Copa America champions Argentina are looking to win back-to-back major tournaments in Qatar after booking their ticket in Sunday’s final.
Last summer, Argentina ended a 28-year wait for a major trophy as they won the Copa America for the 15th time in their history, beating rivals Brazil in the final.
La Albiceleste arrived in Qatar on a 36-match unbeaten run, but that hugely impressive streak was brought to an abrupt end as Saudi Arabia sent shockwaves throughout the tournament by condemning them to a 2-1 defeat.
They have since put that behind them to reach the final, winning Group C, before eliminating Australia, the Netherlands and most recently Croatia in their knockout rounds. Will this finally be Lionel Messi’s year?
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Latest Argentina odds to win the World Cup
|Betting Market||Bet365 Odds|
|Argentina to win the World Cup||10/11|
|Lionel Messi World Cup Golden Ball odds||1/5|
|Lionel Messi World Cup Golden Boot odds||10/11|
|Enzo Fernandez FIFA Young Player Award odds||4/11|
*You have to be 18+ to gamble. All odds within this article are accurate at the time of writing (08:00, 17/12/2022). BeGambleAware.
Argentina route to the World Cup 2022 final in Qatar
Group stage results
|Argentina 1-2 Saudi Arabia||Lusail Iconic Stadium||22 November 2022|
|Argentina 2-0 Mexico||Lusail Iconic Stadium||26 November 2022|
|Poland 0-2 Argentina||Stadium 974||30 November 2022|
Argentina’s knockout stage run
After topping Group C, Argentina faced Australia in the last 16, running out 2-1 winners, before seeing off the Netherlands on penalties in the quarters. Inspired by Messi, Albiceleste took down Croatia comprehensively in the semi-final, and now face France in Sunday’s showpiece.
|Route as Group C winners||Opponent|
Argentina World Cup 2022 squad
|Emiliano Martinez||Goalkeeper||30||Aston Villa|
|Franco Armani||Goalkeeper||36||River Plate|
|Nahuel Molina||Defender||19||Atletico Madrid|
|Lisandro Martinez||Defender||24||Manchester United|
|Angel Di Maria||Midfielder||34||Juventus|
|Rodrigo De Paul||Midfielder||28||Atletico Madrid|
|Guido Rodriguez||Midfielder||28||Real Betis|
|Exequiel Palacios||Midfielder||24||Bayer Leverkusen|
|Alexis Mac Allister||Midfielder||23||Brighton|
|Lautaro Martinez||Forward||25||Inter Milan|
|Joaquin Correa||Forward||28||Inter Milan|
|Julian Alvarez||Forward||22||Manchester City|
Argentina players to watch at this year’s World Cup 2022
Argentina top World Cup Golden Boot contender – Lionel Messi
The Argentine captain is currently leading the World Cup Golden Boot race with five goals — level with Kylian Mbappe — and recently became his nation’s record goalscorer at the tournament. The diminutive genius has now bagged 11 World Cup goals, one ahead of previous record-holder Gabriel Batistuta, and will be looking to add to that in Sunday’s final.
And it appears that Sunday’s final will be the last time we see Messi at the World Cup, with the Argentine telling reporters after the 3-0 win over Croatia: “It’s my last World Cup. It is impressive to end up playing a final.
“There’s a long way to go for the next one, there are many years and surely because of age I won’t get to it.”
Argentina player to watch – Enzo Fernandez
Having occupied the bench in his first two World Cup games, Enzo Fernandez has emerged as ‘undroppable’ in the Argentina XI. The Benfica enforcer came off the bench to put the gloss on a 2-0 victory over Mexico in the nation’s second group game, with a sumptuous long-ranger — and he hasn’t looked back since.
Lionel Scaloni has since started him in each of Argentina’s last four World Cup matches, and he has been the vital artery of the nation’s midfield. A refined passing engine, Fernandez’s metronomic ball-playing and midfield industry have been the cornerstone of Argentina’s progression in the knockouts.
Pre-tournament, Fernandez was making considerable noise at Benfica following his move from River Plate in the summer. The 21-year-old has so far attempted more passes than any other player in Europe’s top seven leagues this season (1,225), while he also ranks second (15.39) behind only Toni Kroos (19.21) for final third entries per 90 minutes among midfielders (minimum of 270 minutes played, or the equivalent of three full matches).
It’s no wonder then that only six months after moving to Europe from his native Argentina that his name is being heavily associated with some of the continent’s biggest names. Liverpool are among those reportedly in the mix, with suggestions from Portuguese outlet Record and Spanish publication Diario AS saying both parties have already agreed a pre-contract.
Whether a move transpires or not remains to be seen, but there can be no question that Fernandez — who is favourite to win the World Cup’s FIFA Young Player Award at 4/11 — is an archetypal Jurgen Klopp midfielder, marrying a high-octane lung capacity with a passing fluidity that chimes with the German’s forward-thinking approach.
Argentina emerging player to look out for – Julian Alvarez
Julian Alvarez’s impressive performances for River Plate earned him a big-money move to English champions Manchester City in January of this year, before returning to the club for the remainder of the season.
After finding the back of the net 18 times in 26 matches across all competitions in his native country, he would then mark his Man City debut against Liverpool in the Community Shield with a goal – adding a further five in 17 appearances since.
The 22 year-old has scored seven goals in his 18 caps for the national side, one of which came against Poland as he opened his World Cup account, before he followed up against Australia and then recently notched a brace against Croatia.
Argentina tactical analysis & formation at the World Cup
Lionel Scaloni has used a variety of formations during his time in charge of the national side, but after using the 4-4-2 in the defeat to Saudi Arabia, he has frequently switched between that set-up, a back-three and a 4-3-3 — though he most recently used a 4-4-2 to produce the magic against Croatia.
Argentina arrived in Qatar having played some entertaining football, whilst also limiting the opposition to very few chances — something that was evident in qualification, where they conceded just two goals in their final 10 matches.
It’s more of a collective approach in a well-run system now for Argentina, instead of heavily relying on Lionel Messi and what he could do with the ball (though the PSG man has certainly been the difference-maker on the Persian Gulf so far). And the Saudi Arabia result aside, the benefits have been manifest.
Where are Argentina in the Fifa world rankings?
Argentina are currently ranked third in the Fifa world rankings behind Belgium and Brazil, but just ahead of France in fourth.
Who is the Argentina manager?
Lionel Scaloni took charge of the national side in 2018 after the county’s disappointing performance in the World Cup and has led Argentina to lift their first trophy in 28 years when they won the 2021 Copa America, before beating Italy 3-0 at Wembley in the Finalissma.
Who is the current Argentina captain?
Seven-time Ballon d’Or winner and PSG superstar Lionel Messi has been Argentina captain since August 2011, finally getting his hands on the Copa America trophy last summer.
How many times have Argentina won the World Cup?
Argentina are two-time World Cup champions having lifted the trophy in both 1978 and 1986, making the final on six occasions now (including the first ever World Cup final).
How many times have Argentina competed in the World Cup?
Since failing to qualify for the 1970 World Cup, Argentina have been involved in each of the last 13 tournaments (including 2022), taking their tally to 18 overall. Only Brazil (22) and Germany (18) have longer runs of qualifying for the World Cup.
Who has scored Argentina’s most goals in World Cup tournaments?
Former Fiorentina marksman Gabriel Batistuta and Lionel Messi are the only players to reach double figures for Argentina in World Cups. But, following Messi’s strike against Croatia, he is now the outright leading marksman with 11 goals.
And Batistuta doesn’t begrudge Messi taking his record, saying: “[Messi breaking the record] didn’t hurt me at all because I enjoyed it while I had it.
“Leo deserves this. If there’s one person who has to be up there, it’s him.
“Messi is not an alien, he is a human being who plays better football than anyone else. When that person exceeds you, you can’t suffer, he just gives you pleasure.”
Which player from Argentina has the most World Cup appearances?
Before the tournament, the late Diego Maradona had the most appearances for Argentina at the World Cup with 21 — one more than Javier Mascherano. However, they have both been overtaken by Messi who has taken his total tally to 25. It will be 26 if he features on Sunday, which will see him take the record outright, one clear of Germany’s Lothar Matthaus.