At the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, Lionel Messi will be a man on a mission, and the rest of Argentina’s national team will be right there with him.
The 35-year-old legend has made four previous attempts to win the sport’s most prestigious trophy, but has been unsuccessful each time. He has stated categorically that this will be his final appearance in the World Cup.
🏆 #FIFAWorldCup La Selección @Argentina: siempre en la elite del fútbol mundial ⚽🌎
🧐 Un repaso de las páginas doradas de la Albiceleste 🇦🇷
📝 https://t.co/nvN5XGbR5G pic.twitter.com/QQNHBZ2caM
— Selección Argentina 🇦🇷 (@Argentina) November 11, 2022
Even though Brazil and France are the pre-tournament favorites, Argentina winning the World Cup in December is a very realistic possibility thanks to the results that manager Lionel Messi has marshaled: a 35-match unbeaten streak that is only three matches short of the world record.
Since taking over in 2018, Messi has skillfully shaped this team, and their 2021 Copa America victory on Brazilian soil gave Messi; his first trophy with the senior national team and finally silenced the critics who had followed him everywhere he went.
Now that Argentina has beaten Euro champion Italy and has a potentially easy path to the final in Qatar, the bandwagon is growing.
Argentina World Cup squad 2022
Scaloni named his final 26-man squad on Friday, November 11, three days ahead of the FIFA-imposed deadline.
Manager Scaloni had until Friday, October 21 to submit to FIFA an official preliminary list of 35-55 players, from which he was required to name his final 26-man roster for Qatar by Monday, November 14.
Here’s the final 26-man list.
Confirming 26-person roster Argentina’s Squad for the World Cup
All three players who had injury concerns—Paulo Dybala; Angel Di Maria, and Exequiel Palacios—made the team, while Tottenham midfielder Giovani Lo Celso is sidelined.
Lisandro Martinez; a Premier League newcomer who plays center back for Manchester United, was debated for inclusion due to the depth of the defending options.
Angel Correa of Atletico Madrid and Giovanni Simeone; a Napoli forward who has been on a sensational scoring run over the past year, will not be joining an attacking group led by Messi, who has won seven Ballon d’Or awards.
United’s faithful had been increasingly vocal about their desire to see Alejandro; Garnacho drafted. Even though the teenager recently participated in United’s first team and made an impressive cameo off the bench in their 4-2 Carabao Cup; victory over Aston Villa, he will still have to wait for his opportunity to earn a senior national team cap.
Argentina national team stars, strengths & weaknesses
For Argentina, reaching the World Cup final is a must, but rather than weighing on the Albiceleste, the pressure is actually fueling the team’s best player and the rest of the squad.
What we saw from Scaloni’s Argentina at the 2021 Copa America was probably a preview of what we’ll see in Qatar: a compact, difficult-to-break-down side that can patiently control a game before striking with a flash of brilliance in front of goal from one of its world-class attackers.
Unlike in many previous tournaments, when Messi’s Argentine teammates would shuffle the ball to him in the hopes that he could singlehandedly produce the game-breaking play, Messi no longer has to do it all.
Messi plays more of a supporting role these days. In doing so, he is not pressured to take control of the game during every attack but rather can pick and choose when he does so.
What we can say for certain about Messi’s time in Qatar is as follows: His erratic dribbling runs will give his teammates more room to operate, his free kicks will make goalkeepers quake on the line, and his passing vision will make the other team’s defense look silly. Additionally, he will tackle and compete for every ball as if it were the last of his career.
Argentina World Cup group
No. 3-ranked Argentina should finish top of Group C with a squad that outclasses the other three opponents even though Mexico have given them some tough World Cup matches in the past.
The opening match against Saudi Arabia should allow Messi and his teammates to get their motors warmed up before the crunch match against Mexico. The finale against Poland could have first place on the line.
|Tues, Nov. 22||Argentina vs. S. Arabia||5 a.m.||Lusail Stadium|
|Tues, Nov. 22||Mexico vs. Poland||11 a.m.||Stadium 974|
|Sat, Nov. 26||Poland vs. S. Arabia||8 a.m.||Education City Stadium|
|Sat, Nov. 26||Argentina vs. Mexico||2 p.m.||Lusail Stadium|
|Wed, Nov. 30||Poland vs. Argentina||2 p.m.||Stadium 974|
|Wed, Nov. 30||S. Arabia vs. Mexico||2 p.m.||Lusail Stadium|
Argentina vs. Saudi Arabia squad, lineup
Argentina projected starting XI vs Saudi Arabia
GK: Emiliano Martinez
DFs: Nahuel Molina — Cristian Romero — Nicolas Otamendi — Nicolas Tagliafico
MFs: Rodrigo De Paul — Leandro Paredes
FWs: Angel Di Maria — Lionel Messi — Papu Gomez
Striker: Lautaro Martinez
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