Argentina will be looking to end their 26-year trophy drought as they kick off their Copa America Group B campaign against Colombia this Saturday. Lionel Messi is yet to win a trophy with La Albiceleste, and this tournament could well be his last chance to do so. The Argentines possess a forward line that is the envy of almost every country in the world, but are not so strong in midfield or defence. How coach Lionel Scaloni sets up his team for their opening encounter will be interesting to see.
Colombia are coached by the only European coach at the tournament this year, in the shape of former Manchester United assistant manager Carlos Queiroz. The Portuguese only took on the Colombia job in the spring, but has a strong track record in international football, especially during his time with the Iran national side.
Argentina vs Colombia Prediction: Argentina 1-2 Colombia
Our prediction for this game is that Colombia will win a close game 2-1. Argentina have plenty of power in attack, and they will probably score at least once, but they are less strong when it comes to defending. They also have not enjoyed many great results over the last few months, with victories coming against countries like Morocco and Nicaragua rather than other South American countries. They lost the Superclasico de las Americas to Brazil last October, for example. Colombia are well coached and have the players to breach a lacklustre Argentine defence twice and secure victory.
Our recommended tip: Colombia, both score
Our featured tip for this game comes from Betway, who are offering odds of 6/1 on Colombia to win and both teams to score. This bet offers some really good value, in terms of the odds on offer, and also gives you a great deal of flexibility when it comes to the precise final scoreline. Argentina are not the force they were in days gone by, though they have the incomparable Messi in their ranks. They have also named five different goalkeepers in their last five games, something which points to a certain amount of fragility between the sticks.
These two countries have been playing each other since 1945, when they met for the first time in the Copa America in Chile. Argentina have had much the best of the 39 encounters since then, having won 24 times. There have been seven draws, and the Colombians have come out on top on eight occasions.
The last time the two sides met was in a friendly international in September 2018 in New Jersey. The game ended in a goalless draw. Their last competitive meeting was in November 2016 in a World Cup qualifier. Argentina won 3-0 at home.
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Players to watch: Sergio Aguero & Duvan Zapata
While much of the focus on Argentina in this tournament is sure to centre on Lionel Messi, opponents would do well to take note of Sergio Aguero too. Part of the awesome Albiceleste front line with Messi and Paulo Dybala, Aguero won the Premier League, FA Cup and League Cup with Manchester City in 2018/19, scoring 21 goals in 33 Premier League games in the process. He also managed to score six goals in seven Champions League outings.
Duvan Zapata has been playing his football in Italy’s Serie A with Atalanta, and scored 23 goals in 37 league matches in 2018/19, a very fine record indeed. He added another five goals in other competitions too. Those goals helped his club to qualify for the Champions League, and Argentina will need to keep a very close eye on a player who really comes alive in the opposition penalty area.