Argentina’s final Copa America warm up match sees them tackle Nicaragua in San Juan on Friday.
Results have been mixed for Lionel Scaloni’s side, who have won five, drawn one and lost two of their matches since losing 4-2 to France at the World Cup last year.
With a mediocre record in major competitions, particularly in recent years, the onus is once again on the Albiceleste to shine in the summer, but failure to overcome the minnows of Nicaragua this weekend would be a major blow to their confidence.
|Game||Argentina vs Nicaragua|
|Date||Friday, June 7|
|Time||1:10am BST / 8:10pm ET|
|Stream (US)||fubo TV (7-day free trial)|
TV Channel, Live Stream & How To Watch
In the United States (US), the game can be watched on BeINSports and live and on-demand with fuboTV (7-day free trial).
New users can sign up for a free seven-day trial of the live sports streaming service, which can be accessed via iOS, Android, Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, Roku and Apple TV as well as on a web browser.
|US TV channel||Online stream|
|beIN Sports / beIN Sports en Espanol||fubo TV (7-day free trial)|
In the United Kingdom (UK), the game will be not be broadcast or available to stream.
|UK TV channel||Online stream|
Squads & Team News
|Goalkeepers||Armani, Marchesin, Andrada|
|Defenders||Foyth, Tagliafico, Saravia, Pezzella, Funes Mori, Casco, Otamendi|
|Midfielders||Paredes, Pereyra, Acuna, Di Maria, Pizarro, De Paul, Rodriguez, Lo Celso|
|Forwards||Aguero, Messi, Suarez, Dybala, Martinez|
Argentina starting XI: Armani, Saravia, Otamendi, Foyth, Acuna; Rodriguez, Lo Celso, Paredes; Suarez, Aguero, Messi
|Goalkeepers||Lorente, Maradiaga, Rodriguez|
|Defenders||Flores, Copete, Lopez, Perez, Rosas, Montenegro, Huete, Quijano|
|Midfielders||Lopez, Cadena, Punyed, Serapio, Baez, Arteaga, Betancur, Gkoufas|
|Forwards||Chavarria, Galeano, Bonilla, Barrera|
Nicaragua starting XI: Lorente; Quijano, Copete, Rosas, Montenegro; M. Lopez, Punyed, Chavarria, Bonilla; Barrera, Betancur.
Betting & Match Odds
Argentina are incredibly short-priced favourites with Bet365, offered at 1/50. Nicaragua can be backed at 33/1 while a draw is available at 16/1.
Argentina’s road to the Copa America ends on Friday with a friendly match against Nicaragua, which is their final opportunity to tune up before the continental competition begins in Brazil.
The last time La Albiceleste won a major international tournament was in 1993, when Lionel Messi had just turned six, and with each passing competition pressure mounts on the team – and the five-time Ballon d’Or winner – to break that duck.
“In Russia, from the first day, everything went wrong,” Angel Di Maria admitted to Fox Sports. “Things didn’t go as well planned. We just made the World Cup, thanks to Leo. Everything kept going bad, what happened against Nigeria and against France, we knew that things weren’t right.
“What’s important, though, is what’s happening now. The good atmosphere, the group. There are no problems and that’s the best thing.
“We’re candidates to win the Copa America because we’re Argentina and we have the best player in the world.”
Candidates they may be, but there is little doubt that Brazil go into the competition as favourites, having defeats their great rivals 1-0 last October. Since, Argentina have twice beaten Mexico but slumped to a 3-1 loss to Venezuela in March, despite Messi’s presence, and only edged Morocco a day later.
This is not a nation yet playing to the standard one would expect of a serious candidate for glory this summer and in order to build confidence they would expect to put several goals past a team that will compete in the Gold Cup, which begins later this month.
Nicaragua, who are 129th on the FIFA Ranking, picked up a very creditable 2-2 draw in Bolivia on their last visit to South American soil, but are not used to playing teams the standard of Argentina.
Anything other than a heavy defeat would be a positive result for the Central Americans.