Lionel Messi starts for Argentina, starting XI vs. United Arab Emirates


Lionel Messi starts for the Argentina national team as Lionel Scaloni announces his starting eleven vs. the United Arab Emirates.

Messi is in the starting eleven with Ángel Di María and Julián Álvarezup in attack. Emiliano Dibu Martínez also starts. Here is the starting eleven:

Emiliano Dibu Martínez; Foyth, Otamendi, Lisandro Martínez, Acuña; De Paul, Paredes, Mac Allister, Lionel Messi, Di María, Julián Álvarez

Paulo Dybala, Cristian Romero and Papu Gómez don’t make the bench.


  1. No need to worry about Juan Foyth. He reminds me of 2014 where everyone was worried about Marcos Rojo (the chats were full of him being a weak link) and Romero (GK) . Guess who stepped up when the ball went rolling ? Rojo was monstrous, even in the final and was on the team of the tournament. Romero’s heroics against the Netherlands cannot be forgotten.

  2. Foyth Looks like the only weak link in today’s game. And the opposition is Just UAE. It does not matter if Foyth is just back from injury (Maybe not his fault), this is WC. If he is not 100% we should look for the alternative before the WC starts. The rest played decent. Hopefully we get to see Cuti in action against Saudia Arabia. Not a fan of Mac Allister but if he can link up like today I dont have any complains.

  3. We did not learn much from this warm up game except that Foyth is terribly out of shape which is unexpected given that he had some minutes for Villareal. The idea of using him as a defensive fullback against strong opposition is not looking good anymore.

    Who knew Molina can play as a makeshift LB and cross with his left foot? Although, that’s not his best position because he’d always use his stronger right foot and for a LB who is supposed to stretch the play that’s not good at all. Glad that Acuna had a good game.

    Pezzella save Foyth blunder with a goal line block.

  4. Good score line but I fear if it was with a more clinical team it would have been closer to 5-3.

    Either way, happy they came out injury free and a win.

    I wasn’t impressed with Foyth. I know people are saying he just came back from injury but then might not have been best to take him. I’m not scaloni so I’m sure he had a reason.

    Molina has been one of my fav new players but today not sure what happened. Maybe bc he was out of his def position for Argentina? Not sure

    Montiel – not really sure what position he was plying.

    I’m thinking Acuña was the best outside defenders. Maybe tiag is the other known starter ?

    Everyone else nice and simple play. Glad Correa got his goal. Don’t care if it was ugly. I think Messi did a great job playing reserved. There was a few times he pressured and he got stepped on once lol.

    Can’t wait for next week. I feel the teams will continue to get harder throughout the tournament.

    My thought :

    Saudi Arabia < Mexico < Poland < Denmark/France < Netherlands < Germany/Brazil = Spain/France

  5. 1)One thing is clear Mac allister can not be a replacement for lo celso. Mac allister is a below average player.

    2)Foyth will be very risky in crucial match. He always lost his focus from the game. No tenacity. Very casual approch

    3)Enzo is a gem. Scaloni can try to in play Enzo in de paul’s position and De paul can be play the role of lo celso. Because de paul used to play in that position in Udinese in seria A.

  6. Okay, good. The game is exactly what it needed to be. Score several goals, don’t try too hard or get injured, get several players on the field, and give confidence to some players.
    Some pointers:
    -The commentator mentioned it and I agree, Messi was very correct to pass the ball to Alvarez because it’s important for our striker’s to have confidence going into the WC, even if it’s an easy goal against UAE confidence is VERY important, good job captain.
    -Nothing I need to say about Di Maria’s performance that you guys don’t already know. But I do need to say that he’s on that weird space of being 1) A player of 100% starter quality that is VERY important for us but at the same time 2) A player that can get injured, is 34, and we need to know how to preserve well for when it’s important. I hope Scaloni takes notes from how we used him in the Copa America and applies it accordingly to this WC, where we can. Don’t overuse him but DON’T underuse him. A balance to think about.
    -Really mixed about Foyth. Do we try to nurture him into form knowing that Molina and Montiel might struggle against top quality wingers and while Foyth has a history of defending well against them? Do we recognize that today this exact top quality (marking, one on one) was lacking terribly against a low quality team? Do we take it game by game knowing that nothing is guaranteed and only play Molina/Montiel against the group teams to win them? Do we discard Foyth now and take notes from the Copa final to play Montiel or Molina with another player double teaming difficult wingers in the future? If we want to help Foyth into form we play him in a group game where we are healthily winning, but will that even happen in the World Cup knowing almost no game is easy? Really difficult to know what to do about RB, I trust Scaloni to sort it out. But very unfortunate that Foyth got injured for the length of time he did. I don’t think he will do any ridiculous mistakes like against Brazil or Colombia before because he paid the price for it missing the Copa America and probably knows not to do it, but his top strength he’s always had is lacking. Let’s see.
    -Really liked Paredes’s positioning and he clearly has a high match IQ. Perfectly positioned to pick up balls that bounced back or were lost by the attack. Liked some of his passing today. Good thing him and De Paul are making it fresh.
    -No Lautaro today and maybe it’s good because he is one of the few players we have that has been playing a lot for his club so a bit of rest is very valuable especially for a player that runs and presses a lot.
    -There were concerns about Acuna’s form in the coming couple of months but I actually quite liked his performance today. Tagliafico didn’t play simply because he also is one of the few players that has been getting minutes for the WC and he’s a bit tired, so good for him to get rest and once he’s ready our LB area looks positive factoring these two things together.
    -Molina is not a LB
    -Licha is a warrior, even in a friendly game. Easily becoming one of my new favorite players, really fond of him

  7. Note for the game:
    1. Scaloni when asked who will replace Lo Celso. His answer is it depends on what we need. He said sometimes he would put a defensive minded one there, sometimes a creative player, sometimes a forward. So I am 100% convinced that Lo Celso’s spot will be rotated among Papu (a creative one), MacAllister, Palacios, Enzo (all defensive minded ones) or Nico Gonzales (a forward/winger).

    2. A good warm up match that means very little to nothing. It is a team that is just a bit stronger than Singapore. It is the same as if Germany won 9-0 against Faroe island. It doesn’t worth anything. I am sure Estonia would have won easily against them too.

    3. 3 CB is never our strength, please don’t do this. Our formation of 3-5-2 is a joke.

    4. Foyth looks very rusty. He needs to improve.

    5. I guarantee you, Angel Di Maria will make the World Cup team of the tournament along with Messi and Emi Martinez.

    • “5. I guarantee you, Angel Di Maria will make the World Cup team of the tournament along with Messi and Emi Martinez”

      That means Argentina going to be world champion

  8. Paredes had a good game – much needed after his lack of game time with Juventus.

    DePaul – as usual for Argentina, phenomenal.

    Enzo- Unfortunately, he is not up to the mark as of yet, as expected. But, he is playing in LoCelso’s position.

    Joaquin scored from a poor short, which was deflected. Missed to control a great ball a few minutes ago.

    Foyth debacle continues. Usual bumby boy. Was I wrong about him?

    Lisandro -another great save!!!

    Wanted to se Palacious but likely would’t come in today.

  9. Foyth still not ready..
    Making some poor decision in defensive line..
    He still feel some discomfort in legs..
    I don’t know, due to knee pain or muscle pain.
    He is not in the same frequency as other players doing

  10. I’m glad he didn’t sub off Foyth yet because if there’s a reason he’s out of form it’s lack of minutes. Need to help him get into form if it’s possible in a short window of time.

  11. First time an above average game and some fans get crazy as if McAllister has been phenomenal.
    Then how do you use adjectives for DeMaria, Messi, DePaul, Acuna!!


    Links for mobile, one in Spanish the other in… apologies for my ignorance but maybe arabic from listening a couple of seconds?

  13. Just don’t get carried away. It is the same as Argentina vs Singapore. This team is not much stronger than Singapore. Even if we won 11-0 it is nothing other than a good warm up game before the WC. Scaloni here just wanna see MacAllister as the left midfield again as he already knows Papu well playing that role and Foyth playing Rb as he already knows Molina and Montiel. And he just gives minutes to players who need match rhythm like Acuna that’s all.

  14. Di Maria!!! That volley would be glorious no matter which team it is scored against. Messi!! Incredibly accurate unstoppable finish. Kudos!

    And I am not surprised people here are overimpressed with Alvarez and Mac Allister. One got served a tap-in on platter yet managed to hit the goalkeeper, the other played the easiest pass imaginable for his “assist”, against a team that seems to be slightly more mobile than a group of training dummies. 90% of football “fans” these days do not understand football beyond counting goals and assists.

  15. Foyth’s lack of playtime recently clearly affected his form. We have to calculate how we approach the RB position especially with a not-totally-crazy chance of playing France early. Di Maria’s showing his major weakness again and again, incapable of scoring a regular goal, only golazos or it doesn’t count haha. Really like what Licha is doing. Anyway hope to see lots of subs in the second half so everyone gets minutes

  16. It’s almost 3-5-2.
    1.dimaria is very wide.eric ten hug use antony so wide rwf both ajax and man united and today scaloni use di maria in that role.
    2.messi and alvarez are very central. Looks like two centre forward.
    3.those who can’t find mac allister please concentrate more centre attack.mac allister is playing attacking midfield role or ss role.he is always next to messi.involved in 3 goals directly.
    4.almost every previous Argentine manager ruined di maria let him play the left side.that’s the difference between scaloni and others. Scaloni always use di maria as a rwf.

  17. Useful game so far.
    Di Maria picking up rhythm.
    Licha and Otamendi rock solid.
    Alvarez working hard and scoring.
    Acuna had a good cross and needs to play 2nd half to regain rhythm.
    RDP works his ass off, but runs a lot with the ball. Should pass earlier.
    Foyth clearly lacks rhythm, looks rusty and is afraid to run at full speed.

    Sometimes we have 6 or 7 players in front of the ball. In case we lose possession (against WC opposition) that is lethal.

  18. Argentina played pretty good against a super weak team. A good friendly at least before the World Cup. Di Maria is in super saiyan mode. everybody else is above average but Foyth. Foyth played like he did know where to move being a right back. Sometimes Di Maria had to tell him to go to certain directions.

  19. Best players so far: Di Maria, Messi, Acuna, De Paul, Alvarez and (!) Mac Allister. He was low key involved in some goals and build up. Lisandro is a beast as usual.

    Worst player so far Juan Foyth. He is neither overlapping nor defending well against poor opposition. Defending is his supposed forte pero que paso Juanito?

  20. Argentina playing like 10 riqulme. A bit slow but u can’t take the ball away. And the final ball is just fantástic. They are not over running themselves. I enjoyed that half very much

  21. Time to put Messi and ADM into anti tsunami device and send them straight to Qatar hotel.

    We need to test Papu as he hasnt been that good this season for Sevilla.

  22. Nice and easy.. lets get all 5 subs in the second half. I do not know whats up with Foyth and Argentina.. He is being eaten alive. Not convincing at all

  23. I can’t really judge foyth bc I don’t follow him but he’s not too good.

    He’s getting burned everytime and sloppy fouls.

    I’m probably going to get reamed with people saying foyth is the best defender, which maybe he is but from this one display im watching (wow, no bueno)

    • I like Foyth but I have to agree with you. I see him getting turned and burned. Against a better team that could really be a disaster waiting to happen but then again he’s coming back from injury and maybe he’s taking it easy.

  24. Mundos don’t make yourself fool to see today’s 11. Scalony is the coach who served Copa to us after 28 years. He knows his players better than us. Cool… Vamos Argentina

  25. Mac alluster is fantastic player. Don’t worry about his talent. although he is less experienced his achievements is less but he is future best player..

  26. Unexpected XI!
    Especially with Scaloni saying no risks today… Didn’t think Di Maria, Paredes and Acuña would play, let alone start. At least Romero & Dybala rested. Papu has a cold.

    Good luck Selección 🤍💙

  27. Most moves Scaloni has made are correct. But MacAllister in starting 11 is like Argentina playing with 10. I can’t understand the hard on for this mediocre player.

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