A disciplined and hardworking defensive display was ultimately undone by Miranda’s injury time winner and while there were positives in that area for Argentina, there is still much to do for Lionel Scaloni to improve La Albiceleste as an attacking force.
Sergio Romero – 5
Argentina’s most capped goalkeeper returned to captain the side and for 90 minutes had done everything asked of him. Romero saved well from Arthur and was an assured presence behind the back four but was slow to react to Miranda finding space at his near post and certainly takes part of the blame for Brazil’s winner. Chiquito’s status as number one remains unclear and Franco Armani will surely challenge him when fit.
Renzo Saravia – 7.5
If anyone really enhanced their reputation it was Renzo Saravia and at least for now the Racing defender looks to have secured his place as Argentina right-back. The daunting task of shackling Neymar could have been too much but Saravia was outstanding in his defensive duties and frustrated the Brazilian star man for the most part.
Germán Pezzella – 7
If there was another player auditioning for a more permanent role in the Argentina line-up it was Germán Pezzella alongside Nicolás Otamendi and the Fiorentina defender certainly did enough to suggest that for now he should remain. Firm in the tackle and strong in the air, Pezzella is a natural leader who could help to further organise the backline.
Nicolás Otamendi – 6
Otamendi’s goalline clearance kept Argentina level and on his return to the national team it looked to be a virtually flawless display from the Manchester City defender. That was until stoppage time when Otamendi was guilty of losing Miranda and as a result takes a large part of the blame for Brazil’s winner.
Nicolás Tagliafico – 7
Another solid display from Nicolás Tagliafico, who may not be an elite level full-back but is a consistent performer and without question Argentina’s best option on the left. Gabriel Jesus got very little out of the former Independiente captain and it was another committed 81 minutes before Marcos Acuña replaced him.
Rodrigo Battaglia – 6
A hard working display by Rodrigo Battaglia and one helped shield the back four, particularly during the opening 45 minutes, but one which did little to aid Argentina in possession or as an attacking unit. The 27-year-old struggled to combine with either Paredes or Lo Celso and his performance became more ragged during the second half with misplaced passes and mistimed tackles.
Leandro Paredes – 7
Such was Argentina’s defensive mindset that Leandro Paredes was probably asked to do more of the ugly side of a number five’s duties than the elegant midfielder would have liked but that didn’t prevent the former Boca Juniors graduate impressing. Despite picking up an early yellow card, Paredes stuck to his task and tried to move the ball forward into areas of danger. As the game opened in the second half this was more possible and Paredes went close with one shot from distance but the question over who is his best midfield partner remains.
Giovani Lo Celso – 7
A fizzing shot from the edge of the box just wide of the post in the opening stages suggested that Giovani Lo Celso was going to be the key man for Argentina and in parts the Real Betis midfielder was but as he has tended to do in an Argentina shirt, it was an up and down evening. Moments of excellence followed by periods of anonymity and as the 22-year-old lost his way he was eventually replaced by Eduardo Salvio. Lo Celso remains central to Argentina’s future and warrants perseverance in his role.