Argentina vs Costa Rica: Preview and Prediction

Argentina and Costa Rica will be looking to finalise their preparations for Copa America when they face off this Tuesday.

Argentina are the team to beat in world football as the reigning World champions prepare to welcome Costa Rica in their final friendly of this international break.

Lionel Scaloni’s side have won ten of their 11 matches since winning the World Cup, keeping 10 clean sheets in the process. The only reversal came last year when they fell 2-0 at home to Uruguay. If anything, the defeat showed that La Albiceleste cannot always take results for granted.

With the Copa America set to take place next summer, Argentina will be keen to ensure they go into the tournament in prim shape. Costa Rica will be thinking along the same lines and will be aware that securing the scalp of Lionel Messi and Co. will improve morale.

Argentina are pursuing a third major title and will be pumped to defend their Copa America title in the United States. A robust defence accompanied by an energetic midfield and clinical attack certainly makes them a team to be feared.

Meanwhile, Costa Rica will kick off their summer campaign against Brazil, stressing all the more for them to test out tactics against Argentina. While La Albiceleste are the clear favourites going into the clash, Gustavo Alfaro and Co. have the opportunity to learn much regardless of the result.

Inconsistency remains a major issue for the visitors. They managed to survive relegation from the CONCACAF Nations League League A this week thanks to a 3-1 win over Honduras 3-1. However, the recent defeat to the United Arab Emirates underscores the work that is yet to be done. The Hard Tackle takes a look at how both sides could line up for the game and their tactics.

Team News & Tactics


Lionel Messi misses out due to a hamstring injury, while Paulo Dybala is also unavailable thanks to an adductor issue. Bayer Leverkusen star Exequiel Palacios is ruled out as well with an injury alongside Marcos Senesi.

Lionel Scaloni’s side has several changes from the squad that was selected last November. It would appear that the Argentine boss is testing the waters ahead of the summer’s Copa America.

The Premier League contingent starred for Argentina last time around, with Cristian Romero, Enzo Fernandez and Giovani Lo Celso scoring against El Salvador. Scaloni should rotate his squad but will retain a strong core, decked out in a 4-3-3 formation.

Emiliano Martinez should start in goal behind he back four of Nahuel Molina, Cristian Romero, Nicolas Otamendi and Nicolas Tagliafico. Rodrigo De Paul and Enzo Fernandez should hold the fort in midfield, freeing up Liverpool star Alexis Mac Allister the freedom to push forward.

Lautaro Martinez should lead the line, with Julian Alvarez and Alejandro Garnacho in support of the Inter Milan captain.

Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Emiliano Martinez; Molina, Romero, Otamendi, Tagliafico; De Paul, Fernandez, Mac Allister; Garnacho, Lautaor Martinez, Alvarez

Costa Rica

Gustavo Alfaro will rely on his three star players, Keylor Navas, Joel Campbell, and Francisco Calvo. The trio will need to make up for the inexperience of the rest of the roster against a formidable Argentine side.

A 5-4-1 formation with a safety-first approach is the way forward for the visitors, with Navas in goal. Despite Lionel Messi and Paulo Dybala’s absence, the veteran goalkeeper is sure to have a busy night.

The backline will be flanked by Gerald Taylor and Joseph Mora with the trio of Julio Cascante, Pablo Arboine and Francisco Calvo occupying the centre-back slots.

Warren Madrigal and Joel Campbell should provide the width, with Orlando Galo and Jefferson Brenes starting in central midfield. Manfred Ugalde will aim to make a difference upfront and make the position his own heading into the summer.

Probable Lineup (5-4-1): Navas; Taylor, Cascante, Arboine, Calvo, Mora; Madrigal, Galo, Brenes, Campbell; Ugalde

Argentina vs Costa Rica: Preview and Prediction.

Key Stats

  • Argentina have conceded just twice in their 11 games since winning the World Cup in Qatar.
  • Argentina have won ten of their 11 games since winning the World Cup in 2022.
  • Costa Rica have not beaten Argentina in any of their six meetings prior to this game.
  • Costa Rica have failed to score against Argentina in four of their six games.

Player to Watch

Alexis Mac Allister

Embed from Getty Images

The Liverpool star is coming into his own this year and is emerging as a key player for both club and country. Mac Allister started on the bench last time around against El Salvador and will now be keen to make an impact as a starter.

His ability to push forward and run into space, opening up goalscoring opportunities for his teammates adds a new dimension to the Argentina attack. This ability to meander into the number 10 role is particularly key given the absence of Lionel Messi and Paulo Dybala.


Argentina 2-0 Costa Rica

Costa Rica have struggled to match Argentina in their six meetings, and it is unlikely that they will break that winless streak this week. Despite missing important players, Lionel Scaloni has a world class roster to choose from. The gulf in quality is far too much for the visitors to bridge and a comfortable win appears to be on the line for the hosts.

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