Argentina celebrates World Cup victory with friendly against Panama
2022 World Cup winners Argentina, led by hero Lionel Messi, will take the field for the first time since hoisting the most coveted trophy in all of football as they welcome Panama to Buenos Aires.
Celebrating the World Cup win
The friendly will allow fans at the Estadio Monumental to pay their respects to the team after the Albiceleste secured the nation’s third World Cup title in history, and first since the legendary Diego Maradona played for the side. Messi has now reached the same storied heights as Maradona, and has been treated like a king since winning the penalty shootout over France in Qatar.
Lineup changes after World Cup
Messi was called up for this first Argentina match after the World Cup, as was Angel Di Maria, who was considering international retirement ahead of the World Cup but now continues as part of the Albiceleste team.
The squad reconvenes for this friendly against Central American foes Panama, who fell just short of qualifying for the 2022 World Cup.
Live coverage of the match
The Sporting News will be following the Argentina vs. Panama match live and providing score updates, commentary and highlights as they happen.
Argentina (4-3-3, right to left): 23-E. Martinez (GK) — 26-Molina, 13-Romero, 19-Otamendi, 3-Tagliafico — 20-Mac Allister, 24-E. Fernandez, 7-De Paul — 10-Messi, 9-J. Alvarez, 11-Di Maria.
3rd min.: Only three minutes have gone by and Argentina have already had a corner, forced a clearance, and gotten a shot on goal through Lionel Messi. We could get a tennis score here.
8th min.: Panama with a response! They earn a corner through Cristian Quintero on the left wing. And then on the other end of the field, right-back Ivan Anderson goes on a slalom through four Argentina players. Los Canaleros with some personality on the big stage.
10th min.: Angel Di Maria is operating on the left side, Lionel Messi is right behind Julian Alvarez. Right-back Nahuel Molina is basically acting as a right winger so far.
15th min.: How is it still 0-0? Panama are defending well with numbers behind the ball. And they’re also throwing their bodies at shots … like this.
16th min.: YELLOW card Panama. It’s left-back Kevin Galvan who gets it for a two-footed lunge on Lionel Messi that could’ve been a red card.
18th min.: Chance Argentina! Messi gets up and takes the ensuing free kick and slams it off the right post.
24th min.: Chance Argentina! Rodrigo De Paul with a through ball to Alexis Mac Allister who nearly pokes the ball past the goalkeeper, who makes the stop.
32nd min.: Argentina are looking for low, driven crosses into the area, but they’re not finding feet so far. Right-back Nahuel Molina tries another, but Panama ‘keeper Jose Guerra is ready for it.
The match build-up
120 mins to kickoff: Lionel Messi has accomplished nearly everything there is to do in his football career, adding the coveted World Cup title to his extensive trophy case. Yet he can still make history tonight. He is just one goal shy of the 800 career goals mark for club and country, while he sits two international goals from the century mark with Argentina. He continues to shatter expectations and defy the doubters at 35 years old!
55 mins to kickoff: In case you were wondering, here’s the jersey that the world champions will be wearing with the FIFA World Cup champion patch and the third star above the badge.
23 mins to kickoff: The Argentina lineup announcement in-stadium wasn’t your run-of-the-mill reading of names.
15 mins to kickoff: The players are back inside the dressing rooms. Warmups are over. The next time we’ll see them, they’ll be wearing their three stars and getting ready for an anthem that no one is sure to forget.
5 mins to kickoff: Lionel Messi, Dibu Martinez, and Lionel Scaloni are in tears after the crowd serenades the world champions.
2 mins to kickoff: The tear rolling down Dibu Martinez’s face during the anthem was REAL. The subs are lined up with their kids for the anthem. That’s going to be a long handshake line for Panama.
Off the field activities
40 mins to kickoff: While the players are warming up, the players’ families are getting a moment in front of the crowd, as well.
75 mins to kickoff: It’s a real show at the Monumental today with musical acts preceding the Argentina vs. Panama celebratory match. This is a glimpse at the crowd taking in La T y La M.
55 mins to kickoff: It wouldn’t be a World Cup celebration without the “Muchachos” song led by the man who came up with the lyrics himself.
30 mins to kickoff: Dibu Martinez playing to the crowd with some of his dance moves made famous after penalty shootouts.
70 mins to kickoff: A jam-packed Monumental is a real sight. The match is still over an hour away.
Panama last took the field in mid-March for a friendly against Guatemala that took place outside an official FIFA international window. Carlos Harvey scored the Panamanians’ only goal in a 1-1 draw at PayPal Park in San Jose, Calif. But this Panamanian squad will be a second team managed by assistant coach Jorge Dely Valdes.
The Argentina friendly against Panama will be broadcast in the United States exclusively on the streaming service Fanatiz, which requires a subscription.
In the United Kingdom, the game will be shown on BT Sport 2, with streaming available on their various platforms.