Copa America | Argentina held by Paraguay

Copa America | Argentina held by Paraguay

Argentina are on the verge of being knocked out of the Copa America after they could only scrape a 1-1 draw against Paraguay.

Now, with one point to their name, Argentina are on the verge of a crisis, and they must win against Qatar to have any hopes of progressing to the knockout rounds.

Tournament guests Qatar have given a solid account of themselves so far, with the 2019 Asian Cup champions drawing 2-2 with Paraguay in their opener before suffering a slender 1-0 defeat to Colombia, one of the favourites to lift the trophy.

An opening 2-0 defeat by Colombia was followed by Messi equalising with a penalty to rescue a draw against Paraguay.

Scaloni dropped Sergio Aguero and Angel Di Maria for the Paraguay match but Argentina produced another disjointed and unconvincing display. The top two in each group and the two best to finish third advance.

But after their first two performances here, the question is not whether they can end their 26-wait for a major title, but simply whether they can avoid taking the first flight home.

Midfielder Roberto Pereyra and defender Milton Casco also joined the starting lineup, replacing Guido Rodriguez and Renzo Saravia. Obviously Messi is 10 times the player Almiron will ever be, but the Magpies ace gave the Barcelona legend as good as he got in their countries' 1-1 Copa America draw.

The 25-year-old midfielder went down the left wing on a brilliant run and his cross set up Richard Sanchez to put Paraguay in the lead. Gonzalez saw Armani save his penalty five minutes later after Nicolas Otamendi fouled him inside the area.

- Argentina have earned only one point in their first two matches of the tournament, their worst Copa America start since 1979, when they lost their first two games.

That means La Albiceleste have just one win from six tournament games - against Nigeria at the 2018 World Cup - since Lionel Messi returned to the global side in 2016.

"We have talked about what happened and what we have to improve", he added.

Not all of Argentina's problems lie with Scaloni, though, as he is the fourth coach to have taken charge since the 2014 World Cup and the national team set-up seems beset by short-termism.

"We have to think positively and keep our confidence", Messi told reporters.

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