The 2022 World Cup qualifiers for South America resume this month with Argentina playing host to Paraguay on Friday at 12am.
Lionel Scaloni’s side currently sit second in the table after two matches, winning both of their opening games against Ecuador and Bolivia, with the latter contest requiring a late winner to secure all three points.
Scaloni will be hoping for a more straightforward encounter on Friday, but Paraguay have been in solid form, beating Venezuela last month and drawing 2-2 with Peru, which has Eduardo Berizzo’s side fourth in the standings.
La Albiceleste have not beat Paraguay since 2015, including a loss and a draw in the 2018 World Cup qualification stages, but Scaloni will be hoping captain Lionel Messi can help end that run and keep the momentum going.
Where to watch Argentina vs Paraguay on TV:
- UK: N/A
- US: Fanatiz
Where to live stream Argentina vs Paraguay:
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Argentina & Paraguay’s previous line-ups:
- Argentina (vs Bolivia): Armani; Montiel, Martinez, Otamendi, Tagliafico; Paredes, De Paul, Palacios; Ocampos, Messi, Martinez.
- Paraguay (vs Venezuela): Silva; Espinola, Gomez, Alonso, Riveros; Cubas, Gimenez, Villasanti; Romero, Almiron, Lezcano.
Juventus forward Paulo Dybala has withdrawn from the Argentina squad after initially being called up by Scaloni, while the likes of Sergio Aguero, Eduardo Salvio, Marcos Acuna, German Pezzella and Juan Foyth have all been omitted due to various fitness and injury issues.
Players to watch:
- Argentina: For such ability it’s almost an injustice that Atalanta captain Alejandro Gomez has only accumulated four caps for Argentina. The floating playmaker has been the fulcrum of Atalanta’s rise to Champions League football and has continued that stellar form into the new campaign. With five goals and three assists in 10 matches for Le Dea already this term, Gomez is a man currently firing on all cylinders, and Argentina could use some of his verve if they encounter issues against Paraguay.
- Paraguay: He fell down the pecking order at West Ham last season but Fabian Balbuena has re-emerged as a tidy and disciplined centre-half in David Moyes’ three-man defence. Balbuena, known as ‘el Comandante’, or ‘The General’, for his celebration salute, worked well to shut out Sergio Aguero at the London Stadium earlier this season, and has so far prevented Issa Diop from returning to the starting XI. If Paraguay are to silence Messi on Friday, then they could use the battle-hardened exploits of West Ham’s in-form defender.