Two teams trending in very different directions meet on Tuesday as Colombia travels to Cordoba to take on Argentina in CONMEBOL World Cup qualification.
Argentina has already clinched, winning four of its last five qualifiers and cruising along even without Lionel Messi’s leadership. In fact, the Albiceleste sport the longest active winning streak in international soccer, sitting at 28 matches unbeaten, which dates back to July of 2019.
Colombia, meanwhile, is in a dire position. With just three matches to go, Los Cafeteros sit two points outside the qualification spots after a crushing 1-0 home defeat to Peru last time out. The loss saw Peru leap into the qualification zone despite Colombia’s dominance throughout the 90 minutes. Colombia ripped off 30 shots, accumulating an expected goals tally just shy of 3.0 xG, but came up empty on the scoresheet.
Now, the two renew a fierce rivalry that last materialized in the 2021 Copa America semifinals, producing a thrilling 1-1 draw that saw eventual champions Argentina progress through to the final on Emiliano ‘Dibu’ Martinez’s penalty shootout heroics.
Sporting News will be following the match live and providing score updates, commentary and highlights as they happen.
Argentina vs. Colombia live score
29th minute — ARG — Lautaro Martinez
(All times Eastern)
45+1 minute: Chance, Colombia! WHAT A SAVE BY ARGENTINA’S HERO MARTINEZ! Colombia was clean through after some shocking defending by Argentina, but Martinez confidently comes out to smother before Borja can get the shot off. Then, on the follow-up, Diaz has a slow-roller cleared off the line by Pezzella. Colombia won’t get many of those, and that one was wasted. Borja has to do better with the initial effort, he was totally through.
Martinez reprising his role from the Copa America semifinals against Colombia.
Incredible save by Emiliano Martínez. From close range, he saves it and Pezzella clears one off the line too. Argentina still leading 1-0 and it’s half time.
— Roy Nemer (@RoyNemer) February 2, 2022
44th minute: First yellow card of the match goes to Argentina’s Marcos Acuna who wins the ball but went through Cuadrado to get it. It seems harsh, the contact was very minimal. If anything, just a foul, but because it was on a counter, the referee produced a caution.
38th minute: Argentina is blitzing the Colombia box again. Beautiful combination play down the right works a cross for a wide-open Montiel, but he blasts his delivery into a defender. Still, the hosts flood the box and after some chaos Colombia clears. This is a one-sided affair at the moment, with 70% possession to Argentina, who sports a 92% pass success rate and five shots to Colombia’s one.
33rd minute: Chance, Argentina! It feels like things are on the verge of totally falling apart for Colombia. Davinson Sanchez steps in recklessly on Lo Celso outside the top of the penalty area, which results in a dangerous free-kick. Di Maria’s effort is vicious, but it’s too near the center of the goal, and Vargas produces a fabulous save.
Colombia look pretty toothless again but credit to Argentina too. Without Messi, De Paul, Paredes and Cuti Romero who you could make a good argument are all among the most important starters
— GOLAZO (@golazoargentino) February 2, 2022
29th minute: GOAL! Argentina! There’s the deserved breakthrough. A cross from the left by Marcos Acuna goes over Colombian defender William Tesillo who got sucked forward, and that left Lautaro Martinez all by himself. His low finish wasn’t terribly impressive, and Camilo Vargas even got a hand to it on the dive, but it still has enough power to find the back of the net.
Colombia just cannot keep the ball. Argentina is pressing very high and hard, and it’s totally smothering Los Cafeteros. The visitors miss Yerry Mina, who is suspended for yellow card accumulation, bringing Tesillo into the starting lineup.
— fuboTV (@fuboTV) February 2, 2022
26th minute: A very nasty clash of heads with Lisandro Martinez has Miguel Borja down. The replay is hard to watch. The Colombian took by far the worst of that collison. He’s up and walking slowly to the sidelines with medical staff. We’ll see how that affects the visitors.
Borja comes back on soon after the restart.
22nd minute: Colombia has a very good opportunity on the break, and a wonderful Cuadrado layoff nearly works a shot through the middle, but Argentina tracks back extremely quickly to end the chance before the ball can be sent towards net. Excellent transition defense by the hosts.
Abrumadora superioridad en la posesión Argentina, fluidez versus ansiedad, nerviosismo y bloqueo de Colombia
— steven arce (@stevenarce) February 1, 2022
16th minute: Chance, Argentina! Oh what a goal that would have been. A Colombia turnover on the Argentine right flank results in a quick-trigger shot from Di Maria, who puts his curler just wide. Beat the goalkeeper, beat the post. Very close. Vintage Di Maria on display today.
Ángel Di Maria en modo 2014 cuando fue Top 3 del mundo. Fantástico el nivel del ‘Fideo’ que vive el mejor momento de su carrera con la camiseta de #Argentina.
Líder absoluto de la Albiceleste. 🇦🇷
— De La Rocha (@AlvaroDLaRocha) February 1, 2022
15th minute: Colombia finally has a sniff of the attacking third thanks to great work down the left by Miguel Borja, and his feed to Luis Diaz results in a shot from outside the top of the box that’s deflected out for a Colombia corner. The set-piece comes to nothing. Promising, but to this point far too little to prove meaningful.
12th minute: The hosts nearly pull off a very audacious move down the right, as Lo Celso fed a bonkers long ball over the top to Gonzalo Montiel, but his cross goes flying over the penalty area to nobody. Argentina is really turning the screw. It’s not hard to see why Colombia has struggled this qualification cycle. It’s not a tactical decision to play without the ball, they’re clearly second-best.
9th minute: Argentina has seen a lot of the ball early, and looks energetic, but hasn’t created much since the early Ocampos effort. He loses it on a failed one-two down the left and it’s out for a Colombia throw.
6th minute: Di Maria is hacked on the right flank. He looks very lively early on. Then Luis Diaz is taken down for Colombia. Skills & fouls. Yep, it’s CONMEBOL!
Ángel Di Maria with another caño/nutmeg. That is two by him with 7 minutes into the match. Argentina seeing a lot of the ball.
— Roy Nemer (@RoyNemer) February 1, 2022
3rd minute: Argentina with plenty of early possession, and Lucas Ocampos rips the game’s first shot miles over the bar. Good defending by Colombia as he cut in from the left, but can’t get much room to settle the shot. Di Maria with some stunning skills to open up the chance, including a spin move to get free.
1st minute: And we’re under way! Colombia needs a result in the worst way. Zero pressure on Argentina, but form heading into the World Cup is important, and there is that 28-match unbeaten streak to protect.
— Selección Argentina 🇦🇷 (@Argentina) February 1, 2022
6:28 p.m.: Argentina has a big fan watching from overseas!
— Juan Arango (@JuanG_Arango) February 1, 2022
6:02 p.m.: The Colombian media is…to put it mildly…pessimistic about the nation’s World Cup chances.
Uruguay is currently leading Venezuela on a very early goal from new Spurs man Rodrigo Betancur, so things are looking even more bleak at the moment.
“Qatar, a very long way off for Colombia!”
Understandably bleak summary of y’day’s 1-0 defeat to Peru in today’s papers, which extends Colombia’s goal drought to 556 mins.
“Not a single goal in 6 games! Of course we’re sixth and not going to the WC! It’s what we deserve!” pic.twitter.com/SN92V885TP
— Carl Worswick (@cworswick) January 29, 2022
5:35 p.m.: Lineups are in. Biggest surprises: no David Ospina in goal for Colombia as he deals with a stomach bug, no Paulo Dybala for Argentina as he makes only the bench for the second straight match.
Dybala’s career is starting to seriously lag. No form whatsoever, and it’s affecting his standing at both Juventus and Argentina. He has played just 55 minutes for the national team since the end of 2019.
5:32 p.m.: Chile defeats Bolivia 3-2 to earn a critical three points and put even more pressure on Colombia, which now sits in seventh in the CONMEBOL table. Despite the result, Colombia would still push itself back into fifth with a shock win over Argentina.
— fuboTV (@fuboTV) February 1, 2022
5:30 p.m.: Argentina is still savoring its Copa America win from last summer ahead of a semifinal rematch.
Alejandro Papu Gomez on being with the Argentina national team: “If we could not sleep, we would not sleep. We live every minute 100%. We want to enjoy it. When we have to leave at the airport, every one of us goes back to their club and you’re left with a sentimental void.” pic.twitter.com/zdEA6OppuJ
— Roy Nemer (@RoyNemer) February 1, 2022
5:25 p.m.: A nice message from Argentina urging supporters to be kind while attending the matches and supporting the team.
➡️ Este partido lo jugamos todos juntos
— Selección Argentina 🇦🇷 (@Argentina) February 1, 2022
4:45 p.m.: Elsewhere in CONMEBOL, the pitch was a nightmare in Bolivia for their match against Chile, delaying kickoff. Look at all that water!
A una hora de que empiece Bolivia-Chile, así sacan el agua de la cancha. pic.twitter.com/Qc0msBki1F
— Martin Charquero (@MartinCharquero) February 1, 2022
Kickoff delayed. The field looks like a swimming pool. They have the squeegees out. 😂 https://t.co/x7hQ32CUsE
— Carmine Bianco (@CarmineBiancoWT) February 1, 2022
4:30 p.m.: Colombia is fighting hard for a World Cup place, but Los Cafeteros will also be on the prowl for revenge from the Copa America, when these two teams met in the semifinals, with Argentina winning in the penalty shootout. Aston Villa goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez saved three out of five penalties in the shootout, a memorable moment in the tournament to push Argentina towards its eventual crown.
Argentina, the Copa America champions, play Colombia today in the World Cup qualifiers. Their last match against each other was back at the Copa America. One name, Emiliano Martínez. pic.twitter.com/5Ddc9p9qTu
— Roy Nemer (@RoyNemer) February 1, 2022
Argentina vs. Colombia lineups
Argentina manager Lionel Scaloni has the freedom to do as he pleases, with Argentina already qualified for the World Cup. Still, it expects to be a strong starting lineup in a rivalry match.
Scaloni himself returns to the bench after missing the last match due to COVID-19, and Guido Rodriguez also has recovered from his positive test. The likes of Nicolas Tagliafico, Nicolas Otamendi, Rodrigo de Paul, and Leandro Paredes are all suspended for yellow card accumulation, a big chunk of contributing players to work around. Also, Lionel Messi is not part of the roster for this international window due to his recent bout with COVID-19, allowing him rest with the national already secured a spot in the 2022 World Cup.
That means big changes to the starting lineup for Argentina from the 2-1 win over Chile on Thursday, including a likely rotation of the entire three-man midfield. With Paredes out, Rodriguez comes into midfield, while De Paul is replaced by Giovanni Lo Celso. Finally, Alejandro ‘Papu’ Gomez was reportedly lacking fitness but makes the starting lineup anyways, while Lucas Ocampos starts along the front line replacing the misfiring Paulo Dybala. New Man City man Julian Alvarez is with Dybala among the substitutes.
At the back, Otamendi is set to be replaced by German Pezzella in central defense, with Tagliafico’s spot filled by Marcos Acuna.
Argentina starting lineup (4-3-3): Emiliano Martinez (GK) — Montiel, Pezzella, Lisandro Martinez, Acuna – Gomez, G. Rodriguez, Lo Celso – Ocampos, Lautaro Martinez, Di Maria.
Argentina subs (12): Armani (GK), Andrada (GK), Molina, Quarta, N. Perez, Meza, Buendia, Correa, J. Alvarez, N. Gonzalez, Dybala.
The most surprising name on the teamsheet for Colombia was the inclusion of goalkeeper Camillo Vargas, as David Ospina misses out with an illness. Stars James Rodriguez and Juan Cuadrado are included, with the latter wearing the captain’s armband and pushed up to winger from his usual left-back position.
Like Argentina, Colombia also has a suspension to worry about, with Yerry Mina out for yellow card accumulation, having already departed to rejoin Everton. That leaves William Tesillo to take his place at the back alongside Davinson Sanchez.
New Liverpool man Luis Diaz retains his place on the left flank, while Miguel Borja comes into the side for Eintracht Frankfurt’s Rafael Borre up top, meaning superstar Falcao only makes the bench. Manager Reinaldo Rueda has stuck with Porto’s Mateus Uribe in midfield over the bench option of Brighton’s Steven Alzate.
Colombia starting lineup (4-2-3-1): Vargas (GK) — Mojica, Tesillo, D. Sanchez, Medina — Uriba, Barrios — Diaz, J. Rodriguez, Cuadrado – Borja.
Colombia subs (12): Mosquera (GK), Munoz, Murillo, Hinestroza, Cuellar, Cantillo, Chara, Valayas, Preciado, Suarez, Barre, Falcao.
How to watch Argentina vs. Colombia
- Date: Tuesday, Feb. 1
- Time: 6:30 p.m. ET
- TV Channel: —
- Streaming: fuboTV
The South American World Cup qualifiers are available exclusively on fuboTV in the United States.
Argentina closes out qualifying with a home game against Venezuela (March 24) and a road trip to face Ecuador (March 29). The Colombian side will play two likely must-win matches at home against Bolivia (March 24) and away to what will be an already-eliminated Venezuela (March 29).
Argentina vs. Colombia betting lines, picks & prediction
Argentina has little to play for at this point, but that hasn’t stopped Luis Scaloni from continuing to deploy a first-choice lineup to build chemistry in preparation for this winter’s World Cup. In doing so, they’ve tormented the competition.
Chile’s goal against Argentina in the 2-1 win for the Albiceleste was the first goal Argentina had allowed in 561 minutes of World Cup qualification action, all the way back to a meaningless late goal scored by Venezuela to cap a a 3-1 result back in early September. In the six-match clean sheet streak, which included a game against Brazil, Argentina conceded just 17 shots on target. Even without the first-choice defenders, this Argentina group defends extremely well with both possession and structure.
On the flip side, it is just the opposite: Colombia’s finishing has been brutally bad. Los Cafeteros failed to find the back of the net amid a flurry of 30 shots against Peru last time out, putting just two on frame, the latest in a long line of misfires. Colombia now sits at a cataclysmic six World Cup qualifying matches without a single score, a goalless streak of 556 minutes.
One team is on a historic winning streak, the other can’t find the back of the net. The form is clear.
Pick: Argentina to win to zero (+210)
Prediction: Argentina 2-0 Colombia
- Moneyline: Argentina -110 / Draw +250 / Colombia +340
- Spread: Argentina -0.5 (-120) / Colombia +0.5 (-110)
- O/U 2.5 total goals: Over +145 / Under -180
- Both teams to score: Yes +115 / No -145