Argentina starting eleven confirmed for 2026 World Cup qualifying match


The Argentina starting eleven has been confirmed for their 2026 World Cup qualifying match against Ecuador on Thursday.

Argentina play their first match in the World Cup qualifiers and it’s a similar eleven to the one which started the World Cup final. Coach Lionel Scaloni has made two changes from that final as Nicolás González starts in place of Ángel Di María and Lautaro Martínez for Julián Álvarez. Here is the starting eleven:

Emiliano Martínez; Nahuel Molina, Cristian Romero, Nicolás Otamendi, Nicolás Tagliafico; Rodrigo De Paul, Enzo Fernández, Alexis Mac Allister, Nicolás González; Lionel Messi and Lautaro Martínez.


  1. No serious complaints, the team played well and unlucky on the chances they had.
    Rusty as expected.
    Defense played well and Messi played ok considering the travel and getting used to the team again but as many times, WON THE DAY.
    Ecuador came to defend as expected and opened up quick after the goal.
    Not a bad start, THREE POINTS and on to the next game.

  2. Messi the game changer again….
    Romero, de Paul and teg performed very well….
    Molena, And Emi Mertinez were ok…
    Nico, lautaro, enjo and Mac need to perform better…

    The entire team looked nervous with Meesi going off the field……

  3. Ecuador is not a bad team so I can accept a 1-0 win. I just want to say that Romero is amazing… He should be our captain after Messi era.

    • He’s been in very good form lately, kind of sad he can’t translate it to the NT. Even an average normal day Di Maria is a major difference compared to him, but with Di Maria’s age I guess we’ll have to get used to this and find an alternative because he won’t be able to be a 90 minute player every game in Copa like in the WC

  4. needed creativity in that midfield.. ecuador working out thier plan well with that compact 5-4-1 stucture.. proper channel blocking is being carrying out..

    • Looked super sharp for 15 minutes. Then got sloppy with Molina, Enzo, and others misplacing short passes. Enzo needs to take more initiative but he’s playing deep.
      MacAllister has had a good match.

  5. Every time Nico play, the threat from the wing gone, the different between other and di maria is that Di Maria himself does so much threat on the wing. Wish we has someone like him in NT sooner or later.

    • In 57 minutes of the match if it was Julian Alvarez instead of lautaro Martinez, he would’ve given the pass to Messi…lautaro Martinez should have been subbed earlier…

  6. Looking forward to Lautaro continuing with his Inter form for the national team. Non of the matches would have gone to penalties , had he been in form and fully fit in the world cup!

    • Those gone to Penalties because of nervous defense. In all those matches we were comfortably winning 2-0 and even in Australia game dibu’s great save was the reason it didn’t go to penalties. But nervousness was expected apart from otamendi all were playing their 1st wc and otamendi also did some mistake that he in other circumstances would surely not do that’s the pressure of world Cup

  7. This is first time I’m watching Argentina nt compatative match without been nervous because of the tournament We have won for the last three years

    • Totally agree, everything about that Ecuador opening match in the Bombonera three years ago was totally different and alien compared to this. We were still on our 28 or something like that years without a title and it was the first match after a LONG time because of the pandemic. We were still completely unsure about Scaloni and had Armani starting for us lol. Salvio got minutes that day, that frustrated feeling of playing completely mediocre random players from the previous copa and WC still wasn’t shaken off. I think it was just a Messi penalty that got us through. It’s been so long without nerves in a qualifier and now you just know they are going to win or at least tie. So great to enjoy this for however long it lasts. Now it feels as calm as watching friendlies

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