THE Copa America final will take place on the 22nd anniversary of Argentina's last senior title. Can the 2015 vintage live up to their tag as pre-tournament favourites and end that wait for success? Tim Vickery (@Tim_Vickery) and Mark O'Haire (@MarkOHaire) talk you through their chances of success.
- Outright Winner: 5/2f (Sportingbet)
- Group B Winner: 3/10 (SkyBet)
- Top-Two Group B Finish: 1/16 (SkyBet)
- Highest Scoring Team: 5/4 (SkyBet)
- Form Post-World Cup: W5-D0-L2
Tim Vickery's View[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/206967349?secret_token=s-xpmHx” params=”auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&visual=true” width=”100%” height=”300″ iframe=”true” /]
Mark O'Haire's View
Santiago hosts the final of the Copa America on 4 July and it will mark exactly 22 years to the day since Argentina last tasted glory in a major international tournament. Seven Copa Americas and six World Cups have passed but the wait goes on for La Albiceleste.
Last summer’s run to the World Cup final was as close as Argentina have got to ending their barren streak and with former Barcelona boss Gerardo Martino now at the helm, the focus is on lifting a record-equalling 15th continental crown and justifying their tag as pre-tournament favourites.
Martino’s built on the work of predecessor Alejandro Sabella but is looking at adopting a slightly more conservative 4-3-3 with Angel Di Maria and Lionel Messi filling the two wider positions in the forward trio with one of Sergio Aguero, Carlos Tevez or Gonzalo Higuain filling the vacant central position. The firepower at the coach’s disposal is awe-inspiring.
However, it’s not all rosy in La Albiceleste’s garden. The lack of defensive pace remains a real concern for Argentina fans despite the obvious class in the potential centre-half partnership of Ezequiel Garay and Nicolas Otamendi. To combat those shortcomings, Martino will rely on the blunt solidity of seven largely defensive players to provide a platform for his rotating cast of attacking superstars.
Argentina are overdue success and last year’s World Cup heartache might just spur the side on. With Messi seemingly breaking even more boundaries this season, it really is a case of now or never.
Martino’s looking to win the competition and they should be good enough to negotiate top spot in Group B where a soft quarter-final awaits ahead of a likely semi-final showdown against Brazil or Colombia. Anything less than an appearance in the final should be deemed a failure but would you be willing to back them at 5/2 (Sportingbet)?
The View From The Inside
“They should be looking to win it. On the basis of the World Cup they are the best side in South America but they have, of course, changed manager since then.
Gerardo Martino gets unnecessarily slated for his time at Barcelona but he's a good coach who has had a lot of success playing a high-pressing 4-3-3. They’ll be finalists.”
– Ed Malyon (@EaaMalyon) Deputy Sports Editor at Mirror.co.uk.
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Argentina Form & Stats
|Last 10 Competitive Games||W6-D3-L1||Last 20 Competitive Games||W12-D7-L1|
|0-0 Draw||3/10||0-0 Draw||4/20|
|Over 1.5 Goals||5/10||Over 1.5 Goals||14/20|
|Over 2.5 Goals||5/10||Over 2.5 Goals||12/20|
|Over 3.5 Goals||4/10||Over 3.5 Goals||6/20|
|Over 4.5 Goals||3/10||Over 4.5 Goals||3/20|
|Both Teams To Score||5/10||Both Teams To Score||11/20|
|Fail To Score||3/10||Fail To Score||4/20|
|Clean Sheet||5/10||Clean Sheet||9/20|
|HT Draw||4/10||HT Draw||8/20|
|Over 1.5 Team Goals||5/10||Over 1.5 Team Goals||11/20|
|Win + Both Teams To Score||4/10||Win + Both Teams To Score||7/20|
*All stats and form correct until 30 May 2015*