To paraphrase Diego Maradona’s praise of Javier Mascherano prior to the 2010 World Cup, Argentina at the Copa America truly are Lionel Messi and 10 others. The Barcelona wizard was coaxed back into the international setup during the build-up to the tournament in Brazil, and will once again attempt to break his drought with the Albiceleste. Messi and Argentina’s long road to possible glory begins with a clash against Colombia on Saturday, a test which will give a good indication of their overall chances of taking the Copa. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Outside Leo, however, there are plenty of question marks surrounding this team. Coach Lionel Scaloni – since taking over from Jorge Sampaoli – has taken big strides in renewing a tired-looking team, dispensing in the process with many of the names that fell in the last 16 at the World Cup. Indeed, just nine players have survived the cull, with less than half boasting more than 10 caps for their country. Scaloni has rotated heavily in his friendly matches so far, meaning that Argentina go into the Copa with no clear idea of what their default starting line-up may be. There are plenty of options to choose from though, especially in the final third where the rookie coach could still spring a few surprises. Defensively, and due more to Argentina’s own limitations than any tried and tested formula, Scaloni appears to have a more or less fixed idea in mind. Having seen his experiment with three at the back fail miserably against Venezuela, a four-man defence is almost certain to be his first choice. Behind them Franco Armani is likely to start the Copa in goal, with Esteban Andrada’s blooper for Boca Juniors in their Copa Superliga final defeat to Tigre perhaps tipping the balance definitively in favour of the River Plate man. Racing Club’s Renzo Saravia is the obvious option at right-back and indeed the only man to play that role naturally in the squad following Gabriel Mercado’s omission. German Pezzella and Nicolas Otamendi are favourites to start in the middle, while Nicolas Tagliafico will retain his spot on the left boosted by a fantastic Champions League campaign with Ajax. River’s Milton Casco deputises for Tagliafico, while Juan Foyth and Ramiro Funes Mori will serve as understudies for the first-choice central pairing. It is in midfield where certain dilemmas may arise. Scaloni has picked a squad rather short on choices to anchor the engine room, which leaves Leandro Paredes and Tigres’ Guido Rodriguez almost certain to act as a double pivot when the tournament kicks off. The decision over which players line up outside that duo depends substantially on whether Argentina opt for more creativity or mobility, as well as the formation Scaloni chooses. Giovani Lo Celso enjoyed a fine season with Real Betis but has looked shackled in previous outings as part of a midfield trio for the Albiceleste, which could lead to Roberto Pereyra getting the nod in a 4-3-3 set-up. If, on the other hand, Scaloni tries a 4-2-3-1 formation, Lo Celso would be a natural selection in the middle, with Messi and Angel Di Maria flanking the former PSG man. Lo Celso did his chances no harm with a fine performance during Friday’s 5-1 thrashing of Nicaragua, linking with Messi well throughout and providing a creative touch that has been sorely missing for the national team in recent years.Further up the field Sergio Aguero and Lautaro Martinez are the prime candidates to lead the attacking line, Aguero’s superior experience naturally giving him the edge at this point despite featuring in just a single match since the World Cup. Like Lo Celso, Martinez was the big winner against Nicaragua with two goals in the second half after coming off the bench and, whether it is from the start or as a substitute, will almost certainly play a significant role at this Copa.Messi is likely to continue in his favoured position on the right while Di Maria takes the left side of attack. There is likely to be little room for Paulo Dybala after failing to impress for either club or country over the last 12 months, although Scaloni could yet spring a surprise by including Martinez or River’s Matias Suarez – both of whom linked well with Messi against Venezuela – alongside Aguero and giving Messi a free role in the final third.
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Brock’s Goodman School of Business is like a second home for Lola Abduvaitova’s family.The MSc student is the latest in her line of siblings to attend the Goodman School for a graduate program.Two of her siblings, Abdu (MBA ’09) and Mia (MBA ’16) hold Goodman MBA degrees and work at a major Canadian bank in the area of data and analytics. A third sibling, Adkham, is currently working on his MBA degree here, as well.Lola graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) this year with an undergraduate degree in mathematics.Originally from Uzbekistan, she made her way to MIT to follow in the footsteps of her father, a mathematics professor who “is a big inspiration for all of us,” she said.Her goal to become a professor was a natural choice, and research is something she has been focused on for a long time.“My passion for research began in high school. I worked on an independent math project and presented my project at a university research conference and they published my abstract in the conference journal, making me even more interested in research,” she said.Her career goal led her to Goodman’s Master of Science in Management (MSc) program, where she is looking forward to applying her math and computer programming knowledge.“I learned how heavily research focused the MSc program is. After I finish this program, it’s going to give me a lot of opportunities to continue my research and teaching, and get into a PhD program to continue my pathway in this profession,” she said.As for which field of academia she will pursue, she sees good research opportunities in data science.“In my junior year of college, I noticed that companies are putting a lot of emphasis on data science and looking at it as a tool to solve some of the most challenging problems they are facing. This field is developing really fast and there’s a lot of attraction both from academia and industry in it,” she said.Part of her decision to attend Goodman was the new Centre for Business Analytics, which started operation this month.“I was very pleased to hear that it is now open and I hope I’ll take advantage of it while I’m here,” she said.Although she’s only been at Brock for a month and a half, she says she already feels at home and says, “I love the campus and its location. It’s very beautiful here.”