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Argentina national football team
Copa America | Group Stage
Jun 21, 2024 at 1am UK
Mercedes-Benz Stadium
Canada national football team

2 - 0

Alvarez (49'), Martinez (88')
De Paul (61'), Lo Celso (90+1')
FT(HT: 0-0)

Kone (81'), Cornelius (90+4')

Preview: Argentina vs. Canada - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Thursday's Copa America clash between Argentina and Canada, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Argentina will begin the defence of their Copa America title when they face Canada in Thursday's tournament opener at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.

With six CONCACAF teams participating in the tournament, Canada are set to make their Copa America debut after coming through a playoff against Trinidad and Tobago.

Match preview

Argentina's Lionel Messi on June 9, 2024.© Reuters

Argentina are the current holders of the Copa America crown after they edged out their old foes Brazil in the 2021 final to win the tournament for the first time since 1993, as Lionel Messi celebrated the first international trophy of his glittering career.

La Albiceleste subsequently followed their Copa America triumph with another successful performance at the 2022 World Cup, beating France on penalties in a thrilling final to clinch the coveted trophy for the first time since 1986.

Lionel Scaloni's side have been in fine form since their World Cup success, winning 13 and losing just one of their previous 14 matches, ensuring that they will carry significant momentum into this summer's tournament in the USA.

In their two warm-up matches, Argentina edged out Ecuador via a 1-0 scoreline, before producing a free-scoring display to beat Guatemala and make it five consecutive victories since suffering a surprise defeat to Uruguay in October.

Having completed their preparations, La Albiceleste will now turn their full focus to the serious business of Group A, and the world champions will be heavy favourites to top the standings ahead of Canada, Chile and Peru.

Thursday's tournament opener represents Argentina's first meeting with Canada since a side managed by the legendary Diego Maradona cruised to a 5-0 friendly victory in May 2010.

Canada's Alphonso Davies on June 6, 2024© Reuters

While Argentina are 15-time winners of the Copa America, Canada are set to appear at the tournament for the very first time, securing qualification to participate as one of the six CONCACAF teams in the competition.

Canada were forced to go through a playoff after they failed to qualify as one of the four best teams in the 2023-24 CONCACAF Nations League.

The Canucks ultimately showcased the extra quality in their squad to claim a 2-0 victory in March's playoff tie against Trinidad and Tobago following second-half efforts from Cyle Larin and Jacob Shaffelburg.

Although Canada will want to give a good account of themselves, they may view the Copa America as a great opportunity to test themselves against some top-quality teams as they look to gain further major tournament experience ahead of the 2026 World Cup which they will co-host alongside USA and Mexico.

Canada will also enter the competition under new management after they appointed Jesse Marsch last month, giving the American the chance to resume his coaching career following his departure from Leeds United in February 2023.

Marsch began his tenure with a heavy 4-0 defeat to the Netherlands this month, but he would have been encouraged by the fact that his side responded to that disappointing loss by holding France to a goalless draw.

Argentina form (all competitions):

Canada form (all competitions):

Team News

Argentina celebrate scoring their first goal on June 9, 2024.© Reuters

Scaloni revealed his final 26-man selection following the win over Guatemala, taking the tough decision to leave out Valentin Barco, Leonardo Balerdi and Angel Correa.

Lisandro Martinez is poised to get the nod over Nicolas Otamendi, with the Manchester United man set to line up alongside Cristian Romero in central defence.

The Argentina boss is believed to be mulling over which two players from Enzo Fernandez, Alexis Mac Allister and Leandro Paredes should start in a midfield three alongside Atletico Madrid's Rodrigo De Paul.

Fresh from scoring twice against Guatemala, Messi will be looking to add to his 108 international goal tally when he lines up in Thursday's Copa America opener.

As for Canada, Bayern Munich's Alphonso Davies is one of the standout names in the squad, and the left-back is set to operate in a back four alongside Alistair Johnston, Moise Bombito and Derek Cornelius.

Porto's Stephen Eustaquio will wear the captain's armband, and the Canada skipper is expected to line up in the middle of the park alongside Watford's Ismael Kone.

Lille marksman Jonathan David will provide one of his country's main goal threats after netting 26 in 48 international appearances.

Argentina possible starting lineup:
E Martinez; Molina, Romero, L Martinez, Acuna; Mac Allister, Paredes, De Paul; Messi, Gonzalez, Alvarez

Canada possible starting lineup:
Crepeau; Johnston, Bombito, Cornelius, Davies; Buchanan, Eustaquio, Kone, Millar; David, Larin

SM words green background

We say: Argentina 2-0 Canada

With Canada boasting talented players like Davies and David, they have enough quality in their squad to cause the defending champions a few problems, but we believe that Argentina's array of world-class talent will ultimately shine through to claim a routine victory.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

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Group A

Q Argentina Argentina33009
Q Canada Canada31114
3 Chile Chile30212
4 Peru flag Peru30121

Group B

Q Venezuela Venezuela33009
Q Ecuador flag Ecuador31114
3 Mexico Mexico31114
4 Jamaica Jamaica30030

Group C

Q Uruguay flag Uruguay33009
Q Panama flag Panama32016
3 United States USA31023
4 Bolivia flag Bolivia30030

Group D

Q Colombia Colombia32107
Q Brazil Brazil31205
3 Costa Rica flag Costa Rica31114
4 Paraguay flag Paraguay30030

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