Argentina’s 2019 Copa America campaign got off to a rocky start on Saturday as Colombia scored two goals in the second half to win 2-0. Lionel Messi and company entered the game with high expectations as always, and with a youthful squad and new pieces around Messi, the team did next to nothing. An uneventful first half saw neither team really threaten, but as Argentina was improving in the second half, Colombia took their chances to move atop Group B with three points.
Here are three takeaways from the match:
Colombia deserved the win
Argentina had the better moments overall when it came to possession, but none of their shots really felt like they were going in. Messi missed a tricky header inside the box when it was 0-0, but then it was more long-range shots that didn’t look all that great, aside from a Leandro Paredes effort.
Los Cafateros adjusted to the game brilliantly and went for their goals on the counter, and that’s how they got both, each from a substitute. Roger Martinez got the winner after coming in for the injured Luis Muriel, and he took it brilliantly with a right-footed blast that Franco Armani had no chance of stopping:
Then Duvan Zapata added this fine goal:
It’s early, but Colombia roared in the opener to put other teams on alert.
Argentina is still a mess
In what seems like the motto for like 20 years, “It’s Argentina, and it’s going to be disappointing.” The first half was absolutely horrific, and they just didn’t do anything in attack. The Messi, Sergio Aguero and Angel Di Maria trio in attack has rarely worked and really needs some muscle. They didn’t do anything convincing and had trouble breaking Colombia down. Credit is due though for Colombia because Wilmar Barrios was smart in the middle and gave them nothing.
While Argentina has so much talent, it’s just not the right combination of players to get the team going. Giovani Lo Celso is one of the more promising attacking midfielders in the world, but he was stuck out on the right and didn’t get nearly as involved as he needs to be. It’s just all a mess right now.
Changes have to be coming for Argentina
If I’m Argentina boss Lionel Scaloni, I’m making drastic changes and sending a message. I take a shaky Armani out and put Agustin Marchesin in goal. I shift to a 4-3-3, with the same backline as in this one, and in the midfield I go with Leandro Paredes in the middle and Guido Rodriguez, who also started. But above them I swap in Paulo Dybala for Lo Celso, and up top I go with Messi, Sergio Aguero and Lautaro Martinez. Something drastic has to be done because this team showed no signs of contending against a strong opponent.
We’ll see if Scaloni has the courage to do it.
A player to keep an eye on is Rodrigo de Paul of Udinese. He came on at the break for Di Maria and put together a nice performance, adding some creativity and stability on the left flank. Don’t be surprised if he gets the start next time out after what he showed.
You can watch the Copa America on fuboTV (Try for free).