Argentina has another chance to end a 28-year trophy drought at this year’s Copa America, which has been made even more difficult by a location change from home to that of arch-rivals Brazil.
The event was intended to be hosted by Argentina this year, but due to an increase of COVID-19 cases, it was shifted at the last minute, and Brazil will now host their second Copa America in a row, commencing on Sunday.
Argentina won the tournament for the 14th time in 1993, with Diego Simeone anchoring the midfield and Gabriel Batistuta scoring goals in the center forward position. They have reached the final four times since then, all since 2004, but have never won the championship. It’s been a frustrating run for a proud footballing nation, particularly for stars like Lionel Messi, who aren’t used to coming in second place.
Last week, Messi stated that winning the Copa is “always our dream.” “We always want to win something with the national team, no matter what the tournament is. The reality is that the lads are quite eager, perhaps even more so the older ones.”
Messi will be 34 on June 24, so this might be his final chance to win a trophy in a blue and white shirt after winning a slew of them while playing for Barcelona. The move to Brazil will surely make things more difficult for Argentina, but it may also give them with additional motivation.
In a game marred by officiating controversy, Argentina was defeated 2-0 by Brazil in the Copa America semi-final in 2019. Decisions were made against them, and they will be eager to extract, if not retribution, then at least a chance to record a successful chapter in their history, despite their denials.
They are placed in the more difficult of the two groups, along with Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay, yet four of the five teams advance to the quarterfinals. Coach Lionel Scaloni stated, “Football is so tough, so demanding, that a stopped ball, a refereeing error – and we’re fully aware of this – leaves you out. Even with VAR, which is meant to give justice, you might be kicked out even though you are incomparably better than your opponent.”
“In the end, worthy doesn’t matter; only the winner is recognized Yes, we will be one of the protagonists, and we will fight to the bitter end.” he added.
Scaloni has put together a strong roster, with players like Angel Di Maria of Paris Saint-Germain, Juan Foyth of Villarreal, and Lautaro Martinez of Inter Milan all coming off successful seasons with their respective clubs. Scaloni has brought in new players that have stepped up, with Argentina remaining unbeaten in their World Cup qualifying group after six games and looking excellent for Qatar 2022. However, all eyes will once again be on Messi and the one remaining question mark in an otherwise flawless career.