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Copa America

Argentina vs Canada – Preview, Predictions and Best Bets

Argentina face Canada in the opening match of the Copa America on Friday morning in Atlanta.

Copa America

Argentina face Canada in the opening match of the Copa America on Friday morning in Atlanta. La Albiceleste lifted the trophy in 2021 and then won the FIFA World Cup in 2022. Canada were knocked out in the quarter-finals of the 2023 CONCACAF Gold Cup.

Argentina Form

Argentina have lost just two matches since July 2019. After losing to Saudi Arabia to end a 36-game unbeaten streak, they went on to win the 2022 FIFA World Cup on penalties vs France in the final. Eight wins in a row followed with four of those in friendlies and four in CONMEBOL World Cup qualifiers.

A surprise 2-0 home loss in a qualifier to Uruguay was followed by a 1-0 win in Brazil five days later. They won two friendlies back in March – 3-0 vs El Salvador and 3-1 vs Costa Rice. Before the Copa America, they beat Ecuador 1-0 and Guatemala 4-1.

Argentina Team News

Coach Lionel Scaloni is without forward Paulo Dybala for this tournament and has left out Atletico Madrid striker Angel Correa. Man Utd’s Alejandro Garnacho has made the cut and could be an impact sub.

Enzo Fernandez has been selected after groin surgery ended his season early. Lisandro Martinez is also selected after an injury-hit season at Man Utd. A narrow midfield four is expected to be selected with Giovani Lo Celso set to start over Angel Di Maria. Julian Alvarez and Lautaro Martinez are competing to partner Leo Messi up front.

Argentina Motivation

They will be desperate to win this tournament and will play for a big win in this opening match.

Argentina can be reactive and pragmatic with their abrasive, narrow midfield but they won’t settle for a narrow victory.

Canada Form

The Maple Leafs lost all three matches at the 2022 World Cup. Their form since June 2023 is not great at all with just three wins in 11 matches in the last year. They’ve lost to USA, and Japan in a friendly match (4-1) and were beaten 3-2 by Jamaica in the Concacaf Nations League.

They managed to beat Trinidad and Tobago 2-0 in the Nations League in March to qualify for the Copa America. Before this showpiece, they played two challenging friendlies. A 4-0 loss to the Netherlands was followed by a credible 0-0 draw vs France in Bordeaux.

Canada Team News

Veteran left winger Junior Hoilett is ruled out due to injury. Another injury absentee is Lucas Cavallini who has 19 goals in 40 caps for his country up-front. Former Chelsea striker Ike Ugbo has been omitted from the 26-man squad.

Uncapped Brighton goalkeeper Tom McGill is included and so is young Fulham defender Luc de Fougerolles who has just one cap. Alphonso Davies captains his nation whilst Lille’s Jonthan David or Cyle Larin will lead the line.

Canada Motivation

With lots of pace in their attack, Canada will play on the counter attack. A draw here would feel like a win.

In reality, losing by a narrow margin would be acceptable with Canada slightly more likely to take points against Peru and Chile over the next nine days.

Key Stats

Argentina have won 13 of their last 14 matches (11 clean sheets)

Argentina’s Messi has scored 27 goals in his last 21 caps for Argentina

Canada have won just 3 of their last 11 matches

Canada have conceded 14 goals in their last 7 matches


There is only one winner here, it’s just the margin that is the question. Backing Messi to score two or more goals looks like a great value.

Best Bet: Argentina win (-1 handicap) at 1.86

Value Bet: Argentina win (-2 handicap) at 3.25

Goalscorer Bet: Messi to score 2 or more goals at 5.00

James is a football analyst who writes about the tactics of the PSL and English Premier League. He holds the UEFA A coaching licence and has previously worked for several clubs in analysis roles.Twitter:

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