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13/06/2019 11:14:07  

The hosts are tipped to win the tournament but, as we saw in 2014, the pressure of the home crowd can cause them problems

The good news for Argentina is that Conmebol have handily arranged another Copa América for next year, one they will co-host with Colombia, so the thought that this year’s Copa might be Lionel Messi’s last chance to win a senior international tournament has already been defused. The bad news is that no matter how many new tournaments keep on being invented, it’s now 26 years since Argentina won any of them and it seems increasingly likely that the golden production line that brought five Under-20 World Cups in seven tournaments between 1995 and 2007 and Olympic gold in 2004 and 2008 will remain forever unfulfilled.

Argentina’s preparations have been typically chaotic, almost as though they’re still stunned by what happened at the World Cup when they were beaten 4-3 by France after a fraught group stage from which they only qualified via the implausible medium of a late goal in their final game from Marcos Rojo. When the best laid plans go awry so often, the thinking seems to be, why bother laying them at all?

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