Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 16 October 2019

Lionel Messi looks to get Argentina back on track - what to look out for on Day 5 of 2019 Copa America

Argentina face Paraguay in Group B at 4.30am UAE time

Lionel Messi's Argentina suffered a huge setback in their 2019 Copa America campaign on Saturday when they lost 2-0 to Colombia in Group B.

Breakaway goals from Roger Martinez and Duvan Zapata in the final 20 minutes saw Carlos Queiroz's side record their first victory over Argentina in 20 years of tournament football.

Colombia top the group with three points, while Paraguay and guests Qatar have a point apiece following their 2-2 draw on Saturday.

The sight of Messi and Co propping up the rest of the group is jarring, but they have an opportunity to register their first points when they take on Paraguay at the Mineirao in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.

Here's what to look out for. All kick-off times are UAE.

Who is playing on Day 5 of the 2019 Copa America?

Colombia will look to secure their place in the quarter-finals with victory over Asian champions Qatar when the two sides meet at the Morumbi Stadium in Sao Paulo.

Colombia have only won the Copa America once, in 2001, when they hosted the tournament, and will look to punch their ticket for the knockout round with a victory over one of the tournament's two invited teams (Japan are the other). The match kicks off at 1.30am (Thursday).

The 4.30am kick off sees Argentina back in action for the first time following the Colombia setback at the weekend.

Argentina, who last won the Copa in 1993, last failed to make it out of the group stage in 1983.

Who are the players to watch?

Messi was part of a dream team attacking line up that included Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero and Paris Saint-Germain winger Angel Di Maria for the Colombia match.

Although Argentina dominated, registering 13 shots (six on target), they failed to make it pay and were twice hit on the counter attack.

Manager Lionel Scaloni will most likely stick with that attack against Paraguay, although Juventus forward Paulo Dybala is waiting in the wings should he seek alternatives.

Dybala was an unused substitute against Colombia, but possesses the evasive qualities to elude what is bound to be a tight Paraguayan defensive unit, and the finishing ability to put away any chances that may come his way.

But, as is usually the case, all eyes will be on Messi. The pressure on the mercurial Barcelona forward to lead his national team to glory would make lesser humans crumble. Though he has his detractors whenever he pulls on the blue and white of the Albiceleste, Messi is still the main man in any team he lines up in.

Avoiding another defeat is crucial. With Qatar still to come, Argentina need to put themselves in a position where a result against the Qataris will see them advance to the last eight.

Colombia find themselves in the enviable position of knowing they can secure their passage to the quarter-finals with a game to spare, if they can get the job done against Qatar.

James Rodriguez was largely kept in check by Argentina on Saturday, but the Real Madrid player's beautiful cross-field pass led to the opening goal.

Juan Cuadrado was withdrawn in the second half against Argentina following a crude challenge on Messi that resulted in a booking for the Juventus winger and sparked a melee on the field between the two sets of players, but his foray forwards will be crucial to Colombia's chances.

Unlike against Argentina, Colombia will have most of the ball and be expected to punch holes in a Qatar side that are likely to try and soak up pressure and hit on the break.

With record national goalscorer Radamel Falcao likely set to retain his place at the tip of the attack, Colombia will need to make sure they supply the Monaco striker with plenty of chances to add to his 34 international goals.

Updated: June 19, 2019 10:57 AM

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