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Jun 20, 2019


Another lacklustre performance have started creating doubts about Messi role in the National team. May be the team needs their talismanic captain in a completely different role.




Just like the World Cup last year, Argentina has managed to take their fate in the tournament and placed it in the hands of other teams in the Copa America 2019. Such was the pathetic show which was put up, naturally, people started asking questions about their billing as a top team. Messi and Company still could qualify if they win against Qatar and Paraguay fail to beat Columbia.


It's easier said than done. Columbia may do the favor to Argentina by not going down to Paraguay. But going by tonight's showing, a victory against current Asian Champions Qatar is not a foregone conclusion.





As I warned in my last post - 3 Things Argentina Should Do to Triumph at the Copa America 2019?, Argentina panicked big time following the Columbia defeat. What was needed was careful, calculated tweaking to the team. But Scaloni went with a wholesale change of the formation and personal. The result was pathetic, and the team looked like a disjointed group.


It was sheer luck with which they escaped with a point. They deserved to lose as they played like they haven't been on a football pitch in their life. Lionel Messi was so poor and looked like a guy who was forced to play. His supporting cast was no better either.


One thing which was clear from the match was that Argentina needs to recalibrate its approach they take with Messi. For me, I no longer wants Messi to play as a striker in this squad. His service as a midfield playmaker is more warranted than anything at this moment. Let see the reasons behind that thinking.


1. Messi is getting Isolated Staying Upfront


It was clear from the beginning that Messi was advised to stay up front for the entirety of the match. There is a school of thinking that the problem with Argentina is Messi dropping deep into midfield more than needed. Those who argue this case should see tonight's match again.


Staying up makes him a passenger in the game. This is not the Barcelona side where the service reaches him and he just has to link with the team just outside the box. It also helps the defense in dealing with him.


2. Argentinian Midfielders cannot pass to Save their Lives


What was shocking about tonight's performance was the sheer inability of the Argentinian to put together three passes in a row in the midfield. It is understandable if they are struggling to do that in the opposition final third. But it was happening in the middle of the pitch. That incompetent where they!


It was clear that Argentinian midfield consists of a bunch of wingers and holding midfielder who is asked to do the playmaker role. Forget making the through passes, these players can't even pass to each other. And the level of skill is quite pathetic. Most of them were struggling to even control the ball.


Messi needs to be slotted as the tip of the diamond in the midfield. That way he can link with attackers and midfield. One thing is clear if Messi doesn't drop deep, the ball will not reach anywhere near opposition half. So the best option is to play Messi as a midfielder rather than a striker. The strike force should be Lautaro and Aguero and behind that Messi should play as the orchestrator in midfield.


3. Aguero and Messi are the only Once with Some Understanding


The third and most important reason is the fact that of all the players, it seems Aguero and Messi are the only ones who have some kind of understanding. They at least know the intention of the other and play that one-two passes. The problem with Messi upfront is that the chances of them linking with each other will be quite a few (As the ball will not reach them).


Messi in midfield will allow Aguero to drop and link with him and release De Paul on the wings and maybe with Lautaro staying upfront can add more danger in the box.




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