Angel DI MARIA on Copa America: “We are candidates because we are Argentina”

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Angel DI MARIA spoke to Fox Sports in Argentina about the Argentina national team, the Copa America and the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

One of the veterans on the Argentina national team, DI MARIA is back for another major tournament. Speaking with Fox Sports, here’s what he had to say:

“There are several things which can’t be repeated, what’s important is what is happening now. The good atmosphere, the group, that everything is good and that there aren’t any problems is the best thing. We are candidates because we are Argentina and we have the best player in the world.”

In regards to his future with the Argentina national team:

“I will never say no to the Argentina national team. I’ve had injuries in key moments but I continue trying. I feel happiest when I’m with the Argentina national team, I will fight to win something with the Argentina national team. Hopefully we will have a good Copa America.”

About the 2018 FIFA World Cup:

“In Russia, from the first day, everything went wrong. Things didn’t go as planned and we just made the World Cup, thanks to Leo. Everything kept going bad, what happened against Nigeria and against France we knew that things weren’t right.”

85 COMMENTS

  1. whatever we are saying about Di maria i give him a credit
    that he is one of those players that understand what jersey he is wearing.
    he understand and feel how heavy is the albiceleste jersey and the size of responsibility one player has when he wear that jersey.

    unlike some newcomers like Pezzella that think that the national team is one school party.

  2. The level of decline in aerial skills of argentine players continue to bother me. I have mentioned this in the past and the same story in the r16 game. Gaich, who can be considered the best in the team in that regard was quite wasteful and poor. Perez who one can assume should be close to best or second best due to his position and profile was completely exposed aerially multiple times in the tournament. If you extend this to goalkeepers you can see how poor roffo’s aerial skills are as well. Vera and sosa are average at best at another position which needs strong aerial skills.

    The desire to build the next Maradona or next messi at the local clubs plays into this. All other skills are left undeveloped at the expose of building wonderful ball-at-feet skills. Even the coaches fall victim to this and pick squads overloaded with multiple skilled but aerially lacking players in the 5’5-5.7’’ (1.65-1.7) range-barco, dela vega, alvarez, urzi. World cup 2018 showed the extreme advancement in set piece tactics amongst all European teams. Argentina were far behind in this regard. In the champions league Jurgen Klopp showed brilliantly how to attack hugo lloris for opening 10 minutes straight out of corners. It is hard to imagine argentine players generally not crumbling to that kind of tactic.

    • AFA should call Ginobili out of retirement 🙂

      interesting point btw. For the upcoming tournament, Otamendi, Pezzella, Tagliafico, and Aguero are all good aerially. Not sure how well the Guidos will do. Icardi for all his faults is deadly but hell watch copa from home.

  3. Someone mentioned that Aguero won the WC single handedly in 2007. I disagree completely. Maradona is often credited for winning the senior WC single-handedly in 1986. But people who say that underestimate the role of the defence marshalled by Ruggeri which conceded just 5 goals in the whole tournament. And Enrique and Burruchaga who hardly allowed the midfield to be penetrated. We never looked likely remotely losing any game right to the end. And Valdano and Pasculli who played brilliantly in our most difficult game against Uruguay. In 2007 ADM, Zarate, Maxi Moralez, Cahais and Yacob played a huge role in our campaign. If only some of our mundo brothers had an eye for details. A player like Messi or Maradona can win a match single handedly (with a pinch of salt) but not the World Cup my friend.

  4. The pace of the passes impacted our pass accuracy ( slightly below normal) but it caused the Mali defence to always backtrack and if we noticed before the penalties the very physical Mali team were all suffering from cramps. It takes great technique to play at that pace. Barco was exceptional the first 70 minutes or so and De la Vega and Urzi also gave glimpses of their talent. I take back my criticism of Mura from the qualifying rounds. He was pushed around sometimes but was superb going forward yesterday. And his crossing was something I never imagined. Wonderful. Pity Gaich had a bad day at office. But this team has really impressed me. I think man for man this is better than the World Champions of 2007. I know that’s a big statement but I saw every game back then and can say with confidence that Urzi is way better than Acosta, Medina likewise than Cahais/Fazio and Barco better than Escudero. One may argue whether any of these youngsters will reach the level of Aguero, ADM, Papu and Banega but I dare say they will.

  5. And the last word to Gaich topic:

    if it was anyone alse yesterday against that goliaths of Mali defence I suppose he would didn’t get the opportuninties Gaich had becuase someone shorter, slower and physically weaker than Gaich would’ve not even come to good position being crushed by Mali defenders.

  6. IMO biggest mistake of Batista was not to keep on the same eleven that started in first match (plus Gaich of course). Gaich, De La Vega, Ferreira, Barco – all they should have been starting next games. This is range of different offensive options you throw at the same time against opponent. Even if one of them having worse day, the other will make difference. I believe we lack yesterday some would have been tip the balance yesterday. Criminal was not to use him.

    Almendra not been used in the tournament is in fact the same as Lo Celso benching during last WC.

  7. Even though it’s unlucky again. It seems like it’s almost impossible to win a tournament for us now. We r running out of luck.Right now it looks like we r hitting a wall every time we r in a major tournament.

    Anyway hope the current under 20 players keep developing and graduate to the senior NT.There are some great players who could be the backbone of our NT for years to come. They have put on a Gud display.Hope the AFA carries on the small progress. It will take a 10 years to build a great generation of players.

      • I remember when I was a kid, due to my ignorance, I didn’t value the likes of under 20 WCs and even Copa America, Confederation Cup too,i thought the WC is the ultimate(It still is) But Now winning any of these tournament seems like winning a WC.

    • Guys, I know that our wish is to win but at the same time, we must accept the defeat. It was a great team, with very good talents, great players. We play good tournament and get eliminated, that football. I still believe that we can’t blame the coach. Players who played did a good job. I didn’t like the guy who missed the penalty but, this has nothing to do. Medina was outstanding, the fullbacks were very good. I like Sosa very much but Vera played well. Gaich surprised me, I would be a very good striker. I am not proud of the team because the get eliminated in round of 16 but there are a lot of good about the boys.

  8. I wonder if having Balerdi, Garre, Thiago Almada or at least giving Almendra many more minutes would have made a difference? Almada’s absence in particular was probably a wrong decision by Batista.

  9. I liked under 20 team I believe
    They will have a great future
    If they look after themselves
    The only player I didn’t like was gonzalo maroni
    Rest was good especially medina Ortega
    Moreno Perez da le Vega braco Sosa
    Gaich yesterday they were unlucky.
    I’m sure some this boys will play the
    Senior team very soon.

  10. I think this WC u 20 squad this year is better than at least the previous 3-4, which are:
    1. 2017 squad of Foyth, Lautaro Martinez, Ascacibar, etc
    2. 2015 squad of Gio Simeone, Angel Correa, or Mammana
    3. 2011 squad of Lamela, Pezzella, or Tagliafico

    Note: we did not qualify in 2013 and 2009 (that is partly one of the reasons why the generation today is worse than the previous ones).

    Ever since Aguero’s group won it the last in 2007, our record in WC u 20 has been horrible:
    1. Not qualifying in 2009
    2. QF in 2011 led by Erik Lamela
    3. Not qualifying in 2013
    4. Being the champion of South American u20 qualifying but lost in the group stage in 2015
    5. 2017 is the worst one. Very lucky to qualify to the world cup and lost again in the group stage of the World Cup.

    The best years after the Aguero’s 2007 team are: the 2011 and the 2019 (this year) one.

    I am strongly confident that this year is the strongest in 10 years (after Aguero’s era) because of some reasons:
    1. Batista did not call some of his best players like Garre or Balerdi or Almada. He paid the price when Gaich, Barco, and Alvarez looked pretty convincing but no one else other than them was a threat for the enemy. Finally he had to settle with starting the likes of Maroni because of our lack of depth.
    2. We were clearly superior against all teams we played against in this World Cup. Mali was just lucky and the worse team just won the game by luck.

    In 2015 I had high hopes on the team because they won the South American qualifying comfortably. I thought they would do well. I followed them closely. At the time I thought the likes of Espinoza, Gio Simeone, Angel Correa or Joaquin Ibanez would surely be our future, but they disappointed me in the World Cup 2015. The team was too attacking and over confidence.

    This year I also had high hopes. I thought they would go all the way. Mali was just super lucky.

    These are the players I think will have future for our team among the squad:
    1. Barco: for sure. Some compared him to Aimar or Neymar or Di Maria here. I think the best comparison is Ariel Ortega. Barco is a bit shorter but they both are very good at dribbling and love to draw fouls.

    I always see someone based on their abilities NOT whether they are Man of the Match in a match or no. For me Barco has what it takes to be a world class in the future. He’s got speed, dribbling, pass, creativity, set pieces, and shooting more than necessary for players his position.

    2. Gaich: Some compare to Higuain. I would compare him to the faster Palermo or Julio Cruz. Hope he will reach Crespo’s level one day.

    He needs to work in his finishing but he WAS a threat always. He is also not slow for a 6’3 player. He needs to add more power to his shoot like Bati or Crespo.

    3. Nuhuen Perez: I know Mali number 15 won the aeriel duel against him but that guy is 3 meter at least. I saw him having all what it takes to be a very good defender.

    Our right back, Mura is not a solution at all. I don’t know when we finally produce a good right back.

    De La vega is raw. Let’s talk about him in 2 years.

    Alvarez is above average. But not among the brightest talent.

    • I would say this year squad is the best in 10 years BUT I won’t say they are super special like Aguero’s or Messi’s group on 2007 and 2005.

      Well they are better at least than anyone before them (3 generations) at least. That is a glimpse of hope.

    • The 2013 generation (93-94) the best since 2007: Dybala, Icardi, Joaquin Correa, Lanzini, Paredes, De Paul, Cervi, Ocampos, Pity Martinez, Guido Rodriguez, Saravia, Musso, Walter Benitez, even Vietto, Kranevitter etc etc etc a lot of NT players (but their reservist team was super shite), 95-96 was weaker only Lo Celso, Correa, Pavon…maybe Driussi Simeone and Mammana…97-98 will be the second strongest after 93-94 a lot of potential NT players, this current generation seems way weaker to me, time will tell

    • ” We were clearly superior against all teams we played against in this World Cup. Mali was just lucky and the worse team just won the game by luck.”
      Sorry look at ARG goals vs Mali, Benny Hill show. Luck?

        • Against SA ARG would have won narrowly without the red card, but we were the better team, against Portugal we were definitely lucky, on the other hand against South Korea very unlucky, but against Mali the first time luck was on neither side.

          • Csabalala

            you are again contradicting yourselve. When it’s convenient you say: “Gaich missed 5-6 clear chances”, within a while you will say something like: Argentina goals were lucky, our crossing tactic clueless and we didn’t created clear chances.

            So where from the missed “clear chances” of Gaich?

            The fact is that we were clearly the better side. Created much more opportunities and also few good ones.

            Mali scored one from corner (not fluent action) and one thanks to some misunderstanding of our players with refree. What about Mali being lucky? They were better of us only on team spirit.

    • I like Gaich and De La Vega. They can offer something that the current NT doesn’t have: power and speed in attack. Gaich I would compare him with Giroud and Diego Costa, kind of old school pivot forward that I like who can use his body to protect the ball and pass it to his team mates. De La Vega is a winger/striker we need. Pavon, Angel Correa and Joaquin Correa are supposed to bring that to the team but all of them haven’t shown enough yet.

    • If Ariel Ortega was born in 90’s he should have a different career. He is one of the biggest waste in football, if he had a coach like Guardiola or Klopp, in a 433 system that he doesn’t need much to defend, his career path would have been totally different.

    • Mali isnt that good but our 2 goals also a lucky one aswell . First goal was a gift, second goal came from deflected shot. I wouldnt say we’re superior.

  11. It would be a crime not to mention the USA u20 here since there are alot of Mundo Americans or who live there. Like I said before, they have some serious ballers in their team, absolute peach of talents! I don’t know where most of them play their club football, but oh boy, the scouts will be queueing up to get into their remaining matches. Yesterday’s result and performance won’t be a surprise to those who watched the Americans from the start of this tournament.

  12. We lost the lottery, but the team and the lads have a great future ahead of them judging by these performances. Above all, it’s mentality of the players that caught my eye; the character and spirit they showed not just this game but throughout the whole tournament. Like a great coach recently said: they’re f***** mentality giants( that’s me taking it too far i know, but they can be).

    Last night, we switched off for a second that cost us the game. The defensive organizers were at fault for that goal ( Hello, Perez…). Overall we played well and just two moments that we messed up. The first one, no one could do anything about it: it was a nearly undefendable setpiece delivery. We created a lot of chances. That Gaich is a f**** mentality giant, even though he missed previous chances he continued making runs and getting to the end of it, and finally he buried one. That says a lot about the lad. Applause! He kept getting chances, he didn’t cave in, that’s a really good sign!

    • Everyone, gave their all for the team. They died for the La Albiceleste shirt. The amount of work rate they put in, will put the senior teams of the past to shame.

      Medina, Ortega, Roffo, Vera, Moreno, Barco(apart from the Neymar fever), Gaich, Alvarez all got bright future ahead of them.

      • I wish all look at it from your optimistic point of view, there is no place for being pessimistic about the future of the NT. they are still U20, and they have a long road to mature and prosper. that comes with more playing time and exposure.

  13. Higuain was world class striker, Gaich also become world class striker but with chocking ability, Aguero single handily win 2007 U20 because of striking ability if Gaich scored the header on 2nd half Argentinia easily progressed in next round, icardi also won cotif tournament by his own, i only have high hopes form colidio

  14. We missed a few good chances and we lost. But I felt very excited seeing the match yesterday and I hope our senior team was watching. Two great take aways – the speed of the passing was straight out of NT 2006, the opposition was always on the backfoot and that is why they always stayed down when fouled to catch their breath. Secondly the work rate of the attackers – Barco, Alvarez, De LA Vega when he came on everybody worked very hard to support the midfield. Huge potential in the team. The coach missed a trick. Not starting Ferreira and practically not giving Almendra any minutes was a big mistake. Maybe cost us the World Cup

  15. adolfo gaich is future star he should be nutured properly and now since u20 wc is over he should immediately move to a european club in serie a or la liga or may be to ajax fc along with almendra , sosa anibal moreno also should move to good european club and our fbs like ortega and mura and gks, like pourtau and maybe even roffo need to move to europe asap to improve their tactical awareness and hopefully arg u17 team win u17 wc an senior nt win copa america 2019 and post copa 2019 u20 nt and u17 nt should be slowly integrated with senior nt to make argentina nt competetive against european team and brazil,uruguay nts’

  16. After losing DM position to Guido Rodriguez, Paredes probably going lose his CM position to Pereyra..! As we discussed here before..Paredes should be playing in 4231 with a DM.

    New expected 433;
    Armani;
    Saravia-Pezzella-Otamendi-Tagliafico
    Lo Celso-Rodriguez-Pereyra
    Messi-Aguero-Di Maria

    • This formation not bad I think, if only Pereyra can disturbing opponents when possess ball. If Pereyra can do like Arturo Vidal did in Bayern and Juve, it doesn’t deal much problem. Because i think he has some similarities with Vidal.

    • I would replace Di Maria by a younger and more powerful player who can defend. Really I don’t know how bad is Zaracho’s injury. He should have his place among the 23. Eventually a 442 with the 2 Guido in the middle, Pereyra and Lo Celso on each side.

      Paredes has been really average with his club, no magic can happen in such a short time to have him back at his 100%.

  17. Every coach have a high expectation at Di Maria since 2012 but looks at his tally record during the N/T and important tournament. As i remember his greatest contribution came after the WC 2014 during friendly game against World Champion Germany with king Leo absence and Olympic Beijing against Nigeria which earn Gold Medal. No doubt Di Maria is a winger that the team needed and can be a a play maker playing beautifully with short pass and not holding the ball too long. But his injured prone made the team tremble.
    It is the coach decision to optimize him and give the right role to perform.And we always lack of it.

    My hope to Maria is : Do your best as it is your last call by N/T

  18. To all who put frustration on Gaich… mark the word. Gaich will be one of the best forward in the world soon.
    Hes not a finished product. Remember hes just u20. Hes not playing every week. Even Messi Ronaldo misses penalties and easy chances.
    Your frustration may be going to kill one of our talent. Support Gaich. Hes not Higuain. Hes the future of NT. I want him playing for next WC. Hes a special player. Rare brand from Argentina.
    He need to move to an european club where youngsters can grow.

    • I think the same.

      And those who blame him now will pretend as if they were always his fans.
      Some people throw shit at him and praise just during the same game.
      Higuain would have miss that penalty. Gaich scored that easy

    • @Insider you are right…Gaich is only 20 year old why are people branding him as failure already. He scored in three consecutive tournament so lets wait before giving verdict. He has the potential to be world class striker so hope for best. Also I read that Harry kane was like him at age 20 and now look how good is he became.
      Lastly he already uses his physicalty better than our other young strikers( lautaro & icardi) so thats a plus.

    • Higuain also similar at U20 label like Gaich even Gaich can become top striker like Higuain playing at Real or Juve but missed easy chances is not going to change like lord higuain who also contribute in build-up maybe that’s why many supporting Gaich according to me clinical striker is more important than participating in build up

    • ” Remember hes just u20. Hes not playing every week. Even Messi Ronaldo misses penalties and easy chances.
      Your frustration may be going to kill one of our talent. Support Gaich.”

      Wise words for all who are saying we have no future, I will reiterate, they are just U20 and they have a long road ahead of them. Support all our players, always !

  19. ……………Aguero…………..
    Di Maria-Lo Celso-Messi
    ………Paredes-Guido…….
    Tagli-German-Otam-Renzo
    ……………Armani…………..

    Di Maria – Aguero – Messi
    Lo Celso-Paredes-Pizarro
    Tagli-German-Otam-Renzo
    ……………Armani……………

  20. Can anyone tell me how the second goal was allowed ‘ the refree was instructing the Argentina player near the ball to move back’ clearly distracted by the refree’ when the Mali player went free’ isn’t the refree supposed to bring the game back and retake the free kick…..guys plz comment

    • Yea, we paid the price for missing those easy chances. Gaich had about 5-6 and only scored once! he had two headers which easily should have been a goal.

      However, this side is very limited, no defence splitting pass, no shortpassing / one-two play in final third, no individual skills apart from Barco. In fact, even Barco tend to hold the ball forever which disrupting our counter attack many times.

      We literally looked like England, directlong ball to the front and put 100 crosses per game.

  21. Our current team is far more stronger, faster and younger compared to the team in the last world cup! Our strike force is easily the best in the world and now its backed by much stronger Midfield and Defense. If Scaloni ,Aimar and Samuel can get the formation , tactics and substitution right then we should win this Copa!!!

  22. Money talks and bullshit runs the marathon……put your money where your mouth is Di Maria and show us for a damn change.

    AS far as the U20 game, THE f***ING game was WON and they just gave it away……gave the damn game away, how many freaking times do we have to witness this horseshit, HOW MANY TIMES damnit.
    2011 U20 WC, against Portugal, ARGENTINA was up 2 on PKs and somehow found a way to give the game away….I am Pissed OFF.

        • No they’re not. Apart from Barco, none of Argentina players are willing to run with the ball cause they’re lacking the skills and they dont even know how to play one-two or make defence splitting pass. Everytime we got pressed near the touchline, we’re clueless. Back then we would play triangle passes and easily escape the preasure.

          They keep whipping those stupid crosses and lobbed the ball from the back directly the front like England does throughout their national team history. You call this great display? then our standard of great team has been so low I guess. Watch the u20 teams in 2005 & 2007 or the u23 teams in 2004 & 2008. The players skills, team play and understanding are almost equal with the senior side.

  23. I had hopes for copa America untill I saw armani as starting goalkeeper and the worst is that scaloni is our coach who is clueless like a duck ,I don’t really know how many more heartbreaks we will get in future

    • Munawar
      Forget Armani there nothing you do
      You have said enough about him
      The coach made his decisions
      The copa start next week.
      Let’s come together and support
      The national team no matter
      Who scaloni pick up as x1.

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