World Cup 2022 Group C: Messi-inspired Argentina have eyes on the prize

Lionel Scaloni's Copa America winners are unbeaten for 33 matches and will fancy their chances in Qatar

Argentina's Lautaro Martinez, centre, celebrates with his teammates Lionel Messi, right, and Giovani Lo Celso after scoring his side's opening goal in the Uefa Cup of Champions game against Italy at Wembley Stadium, London, in June 2022. AP
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The 2021 Copa America winners Argentina will fancy their chances in Group C, and perhaps of winning the whole tournament as Lionel Messi looks to bow out of the international arena with a World Cup triumph.

Lionel Scaloni’s side look to be the team to beat in South America, not tasting defeat since pre-Covid 19 – when they lost in the semi-finals of the Copa America to Brazil in 2019.

Their impressive 3-0 victory over Italy in the Uefa Cup of Champions stretched their unbeaten run to 32 games, which has since been extended to 33, putting Argentina just four matches away from the longest unbeaten streak in international football.

However, the quality of opposition Argentina face ahead of the World Cup may not be adequate preparation, with games against Estonia, Honduras, and Jamaica. Despite this, their impressive wins against Brazil, Italy, Uruguay, and Colombia over the past year suggests that La Albiceleste have no problems putting quality opposition to the sword either.

Whilst the majority of eyes will be on talisman Messi, Argentina are able to boast a wealth of talent.

Striker Lautaro Martinez will be vital, with the Inter Milan striker netting 29 goals in all competitions last season. The 25-year-old has also managed to transfer his form to the international stage, scoring 20 goals in all competitions.

Argentina have proved they can compete with the very best, with their dominant win over Euro 2020 winners Italy in the summer highlighting their capabilities, and they look to be entering the tournament in fine form.

Argentina are certainly one to watch in Qatar. A favourable group, coupled with supreme confidence with their form sees them having every chance of emerging victorious come the end of the tournament.

Manager: Lionel Scaloni

Star player: Lionel Messi

One to watch: Lautaro Martinez

World Cups appeared in: 1930, 1934, 1958, 1962, 1966, 1974, 1978, 1982, 1986, 1990, 1994, 1998, 2002, 2006, 2010, 2014, 2018

Winners: 1978, 1986

Fixtures: Nov 22 - Argentina v Saudi Arabia; Nov 26 - Argetina v Mexico; Nov 30 - Poland v Argentina

Updated: September 28, 2022, 8:58 AM
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