Another Copa America, another chance for Argentina to end drought

This yr’s Copa America provides Argentina another chance to break a 28-year trophy drought, which has been made even tougher by a venue swap from residence turf to that of arch-rivals Brazil.

The Argentines have been supposed to stage the event this yr however with COVID-19 instances surging it was moved on the final minute and Brazil are actually internet hosting their second Copa America in succession, starting on Sunday.

The final time Argentina received the event was in 1993, their 14th title, with Diego Simeone anchoring the midfield and Gabriel Batistuta scoring objectives at centre ahead.

Since then they’ve reached the ultimate 4 instances, all since 2004, and failed to carry the trophy. It’s a galling run for a proud footballing nation and particularly for gamers like Lionel Messi, who should not used to being second finest.

Profitable the Copa is “at all times our dream,” Messi mentioned final week. “Regardless of the competitors, we at all times need to win one thing with the nationwide group. The reality is that the boys are very eager and the older ones possibly much more so.”

Messi will flip 34 on June 24 so this may very well be his final chance to lastly choose up some silverware carrying a blue and white shirt, having collected a plethora of trophies taking part in for Barcelona.

The swap to Brazil will undoubtedly make issues tougher for the Argentines however it may additionally present them with extra of an incentive.

Argentina have been crushed 2-0 within the Copa America semi-final by Brazil in 2019 in a recreation marked by refereeing controversy.

Choices went in opposition to them and, though they may deny it, they are going to be eager to extract, if not revenge, then not less than a chance to write a profitable chapter of their historical past.

They’re drawn within the hardest of the 2 teams, alongside Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay, however 4 of the 5 undergo to the quarter finals.

“Soccer is so aggressive, so troublesome, {that a} stopped ball, a refereeing error – and we’re nicely conscious of this – leaves you out,” coach Lionel Scaloni mentioned.

“Even with VAR, which supposedly delivers justice, you might be out, though you’re infinitely superior to your rival.

“Within the end deserving counts for nothing, solely the one who wins is recognised… Sure, we’re going to be one of many protagonists and we’re going to combat till the end.”

The group Scaloni has constructed is stable, and gamers like Paris St-Germain’s Angel Di Maria, Juan Foyth of Villarreal and Inter Milan’s Lautaro Martinez are all coming off wonderful seasons with their golf equipment.

Scaloni has blooded new gamers as nicely they usually have stepped up, with Argentina unbeaten after six video games of their World Cup qualifying group and searching good for Qatar 2022.

As soon as once more, although, all eyes will probably be on Messi and the one excellent query mark on an in any other case unimpeachable profession.

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