The Argentine central defender, Cristián Romero, prevails against Luis Suárez.Eraldo Peres / AP
In the preview of the Copa América 2019, the Argentine team had begun its reconstruction. "Safe in defense with a 4-4-2 and that Kun and Leo do what they can upstairs," they predicted in the Albiceleste. Sergio Agüero and Lionel Messi played all six games and Argentina finished third. Agüero, 33, fourth top scorer in the Premier, brand new reinforcement of Barcelona, did not play for a minute in Argentina's first victory in Brazil 2021, against Uruguay (1-0). Messi, in the Albiceleste attack, was accompanied by Lautaro Martínez (23 years old, Inter Milan) and Nicolás González (23, Stuttgart). Lautaro was replaced by Joaquín Correa (26, Lazio). And from Agüero, no news. “We understood that Joaquín was going to give us solutions and that's how it was, he had a good game. Everyone is here to contribute when the time comes ", analyzed the coach,Lionel Scaloni, on the absence of the forward, who had only played 10 minutes in the debut against Chile (1-1).
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Ángel Di María (33 years old), another of Messi's historical cronies, is also relegated.
But, unlike Agüero, he took the field against Uruguay (20 minutes) as he had also done against Chile (23).
The generation, which had led Argentina to two finals in America (2015 and 2016) and which left it at the gates of the world title in Brazil 2014, was turned off in Russia 2018. Of the team that was eliminated in the round of 16 in front France in the last World Cup, against Uruguay, three years later, only two players took the field: Messi (33 years) and Otamendi (33).
Russia marked the turning point for Messi and Argentina. On the eve of the World Cup, when the national team was training at the Barça Sports City, on the 10th they stopped a training session after a bad pass from Giovanni Lo Celso. The midfielder did not play for a minute in 2018. A year later, in the Copa América 2019, Lo Celso (25 years old, Tottenham) became one of the 10's favorite partners, wrapped up in midfield by Leandro Paredes ( 26, PSG) and Rodrigo De Paul (27, Udinese). Scaloni has 29 games in the Albiceleste, and Lo Celso played 21 for Paredes' 28 - injured, he was replaced by Guido Rodríguez against Uruguay - and De Paul's 25.
Lautaro Martínez and Nicolás González refreshed Argentina's attack, as Lo Celso, Paredes and De Paul had already done in the midfield. In Brazil 2021, the pending account of Scaloni, last test before Qatar 2022, was behind. And if against Chile it was fragile and fearful, the opposite happened against Uruguay. Nothing less than in front of two vicious of the goal like Luis Suárez and Edinson Cavani. A company impossible to understand without Cristián Romero (23 years old, Atalanta). The center-back, absent in the premiere against Chile due to injury, is Scaloni's great bet. “He is a more mature player, who has been at a high level for two years. He has all our confidence, he is a spectacular boy. He has all the conditions to be here for many years ”, praised the Argentine coach, Romero, chosen as the best center-back in Serie A.
The central duo formed by Otamendi and Romero are joined by the wingers, Marcos Acuña (29 years old, Sevilla) and Nahuel Molina (23, Udinese). "Walter [Samuel, second coach] went to see him in Udine and we believe it is a good appearance," said Scaloni about the right-back who alternates in position with Gonzalo Montiel (24 years, River Plate). A team guarded under the crossbar by Emiliano Martínez (28 years old, Aston Villa), personality on the field and in front of the microphones. "We are to win the Copa América," he said after the triumph in the classic. Argentina refreshes and rejuvenates Messi, scorer against Chile, assistant against Uruguay, cheered by the Brazilian fans, finally recognized by the Albiceleste fans.