Lionel Messi will be a man on a mission at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, and his Argentina national team are on board for it.
The 35-year-old icon is aiming for the pinnacle of his storied career by winning the sport’s most prestigious trophy, which has eluded him in four previous attempts. He has already confirmed that this will be his last World Cup.
Brazil and France are the two favorites heading into the tournament by punters and fans, but Argentina hosting the World Cup in December is a very feasible outcome given the string of results that manager Lionel Scaloni has lined up: a 35-game unbeaten run, just three short of the world record .
Scaloni has tactfully molded this team since taking over in 2018 and his work culminated in the 2021 Copa America triumph on Brazilian soil, giving Messi his first trophy with the senior national team and finally ridding him of the criticism that has dogged him on his travels. for his country.
Argentina World Cup squad 2022
Scaloni named his final 26-man squad on Friday, November 11, three days ahead of the FIFA-imposed deadline.
Manager Scaloni had until Friday, October 21 to submit to FIFA an official preliminary list of 35-55 players, from which he was required to name his final 26-man roster for Qatar by Monday, November 14.
Here’s the final 26-man list.
|Goalkeeper||Franco Armani||River Plate (ARG)||36||18|
|Goalkeeper||Emiliano Martinez||Aston Villa (ENG)||30||18|
|Goalkeeper||Geronimo Rulli||Villarreal (ESP)||30||4|
|Defender||Marcos Acuna||Sevilla (ESP)||30||42|
|Defender||Juan Foyth||Villarreal (ESP)||24||15|
|Defender||Lisandro Martinez||Man United (ENG)||24||9|
|Defender||Nahuel Molina||Atletico Madrid (ESP)||24||18|
|Defender||Gonzalo Montiel||Sevilla (ESP)||25||18|
|Defender||Nicolas Otamendi||Benfica (POR)||34||92|
|Defender||German Pezzella||Real Betis (ESP)||31||31|
|Defender||Cristian Romero||Tottenham (ENG)||24||12|
|Defender||Nicolas Tagliafico||Lyon (FRA)||30||42|
|Midfielder||Rodrigo De Paul||Atletico Madrid (ESP)||28||43|
|Midfielder||Enzo Fernandez||Benfica (POR)||21||2|
|Midfielder||Alejandro ‘Papu’ Gomez||Sevilla (ESP)||34||15|
|Midfielder||Alexis Mac Allister||Brighton (ENG)||23||7|
|Midfielder||Exequiel Palacios||Bayer Leverkusen (GER)||24||20|
|Midfielder||Leandro Paredes||Juventus (ITA)||28||45|
|Midfielder||Guido Rodriguez||Real Betis (ESP)||28||25|
|Forward||Julian Alvarez||Man City (ENG)||22||11|
|Forward||Joaquin Correa||Inter Milan (ITA)||28||18|
|Forward||Angel Di Maria||Juventus (ITA)||34||123|
|Forward||Paulo Dybala||AS Roma (ITA)||28||34|
|Forward||Nico Gonzalez||Fiorentina (ITA)||24||21|
|Forward||Lautaro Martinez||Inter Milan (ITA)||25||40|
|Forward||Lionel Messi||PSG (FRA)||35||164|
Final 26-man Argentina World Cup roster
There had been doubts over Paulo Dybala, Angel Di Maria and Exequiel Palacios because of fitness concerns but the trio have made the cut, while Tottenham midfielder Giovani Lo Celso is out injured.
Manchester United centre-back Lisandro Martinez is included following a debate over whether the Premier League newcomer would be chosen amid strong defensive competition.
Neither Atletico Madrid’s Angel Correa nor Napoli forward Giovanni Simeone, who’s been on a sensational run of scoring form in the last year, will be joining an attacking list that is led by seven-time Ballon d’Or winner Messi.
There had been growing clamour from United fans for Alejandro Garnacho to be included. The teenager, who has made previous preliminary squads without winning a senior cap, has recently been involved in the United first team and delivered a star cameo off the bench in the 4-2 Carabao Cup win over Aston Villa – but he will have to wait for his chance.
Argentina national team stars, strengths & weaknesses
It’s World Cup final or bust for Argentina, but instead of those expectations weighing heavily on the Albiceleste, they’re actually fueling its biggest star and his supporting cast.
Argentina’s run at the 2021 Copa America was likely a preview of what we can expect from Scaloni’s crew in Qatar: a compact side that’s difficult to play against, and one that is capable of patiently controlling a game before striking with a flash of brilliance in front of goal from one of its world-class attackers.
Lionel Messi doesn’t have to do it all like he used to in many of the past tournaments for Argentina, when teammates would shuffle the ball to him and hope he could singlehandedly produce the game-breaking play.
These days Messi’s role is more of a facilitator. And in doing so he gets to pick and choose the moments when he feels he can take over a game as opposed to being expected to do it on every attack.
Here’s what we know for sure about Messi in Qatar: His mazy dribbling runs will open up space for his teammates, his free kicks will cause ‘keepers to shudder on their line, and his passing vision will make opposing defenses look foolish. And he will tackle and fight for every ball like it’s the last game of his career.
The attacking talent that Argentina can boast has always been one of their calling cards at international tournaments. But this time the Albiceleste have a rugged, balanced and supremely skillful passing midfield that dictates the pace of play.
The likes of Leandro Paredes, and Rodrigo De Paul have often been the standouts on their near-record unbeaten run. If they’re humming in a game, then Argentina are likely winning it.
Guido Rodriguez will occasionally fill in for Paredes in the deep-lying position with the talented Enzo Fernandez ready to provide an attacking, creative spark should the team need it off the bench.
This is a team with few weak points provided their first-choice starting XI is available. The goalkeeper position is the Achilles’ heel, though it hasn’t cost them just yet.
Aston Villa’s Emiliano ‘Dibu’ Martinez has built a cult following with his performances as a starter for his country – especially in penalty shootouts – as he transforms in an Argentina kit. But he has had mixed showings for his club team so far and if he’s not on form, their last line of defence could be susceptible.
Argentina World Cup group
No. 3-ranked Argentina should finish top of Group C with a squad that outclasses the other three opponents even though Mexico have given them some tough World Cup matches in the past.
The opening match against Saudi Arabia should allow Messi and his teammates to get their motors warmed up before the crunch match against Mexico. The finale against Poland could have first place on the line.
|Tues, Nov. 22||Argentina vs. S. Arabia||5 a.m.||Lusail Stadium|
|Tues, Nov. 22||Mexico vs. Poland||11 a.m.||Stadium 974|
|Sat, Nov. 26||Poland vs. S. Arabia||8 a.m.||Education City Stadium|
|Sat, Nov. 26||Argentina vs. Mexico||2 p.m.||Lusail Stadium|
|Wed, Nov. 30||Poland vs. Argentina||2 p.m.||Stadium 974|
|Wed, Nov. 30||S. Arabia vs. Mexico||2 p.m.||Lusail Stadium|
Argentina vs. Saudi Arabia squad, lineup
Scaloni has been able to mix and match lineups and formations throughout his tenure, ensuring that his squad are quite literally ready for anything with a backup ready to fill in at a moment’s notice.
Different opponents will require tweaks to the tactical set-up and that could come as early as the opener against a defensively stout Saudi Arabia.
Instead of the more customary 4-3-3, the 4-2-3-1 is a more likely option to get another attacker on the field to help break down what is expected to be a deep Saudi Arabian block.
Argentina projected starting XI vs Saudi Arabia
GK: Emiliano Martinez
DFs: Nahuel Molina — Cristian Romero — Nicolas Otamendi — Nicolas Tagliafico
MFs: Rodrigo De Paul — Leandro Paredes
FWs: Angel Di Maria — Lionel Messi — Papu Gomez
Striker: Lautaro Martinez
Can Argentina replace players on World Cup roster?
Once the final 26-man roster is official, participating teams at the World Cup can only make changes before the first game of the tournament, and only in the case of extraordinary circumstances.
According to the official tournament rules (page 32), “a player listed on the final list may only be replaced in the event of serious injury or illness up until 24 hours before the start of his team’s first match.”
The team in question would need to submit a medical report to FIFA and if the world governing body determines “the injury or illness is sufficiently serious to prevent the player from taking part in the FIFA World Cup” then the replacement will be allowed.
The replacement player must come from the preliminary list of players submitted to FIFA in October.