The Argentine men will face Honduras, Algeria and Portugal in Group D at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro this August, while the Argentina Football Association (AFA) has decided against entering a woman’s team.
While Portugal may pose a threat, if a very disorganized, defensively terrible one, Argentina will be hoping it can see off Algeria and fellow South Americans Honduras with relative ease. La Selección also has a pretty good record, having won the 2004 and 2008 Olympic footballing gold.
Elsewhere in the draw, Group B would appear to be the “group of death,” with four fairly equal sides put together in Sweden, Colombia, Nigeria and Japan.
The rest of the draw is as follows:
Olympic regulations are slightly different to that of normal international football, and as we see with boxers having to still be amateurs, the football teams are under-23 with three senior exceptions allowed. The likes of Lionel Messi are set to miss out on a place in the squad, while Messi was a part of the Argentina team that won a gold medal in Beijing in 2008, Argentina coach Gerardo Martino has said Leo will not be joining the Olympic side due to the upcoming Copa America.
“Exposing Leo by using him in another competition after all the football he has played would be overkill, in my opinion,” the former Barcelona boss told Clarin. “It would come back to haunt us in terms of what we have in store in the second half of the year. Common sense dictates that he and other players in his position should only feature in the Copa America.”
We’ll have to wait until the squad announcement to see which senior players have made the cut, but my money is on three goalkeepers.