Copa America Centenario: Argentina Team Preview
Lionel Messi skips past three defenders in a warm-up friendly vs Honduras. (Source: Nicolas Aguilera/Associated Press)

Copa America Centenario: Argentina Team Preview

Argentina are favorites for this summer's soccer spectacle, but can they finally fulfill those expectations?

HarryHarris8
Harry Harris

Argentina have reached two finals in their last two appearances at major tournaments but failed to reap the results they hoped for.

In 2014, Argentina were left devastated by an extra time winner from Mario Götze as Germany won the World Cup, 1-0. In 2015, Argentina aimed to bounce back by beating Chile in the Copa America final but were defeated on penalties by the hosts of the tournament.

The Copa America Centenario is here and Gerardo Martino is hoping his team can finally reach the peak and win a major tournament. While they haven’t won the tournament since 1993, they are considered favorites to lift the trophy at the end of June.

Argentina's 23-man squad

Argentina's Copa America Centenario squad. (Source: AFA)
Argentina's Copa America Centenario squad. (Source: @Argentina)

What to watch for

Lionel Messi will captain his country yet again this summer as he continues to chase that elusive piece of silverware at international level. The Barcelona superstar will want to finally put the criticism to bed by leading Argentina to the Copa America trophy in the United States and he will need to be at his absolute best to do so.

Gonzalo Higuain or Sergio Aguero? With a richness of talent in attack, Gerardo Martino has the tough decision of choosing between the two world class strikers. Will the Napoli man be rewarded for his incredible season, will Aguero lead the line for Argentina, or will he opt to fit both into his starting XI?

As mentioned before, finals haven't been kind to Argentina in the past two years but they have a great chance to put an end to their cup final misery this summer. They will have plenty of tough opposition to go through to get there but with a squad blessed with attacking talent, Argentina will be one team everyone wants to avoid.

Key Players

Lionel Messi

We know what we can expect from the greatest player in the world. While his Barcelona form hasn’t always translated to the international stage, Messi has excelled for his nation and is once again expected to lead the way for Argentina despite a slight injury concern ahead of the tournament. If Argentina are to win their first Copa America since the 90s, Messi will need to be at his absolute best but he will need plenty of support. 

Nicolas Otamendi

In a squad full of world-class attackers, Otamendi may seem like an odd choice but the Manchester City man is his country’s best defender and will need to lead the defense by example. Otamendi has been in and out of form all season but his form this summer is key to Argentina's success.

Sergio Aguero

The Manchester City forward has 32 goals in 71 games for his country but struggled to make an impact at the 2014 World Cup. In 2015, Aguero netted three times as Argentina finished second at the Copa America. With plenty of competition in the attacking positions, Aguero will need to continue his fine form this season, cement the role as the starting striker and take some of the pressure off of Messi in attack.

Schedule

Argentina - Chile June 6 Levi Stadium
Argentina - Panama June 10 Soldier Field
Argentina - Bolivia June 14 CenturyLinkField

Is It Time?

Argentina's odds have been mentioned time and time again, but is this finally their time to win a first major trophy since the 1993 Copa America? After so much heartbreak in the last couple of years, the Argentines will be aiming to reward everyone's belief and at last, fulfill those expectations.

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