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Argentina will be looking to overcome their perennial second-place jinx in the Copa America and lift the continental crown for the first time since 1993. La Albiceleste has finished second place in four of the last five Copa Americas and were only denied the crown in 2016 as Leo Messi and Lucas Biglia missed from the spot in a 4-2 penalty shootout defeat to Chile.
Time is certainly running out for Messi to win a major honour on the international stage, having picked up a goal medal at the 2008 Olympics. After the heartache of losing the 2016 final, the Barcelona star stepped away from international football for a brief period.
Thankfully for Argentina fans and rookie boss Lionel Scaloni, Messi has returned to the international set-up and will be determined to make his mark in Brazil after yet another record-breaking season at club level.
The Coach – Lionel Scaloni
With only three games into his international managerial career, it’s unsure how the former Argentina defender will react under the pressures of the Copa America. Scaloni was an assistant in the side that went to the 2018 World Cup, and for now, seems to be getting a tune out of his side with two friendly victories over Morocco and Nicaragua in the build-up to the tournament.
Scaloni is only contracted until just after the tournament and depending on how Argentina progress could be facing a swift departure or a contract extension. Having been a part of the national set up as a player and coach, the 41-year-old will know how this group of players works and fostering that team unity will be crucial if Argentina is to break their Copa hoodoo.
Player to Watch - Giovani Lo Celso
Could Betis midfielder Giovani Lo Celso be the key man to deliver the Copa America for Argentina? So often the problem in Argentinian sides has been all about finding a balance with their undoubted attacking talent and the more defensive side of the game.
Lo Celso has developed into an exciting all-around midfielder at Betis this season, scoring sixteen goals in all competitions this season and could bring some much-needed stability in central midfield. The 23-year old has already struck up an understanding with Leo Messi and this could be crucial if Argentina is to progress all the way.