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HomeNewsArgentina Closes US Mini-Tour Against Costa Rica

Argentina Closes US Mini-Tour Against Costa Rica

Three months before defending their crown in the Copa America, Argentina will face Costa Rica on Tuesday to close a mini-tour of friendlies in the United States that serves as a testing ground in the absence of Lionel Messi.

The world champion team kicked off 2024 by thrashing El Salvador 3-0 on Friday in Philadelphia (northeast), and on Tuesday, on the other coast of the country, they will face Costa Rica in Los Angeles (southwest).

The game will take place at the iconic Memorial Coliseum, a century-old stadium that hosted the opening ceremonies of the 1932 and 1984 Olympic Games.

The Memorial Coliseum, which will again be an Olympic venue in 2028, underwent extensive renovations with a budget of over 300 million dollars that concluded in 2019 and reduced its capacity from 92,000 to 77,000 seats.

The Albiceleste squad has been in the Californian city since Saturday, where, in addition to practices, players and coaching staff enjoyed experiences such as attending the Arena to witness the Lakers’ victory on Sunday against the Indiana Pacers in the NBA, led by LeBron James.

Coach Lionel Scaloni was satisfied with his team’s performance in the victory over El Salvador, in which Cristian Romero, Enzo Fernández, and Giovani Lo Celso scored.

In the absence of Messi due to his hamstring injury, Argentina’s attack was more choral and reached the Central American goal without too many obstacles based on triangulations between their talented midfielders and an attack led by Lautaro Martínez, who continues to struggle to score with his national team.

Scaloni waited until the second half to introduce Alejandro Garnacho, Facundo Buonanotte, and Valentín Barco, three 19-year-old gems with whom he can start rejuvenating a very consolidated squad.

For Tuesday, the coach could start defenders Nahuel Molina and Nicolás Otamendi and midfielder Alexis Mac Allister, in addition to reserving the attacking point for Julián Álvarez, without ruling out giving his first minutes to goalkeeper Walter Benítez.

Ticket to the Copa America

On Tuesday, Scaloni will experience a tactical duel with another Argentine coach, the experienced Gustavo Alfaro, who has been directing Costa Rica since the end of last year.

Under the guidance of the former Boca Juniors coach, the Ticos team secured one of the last available tickets to the Copa America, which will be held from June 20 to July 14 in the United States, on Saturday.

The team captained by Keylor Navas earned the right to play their sixth Copa America with a 3-1 victory over Honduras in a playoff match held in Frisco (Texas, United States). From the other playoff, Canada emerged victorious and will be Argentina’s opponent in the tournament’s opening match.

With the objective achieved, Alfaro could give opportunities on Tuesday to young players with whom he can relieve the golden generation of Costa Rica, of which Navas himself, Joel Campbell, and Francisco Calvo still remain in the squad.

The game will kick off at 7:30 p.m. local time (02:30 GMT on Wednesday).

Possible lineups:

Argentina: Emiliano Martínez – Nahuel Molina, Cristian Romero, Nicolás Otamendi, Nicolás Tagliafico – Rodrigo De Paul, Alexis McAllister, Enzo Fernández, Giovani Lo Celso – Nicolás González (or Lautaro Martínez) and Julián Álvarez. Coach: Lionel Scaloni.

Costa Rica: Keylor Navas – Gerald Taylor, Julio Cascante, Pablo Arboine, Francisco Calvo, Joseph Mora – Warren Madrigal, Orlando Galo, Jefferson Brenes, Anthony Contreras – Manfred Ugalde (or Joel Campbell). Coach: Gustavo Alfaro.

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