafico, Otamendi, Romero, Foyth; De Paul, Paredes, Lo Celso, Messi, Martinez, Gonzalez

 

Oscar Tabarez will face a tough choice in deciding the starting lineup against Argentina, with defensive solidity being the priority. Another question will be regarding the attacking line, Suarez might start as a solo striker however a partnership with Cavani looks more likely.

 

 

There aren’t any particular injury or suspension issues for La Celeste and they can go out with a full-strength lineup in a 4-4-2 formation. The midfield four will add support to the defence and help build attacks with two seasoned strikers up front.

Uruguay Probable Lineup: Muslera; Vina, Godin, Gimenez, Caeceres; Nandes, Valverde, Bentacur, La Cruz; Suarez, Cavani

 

GAME CHANGERS

Argentina can pose constant attacking threats with Barcelona legend Lionel Messi and Serie A winner and Inter’s talismanic forward Lautaro Martinez leading the line. But defensive leaks and mistakes have cost the team in the World Cup qualifiers in recent times.

 

 

 

Messi and Co. will have to make use of every goalscoring opportunity as they are expected in order to secure a win since November 2020.

Uruguayan midfield will be led by the young duo of Fede Valverde and Rodrigo Bentacur. Their priority will be to help the backline in dealing with the fierce attack of their opponents while also taking on the creative responsibility with two prolific goalscorers to feed up front.

 

 

Valverde made 3.38 shot creating actions per 90 minutes in the 20/21 season for Real Madrid while his partner Juventus’s Bentacur made 3.03 tackles per 90 minutes. The duo will be key to Uruguay’s prospects in as well as in their opening match against Argentina.

 

PREDICTION

The match is shaping to be a hard-fought battle between two strong sides with midfield battles being the key to success. Both teams are blessed with talented players who have showcased their talent across the globe. There are no clear favourites but Uruguay might edge over their opponents with the form Suarez and Cavani are carrying into the tournament.

FootTheBall predicts a 2-2 draw between the two South American heavyweights.

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