Argentina will take on Chile in a World Cup qualifying match on June 4 at the Unique Stadium of Santiago del Estero in Argentina.
The two sides, Argentina and Chile, share a fierce rivalry that has only intensified over the last few years. The nations competed in the finals of the Copa America in successive years in 2015 and 2016. Chile won both the finals on penalties, thus extending Argentina’s 35-year long trophy drought.
Argentina and Chile will also have one eye on this year’s Copa America, which has been shifted to Brazil after problems and unrest in Colombia and Argentina. In fact, Argentina and Chile will also play the opening Copa America fixture on June 14.
As such, this World Cup qualifying fixture could potentially prove to be a preview of the Copa America opening fixture.
ARGENTINA’S WORLD CUP QUALIFYING CAMPAIGN SO FAR
Argentina have had a near-perfect World Cup qualifying campaign so far. In four matches, they have won three and drew another game – a record bettered only by rivals Brazil. As a result, Argentina are second in the CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying campaign, two points behind Brazil.
They began their qualifying campaign with a 1-0 win over Ecuador, where a Lionel Messi goal from 12 yards proved to be enough. The Albiceleste then travelled to La Paz and beat the challenges of playing football at higher altitude to register a 2-1 victory over Bolivia. This time around, Lautaro Martinez and Joaquin Correa were on the scoresheet.
The victory against Bolivia was followed by a disappointing 1-1 draw with Paraguay in November. Despite dominating the game and creating the better chances, Argentina couldn’t find a way to take the lead in the match. They got back to winning ways in the next match, however, with Nico Gonzalez and Lautaro Martinez finding the back of the net against Peru!
ARGENTINA’S PROBABLE TACTICS AND LINEUP AGAINST CHILE
According to rumours in the media, head coach Lionel Scaloni is expected to stick with almost the same lineup he has been fielding in recent games. In goal, Scaloni has reasons to try both Franco Armani and Emiliano Martinez. Either of them could start this match and the other might be deployed in the next World Cup qualifier before the Copa America begins.
Angel Di Maria’s brilliant form with PSG this season might see him return to the starting XI. Di Maria has been a major fixture for Argentina in continental tournaments over the years and might lend a cutting edge to the attack. Talismanic figure Lionel Messi is also expected to start along with Lautaro Martinez, who recently won Serie A with Inter.
In midfield, Scaloni might be tempted to use the trio of Leandro Paredes, Giovani Lo Celso and Rodrigo de Paul. Paredes can act both as a sweeper for the backline as well as a lethal passer capable of breaking the lines while de Paul provides athleticism and tenacity in the midfield along with creative vision. Giovani Lo Celso will be expected to orchestrate the tempo of the game when Argentina are in possession.
Probable Argentina Lineup (4-3-3): Franco Armani, Montiel/Foyth, Martinez Quarta, German Pezzella, Nicolas Tagliafico; Rodrigo De Paul, Leandro Paredes, Giovani Lo Celso; Angel Di Maria, Lionel Messi, Lautaro Martinez
CHILE’S WORLD CUP QUALIFYING CAMPAIGN SO FAR
Chile are in a precarious situation at the moment. Having played four matches, they have won only once, a win that arrived against Peru quite a bit back in November.
La Roja have been defeated by Uruguay and Venezuela and ended up drawing their match with Colombia 2-2. Chile have scored six goals in the qualifying campaign so far and have conceded six times as well.
They are ranked sixth in the table with four points to their name. As things stand, Chile trail Paraguay and Uruguay – in fourth and fifth positions respectively – by two points and Ecuador, placed third, by five points!
They need to get more wins under their belt in order to find themselves on comfortable footing. Chile missed out on qualification for the World Cup in Russia and would like to avoid that tragedy this time around.
The top four teams in the table qualify directly for the World Cup whereas the team placed fifth compete in play-offs against teams from another confederation in order to book their passage to the World Cup.
CHILE’S POSSIBLE TACTICS AND LINEUP AGAINST ARGENTINA
Manager Martin Lasarte will be without the services of River Plate’s Paulo Diaz, who has been excluded from the squad. On the other hand, Gabriel Arias, Eugenio Mena, and Pablo Galdames have made their comebacks to the national side.
As per the latest reports, ace Chilean midfielder Arturo Vidal has tested positive for COVID-19 and will miss the upcoming World Cup qualifiers. All eyes will be on his Inter teammate Alexis Sanchez, who has been the main protagonist for Chile over the last few years.
Probable Chile Lineup (4-2-3-1): Claudio Bravo; Mauricio Isla, Francisco Sierralta, Guillermo Maripan, Alfonso Parot; Erick Pulgar, Esteban Pavez; Felipe Mora, Cesar Pinares, Eduardo Vargas, Alexis Sanchez
VISIT OUR BLOG TO GET YOUR FIX FOR ALL OF THE MOST CURRENT FOOTBALL NEWS STORIES & FEATURES