Copa America 2021 preview: Can Lionel Messi lead Argentina to title glory?
The 2021 Copa America would be the 47th edition of the prestigious continental competition by the South American Football Confederation. Argentina is the tournament host and would be lead by its superstar footballer Lionel Messi. Can it attain title success?
The South American football fraternity, along with some global audience, are heavily excited ahead of Copa America 2021. The 47th edition of the prestigious South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) tournament would be held in Argentina after co-host Colombia was stripped of its rights due to political unrest.
As for Argentina, it would be under pressure to perform as host. Furthermore, led by its superstar player Lionel Messi, it would undoubtedly be an uphill task, having come close to winning but finishing as runner-up in 2015 and 2016.
Nevertheless, can Messi and co manage to turn things around and hand the skipper an international title that has eluded him so far? On the same note, we present the preview of Argentina for the tournament.
Considering the teams, the goalkeeping department would be headlined by Franco Armani, a veteran who has been doing great for River Plate since 2018. Also, Esteban Andrada of Boca Juniors is expected to come in handy.
As for the defence, Nicolás Otamendi, Nehuén Pérez and Nicolás Tagliafico would be the ones to watch out for. Otamendi would undoubtedly be headlining the department, having done great late for Benfica.
Lautaro Martínez and Leandro Paredes are sure to dominate the line-up in the midfield. While Martinez was in top form for Inter Milan, helping the side win the Serie A title this season, Paredes is a crucial midfielder for Paris Saint-Germain.
Meanwhile, for the forward line-up, the department would easily be led by Messi. At the same time, Lautaro Martinez, Angel Di María, Lucas Ocampos, Joaquin Correa and Sergio Aguero are the big names that are likely to dominate.
Players to watch out
Messi: A no-brainer here, while he hardly needs any introduction. Although he has had a shaky season with Barca of late, with his future at Camp Nou doubtful, it would be interesting to see if he can change the fortunes with his national side. Messi desperately needs an international crown under his belt, as the modern-day great's resume would be incomplete without it.
Aguero: Fellow striker Aguero will also have a task to assist Messi in leading the side to title glory. While it could be the last time the two legends could be featuring in the tournament, it would be exciting to see if Aguero could anchor the side in this case, as he is well known for his lethal striking abilities.
Di Maria: The midfielder has had a decent stint since moving to PSG. Although he could not help his side win the Ligue 1 title this season, he can change it all by assisting Argentina to win Copa America. Known for his prolificness while attacking and ability to come up with sublime assists, Di Maria will have a role to play.
Considering Argentina's recent performance, it has been commendable as it is placed second in the CONMEBOL FIFA World Cup qualifiers. With three more matches to be played before Copa America, it would look to gather all the momentum ahead.
As for its performance in 2019, it was a shallow one from the Argentines. Winning just a game in the group stage, it did manage to qualify for the quarters, where it trumped Venezuela before being ousted to eventual champion Brazil in the semis. Least to say, it would need a wholly different and improbable performance if it is to stand a chance to even qualify for the final.
Chances and prediction
Argentina is placed in a tough group, alongside Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay. Although it would be tough to secure the top spot, it is still expected to qualify for the knockouts. But, keeping aside its poor run in the past, the recent purple patch in the World Cup qualifiers, along with the influx of talented young guns, is likely to see it sail into the final, with an outside chance of winning the title, making it the dark horse.
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