Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni speaks about the team, relying on Lionel Messi, next game


Argentina national team coach Lionel Scaloni spoke to the press following the match where he commented on the team and their reliance on Lionel Messi.

It was a difficult 1-0 win for Argentina in a match which saw six changes from the previous game. The team played a well rested Paraguay and it was Alejandro Papu Gomez getting his first goal in the sky blue and white shirt.

Scaloni commented on the match, Lionel Messi and the upcoming game. Here’s what he had to say:

“What I’m worried about today is the physical conditions of the players. The conditions were not the best to play in. The second half is also a credit to Paraguay. Obviously there are things to improve, like in every match.”

There were rumors that Lionel Messi would be rested for this match but in the end, the most capped player ever for the Argentina national team played the entire 90 minutes. In regards to Lionel Messi, Scaloni had this to say:

“The reality is that Messi has come here having played every match and it’s very difficult not to count on him.”

In regards to the team and the upcoming game:

“I believe the matches in which we got scored on were key moments. Defensively, the team is well. Today, there were players that worked very well for the team.

“It’s a possibility that in the next match we rotate. Having qualified gives us peace of mind. Now we have to recover and train.”

The team will not be playing midweek as their next match will be vs. Bolivia next Monday.


  1. Many valid points have bee made already. My two cents:

    – Although not tested much so far Emi seems to be the best GK we’ve had since Pato Abbondanzieri (never been a huge fan of Sergio Romero personally). Emi is solid and confident, but surely sterner tests are yet to come.
    – Acuna is in better form than Tagliafico, and considering that El Huevo did well defensively too against Uruguay, he is likely to be our first choice LB. Tagliafico was poor against Paraguay apart from one excellent run at the end of the game.
    – Almiron was asking Molina a lot of questions in the first half and even dribbled past him easily on a couple of occasions. Having said that, Molina improved significantly in the second half. I think as long as Molina can stay focused defensively he should be our preferred RB option.
    – Kun was dreadful, likely because he has not played a full competitive game in a while. Plus he offers none of Lautaro’s hassling and work rate without the ball. We have a bit of a problem in the number 9 department right now. An in-form Alario could have been pretty useful.
    – Papu Gomez is a good weapon to have, but he is not a central midfield material at his age IMO. He does not press and his defensive contribution is nowhere near what Lo Celso offers. Evidently Gasperini wanted him out of Atalanta because of that. Still, Papu oozes class, when played closer to goal as a AMF and SS where he can drift freely.
    – Without an in-form Lo Celso, we don’t seem to be able to play meaningful possession football. Palacios is not yet at his best, so he is not a solution it seems.
    – Our best midfield in this Copa seems to be Lo Celso, De Paul and Guido. When all three are fit and available you can expect better flow and balance.

    • Very well said.
      Lo Celso, De Paul and Guido. Let’s hope all of them will be fit.
      Plus Messi, Lautaro and Nico are the best fwds avilable
      My only concern is with CB Ottamandi because he is error prone n slow though he is a fighter.
      All others Monila, Romero n Acuna are the max we can demand.

  2. Wonderful work from defensive coaching staff of the team in last two games. Good work. Also good planning and team management for both game. However it would be kinda risky with any other sharper team leaving the game like this. Scaloni been asked about possession and he replied, they will work on it to improve but the main purpose is a solid defensive line to make. In my personal view I like Acuna better then Tagliafico. Tagliafico looked shaky and nervous. Molina did better then I expected and he will improve even better. My only wish is now coaching staff should work on possession maintaining good base of defensive line. Also I like the fact our coaching staff planning according to the opposition so all the Varsil lover can relax because we surely will have plan for Varsil two. Im sure team will pick up by then.

  3. I understand Scaloni’s defensive approach but why our players are hesitant to shoot from outside the box? Is Scaloni instructing them to dribble pass opposition players and score? Over the past few games, we’ve had so many opportunities where our players could have tried scoring from outside the box but instead they chose to pass to each other resulting in complete waste of scoring opportunities. Oftentimes shooting from outside the box might not result in a goal but it might result in a rebound which could help in scoring. I think Scaloni needs to improve his players in that area. Surprisingly, Dimaria has had very good games after his return. When in form he is an assist machine.

  4. I am happy with how Argentina is playing. We tried attacking play style but didn’t succeed and we are trying something new. Remember Einstein said trying same thing and excepting different results is insanity. Scolani is doing something different. Last time we were defensive we reached World Cup final. Brazil May not reach final we never know and we might lift trophy.

  5. When u have player like Dimaria.. Agero.. Rdp paredes locelso gomes lautaro baundia messi which all are good in ground but they leave one weak spot that air for dominance.. In past when Argentina offensively strong most of the time offensive chances ends up with set pieces but Argentina hasn’t very good ratio turn the set pieces in real goal thread bcs higuen as striker wasn’t very good in air. Only thread comes from ota or rojo.. Sometimes Aguero.. Guido and romero and otamendi all good in air.. Now the good things is nico gonzalez also good in air .. Nico pace and air ability adds new addition to Argentina strength.. I would like if there is another player put aerial threat

  6. This team under Scaloni is not the Argentina team we all have seen over the years where dominating midfield playing attractive attacking football came just natural but what did we achieve or say win playing beautiful attacking football after 1993.

    We lost Copa Finals , WC final too n in the last WC against France after 2-1 lead had we defended like last 2 games of Copa (vs Uru n Paraguay) then we wud have gone past rnd of 16 too or much further who knows had that halfwit Sampaoli applied his brains.

    Playing attractive attacking football is one thing and winning trophies is another thing. So Scaloni with his assistant coaches (Aimar Ayala Samuel) approach is coming more from that losing experiences + other teams strategy of winning big tournaments.
    Scaloni’s theory is simple- get a goal (early then better) then defend not by parking the bus but by defending compactly giving no spaces to opposition whatsoever. Yes that’s ugly to watch but so far this strategy has help us qualify for Qtrs (with a game to spare) without any major injuries to our key players for the knockout stages. Mind u games against any South American teams isn’t easy as nasty fouls are committed every 5-10 mins.

    Surprisingly Argentina’s worry this time its our Striker. Lautaro is totally out of form can’t even score easy tap ins … TBH he is so low on confidence that he looks more focused in diving unnecessarily rather than to score. Nico Gonazales on the other hand also missing easy chances cud have sealed the game against Chile. Scaloni cannot afford to play 2 players who are missing chances after chances so today’s change against Paraguay was indeed required + refreshing.

    Finally Papu Gomez got to play, did justice to his selection. He was outstanding along with DiMaria which resulted in brilliant tru ball with equally calm finishing by Gomez.

    Gomez can unsettle any defense with his pace, dribbling, runs into spaces n finishing too but most importantly his ability to take long shots with his eye for the goal n not looking for Messi unlike other players. This is what we lack in our team somebody taking that responsibility of scoring goals other than Lionel Messi. Gomez from left n DiMaria from right surely looks best bet for our attacking from the flanks as both of the players with their dribbling + quick turns can cut inside as well so they are not one dimensional.

    Aguero looked rusty due to lack of match practise so his performances against Bolivia will be vital as we r in desperate need for our striker scoring goals or at least troubling opponents GK.

    Argentina finally got the GK Emi Martinez it’s been long since our Keeper looked confident in Argentina jersey. He just needs to work on his distribution otherwise he looks very focused sharp n confident a must for a keeper.

    Our main problem which was our Defense is coming along good …clean sheet against teams like Uru n Para is appreciable. Also against Chile we conceded tru unnecessary penalty. Romero is certainly turning out to be one world class defender. Molina shl start without a doubt as he is better that Monteil in that position. Acuna shl start instead of Tagliafico as he adds more flair in the attack n runs. Otamendi so far looking less confused which is good n Pezella also did a perfect job today.

    So far Scaloni is getting result so that’s what matters in these kind of tournament.
    -Defense is doing their job without any confusion.
    -Defensive Midfield with the addition of Rodriguez is looking efficient giving breathing space to defenders.
    Scaloni needs to work on combining our attacking front of DiMaria Messi Gomez/Celso Aguero/Lautaro …once they start clicking together then Copa is Argentina’s for sure.

  7. Guys everyone is criticizing the team, but you all forget that we played 3 games within short period of time whereas Paraguay is playing after 1 weak. Winning the match considering the situation of resting important players and a lot of changes in the team is a very very good result for us.
    Taglificao was played to give rest for Acuna. I don’t mind him playing against bolivia either. after that, he should never take part in the tournament.
    Paredes and pezella are not good either.
    I like Molina. this guy is going to be our Rb for so many years.
    Romero is our new hero in defense.

  8. The rest will be good. In a tournament a win is a win. Im sure some of you hear might not remember 2006 (please look it up if you don’t) we were the best Team and we only got to the quarters. Let the team get stronger in the knock out stages where we need convincing, rough or ugly wins.

  9. both messi and dimaria sharing right wings and middle of the field which is exciting and clicking rightly.. messi and dimaria should play middle and right … molina defensive contribution is good sign for the wings .. i thinks argentina defensively organizing it is not a bad sign… aguero also lose his confidence due to lack in playing time.. aguero is always dangerous with finishing.. he needs ball in his feet in right moment.. argentina is dominating defensively not offensively … there is very little chance aguero will be effective if argentina not taking charge of upper midfield…aguero also looks little unfit.. lautaro has one positive things that he moves and moves a lot though his finishing is not good,, today both messi and dimaria try to do hurt bursting run .. gomes though play as winger most of the time he stands lower midfield..

    • Except they both needs to shoots when they sees the gap . Messi tend to look hesitant when running in counter attack situation. He needs to go for the kill like he did against Ecuador in last game of 2018 qualifier.

      The forwards tend to make an extra unnesesarry pass even when they could just shoots. I like it when Di Maria shoots from outside and it creates a threatening situation which could leads into a goal. We’re just unlucky it was ruled offside.

  10. Ok that was…..THE worst match this team has played since the first WCQ against Ecuador but guess what this team won both matches and that means that this team is learning to win ugly and that’s very important.

    The negatives:

    – 4-2-3-1 formation doesn’t work for a team that’s not trained to counter and like you all pointed out already if Scaloni wants to match Sabella (and that’s a tall order) he needs to start preparing this team for serious counterattacking football.

    – I was right about Guido and Paredes being an overkill.

    – The 2nd half drop off has become a habit now and it’s alarming because it’s been now 4 games straight and I don’t see Scaloni doing anything about it.

    – Tagliafico and Kun didn’t have the best of games and in the case of Tag that’s not so bad because Acuna is there to take his place but with neither Kun nor Lautaro firing, Argentina maybe developing a problem with it’s no.9 position, I hope not.

    The positives:

    – The team won and won ugly and that’s good (as I pointed out in the beginning of the post).

    – Papu Gomez finally gets a chance and gets a goal, although he played left wing rather than left midfield, which wasn’t what I expected.

    – Pezzella did better than I thought, still, it should be Licha up there instead.

    – Molina was quite solid defensively and dealt well (apart from 2 occasions) with a live wire of a player in Almerion, this kid has potential and Argentina is desperate in the RB position.

    – Maria did quite well but that’s not surprising considering that he was playing on the right, while I thought he was going to play LFW. This says that Scaloni is atleast learning from his mistakes, albeit learning abit too slowly.

    An ugly match, which can be partially attributed to fatigue but a win puts this team in a good place and allows Scaloni to relax a bit (not too much) for the next match and figure out how to solve the 2nd half drop off.

    Side note:
    If I could contact Scaloni I would tell him to take a look at Tata’s 2015 copa team, where in the first 3 games the team faced huge drop offs in the 2nd half but he found a way to ameliorate the problem in the QF and the SF (we won’t talk about the final).

  11. Attractive football… what? To burn the players out like we’ve done in previous competitions to win 4-0 vs Paraguay to entertain some of the attractive football-addicts. No thank you.

    Football is about winning trophies, fact. Doesn’t matter how you do it. Most teams in history win by balance of play or defensive play.

    Well done Scaloni for changing the narrative. Game(s) against Paraguay and Bolivia are absolutely meaningless not worth risking injuries for the sake of entertainment and please of fans. Therefore 1-0 clean sheet was good and rotation of players.

  12. This group has become so strong.
    No one in this group scored or conceded more than one goal..till now.. except Bolivia…that too… because of 10 man.

  13. best Argentina team
    Emi Martinez
    Mollina. Romero. Otamendi. Acuna
    De Paul. G. Rodriguez. Lo celso
    Messi. Aguero. N. Gonzalez

    Backline should always be same as no players is injury prone. For Lo celso’s Papu Gomez is the best addition. Angel Di Maria can come as substitute,Lautaro Martinez,J.Correa, A. Correa can come as substitute.

  14. For me Scaloni is growing as a coach. Having as many as 3 new starters whose ceiling is very high is huge. I am talking about:
    1. Emi Martinez (I say his ceiling is Goyco),
    2. Cristian Romero (the last central back we had who was just as good as him at 23 years of age is Walter Samuel. No, Ayala, Otamendi, Demichelis, or Garay were not that good at 23), so u know who we have now.
    3. Nahuel Molina who seems to beat Montiel and Foyth for the starting position. His ceiling for me is Pablo Zabaleta.

    Guess what? those 3 play in our weakest positions in many years. After the golden generation of Argentina is reaching the end, we desperately need talents for all GK, DC, DR more than other positions. And we have just found them.

    I agree with u Mafioso, a lot of today soccer winning teams do the “winning at all cost” approach as Jose Mourinho famously stated that he would take 0.5-0 (not even 1-0) victory anytime. With the exception of Bayern, alot of great champions of modern soccer do not go all out attack. I am talking about France, Inter, Chelsea, Lille, and Atletico. All of them are the champs and all of them would not go “gung ho”attack especially against strong teams.

    Think about Argentina against Netherlands or Belgium. Had Argentina played all out attack, I am sure they would have beaten us. Van Gaal’s Netherlands destroyed the champ Spain that way. Spain got trashed by his counter attack tactic. Netherlands were hoping Argentina would attack them but that was not the case. We played as ugly as we possibly could and forced a PK shootout against them.

    Scaloni’a style is not the prettiest but everyday we see more good news growing. Other than the emergence of the 3 new starters in Emi, Romero, and Molina, suddenly we see Guido Rodriguez is a starting caliber player. Papu Gomez looks very sharp, Acuna looks like the answer for the LB, Lo Celso looks better than his club form, Di Maria is not done yet, and so on.

    At least if u compare the team to the third place Argentina in Copa 2019, we definitely look stronger now:
    Emi > Armani
    Romero > Pezzella
    Molina = Foyth
    Acuna > Tagli
    Only this year Otamendi is slightly worse than Otamendi of 2019. The midfield is about the same. Messi is not worse than Messi of 2019. The forward is a bit worse because of Lautaro bad form only.

    For me the progress is good. We are not peaking yet but we get better. Once we learn how to counter attack properly and once Messi chemistry with his teammates grow and once Lautaro/Aguero is back to their top form, we will be scary!

    The one thing that has been our weakness for years is fixed: Defense.

    • Another positive thing is despite so many changes in lineup and formation, we have played in same way and performance has been more or less same.

      Today attacking performance was worse due to fatigue mainly. And some selection mistake like Paredes-Guido pivot and Tagliafico over Acuna.

      Another thing crossed into my mind is Scaloni probably conserving energy for second half of the tournament that is KO round.

  15. Papu Gomez is the best substitute for Lo celso I think it is like for like.Papu Gomez has shown his class today and he is not injury prone.

    • i agree, Pupu should be left center mid like Locelso, not the left wing he was assigned yesterday. If Papu is willing to run all game and help defend deep like Locelso does, he can be his alternative.

  16. What people ignore is the fact that our group is tougher than Brazil’s group. Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay, these are teams that has won Copa or reached final in last 10 years.

    Brazil’s group is a joke outside overrated Colombia who hardly ever pass quarter final but always being hailed as hot fav lol

  17. Our respected poster, el principe likened Scaloni’s tactics as Sabella’s. I think it’s more like Conte’s tactics.

    I have watched most of last 10 inter matches in Serie A. They were horrible to watch, just like today’s match. Conte applied 10 man on the ball and all of outfield player in own half when defending. Inter could not dominate possession even against likes of Bologna. They either failed to control possession or purposely gave up possession. They mostly won 1-0 due to odd chances created by hakimi, Eriksen, Sanchez and Lukaku.

    Sabella’s team was sharp in counter attack. Even in final against Germany, Lavezzi and Messi caused significant problems in first half with counters.

    Scaloni’s team is toothless in counters. During counter attack, it is mostly solo run without any support. So you give up initiative and your are bad in counters, how will you score? This is why 1-0 and 1-1 results.

  18. Team played in second gear. Visibly tired.

    Key players like Lo Celso, RDP, Nico Gonzalez missing or rested.

    Tagliafico is huge downgrade to Acuna. Tagliafico can do nothing.

    Last time Guido and Paredes played together was against Colombia 2019. We struggled and lost 2-0. Paredes never plays well in double pivot.

    Messi had a bad match. Lots of sloppy passes in important moments.

    Fitness issue, Scaloni’s tactics or lack thereof is the reason for such dull performance.

  19. It was a horrible match to watch as an Argentine Fan. But best thing is that we have won the match. If the word of scalony is true then we have seven days to rest and we can also give proper rest to all players I hope Bolivia will not be hard match for us and we can even rotate player on that match.
    Other than that it is really unjustified and saddest thing that people here downgrading our legend like Mascherano who was a true worrier as footballer. People who are criticizing our legend do not belong here.
    We really like a player like him every generation but this type of player a rare commodity. Hope everybody will understand.

  20. We beat Paraguay atlast!!. Yes if you did not know we failed to beat them in the last 4 attempts. So thats a positive.
    We still have work to do but we are not too far from it. Any South American team can be dangerous beside Bolivia and Venezuela atm.
    Brazil is having the best form lately but that does not mean they cannot lose.
    I believe in Scaloni and Argentina.
    We are still undefeated. May not look beautiful but we are winning and we can get much better.
    Bring Copa Home.
    Vamos Albiceleste.

      • Thanks to Scaloni for bringing in these players. And also trying them in the starting XI. We have had different scorers in different matches which says the system is right. But we need to get better in the 2nd half

  21. Aguero should start next match too he did not get supplies as Lo celso and De Paul were absent so no mobility in build up just loosing possession. Argentina’s approach is score a goal then defend and score next goal in counter attack. This idea can work as Argentina have C. Romero and Emi Martinez in defence

  22. Yes, Coach… All opponents are tough enough, but we win or draw. That are good results.

    Players and coaches and fans need time to rest for 6 or 7 days… Recover and train… Nice quote, Coach…

    It’s time to rotate the players. This is “mine”, Coach… Hehehe…
    GK : Musso
    RB : Montiel
    RCB : Quarta
    LCB : Otamendi
    LB : Acuna
    RCM : Palacios
    CDM : Lisandro Martinez
    LCM : Domínguez
    ACM : Papu
    RCF : A. Correa
    LCF : J. Correa

    Substitution :
    Guido for Otamendi (Lisandro Martinez to Otamendi’s spot and Guido to Martinez’s spot).
    Lautaro for J. Correa
    Julian for Papu
    Lo Celso for Palacios or Dominguez
    Paredes for Palacios or Dominguez

    Yeah… I like to make a line up… Cheers…

    By the way, Coach… Congratulation…
    Vamos Argentina!

  23. Its clear that Scaloni is trying to build a defensive system like Sabella. Its a good approach imo while execution still needs improvement . Also Sabella had the advantage of Messi , DiMaria , Aguero , Higuain in the prime of their careers ( 25-26yrs ) . So in the counterattack aspect we may be a bit weak now unless youngsters like Nico G, Lautaro , Molina punch above their currently stature . Frankly they are presently not in same league as the Big Four of 2013/14.
    But the stats are not depressing for sure.
    Sabella during his managerial reign had 76 goals scored & 32 conceded in 41 games ie like less than 2 goals scored per match & less than 1 goal conceded per match. In competitive matches its similar – 44 goals scored & 20 conceded in 23 matches .
    If we look at Scaloni ( say post Copa 2019) – his overall record is 27 goals scored & 10 conceded in 15 matches. If we just take competitive games of Scaloni post Copa 2019 – its 12 goals scored vs 6 conceded in 9 matches. His current WCQ stats is 9 goals scored vs 5 conceded in 6 matches. If we do a straight line extrapolation of that – we may end up at 27 goals scored & 15 conceded by end of WCQ. This wont be a bad record ( 2018 – 19goals scored ; 2014 – 35 goals scored ; 2010 – 23 goals scored ; 2006 – 29 goals scored;2002 (bielsa) – 42 goals scored ) . Also the fact is that the team is expected to peak & hence we may actually end up better than 27goals. So we are shaping up decently well & can peak at right time. Key is to make sure fitness is in place while some minor tweaks like Buendia , Senesi are integrated.

    • scaloni did a mistake to not include ocampos and foyth(in place of Montiel) in the Copa team. he could have dropped Armani to include these 2.

  24. Some guys boasted here that Argentina has a better midfield than (even Colombia seems to have a better midfield than Argentina). Argentina w/o the likes of players like Messi, Dimaria and Dybala was and always be a second fiddle to Brazil.
    Every season, Brazillian players get recruited to top tier clubs, whereas 99% of Argentinian players end up in below average clubs. This is the major factor that hinder Argentina’s growth in the NT.
    The decline of AFA is unreal, considering this was used to be a footballing superhouse.

    • because of AFA structure. they dont have proper technical and physio teams in every club. even when it comes to NT there is no abilities of technical staffs and training methods. Brazil and all the small countries are also developing their players stamina, working rates, technical abilities and training methods except argentina that is what parades kind of players are getting denied. in coming season PSG will keep out parades.

        • if this brazil team plays Germany now. it will again be 7-1 range. most of their defensive players are on the wrong side of age with no backup who is the backup of Thiago silva. they are still using Dani Alves. apart from Casimiro. they do not have any world-class midfielder. Argentina lost the 2018 world cup because we took an old squad. brazil will be similar in 2022. so get ready for the first-round exit in Qatar.

  25. We started well, but left the initiative to Paraguay after the early goal. Emi and Romero were excellent, others were not. I lost count the number of times we lost possession and gave sloppy passes. Aguero was a huge letdown. Paraguay played better for most of the time. Truly disappointed with the performance.

  26. you dont say your team played well. today match was school kids vs paraguay. they are better then your team.

  27. Someone commented about Mascherano:
    “He was also someone who would provide back passes and side passes only.”

    You are wrong. Mascherano frequently provided long balls to the flanks. Why do you think pep played him as a CB in Barcelona?

    Defend Paradest as much as you want, but do not discredit other players in doing so.

      • @Agureo Brother, What exactly you want from a defensive midfielder to get himself called as “extraordinary”?! Dribble past players?? Or score screamers for fun?! Be silk soft and play with flair or what?! Mache was good on the ball, his range of pass was superb? His last minute tackles, recoveries and warrior attitude were out of this world.
        Please do not drag Masche to these Paredes level talks. Go and watch 2014 Netherland vs Argentina match again. That match alone can make you regret for what you said.

        • That’s what I said. Read before commenting it. Paredes is not a match for a player like Masche.
          Masche was an excellent DM, but not a legendary footballing icon (as most of the time, he did was side passing). One great game against the Dutch, doesn’t define his career.
          You like it or not, but this is the truth and I am saying this as an unbiased perspective.

          • Let us agree to disagree brother. “Masche was nothing extraordinary” -This was absolute disgrace from your side. I just wanted to point out that. Nothing offensive. Atleast, for the minimum, he was extraordinary in his attitude while he played.

      • Brother that was a tactical decision from Pep. Players of same position have different qualities and attributes with different rating. Barca played their best games when Busquets played in the middle. He was the core of Pep’s system. For me that does not make Masche inferior to Busquets. Back then he would have started in midfield for any other teams which play to his strengths other than Barca.
        Fabregas was surplus for Pep. We know what happened after his transfer to chelsea. If two good players are available for a manager then he will select the most suitable one for his system. That does not mean/make the other one bad. Are you ready to prove Nico is a better player than Dybala and Papu?!

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