By ending the long wait of millions of fans, Argentine coach Lionel Scaloni revealed his World Cup squad last Friday (November 11). The Albiceleste had a disappointing campaign in the previous edition, losing 3-1 to eventual winner France in the Round of 16. This time, Argentina are well prepared to end their 36-year trophy drought. Let's take a look at the squad analysis of Argentina for the FIFA World Cup 2022.
Argentina squad announced for 2022 World Cup in Qatar
A 26-member Argentina squad was announced for the forthcoming FIFA World Cup 2022. Take a look at the players who were called up for the Qatar 2022 tournament.
Table: Argentina’s 26-member team for FIFA Football World Cup 2022
|Goalkeepers||Emiliano Martinez (Aston Villa), Geronimo Rulli (Villarreal), Franco Armani (River Plate)|
|Defenders||Nahuel Molina (Atletico de Madrid), Gonzalo Montiel (Sevilla), Cristian Romero (Tottenham), German Pezzella (Real Betis), Nicolas Otamendi (Benfica), Lisandro Martinez (Manchester United), Juan Foyth (Villarreal), Nicolas Tagliafico (Olympique Lyon), Marcos Acuna (Sevilla)|
|Midfielders||Leandro Paredes (Juventus), Rodrigo De Paul (Atletico de Madrid), Guido Rodriguez (Real Betis), Alexis Mac Allister (Brighton), Alejandro Gomez (Seville), Enzo Fernandez (Benfica), Exequiel Palacios (Bayer Leverkusen)|
|Forwards||Lionel Messi (PSG), Lautaro Martinez (Inter Milan), Julian Alvarez (Manchester City), Angel Di Maria (Juventus), Paulo Dybala (AS Roma), Joaquin Correa (Inter Milan), Nicolas Gonzalez (Fiorentina)|
Two-time champions Argentina has announced a 31-man squad, which comprised 46 players initially. Later, manager Lionel Scaloni cut the list to 31, eliminating 15 players. And finally, he announced the final squad comprising 26 players.
Scaloni announced the squad through a video from the Argentina Football Federation’s Twitter account on social media on Friday, November 11. Argentina will start its world cup mission on November 22 against Saudi Arabia. Their other two opponents in the ‘C’ group are Mexico (November 26) and Poland (November 30).
There are no surprises in Scaloni’s squad. Rulli won the duel with third goalkeeper Juan Muso. Martinez and Rulli were the manager’s first choice as goalkeepers, while Armani joined the team as the third goalkeeper.
Paulo Dybala has been included in the 26-man squad despite injury concerns. Despite doubts, Juan Foyth is also going to Qatar. Angel Correa and Joaquin Correa were both on Scaloni’s radar, but eventually the latter was picked for the main event. Giovanni Lo Celso was a first-choice midfielder who was ruled out due to injury. Exequiel Palacios was picked as his replacement.
Injured Star Players Included in the Argentina’s World Cup 2022 roster
Although Argentina announced a balanced team, some key players were injured but included in the team as they have been recovering fast.
After nearly a month out due to injury, Paulo Dybala returned to the field with AS Roma’s match against Torino in Serie A on November 13. The Argentinian forward came on as a substitute in the 70th minute and put good pressure on Turin’s defense. Dybala has recovered well from his injury, but now he needs to regain his momentum. The Argentine campaign is hopeful that he will work his best for the ultimate tournament.
Angel Di Maria
Di Maria has recovered from an injury suffered in mid-October, playing three matches for Juventus last week. However, he was used as a substitute in all three games. The veteran Argentine winger has started to regain his rhythm, and hopefully, he will reach his best possible shape before the tournament kicks off.
Argentine central defender Cristian Romero didn’t appear in the last few matches for his club Tottenham Hotspur. He was suffering from muscle injury and has already recovered from it. But Romero is coming into the World Cup without having played any matches in the last two weeks, which should be a major concern for coach Lionel Scaloni.
Juan Foyth played the second match on November 14 for Villarreal, returning to the team after being out for almost a month. Played 60 minutes in the Copa del Rey match against Santa Amalia. The Argentine right-back assisted on two goals in the team’s 9–0 win, indicating that he is gaining his rhythm. Foyth is expected to be fully fit by November 22 for Argentina’s match against Saudi Arabia.
Argentina team analysis for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar
Argentina’s No. 1 goalkeeper in the tournament will be Emi Martinez, who has gained trust after a masterclass performance in the Copa America 2021. Geronimo Rulli and Franco Armani are thought to be the second- and third-choice keepers for coach Lionel Scaloni, respectively.
Cristian Romero and Nicolas Otamendi are the two first-choice center backs. Lisandro Martinez’s recent form with Manchester United would certainly make for strong competition for a place in the backline. Fullbacks Nahuel Molina and Marcos Acuna have won the coach’s trust last year by showing consistency for the national side. Overall, the current Argentine defense is better balanced than it was a few years ago.
Losing midfielder Giovanni Lo Celso will be a big miss for Argentina. However, the rise of Enzo Fernandez this season could potentially bring success for Argentina during the World Cup. Enzo can be considered a like-for-like replacement for Lo Celso and could play as a double pivot. However, the man who will be the most key player in the Albiceleste’s midfield is Rodrigo De Paul. He will have to make a strong connection with defensive midfielder Leandro Paredes. Both De Paul and Paredes have been in sublime form with the national team in recent years, and they were expected to continue to thrive in the World Cup as well.
Lionel Messi could play as an attacking midfielder, creating opportunities for the strikers. Messi may well be seen to play deeper to strengthen the Argentine midfield. Therefore, Lautaro Martinez and Julian Alvarez will have to take on the main responsibilities of finding the back of the net, and veteran Angel Di Maria could pose a real threat to the opposition's defense through the left wing. Besides, Dybala is a great player upfront but may not be seen in the starting XI because he plays the same position as Messi’s.
There are several key players in Argentina's squad. Among them, some will play a vital role in the quest for their third World Cup glory. Here are the three crucial players for Argentina.
This could potentially be Lionel Messi’s last World Cup. Considered one of the all-time great players, Messi has achieved almost everything except the World Cup. Therefore, all eyes will be on him during the main event. Messi did not have a good season for PSG last year. But this football superstar is in a great mood this season. He scored 12 goals in 19 matches in all competitions for the French giants and assisted 14 goals.
Leo is also running at a great speed for the national team. Last September, Argentina won 3-0 against Honduras and Jamaica in international friendly matches. Messi scored two goals in both matches. With this rhythm, Diego Maradona’s worthy successor is attending the World Cup in Qatar.
Rodrigo De Paul
Rodrigo De Paul has become the heart of Argentina’s midfield since making his senior debut in 2018. De Paul is an integral part of Argentina’s 35-match unbeaten run. What’s more important is that he can make a strong linkup with Messi and Paredes, the two important players in Argentina’s game plan. Therefore, this tall and stout midfielder will be a vital player to watch in the Argentina squad.
Cristian Romero is considered the best center-back Argentina have produced over the last decade. This talented player won the Serie A Best Defender Award in the 2020–21 season during his time at Atalanta. He has been one of the best defenders in the Premier League since joining Tottenham Hotspur in 2021. Romero has brought solidarity to Argentina’s defense in the last year or so. He will play an important role in tackling and discarding opposition opportunities for Argentina during the World Cup 2022.
Argentina ended a 28-year title drought by winning last year’s Copa America, then beat Italy to win the 2022 La Finalissima. On the way to this success, Messi wants to overcome the biggest regret of his career by winning the Qatar 2022 event. Many in the football world believe that this talented Argentina squad has enough potential and is considered one of the hot favourites to win the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.