With the 2015 tournament underway, all Copa America predictions stated that Argentina would easily win their opening game against Paraguay. This result was looking like a formality when Argentina took a two goal lead, but lack of concentration and resilience cost the Argentinian squad the victory they felt they deserved.
The match between Argentina and Paraguay took place on 13th June in La Serena. Argentina were heavy favourites going into this match, despite the fact that Paraguay were finalists in the 2011 competition, with Paraguay showing the intensity which brought them so close to success in the last Copa America.
Argentina took a commanding first-half lead when Sergio Aguero scored after half an hour. The lead was doubled five minutes later when Messi scored a penalty and Paraguay looked to be out of the game.
Argentina tried to hold onto their lead but this allowed Paraguay the opportunity to grow in confidence and build their attacks. This resulted in a Paraguay goal scored by Valdez after an hour had been played.
Argentina looked overly cautious as the game progressed and their nerves certainly played a part in the equaliser. Barrios managed to score in injury time to earn Paraguay a draw and have Argentina lamenting the lead which they squandered.
Messi described the defeat as “maddening” in a post-match interview, and he will be desperate for the team to regain their focus as quickly as possible. Argentina are in a group with both of the 2011 finalists and Uruguay managed to beat Jamaica by one goal in their opening game.
Argentina will have to watch last year’s finalists play each other and hope the result is favourable to them. The teams in third place can still qualify if they have the best record and so Argentina will be looking to score plenty in their game against Jamaica.