One year on from the painful penalty defeat to Jorge Sampaoli’s Chile in the Copa América final, Argentina will face La Roja in their Group D opener in the tournament’s Centenario edition. In what is undoubtedly the clash of the group stages, Gerardo Martino’s side will be looking for revenge and a good start ahead of matches against Bolivia and CONCACAF invitee, Panama.
Argentina’s hunger for a title remains as strong as ever and Gerardo Martino knows that La Albiceleste must try and do everything possible to finally end the drought after successive tournament final defeats. Chile will be an awkward first obstacle but are in something of a transition after the departure of Jorge Sampaoli and the recent appointment of another Argentine, Juan Antonio Pizzi. The two sides will meet in Santiago next month in a World Cup qualifier and it could provide an early indication of where the sides are ahead of the busy summer calendar.
Bolivia are one of the weakest sides in South America and they progressed out of the group stage in Chile last year, the two previous friendly meetings with Argentina have finished 5-0 and 7-0. Panama are certainly an improving side, their third place finish in last year’s Gold Cup is evidence of that but should not pose too much of a threat to La Albiceleste.
Victory over Chile in the opening match should prove to be vital in topping Group D and that would result in a quarter final clash with the runners-up from Group C – between Uruguay, México, Venezuela and Jamaica.
Whoever the opposition Gerardo Martino must lead Argentina to glory.