Qatar – Argentina: A Formation Change Spurs Argentina Into The Copa América Knockout Rounds (0-2)
A switch to a 4-4-2 diamond formation improved Argentina’s offensive structure and helped them overwhelm Qatar, despite a limp showing from Messi. A classy performance from Sergio Agüero also helped.
Tactical analysis and match report by Om Arvind.
It is old news that Argentina are no longer one of the world’s elite teams. Since the 2018 World Cup casual fans, committed supporters, and journalists alike have noted the decline in Argentina’s squad quality and the inconsistent and ill-fitting tactics that the players have been forced to operate under. Jorge Sampaoli, a great coach on paper, introduced an intense, high-tempo pressing style that was at complete odds with an aging core and a slow, mistake-prone back line.
Fast forward to today, and current manager Lionel Scaloni has not looked much better. In Argentina’s group stage clashes versus Colombia and Paraguay, Scaloni toyed with 4-2-3-1 / 4-3-3 shapes that failed to look convincing offensively. Argentina severely lacked occupation between the lines and looked to force-feed Messi the ball at every single opportunity. When possession was lost, their poor structure and average back line left them vulnerable to counterattacks.
As a result, Argentina picked up only one point en route to their final group stage clash against Qatar, who also had only one point in the standings. If there was a . . .