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Argentina’s Squad for FIFA World Cup 2022 & Team Profile

Argentina announced the final list of the 26-man squad traveling to Qatar for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. In this article, check out the Argentina FIFA World Cup 2022 squad, fixtures, lineups and team analysis.

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Last updated: 16.11.2022
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Argentina announced the final list of the 26-man squad traveling to Qatar for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. This will be the last showpiece that 35-year-old Lionel Messi will participate for his nation and the one he would like to win at the end of it. There are omissions due to injuries mainly but most of the names in Lionel Scaloni’s pecking list make the squad. The Albicelestes are currently on a 35 games unbeaten run just two wins away from equalling Italy’s run under Roberto Mancini.

 

History

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Argentina are two times winner of the World Cup since it started competing in the tournament in 1930, the year of its inception. They have also reached the final a further three times including the first-ever edition. The first success came in 1978 when they hosted the tournament defeating the Netherlands in the showpiece final 3-1. Mario Kempes scored twice in that win, finishing as the leading goal scorer with six. The most famous and recorded World Cup win for Argentina was, however, the 1986 success when the late great Diego Maradona won it in Mexico. The Albicelestes won that tournament without losing a match and Maradona scored five goals including the ‘hand of God’ and ‘the goal of the century’ in the quarterfinal stage of that tournament against England. Maradona played a record 21 matches overall in the World Cup but never managed the same success again in the other editions. Last time Argentina made it to the World Cup final was in 2014 when a Lionel Messi-led team lost to an extra-time winner from Germany’s Mario Gotze at the Maracana Stadium in Brazil. Gabriel Batistuta is the top goal scorer for the Albicelestes at the world cup stage with 10 goals.  

 

Last Tournament

The 2018 World Cup was nowhere near the level Argentina wanted after reaching the final of the World Cup four years ago. Beaten finalists in the resulting Copa America finals with Lionel Messi taken retirement initially after the 2016 defeat, reconsidered due to present coach Scaloni, Argentina never looked the same again. They just about the automatic qualification spot for the 2018 event on the final day because of a Messi hat-trick. In the group stages, they surprisingly drew 1-1 against Iceland in the opening match before suffering a difficult loss to Croatia without putting much of a show. Against Nigeria, Argentina needed a win to secure qualification and they got it with Messi striking a great volley from his right foot and Marco Rojo bundling the winner after Victor Moses equalised from the spot. The Albicelestes were then involved in a 4-3 thriller with eventual champions France in the round of 16. Di Maria equalised with a rocket hit after Antoine Griezmann gave Les Bleus the lead from the spot. Gabriel Mercado then gave Argentina the lead for the first time before Benjamin Pavard scored one of the goals of the tournament to restore priority. Then a quick brace from Kylian Mbappe dumped Argentina out of the Cup even though Sergio Aguero made matters interesting with the seventh strike of the match in stoppage time.

        

Qualification

The qualification for the 2022 World Cup was smooth and controlled, to say the least, for Argentina doing all the business a great side should. They did finish behind leaders Brazil in the second automatic qualifying spot out of five, without losing a game but drawing three more matches than them. However, the difference in quality was minimum. The Copa America winners won 11 matches and scored 28 goals with their defence breached only eight times in 17 matches. Lionel Messi and Lautaro Martinez scored seven goals each while Giovanni Lo Celso with five and Rodrigo De Paul with four got the assists for the team. Emiliano Martinez recorded the second clean-sheets of goalkeepers in the qualifying with 6 but with a best save percentage than the rest.  

    

Preparation for World Cup

Argentina rocked in their preparation for the 2022 World cup winning every game after their qualification campaign ended in March. Undoubtedly, Lionel Messi starred in each of those victories including scoring a mind-blowing five against Estonia as the total score for the win. He scored a brace in the last two friendlies in September against Honduras and Jamaica. The 3-0 win over Italy in the contest between Copa America winners and Euro winners was the highlight of the performances shown this year. Messi did not score in that game but made two for his teammates in one of his best individual performances in the national shirt. Argentina’s jinx of not doing against a European nation was broken finally.        

 

Argentina 2022 World Cup Squad


Goalkeepers: Emiliano Martinez (Aston Villa) Geronimo Rulli (Villarreal), Franco Armani (River Plate).

Defenders: Nahuel Molina (Atlético Madrid), Gonzalo Montiel (Sevilla), Cristian Romero (Tottenham), German Pezzella (Real Betis), Nicolas Otamendi (Benfica), Lisandro Martinez (Manchester United), Marcos Acuna (Sevilla), Nicolas Tagliafico (Lyon), Juan Foyth (Villarreal).

Midfielders: Rodrigo de Paul (Atletico Madrid), Leandro Paredes (Juventus), Alexis mac Allister (Brighton), Guido Rodriguez (Real Betis), Alejandro Gomez (Sevilla), Enzo Fernandez (Benfica), Exequiel Palacios (Bayer Leverkusen)

Forwards: Angel di Maria (Juventus), Lautaro Martinez (Inter Milan), Juilan Alvarez (Manchester City), Nicolas Gonazalez (Fiorentina), Joaquin Correa (Inter Milan), Paulo Dybala (AS Roma), Lionel Messi (PSG).

 

Coach: Lionel Scaloni

 

The big blow for Argentina have been Lo Celso’s injury which rules him out of the tournament. The Villarreal man has always been a trusted comrade for Lionel Scaloni and someone who links attacks elegantly fitting into the manager’s tactics. Lo Celso tried his best to recover from his leg muscle tear in time for the tournament but failed. 18-year-old Alejandro Garnacho lately has burst into first-team action for Manchester United producing eye-catching performances. However, he has not been called to the national side without earning a cap since March and is not travelling to Qatar. Paulo Dybala and Angel di Maria all had major injury scare yet managed to make the final list to Qatar. Leonardo Paredes too makes it having his injury problems. Only Messi, Dybala, Nicolas Tagliafico and Nicolas Otamendi are retained from the 2018 roster. 21-year-old Enzo Fernandez and Julian Alvarez at the age of 22 are two of the hottest talents making the squad with both intending to lighten up their debut World Cup.


Strength

A team that has string 35 matches without suffering a single defeat speaks volume of a squad built on incredible unity. They are also one of the most balanced squads entering the tournament which is switched on with the manager’s tactics. Lionel Scaloni has drilled in so much belief in this group that they are ready to run every blend of grass for him. Scaloni’s system allows Argentina to suffocate opposition higher up with their intense press forcing turnovers, the main weapon for the side. Argentina are also a defensively solid team having conceded only eight in qualification and only twice this year leading up to the tournament. In attack, Albicelestes are not a one-man show anymore as Lautaro Martinez, Di Maria, Julian Alvarez and co. can take the responsibility to do a difference for their side in addition to Lionel Messi.

         

Weakness

Argentina are one of the few nations not showing any glaring flaws or weakness moving into the tournament. Lionel Scaloni have built a solid structure inside the team that is totally different from the fragilities of the past tournaments. Lo Celso’s absence to link up attacks could had been an issue but Paulo Dybala and Lionel Messi have done that for their entire career while other capable players are there to fill up the role. The only question is the team’s efficiency to sustain the pressure of the knockouts facing other favourites of the tournament. Having said that, this Argentina squad has beaten an enormously talented Brazilian squad in Copa America in 2021 and Euro winners Italy in the Finalissima earlier this year.      

      

Star Player: Lionel Messi

The newly-found Argentina team have moved away from Lionel Messi’s dependency with other players becoming equally valuable for their nation. It actually has helped Messi to produce his best and not to cover for the deficiency of others in the team. Still being one of the greatest footballers of all time, he will try to make the occasion a huge one in the swansong World Cup of his career. Messi remains the biggest goal threat having netted nine goals in the last three matches alone for the Albicelestes. Moving as a prime even at the age of 35 and as deadlier than ever. If not for the goals, his teammates could thank him for the incredible number of assist the former Barcelona provides for the rest. He has flourished in his second season with PSG hoping to carry forward his endless individual performances to Qatar.


How will Argentina Lineup at the 2022 World Cup?


 


The absence of Lo Celso have caused Lionel Scaloni to make a decision in midfield. Alejandro Gomez has been a shadow of his Atalanta days but is still useful to this Argentina team becoming a likely replacement. He will offer an attacking edge in the midfield alongside the box-to-box quality of Rodrigo de Paul and passing machine Leonardo Paredes. The area the team wants to win over their counterparts. Lionel Messi and Angel di Maria could be two floating number tens in behind Lautaro Martinez those who can run in behind too. At the back, Nicolas Otamendi’s experience will be required as is a key figure anyway but the sensational club forms of Lisandro Martinez and Christian Romero can make them partners in central defence. There is competition in the full-back region although club form will be deciding factor again to choose Nahuel Molina and Nicolas Tagliafico over Juan Foyth and Marcos Acuna.  

         

Opponents & Fixtures

Argentina vs Saudi Arabia - 22 November 2022, Lusail Stadium (3:30 PM)

Argentina vs Mexico - 27 November 2022, Lusail Stadium (12:30 AM)

Poland vs Argentina - 2 December 2022, Stadium 974 (12:30 AM)

 

Argentina have one of the easiest possible group to make their dominance pay, unlike the 2018 edition. They begin the 2022 World Cup in Qatar facing the second-lowest ranked nation in the tournament, Saudi Arabia on 22 November. Winning that fixture is given with all due respect to the opposition so that Lionel Scaloni’s men look to two more crucial fixtures in the group. Argentina have not lost to Mexico since 2004 and it will be the game they will wish to clinch qualification before taking on Robert Lewandowski’s Poland in a possible group winners fight in the final group game on 2nd December.

 

Prediction

Argentina are carrying a brilliant squad to Qatar with an excellent manager at helm. They have nothing to fear about. The massive unbeaten streak shows the team’s emphatic consistency and hard work to maintain the system made by their boss. The Albicelestes will be a side to be scared of rather than the other way around producing a different scenario than the downfall of 2018. All of which could lift the side to the showpiece final but irrespective of the result will be a team on everyone’s lips after the tournament. 

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