Argentina will hope to secure the top spot in Group A when they meet rock-bottom Bolivia in their final Copa America group stage match.
Early in the tournament, when Argentina played a draw with Chile, there were doubts cast again on La Albiceleste, undermining their chances in this edition of the Copa America. However, Argentina bounced back to win back-to-back games against Uruguay and Paraguay to remain with an opportunity to finish on top of Group A.
Argentina have already qualified for the next round of the tournament, and a win against bottom side Bolivia will ensure they clinch the top spot. However, the form of Bolivia should not make Argentina lose their tools as anything can happen in such a tournament, with the worst sides capable of causing upsets.
Bolivia will be looking back in disappointment at their run in the tournament so far, earning no points from their three games. After losing their opening two games to Paraguay and Chile, the Bolivian team was under tremendous pressure to win against Uruguay.
Bolivia did make a great start against Uruguay but eventually lost 2-0, thus relinquishing any chance they had before the final game against Argentina. It won’t be an easy task to get a result against this in-form Argentine side, but the Bolivians will look to go back home with some pride under their belt.
Team News & Tactics
The only motivation to hang with Bolivia is to go out with some pride. Barring that, there is nothing else to play for. So it remains unclear what sort of changes Cesar Farias will make to the side for the game. However, Bolivia has missed few players since the start of the tournament who could come back into the side.
One of them is captain Marcelo Moreno, who missed the first two games as he was recovering from coronavirus. The forward did come off the bench in the last game and could start against Argentina. Henry Vaca, who was out since the start due to the same reason, could be in line for a start.
The other possible changes could be to bring Rodrigo Ramallo back into the side as he can influence attack. Farias could also deploy Enrique Flores and Erwin Saavedra in the full-back positions against Argentina.
Predicted Lineup (4-5-1): Lampe; Saavedra, Quinteros, Jusino, Flores; Arce, Henry Vaca, Justiniano, Ramiro Vaca, Ramallo; Moreno
Lionel Scaloni could use this game to make some changes and give minutes to players who did not feature against Paraguay. Among them are Rodrigo De Paul, Joaquin Correa, Angel Correa and Lautaro Martinez, who can come back into the side.
Scaloni could trust those players to get a result against Bolivia and make do without some senior stars such as Lionel Messi, Angel Di Maria and Sergio Aguero could all be named on the bench not to risk them unnecessarily.
Scaloni could also think about giving Lisandro Martinez a chance to shine from the get-go. Barring that, some regulars are expected to start, as Scaloni will name Emiliano Martinez, Cristian Romero and Leandro Paredes in the starting lineup to keep the momentum going.
Predicted Lineup (4-3-3): Emiliano Martinez; Molina, Romero, Lisandro Martinez, Acuna; De Paul, Dominguez, Paredes; Angel Correa, Lautaro Martinez, Joaquin Correa
- Argentina have lost just once against Bolivia in their last five games in all competitions.
- During those five games, Argentina scored 14 goals while conceding three goals.
- Argentina have conceded just once so far in Copa America, and alongside Brazil, hold the best defensive record at the group stages.
Player to Watch
Lautaro Martinez started the first two games against Chile and Uruguay but failed to form a viable partnership with Lionel Messi upfront. In both those games, he was substituted and was unable to feature in the last match against Paraguay. The Inter Milan forward is certainly finding it difficult ro make his mark, but he is the future of Argentine football.
The striker will likely be reinstated to the starting lineup against Bolivia and will have another chance to prove his worth to Lionel Scaloni, especially heading into the next round. Martinez needs to get on the scoresheet and break his duck in the tournament, as goals will help him cement a place in the side moving forward.
Bolivia 0-2 Argentina
The bottom-placed team faces the first-placed, and there can only be one likely outcome. Barring a surprise upset, Argentina are clear favourites going into this clash. Argentina scoring exactly one goal each in their three games so far tells a story about the state of their attack, but they could deliver more in this match.
Bolivia have struggled badly to get anything in this tournament, scoring just once and conceding more goals than needed. Expect Argentina to beat Bolivia with ease and also for them to score more than once in this fixture for a change.