Argentina World Cup 2022 squad: Lionel Scaloni announces final 26-man team

Argentina World Cup 2022 squad: Angel Di Maria of Argentina celebrates with team-mate Lionel Messi after scoring Argentina's second goal in the 'Finalissima' match between Italy and Argentina on 1 June, 2022 at Wembley Stadium, London, United Kingdom
(Image credit: Chris Brunskill / Fantasista / Getty Images)

The Argentina World Cup 2022 squad has been announced, with Lionel Messi set to lead a strong squad named by Lionel Scaloni in Qatar. 

The Albiceleste will be one of the hot favourites for to win the Qatar World Cup 2022, with the 2021 Copa America winners boasting the likes of Lionel Messi, Angel Di Maria and Lautaro Martinez in their team. The two-time winners will face Saudi Arabia, Mexico and Poland in Group C. 

Argentina regularly have the same problem at every World Cup, though. Too many attackers leads to a Frankenstein’s monster of a tactical plan to accommodate each forward. There follows a collision of individual stars, which reverberates throughout the dressing room. Cue soul-searching, and repeat. 

The build-up for Qatar 2022 has been refreshingly different. Argentina arrive at peace, with high hopes but low levels of pressure. Finally ending the 28-year wait for a major title with the dream scenario of beating Brazil, in Brazil, in the 2021 Copa America Final avenged two previous generations of players dismissed as losers. 

From 2004 to 2016, La Albiceleste reached four Copa America finals and a World Cup showpiece – they lost them all, each defeat more traumatic than the last.

Last year’s triumph sparked the start of a new era for Argentina – and beating European champions Italy 3-0 at Wembley in La Finalissima (above) proved it was no fluke, either. Every game has become a celebration with the fans, as if this team were the Rolling Stones. 

They have a nickname, too, one embraced by the players: La Scaloneta, after their manager.

The house Lionel Scaloni built began with the catastrophic Russia 2018 expedition. Walking on thin ice with board members who wanted to limit Lionel Messi’s influence, Scaloni first brought back some of the old guard (Angel Di Maria, Nicolas Otamendi and the since-retired Sergio Aguero), then convinced Messi himself to keep going. 

Scaloni also bet on uncapped players, such as Emi Martinez in goal, Nahuel Molina – now of Atletico Madrid – and Cristian Romero in defence AND Atleti’s Rodrigo de Paul in central midfield. Tactically, Scaloni doesn’t cling to any football dogma. He’ll switch from 4-2-3-1 to a 5-4-1 in the same game.

A record 35-match unbeaten run since July 2019 has left some saying it’s all too good to be true, given that Argentina also have strength in depth and a very winnable group. Having scratched that 28-year trophy itch, now it’s time to rip the scab off the ghosts of 1986 and win a World Cup.

Argentina World Cup 2022 squad

Argentina World Cup 2022 squad: The final 26-man team

  • GK: Emi Martinez (Aston Villa)
  • GK: Franco Armani (River Plate)
  • GK: Geronimo Rulli (Villarreal)
  • DF: Marcos Acuna (Sevilla)
  • DF: Juan Foyth (Villarreal)
  • DF: Lisandro Martinez (Manchester United)
  • DF: Nicolas Tagliafico (Lyon)
  • DF: Cristian Romero (Tottenham)
  • DF: Nicolas Otamendi (Benfica)
  • DF: Nahuel Molina (Atletico Madrid)
  • DF: Gonzalo Montiel (Sevilla)
  • DF: German Pezzella (Real Betis)
  • MF: Angel Di Maria (Juventus)
  • MF: Leandro Paredes (Juventus)
  • MF: Rodrigo De Paul (Atletico Madrid)
  • MF: Alexis Mac Allister (Brighton)
  • MF: Enzo Fernandez (Benfica)
  • MF: Exequiel Palacios (Bayer Leverkusen)
  • MF: Guido Rodriguez (Real Betis)
  • FW: Lionel Messi (PSG)
  • FW: Lautaro Martinez (Inter Milan)
  • FW: Paulo Dybala (Roma)
  • FW: Angel Correa (Atletico Madrid)
  • FW: Julian Alvarez (Manchester City)
  • FW: Thiago Almada (Atlanta United)
  • FW: Alejandro Gomez (Sevilla)

Argentina top scorers

Here are Argentina's World Cup top scorers so far:

2 goals: Lionel Messi

1 goal: Enzo Fernandez, Julian Alvarez, Alexis Mac Allister

Argentina yellow cards

Here are all of the Argentina players to receive a World Cup 2022 yellow card so far:

1 yellow: Gonzalo Montiel, Marcos Acuna

Argentina manager

Who is Argentina's manager for World Cup 2022?

Lionel Scaloni has proved to be fundamental. Going from caretaker to surprise manager, the former Deportivo La Coruna wing-back, who had a forgettable loan spell at West Ham in 2006, was targeted because of his lack of experience, yet he started a silent renovation. He has shaped a stable team that won its first major title since 1993.

Argentina star player

Who is Argentina's best player?

In his fifth (and last?) World Cup attempt, Lionel Messi is enjoying his time as never before, his critics vanishing since the Copa America victory. Argentines dreamed of winning because of Messi, but now they dream of winning for Messi. Whatever the position, the Flea always plays 90 minutes – Scaloni just wants to keep him happy.

How many players are Argentina allowed to take to the World Cup 2022?

National managers were allowed to bring 26 players to last summer’s European Championship for the first time at a major tournament, as a special measure brought in due to the COVID-19 pandemic – while last year's Copa America, which Argentina won, allowed squads of 28 players.

Now it has been announced that 26-player squads will return for the Qatar World Cup, an expansion from the usual 23-man selections.

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