Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Argentina v Peru: Scaloni to let youth take centre stage in final Group A game

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 28 Jun 2024

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Argentina’s younger players are set to be given the opportunity to shine in their Copa America group meeting with Peru.

Reigning champions Argentina secured their spot in the quarter-finals of the competition following their 1-0 win over Chile on Wednesday.

It offers the opportunity for Lionel Scaloni to experiment with his side, and he is hopeful Argentina’s youngsters can seize the moment against La Blanquirroja.

“We are satisfied, and we can enjoy the days, and give the youngest ones minutes,” Scaloni said.

“I think it’s fair to have the players that did not have minutes get onto the pitch.”

“Hopefully when we give them (young players) the opportunity, they will be able to seize it.”

La Albiceleste, however, will be without captain Lionel Messi, who will be rested for the knockout stages of the competition after missing training on Thursday.

“I felt some discomfort in my right hamstring at the beginning of the game,” Messi said after the win over Chile.

“In the first play, my adductor got hard. I didn’t feel a tear, but I did find it difficult to move freely.

“It wasn’t as loose as it should’ve been. But I was able to finish the game. We’ll see how it goes.”

Peru, meanwhile, know they must earn a first victory over their opponents since June 1997, a 2-1 win at the Copa America to progress to the quarter-finals.

They have picked up just one point from their opening two group games, losing late on to Canada last time out thanks to Jonathan David’s winner.

Jorge Fossati’s side are now winless in their last five games at the tournament, their longest winless streak in the competition (since at least 1993) and face an enormous task against the current world champions.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Argentina – Nicolas Gonzalez

Having watched Argentina’s opening game triumph over Canada from the bench, Gonzalez was brought into the side to face Chile, and his influence on proceedings was evident.

Gonzalez had the most touches in the opposition box (10), shots on target (two) and second-most shots (three), only bettered by Alexis Mac Allister and Rodrigo De Paul (both four).

The Fiorentina winger has been involved in more attacking sequences per 90 than any other player to have played a minimum of 45 minutes in the tournament, giving Scaloni food for thought with his team selection on Sunday.

Peru – Gianluca Lapadula

Peru are one of only five sides yet to open their account at the Copa America this year following their goalless draw with Chile and 1-0 defeat to Canada.

Their last international goal came in a pre-tournament friendly against El Salvador, but Lapadula showed promising signs against Canada that a goal was forthcoming.

Lapadula registered the most shots (four) and touches in the opposition box (three) of any player in the Peru squad, and will want to add to his 10 international goals.

MATCH PREDICTION: ARGENTINA WIN

The Opta supercomputer is heavily backing Argentina to stay perfect at the 2024 Copa America. They won 75.8% of the pre-match simulations, while Chile won just 10.2%.

This will be Argentina’s 13th meeting with Peru at the tournament, with La Albiceleste recording a win and a clean sheet in their last two meetings at the Copa America (1-0 in 2004, 4-0 in 2007).

Should they emerge victorious, Argentina will have three consecutive wins against Peru in the competition for the first time since between 1927-1947 (W7).

A win will see them triumph in all of their group games for the third time this century. However, they will be hoping to rewrite history having finished runners-up in the two previous instances in which they achieved a 100% win rate in the group stage (2016 and 2007).

​Peru, meanwhile, will be looking to remain in the tournament. A defeat will see them eliminated from the competition without a win for the first time since 1995, when they recorded two losses (v Brazil and Ecuador) and one draw (v Colombia) in the group stage.

OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

Argentina – 75.8%

Draw – 14%

Peru – 10.2%

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SoccerNews

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