Argentina will be looking to bounce back from their defeat to Colombia when they go up against Paraguay in Copa America 2019 on Wednesday.
Argentina’s woes continued with a tacit defeat to Colombia in their Copa America 2019 opener. The attack just could not muster up enough clear chances to trouble Colombia, who on the day were the better side through and through in what was a deserved win.
With the defeat, Argentina are now rock bottom in Group B. But, Lionel Scaloni is aware even a third placed finish in the group could see them qualify to the knockout stage based on rankings. Paraguay and Qatar drew their respective opening fixture, which means a win for Argentina over Paraguay could see them climb up to second in the group, depending on other results.
Scaloni will hope his attack starts firing when Argentina go up against Paraguay as we take a closer look at the two squads.
Team News & Tactics
Esteban Andrada remains sidelined for Lionel Scaloni. But, the manager will be looking to make numerous changes to the lineup that lost 2-0 to Colombia. Franco Armani has not managed to impress in the starts handed to him in goal. But, Scaloni will likely retain the River Plate star for now.
Renzo Saravia though, could lose his place on the right side of the back four. While Scaloni could potentially go for a three-man defensive setup, the manager has preferred a four-man backline so far and should ideally continue his attempt to bring about some consistency in the National Setup.
Juan Foyth could be a surprise option to replace Saravia as the right-back. Milton Casco though, is a natural operator on the right and should be preferred over the Tottenham star. The rest of the backline should remain intact, with German Pezzella, Nicolas Otamendi and Nicolas Tagliafico reprising their roles.
The 4-4-2 formation clearly did not work and we should see drastic changes, starting from a slight shape shift to a 4-3-3 or a 4-3-2-1. The midfield is also set to change, with Angel Di Maria set to be benched.
Leandro Paredes and Giovani Lo Celso will retain their place and we should see Roberto Pereyra come in as the third midfielder in what could prove to be the perfectly balanced lineup in midfield. Paredes is the designated holding midfielder while Lo Celso and Pereyra will be responsible of venturing forward and linking up with the attack.
Lionel Messi is guaranteed to start but we could see a slight change upfront. Paulo Dybala did not earn a single minute of action in the first match and could be handed an opportunity to impress in the National Setup. Sergio Aguero should keep his place upfront for now.
Probable Lineup (4-3-2-1): Armani; Casco, Pezzella, Otamendi, Tagliafico; Lo Celso, Paredes, Pereyra; Messi, Dybala; Aguero
Eduardo Berizzo will be unhappy with only a draw against Qatar, knowing well enough that they needed a win against the Asian opposition. Berizzo will be considering a few changes to the lineup, starting from the goalkeeper, with Antony Silva likely to replace Botafogo star Gaito Fernandez.
In defence, Bruno Valdez, Fabian Balbuena, Junior Alonso and Santiago Arzamendia will likely retain their spots in the back four. Hernan Perez should slot into the two-man central midfield alongside Rodrigo Rojas. Ahead of the pivot, Miguel Almiron will don the number 10 role for Paraguay.
Derlis Gonzalez and Juan Iturbe should be the designated wide men in the 4-2-3-1 formation, with Oscar Cardozo lining up to lead the attack against Argentina.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Silva; Valdez, Balbuena, Alonso, Arzamendia; Perez, Rojas; Gonzalez, Almiron, Iturbe; Cardozo
1. Paraguay are undefeated in their last two encounters against Argentina (W1 D1).
2. Argentina have been unable to score in their last two matches against Paraguay.
3. Sergio Aguero has scored in 5 of his last 15 appearances for Argentina.
4. Since 2010 to present, Argentina have won all of their games in which Lionel Messi has scored.
5. Lionel Messi has scored in just two of his last 7 appearances for Argentina.
Player to Watch
The Newcastle United star was eased into the system at club level in the Premier League this season. But, Almiron is the centrifugal force in the Paraguay system and will be key to their hopes of finding gaps in the Argentinean defence. Copa America will also be a tool to prove his form going into the new season with Newcastle.
Argentina 2-2 Paraguay
Lionel Messi just couldn’t rescue Argentina against Colombia in a result that painted a rather gruesome but familiar picture as far as Messi’s international career is concerned. The attack just doesn’t seem to strike a good enough co-ordination and consistency, which is a worry for Argentina.
Paraguay will hope to take advantage of the chink in Argentina’s armour that is the lack of solidity in defence for now. Expect a scoring fixture, with Argentina and Paraguay set to play out a 2-2 draw.