Argentina vs Panama Live Football Score 23/03/2022
Argentina welcome Panama to Buenos Aires on Friday for their first fixture since becoming World Cup winners at the end of last year. A capacity crowd of 83,000 fans will be watching on at El Monumental despite over 1.5 million supporters attempting to purchase tickets to see the South American giants in action. For the first time in 36 years, Argentina became World Cup champions after coming out on top in an all-time classic against former holders France in the final, following an enthralling contest that wrapped up Qatar’s 2022 tournament in style.
In a showpiece event which saw Kylian Mbappe net just the second-ever World Cup final hat-trick to force the contest to penalties following a 3-3 draw in 120 minutes, Lionel Messi and co had the last laugh as they triumphed 4-2 in the shootout to follow in the footsteps of legend Diego Maradona in 1986 by lifting the biggest prize in world football. Lionel Scaloni – the youngest manager (44) at the 2022 World Cup – was the architect behind Argentina’s road to glory, and has since been rewarded with both a new contract until 2026 and The Best FIFA Men’s Coach award for 2022.
With Argentina not due to begin their 2026 World Cup qualification campaign until September, Scaloni’s side will return to action with two international friendlies this month against Panama and Curacao, facing the former on Friday and the latter four days later. La Albiceleste, who are ranked second behind Brazil in the FIFA World Rankings despite their World Cup victory, have faced Panama just twice previously, with a 3-1 friendly win back in May 2009 followed by a comfortable 5-0 victory in the Copa America group stage in June 2016 in which Messi scored a second-half hat-trick.
Argentina have lost just one of their last 44 international matches in all tournaments since the summer of 2019 – a shock 2-1 group-stage defeat to Saudi Arabia at the World Cup – and they will be confident of kick-starting 2023 with a victory over Panama in front of a euphoric home crowd on Friday. After competing at their first-ever World Cup in 2018, Panama failed to qualify for the tournament in Qatar after finishing fifth in the CONCACAF qualification standings, winning six, drawing three and losing five of their 14 matches.
Since ending their campaign with a 1-0 win over table-toppers Canada, Los Canaleros have won only three of their last 10 games in all competitions, although two of those victories were in the CONCACAF Nations League over Costa Rica and Martinique. Managed by former Leeds United boss Thomas Christensen, Panama – sitting top of Group B – can complete the group stage unbeaten with a win over Costa Rica next Wednesday, but they must first turn their attention to Friday’s friendly battle with Argentina. However, Christensen has decided to select a less experienced 20-man squad primarily made up of Panama first division-based players, and the 50-year-old will not be in attendance for the match at El Monumental as he prepares his senior squad for next week’s clash with Costa Rica.
Panama, ranked 61st in the world by FIFA, have drawn each of their last four international matches, including a 1-1 draw against Guatemala in their first fixture of 2023 earlier this month, which saw Carlos Harvey’s first-half opener cancelled out by an 85th-minute penalty by Darwin Lom. After ruling out international retirement soon after lifting the World Cup and receiving the Player of the Tournament award, Messi has been selected in Scaloni’s 34-man squad for this month’s international break, with the 35-year-old just two goals away from reaching the 100-goal milestone with Argentina. Angel di Maria, also 35, is another to have postponed his international retirement and could join Messi in attack, while the likes of Julian Alvarez, Lautaro Martinez and Paulo Dybala are also in contention to start.
However, Scaloni will have to cope without Manchester United’s Alejandro Garnacho and Sevilla’s Papu Gomez due to ankle injuries. Midfield trio Maximo Perrone, Facundo Buonanotte and Valentin Carboni, and defender Lautaro Blanco are all in line to make their international debut, although a start for any of the quartet is unlikely. As for Panama, it remains to be seen how assistant coach Jorge Dely Valdes – stepping in for the absent Christensen – will line up his side on Friday, but a structured back-five approach seems likely in an attempt to thwart the attacking threat the world champions are set to pose.
Miguel Camargo is the most experienced member of Panama’s squad with 31 international caps, and the 29-year-old could be joined in centre-midfield by Cristian Quintero and Jose Murillo.Alfredo Stephens, who has scored just once in 21 appearances for Panama, is set to lead the line up front, while five-cap Ronaldo Cordoba could also push for a starting berth.
Argentina possible starting lineup:
Martinez; Molina, Otamendi, Li. Martinez, Acuna; De Paul, Fernandez, Mac Allister; Messi, Alvarez, Di Maria
Panama possible starting lineup:
Guerra; Anderson, Ramos, Peralta, Farina, Galvan; Murillo, Camargo, Quintero; Cordoba, Stephens