lionel messi
Lionel Messi has recovered from a back injury and is expected to start against PanamaGetty

Argentina take on Panama in the 2016 Copa America Centenario Group D clash at the Soldier Field Stadium in Chicago on Friday (10 June).

Where to watch live

Kick-off is at 2.30am BST (on Saturday). Live coverage of the match is available on Premier Sports in the United Kingdom.

Overview

Tournament favourites Argentina have received a big boost ahead of their clash against Panama with Lionel Messi set to return from a back injury that he picked up while playing against Honduras on 27 May. Not that they missed him much in the their opening game against defending champions Chile with Angel di Maria proving that he can step up on the big stage, scoring one goal and assisting one in their 2-1 win.

Nicolas Gaitan who played in Messi's absence did a good job for the 2014 World Cup finalists, and if he played any other team, he would surely have been in the starting XI. Such are the riches in the Argentina team at present that a player like Sergio Aguero could come off the bench. A win for La Albiceleste here will arguably guarantee a place for them in the knock-out stage.

Their opponents Panama too are coming into this clash on the back of a historic 2-1 win over Bolivia on 7 June. Vancouver Whitecaps forward Blas Perez was the star for Panama scoring a brace to help them register three points on the table.

This win was their first in a Copa America tournament, while also being the first time that they beat a South American team in five years. Ironically, the last time they won against South American opposition was Bolivia, when they defeated them 3-1 on 10 August 2011. However, a win against Argentina looks unlikely though they are capable of producing an upset on their day.

Prediction

  • Argentina to win

Betting odds (betfair)

  • Argentina to win: 1/5
  • Draw: 6
  • Panama to win: 20

Team news

Argentina

Possible XI: Romero, Mercado, Otamendi, Funes Mori, Rojo, Fernandez, Mascherano, Banega, Di Maria, Messi, Higuain.

Panama

Possible XI: Quinonez; Bejarano, Eguino, Zenteno, Gutierrez; Melean; Campos, Smedberg-Dalence, Saucedo, Veizaga; Perez.