Argentina men’s soccer: What you need to know - WSMV Channel 4

Argentina men’s soccer: What you need to know

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Last Olympic appearance

Argentina’s men’s soccer team last appeared in the Olympics in 2008 when it won gold. The roster included many future stars including Lionel Messi, Sergio Agüero, Javier Mascherano, Ángel Di María and Ezequiel Lavezzi. 


Overage players

Goalkeeper Geronimo Rulli is Argentina’s lone overage player at 24 years old. Rulli has never represented Argentina in an international match. He has played club soccer in Argentina, Spain and Uruguay.


Players to watch

Angel Correa is a striker for Argentina. Many regard him as one of the top young talents in the world and the next player in a long line of prolific goal scorers from Argentina.


In 2014, prior to transferring to Atletico Madrid, it was discovered that Correa had a benign heart tumor. He was sidelined for six months after having surgery to remove it, but made a full recovery. 


Giovanni Simeone is the son of former Argentina national team player and current Atletico Madrid head coach David Simeone. Giovanni was Argentina’s leading goal scorer at the 2015 South America youth championships. 


Manuel Lanzini plays club soccer in the Premier League with West Ham United where he scored six goals in 23 starts last season. The attacking midfielder is set to play a heavy role in dictating Argentina’s offense at the Olympics. 


Coach

Julio Olarticoechea, Argentina’s U-20 coach, will lead Argentina’s Olympic team. Prior to the Rio Olympics, there was heavy controversy surrounding Argentina’s men’s soccer team. There was a chance the country might not send a team to the Olympics after former coach Gerardo Martino resigned in early July. Olarticoechea was appointed to replace Martino and has managed to organize the team along with the Argentine Olympic Committee. 


Medal hopes

Argentina, a traditional soccer power, is without many of its best young players. Professional teams are not required to release its players for the Olympics which resulted in a depleted player pool. Some age-eligible players that are missing for Argentina include Correa's club teammates Matias Kranevitter and Luciano Vietto, Everton's Ramiro Funes Mori, Inter Milan's Mauro Icardi and Juventus' Paolo Dybala. 


Despite these absences Argentina still has talent on the roster and could contend for a medal if things fall in its favor. Argentina is in Group D along with Algeria, Honduras and Portugal. 


 



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