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The defence remains a worry, however, and continental heavyweights like Brazil and Uruguay will be desperate to spoil the party for the hosts and claim a famous Copa victory. Coach Sergio Batista is relatively untested since taking over post-World Cup, and will have to deal with the pressure of an expectant public as he hopes to mark his first year in charge with the prestigious trophy.
What more can be said about 'La Pulga', the finest player currently in world football and the focal point of this Argentina side. The Ballon d'Or winner of the last two years is deployed as a withdrawn centre forward in Batista's system and is expected to roam the field creating play, and be available in the penalty area to showcase his unrivalled goalscoring ability.
Messi boasts an enviable quantity of titles and medals with Barcelona, but is still waiting for his first major trophy with the senior national side. He will hope to further strengthen his link with the people, in a relationship slowly warming after a rocky start.
COPA AMERICA HISTORY
- Best position: Champions (1921, 1925, 1927, 1929, 1937, 1941, 1945, 1946, 1947, 1955, 1957, 1959, 1991 & 1993)
- Biggest victory: 12-0 vs Ecuador, Copa America 1942
- Biggest defeat: 5-0 vs Uruguay, Copa America 1959
HOW THEY PLAY
Sergio Batista has one clear objective; to help the Seleccion rediscover the famous, traditional playing style of Argentine national teams of old. Control and distribution of the ball is sacred, as is a stranglehold on possession and the emphasis on neat, one-touch buildup play to bring the play to the opposition area, essentially what the coach values so much when watching Spain and Barcelona. His team plays the ball out from the back, and the goalkeeper is expected to distribute to the defence rather than launch upfield.
His preferred formation is a dynamic 4-3-3, which can be contracted to 4-1-4-1 when the opposition has possession. The ball should be won back as far up the pitch as possible, with rival spaces suffocated and pressure put on every touch. The idea is filtering through to his players, who are now playing with patience and precision as they work the ball towards the goal.
|Juan Pablo Carrizo
|Javier Pastore||Midfield|| 21
| Carlos Tevez
|Angel Di Maria
Considered by many as the best footballer of all-time, El Diez helped establish Argentina at the summit of world football. He was a world champion in 1986, where he deservedly earned the plaudits of the entire planet, and runner-up in 1990.
On the pitch, his unstoppable dribbling, precision, magic left foot, intelligence, personality and soul of a leader made him a fearsome prospect for any rival. Quite simply, he is the biggest icon in the history of the Argentine national team.
What more can be said about 'La Pulga', the best player currently in world football and the focal point of this Argentina side. The Balon D'Or winner of the last two years plays as a withdrawn centre forward in Batista's system and is expected to roam the field creating play, while at the same time being available in the penalty area to showcase his unrivalled goalscoring ability.
Messi boasts an enviable quantity of titles and medals with Barcelona, but is still waiting for his first title with the senior national side. He will hope to shine in front of a home crowd and further strengthen his link with the people, in a relationship slowly warming after a rocky start. He is by far the forward who strikes most fear in the hearts of defenders, thanks to his great speed, exquisite ball skills and astonishing firepower in front of goal.
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