Argentina know they will advance to the knockout stage of the Copa America if they end a four-game winless run in their rivalry with Paraguay on Monday. La Albiceleste have not beaten Paraguay in six years, although three of the four games in the meantime have ended all square.
Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni has been frustrated by the frequency with which his side have been held. The team are unbeaten in 15 games going back to the 2019 Copa America, but they have won only eight of those matches alongside seven draws – including a home World Cup qualifier against Paraguay.
A sequence of three stalemates in a row was broken last time out, though, when Argentina defeated Uruguay 1-0 to move level with Chile at the top of Group A.
"I think that the previous games Argentina also deserved to win," Scaloni said following the Uruguay match. "For small reasons, we were left with three draws that we did not deserve."
Paraguay could leapfrog Argentina and move into position for a potentially easier quarter-final draw with a repeat of their World Cup qualifying win, although Lionel Messi was absent on that occasion in 2016 and should be present for this game. Eduardo Berizzo's men won their Copa America opener 3-1 against basement side Bolivia.
Players to watch
Argentina – Lautaro Martinez
Martinez was on fire for Inter in 2020-21, but he has so far yet to hit the target let alone the net from four chances at the Copa America. There were a couple of particularly disappointing misses against Chile, as Martinez was substituted when Argentina needed a goal, while he lasted just 52 minutes against Uruguay. He needs to take his chance.
Paraguay – Miguel Almiron
A Premier League regular, Almiron is the biggest name in the Paraguay squad. However, just as his end product has been criticised for Newcastle United, he has too often failed to make the difference at international level. The midfielder has as many red cards for his country as goals (two) and has never netted for the Albirroja in a competitive match. Almiron did assist Paraguay's opener in a draw with Argentina at the 2019 Copa America, however.
Standout matches today