With the whole country pending, Argentina begins to go through a great illusion: formations, time and TV

Argentina will face Saudi Arabia in its first match in the World Cup in Qatar, which it arrived as one of the favorites due to its status as champion of America and the longest undefeated period in its history.

The Lusail stadium, venue for the final on December 18, will receive 80,000 people for the debut of the team led by Lionel Messi in Group C, which will take place from 7 a.m. (1 p.m. local time) with the refereeing of the Slovenian Slavko Vincic and transmission of Public TV, TyC Sports and Sports. Meanwhile, Lionel Scaloni confirmed this morning at 11: Emiliano Martínez; Nahuel Molina, Nicolás Otamendi, Cuti Romero and Nicolás Tagliafico; Leandro Paredes, Rodrigo De Paul and Alejandro Papu Gómez, Lionel Messi, Lautaro Martínez and Ángel Di María.

Messi, 35, will be established as the first Argentine to play five World Cups after appearing consecutively in Germany 2006, South Africa 2010, Brazil 2014 and Russia 2018.

In this way, he will join the select group made up of the Mexicans Antonio Carabajal and Rafael Márquez, the German Lottar Matthäus and the Italian Gianluigi Buffón and to which will be added in this same edition the Aztecs Guillermo Ochoa and Andrés Guardado and the Portuguese Cristiano Ronaldo.

The Argentine will break the record for World Cup appearances in the team on Wednesday the 30th against Poland if they play the three games of the first phase. For now, today he will equal Javier Mascherano with 20 games and will be only one behind Diego Maradona.

The debut of the attacker from Paris Saint-Germain just against Saudi Arabia, a neighboring country of Qatar, with great economic power and where Leo arouses admiration, made this match one of the most sought after in the different phases of ticket sales.

Argentina will face the Saudis for the first time in the history of the World Cup and in case of winning or drawing it will equal the undefeated record of a national team in all history, which belongs to Italy (2018-2021) under the leadership of Roberto Mancini.

La Scaloneta, winner of Italy in the Finalissima last June in London, lost for the last time to Brazil on July 2, 2019 for the Copa América and since then they have chained 25 wins and 11 draws that allowed them to win two titles after a drought. 28 years old.

The Argentine national team left behind days of uncertainty regarding the conformation of the final list, from which Nicolás González and Joaquín Correa had to be excluded due to injury.

Cristian Romero, Marcos Acuña, Alejandro (“Papu”) Gómez, Paulo Dybala and Lautaro Martínez were also under observation but showed a recovery that satisfied the technical director.

The National Team will be widely favored in Lusail, where a large Argentine presence is expected, complemented by the support of the fans that the team has in South Asian countries.

With six participations, Saudi Arabia shares with Iran the record for World Cup appearances among Middle Eastern countries. They only got past the group stage in the United States ’94 when they were eliminated against Sweden in the round of 16.

The Arab team is led by Frenchman Hervé Renard, 53, who replaced Argentine Juan Antonio Pizzi at the beginning of 2019, and the base of his squad is made up of players from the Al-Hilal club, led by Ramón Díaz from La Rioja.

Lionel Messi, happy wherever you look at it, led the last practice of the National Team before its debut in the World Cup against Saudi Arabia / AFP

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