Lautaro Martínez and Nicolás González speak after Argentina quarter final win


In addition to the man of the match Lionel Messi, Lautaro Martínez and Nicolás Gonzalez also spoke to the press after Argentina’s 3-0 win vs. Ecuador in the Copa America quarterfinals.

This is what the scorer of Argentina’s second goal, Lautaro Martínez, had to say:

“We saw a leading Argentina, that’s what the coach asks of us. Today we made a difference. It was a demanding game; they (Ecuador) are a physical team that runs and puts pressure.

“Despite the difficulties of the pitch conditions, we tried to do our best and leave a good image. Now we have to recover and think about Colombia. We faced them recently; they will be a tough opponent.

Lautaro also commented on Lionel Messi. Here’s what he had to say:

“We all follow Messi’s leadership. Today we saw again how he makes the difference and we are all accompanying him. We are happy and we are going for everything.”

This is what Nicolás González, who had a clear chance with a header in the first half and some misses in the second half, had to say after the match:

“We have to keep winning; it would be something very nice for our families and for the country. I will always try to do my best for the group. We are happy: we knew how to control the game and win.”

Nicolás, like Lautaro, also spoke about Messi and the team:

“Messi surprises us day by day; every time he gets stronger and he expands that to all of us. He gives us confidence and joy. We must continue on this path and enjoy him.

“We dream big, but we have to go match by match. We have our weapons to win.”


  1. I don’t think anyone expected Nico Gonzalez to be a superstar. Nico scored a good number of goals in germany second division and this year he was scoring almost in every match until he got injured. Actually he got injured several times and lost his rhythm.

    He was quite good against Paraguay and Peru, scoring in each match while being very sharp with his running.

    He does not have the fitness and rhythm that’s all. Just few moments ago, it has been reported that from tactical point of view Scaloni want to continue with Nico but he was very tired after the match.

    Nico is quality but lacking fitness and sharpness.

    • Nico’s offensive game was disappointing and against Columbia it could cost us! Angel Correa can do everything Nico can do and better and is the perfect player for our left flank. Scaloni has failed to utilize Angel Correa so far.

    • Agreed. Before Copa even the people that are telling him to “f off” on this site would have put him in the starting 11 and he was in everyone’s personal lineups (due to many distrusting Ocampos as well). The injuries did him very badly and unlike Lautaro he has not recovered his finishing; but we still know he is quality

  2. News update:

    Scaloni said that he won’t rotate since it is the semifinal game already. So expect no big changes.

    6 players are untouchable for the next round. They are: Emi Martinez (had a little hamstring injury but should be fine); Nahuel Molina, Nico Otamendi; De Paul; Messi, Lautaro.

    Acuna is the first choice but if he is exhausted then Tagliafico will get a chance.

    Paredes Scaloni’s favorite player still competing with Guido

    Nico vs Angel Di Maria

    Romero vs Pezzella

    There will be 2 training only before the semifinal.

  3. Nico Gonzalez always played like this! The problem is you saw a Superstar in him what he is not, and now you are disappointed that he is not. Reality is that he is a hardworking role player that lacks finishing.
    Not everybody can be a superstar.

    Now Lo Celso isn’t good!

    As far as Paredes not contributing in offense, go watch:
    2-3′ minute: Paredes with a great pass to Lautaro who wastes.
    15′ minute: Lo celso wins ball, passes to Paredes, he opens up the play to De Paul who passes it to Lo Celso, dribbles a little and passes to Messi and he makes a run into the box with the ball, shoots it, gets blocked with a hand and the ball goes to Nico Gonzalez who wastes it. Corner.

    All of Ecuadorian chances were created wide.

    Paredes should be criticized for his reckless and unsportsman like behavior. That is the reason he should be benched. He is a ticking time bomb. He is risky. He must be taught a lesson.

      • Ecuador almost scored 2 times from their left side, our right side. Molina didn’t mark well, he is not known for his defense. But he brings other things that we need. Montiel is better defensively, but we would then cry for offense. Players have flaws, players make mistakes.
        De Paul was invisible until he scored.
        I saw Lo celso, I saw Paredes and what did De Paul do in 37 minutes?
        I am curious to know.
        pin point to me and give me the minute he did what.
        I never see anyone criticize De Paul. and I like him.
        Skills are hated in this blog. Runners are appreciated.

        • Depaul calms the whole team down. He’s keeping possession, Not every pass has to be a through ball or some penetrating thread the needle type of pass. He’s a hardworking engine that is needed to take the pressure off of Paredes. I think he bring a lot of balance to the team

          • SO you say we need players to compliment each other so we can succeed?
            Football is a team sport.
            De Paul was a winger when he broke through, he can dribble and run with the ball.
            People don’t consider that maybe just maybe the players do as the coach wishes.
            Scaloni wants De paul to play that game and he does.

        • DePaul laid a nice pass to Acuña in the first half which was fluffed, The break away pass for Dimaria which lead to Messis FK also came off of Depauls foot. Just saying

  4. Hope Molina draw attention and move to a bigger club after Copa, next season in Udinese as a player won’t be good for him, both key players Musso and De Paul left this summer.

  5. I see some are bashing Nico, Parades.

    Just my insight. Papu should start ahead of Nico because Papu is world-class and in form. Nico is a great talent, but he hasn’t played well this tournament – it takes a while for some of our players to get back to form after injury. He is not finishing his chances, whereas Papu scores with the limited opportunity he gets.

    Parades is a talented player with skill, but he is not having a great tournament. I don’t bash him because he does the minimum he is required to do (like Lucas Biglia). Yes, guido should start ahead of him as the midfield seems comfortable and moves the ball ahead quicker. This could be that Parades tends to desire the ball more (as he is supposed to be a distributor, but he has not done anything this tournament -so he looks terrible). Guido on the other hand recovers the ball and quickly moves to the midfield. No need to give him the ball again as the midfield can take it from here and push to Messi, DiMaria, & co.

    Regardless of these, it is important that the rotation continues as we need players always ready. France won a world cup with teams switching constantly until the World Cup. After this tournament, we need to include Dybala to come in for Messi, Icardi for tactical changes, Buendia, and Erik Lamela. Messi also does not need to play every WCQ or final match of group stage tournaments as he needs to rest.

  6. In a tournament, you work with what produces result. You don’t stick with an underperforming player that worked good in past. You simply live the present and get results. What if Sabella did not drop Gago and Federico Fernandez for Biglia and Demichelis?

    Nico gonzalez played great in early qualifiers. He added something new to the team. In this Copa, he is missing chances, bad passes and running without an end product. Criticism of Nico Gonzalez is valid with current campaign in mind. He has quality and can get in rhythm again, but that is for future.

    Defensive play, fighting spirit and athleticism was always a part of Argentine football as well as technical football. Bilardo and Menotti both are part of Argentine football. Argentina produced both Simeone and Roman.

  7. Other than odd goals Paredes hasn’t had any good game for national team so far.. same goes for Locelso.. he also has few moments of brilliance but that never leads to anything… we are still waiting for Real Betis LoCelso to show up!! Pezzella is declining and declining fast.. he is no more the leader he used to be at Fiorentina. He will be destroyed by Brazil. Had Ecuador scored one of their three clear cut misses , they would have easily forced a penalty shootout and we might be discussing something else here…

    Also, since next game will not go to extra time.. Scaloni will have to start Dimaria and utilize his excellent run of form. Some of the folks here want Dimaria to come around 70min mark .. it will be too late in the game that goes directly to penalty shootout. We have to take a lead next game and for that all in-form players needs to start. We can’t waste Dimaria on the bench like Sampaoli wasted Aguero on the bench against France.. it could be too late. Nico Gonzalez is not a national team material… atleast not yet.. Angel Correa is the best player in that position. Simeone has turned him into a work horse!! Unfortunately Papu will have to start from the bench next game again!! Lastly, that was a very good goal from Lautaro.. he was under immense pressure and even though it looked like a simple goal… he had very little time to bend it away from the oncoming defender.. his confidence must have gone up from that goal!! Next match, Dimaria, Angel Correa, Guido and Romero in and Locelso, Nico, Paredes and Pezzella out!!

    • SulaV,

      I wish you watch some games from Argentina not only Highlights… Because you sound like one of these guys…

      As for Lo Celso you couldn’t be more wrong! Go check some stats if you want to. His only weakness is Fitness…

      28 Games 2 Goals and 6 Assists for NT in that case best Midfielder..

      Game against Ecuador he had the most tackles and interceptions. Also the best in ground duels won… So please watch the whole games and not just some highlights with goals and missed opportunities…

      Let’s go Argentina

  8. Paredes emulating Busquet should earn him a place on the bench. Falling down like getting an electric shock just from a slight touch, you’ll get instant yellow for that when playing against Brazil.

    Everytime Paredes played in this tournament, I never see him contributing on the attack nor on the defence. He became like Biglia, an ultimate passanger.

  9. Godin
    I don’t write as often because I am at peace now.
    I used to hate on the “group of friends” in 2018 because I was/am fully convinced that they were politicking and the team was suffering.
    We made the change and are on 17 game unbeaten run.
    How can I hate on Messi now?
    He is a real captain now.
    How can I hate on Di Maria or Aguero now?
    They are doing whatever they are asked to.
    They won my respect back (I’m sure they have sleepless nights concerned if I respect them or not :P).
    We are trying to do our best.
    Can it be better? of course!
    I don’t like how Scaloni handled the Foyth, Ocampos situation though.
    I also don’t like that he hasn’t found a role for Dybala.
    I don’t care who plays! All I want is to win the Copa!
    I have an impression that people would rather have their favorites play than winning.
    The focus should be winning the Copa, not who plays!

  10. I know lately paredes wasn’t playing that good still yesterday game he made couple good passes especially first ten minutes besides leo paredes never been destroyer or defensive midfielder he is deep laying playmaker he completely different from Guido. Scaloni was brave to choose to play that way and it’s working for him
    I don’t totally agree those who says certain players are Scaloni favourite no each manager or coach has core of players he build his team upon
    It’s unwise to say such things. the way I see it some people relishes certain players to have bad game to justify thier were right it’s totally bulsh…t

  11. Argentina took 0 goal when Romero, Otamendi and Martinez was together on the field.

    they play 40 minutes against Colombia together (Martinez was injury when the score was 2-0), 1 game against Uruguay and 1 against Paraguay

    Otamendi had a suspension agaisnt Chili, Romero was injury against Chili round 2 , Bolivie and Equator.

    Hope Romero will be fit for the semi and, we hope, the finals.

  12. I support Argentina futbol for its skill, flair, and its beauty!
    My sincere question is why do you support the team?
    I have the impression that some of you are Kanye West type of dudes.
    You think you can turn Kim Kardashian into a houswife!
    Argentina should always rely on its skill, flair, tiki tiki, beautiful futbol.
    If you want Athletes, running up and down the field, you are supporting the wrong team!
    You can’t turn Argentina into England!

    By the way:
    Is Nico Gonzalez honeymoon over? Who is your new crush? Papu? How long until you turn on Papu too? Who will be you next crush? Correa? Which one?

    • Always the one who is performing well in the pitch in the present moment,scoring goals,helping the team to win tournament is our crush for right now Papu,G.Rodriguez,Di maria and A. Correa.

      • Nico helped scoring the first goal! Nico made runs, Nico worked hard, Nico also missed chances. He hasn’t changed he plays like this all the time.
        I like Papu and Angel Correa more, but support Nico also.
        By the way Bolivia was the whipping boy of the group A, and we were qualified, don’t take performances against them as an indicator.

        • Yeah I support Nico too before Copa he was my starter in LW but now I want him as substitute for Papu or A. Correa.No doubt Nico has great potential.Nico should be always in squad no matter what

          • the only changes we require after Copa in the team of 28 should be
            Dybala for Armani,
            foyth for montiel,
            ocampus for j correa,
            alario for alvarez.
            we also need to find a replacement for marchesin and try alternatives in the center back, left-back positions. other than that we should persist with this squad. unless some other players have breakout season like cuti romero

    • LOL

      I try to avoid this site before and after games and keep my posts to a minimum………………trying to respond to every insane, wacky, stupid, weird comments is exhausting.
      Same story over and over again, the Highs are too high here and the lows are too low.
      Everybody wants the team to play the way they want……….as if Scaloni reads your posts.
      Some are more concerned with coming back here after making a previous observation just to say, “SEE I TOLD YOU SO” than the team actually winning.

      I’m enjoy my Sunday, relax, chill and replay the game in the mind and hope for more in 2 days.

      Peace Out

    • Ghostdein
      I know you don’t comments any more in here as much as you used do but whenever you wrote you are exactly on point. If answer your question
      “I support Argentina futbol for its skill, flair, and its beauty” that is exactly why I support Argentina.

    • Well let me tell you something: I support Argentina because it is Argentina. Some people like Argentina for some of it’s legendary players, some like it for beautiful football. Right now what matters is winning a trophy. If that does not matter to you and you’d rather risk us crashing out like in 2002 then be my guest. Plus Argentina have the possibility of getting Gallardo eventually, we will play beautiful football eventually. You need to understand that this is a process. Right now Scaloni is building a team up from the Sampaoli era chaos and I think we have a serious possibility of winning. Any manager can take over from this team. I think people are being too rude about Nico but the simple fact is people like the players that are in form, although some of these people are obnoxious about it

  13. It was another good win, the more we play the better we get the better team chemistry will be formed, some hiccups will come here and there but the important thing is the group is strong, Let’s hope they keep on performing well, Colombia will be tougher opponents. But if we stick to what we are doing till now we can move forward.

  14. What happened to all you guys putting paredes in y’all lineups??
    All of a sudden everyone wants Guido R
    It’s funny some of us who know this game and actually play this game could foresee this
    Situation where the defense keep getting exposed,scaloni is stubborn like any other coach,but guido is forcing scaloni’s hands.
    Paredes is slow,lazy,and keep getting pick pocketed right in our half good luck doing that to the wolves of Brazil they will eat you alive.
    DePaul and lo celso needs freedom without
    Constantly looking out for paredes.
    2 attacking midfielders (celso,de paul)
    1 defensive midfielder (guido)
    Give the team the balance it needs so we are not cut in half.
    With paredes defending
    Any saw that one counter attack
    They passed right by paredes.
    You think casemiro,busquets,mascherano
    Would let you through.??

    • @Mars2301

      Great point. Casemiro is the best DM alongside Kante right now. I feel Parades has never really been a DM and is more of a CM and his defensive skill has caused him not to start consistently on PSG. He still is a good player, but your statements are spot on. Our midfield can’t function most effectively with him (in this tournament).

  15. There are 3 line of defence in Argentina team ::
    1st line of defence is Guido Rodriguez.
    2nd line of defence is C. Romero.
    3rd and final line of defence is Emi Martinez.
    It would be hard for any team to score against Argentina if these three are playing same time in the pitch.

  16. Match
    2-3′ minute: Paredes with a great pass to Lautaro who wastes.
    15′ minute: Lo celso wins ball, passes to Paredes, he opens up the play to De Paul who passes it to Lo Celso, dribbles a little and passes to Messi and he makes a run into the box with the ball, shoots it, gets blocked with a hand and the ball goes to Nico Gonzalez who wastes it. Corner.
    15-16′ minute: Messi takes corner, Pezzella wastes the chance by shooting with his right foot instead of the left.
    21-22′ minute: Argentina pressure Ecuador, they pass back and Messi catches the ball but one on one misses hitting the post.
    37′ minute: Ecuador attacking through the middle, and pass the ball wide left, Molina doesn’t get close enough and Ecuador cross the ball into the box in the centre, Pezzella loses his man and Otamendi doesnt run towards the defender but straight leaving the Ecuadorian to almost head the ball into the net, and Acuna the other player at the post.
    37′ minute: Ecuadorian goalkeeper kicks the ball, Otamendi reacts well, runs and heads the ball forward to Lautaro creating counter opportunity to, Lautaro acnt control the ball but somehow passes it to Messi who makes a great pass to Nico Gonzalez, Goalkeeper comes out and saves the ball from Nico, and the ball comes back to Messi who keeps cool and makes a great pass to De Paul, and he scores.
    44′ minute: Set piece, Messi crosses the ball into the box, Nico gonzalez heades it but goalkeeper saves it and Nico also wastes the rebound.
    47′ minute: Ecuador passes the ball to the left, Molina has left his player alone, Ecuador lobs the ball into the box and Pezzella hesitates but Emi Martinez positions well at the post and saves it.
    63′ minute: Ecuador corner on the right, not well positioned by Argentina who leave Messi alone, and leaving Ecuador open to cross the ball into the box and Nico Gonzalez almost scores an own goal.
    83’minute: Argentina (Messi, Di Maria, Lautaro) pressures and makes Ecuador give the ball away Messi Passes it to Lautaro and he scores.
    87′ minute: De Paul to Di Maria who makes a run gets fouled, not a penalty but a free kick, Messi takes the free kick and of course scores it.

    The weaknesses:
    – Ecuador created chances wide by crossing the ball into the box. This must be addressed against Colombia.
    – Missing chances.
    – When we score we like to sit back. could cost us.
    – DIRTY PLAY! VAR is there, the times where you can sneak red cards (Paredes) by acting is over. Flopping (Nico), and losing temper (Acuna) is not acceptable, especially losing temper.

    Messi was clearly the best player!
    Most people write in here with an Agenda.
    Don’t put favoritism in front of the team success.
    Lets hope we win the tournament and support the team.

    • @Ghostdeini
      Please comment more. I love your analysis and the statements you made at the end. I can tell you’re not a crazy fanatic/idolator of a player, but you give real insight and criticism where it’s due. Some call it “bashing”.

      For me, I would like us to win this tournament since we haven’t won since 93, but I care most about winning the WC and think we should use this tournament to improve and solidify the team.

  17. After the match I fell asleep with a big smile on my face. We’re in the semi-finals baby!

    The match against Ecuador was quite annoying and you could see the frustration building up in our players in the first half due to Ecuadorian theatre, Brazilian refereeing and once again piss poor pitch. The first goal came as a big relief and the introduction of Guido and Di Maria in the second half really changed the game and allowed us two more. Otamendi’s yellow card had me shitting myself all second half, but luckily he didn’t catch a second. Starting with Otamendi Pezzella Paredes felt risky and shaky at times, but nonetheless we came out with a clean sheet without our MVP defender Romero. For semi and final I hope we will see Romero, Ota/Licha and Guido instead – much stronger defensively which gives more freedom to fullbacks and De Paul

    + We played Colombia recently, this time we don’t have Colombian audience and Barranquilla’s heat against us – remember we only got a draw because of last minute stupidity by Foyth
    + De Paul’s first goal for Argentina!
    + Lautaro with two goals in two games, a needed confidence boost going forward
    + 4-1 followed by 3-0 is another confidence boost for the team going into semis
    + In the past two games we have scored three in the second half, something that was missing for a while
    + Ankara Messi one goal away from equaling Pele’s international goal record IN BRAZIL – big motivator for him
    + 18 games unbeaten – 4 win streak – 3/5 clean sheets and 10:2 goal difference in this Copa so far

    Let’s win this.

  18. It is nice to see benched players posses same quality of starter. Two thing is worry me one is Copa official’s behavior. And the others is player injury. My heart was on my mouth when Emi put his hand on thigh for some discomfort. Hope all of our player will be in good health for last two matches of Copa.

  19. I think the issue with Ecuador match was our wing play. Till the substitution we played 4-3-3 with Paredes in the DM position. Nico droped to left wing and De Paul moved to right wing to form a 4-4-2 formation while defending. After substitution, we reverted to 4-2-3-1 with better wing play and hence the match was in our hands again. In the whole match, Paredes made 2 long defense splitting passes. That’s it, for those 2 passes we had to compromise on our defensive structure.
    During the initial stages Paredes was filling in to the middle of 2 center backs while orchestrating the play from the back. But few moments later Valencia was presented with two clear cut heading chances from right and left wing. He exploited the space between the centre backs effectively to try his luck on goal. It was not completely Paredes mistake, still on 1 occasion, he was clearly outjumped and undone by the player. The moment, he was replaced, I saw Guido shielding the ball from an Ecuadorian player like a giant. Above all those bellerina theatrics, I hate it. He don’t show his rage and aggression on his play, it’s visible only in his face, that’s the issue with him. Long story short, I would take Guido over Paredes in DM for next 2 matches.

    • Well summed up 👍 Guido over Parades. I think De Paul went on to play more productively after Guido’s introduction at 70′ mark.

  20. Even try half fit Romero in semi final. Guido will have to replace parades. Nico/Correa/Papu… I will prefer Papu but let see how coach decide

  21. How sweet was that finish from Lautaro
    I hope Kevin will keep complaining
    Lautaro is big game player his tournament starts now.

  22. Scaloni must learn from this game . Problems in Cen.def again.very casual approach against ecudorin crosses from scalonis Cen .defndrs. Brz defnitely could understands the area arg. struggling years. Scaloni must tap the gap by including Cristian Romero against tougher opponts.Scalonis boys defnitely in need to stop crossings from set-pieces and from wings. otherwise our slow defenders can’t stop tht. we are very lucky today in that area..

  23. Oldies but goodies, this should apply to our team. I was one of the defenders of the older generation when they were attacked here. It does NOT mean that I want as many old men as possible in our squad but if they still dominate the world futbol then they deserve to be called. I am talking abt Messi, Di Maria, Aguero, and Otamendi.

    Italy made it to the top 4 of Euro thanks to their aging center backs. How old is Chiellini? If I am not mistaken he is 74 years of age. How about Portugal with the 59 year old Pepe? How about the 62 year old Thiago Silva? They all are still good.

    I was against Scaloni’s ideas of calling only the young and inexperienced players only (plus Messi). It never worked that way. Now I am glad he found the balance. Those seniors with more than 90 caps: Messi, Di Maria, Aguero, Otamendi lead by example to the younger players in the squad. The result is amazing.

    Guys Brazil is not a better team today than 1-2 years ago. But our team is better, I should say way better than 1-2 years ago. Definitely better than the Copa America 2019 one. We have huge upgrades in the goalie with Emi, central defense with Romero, and right and left back with Molina and the late bloomer Acuna.
    We also have upgraded the DM. Guido is at least as good as the world class Casemiro in this tournament.

    Offensively we get better and better. Scaloni’s coaching also improving a lot. As for the game itself, we played a good game. If the game had lasted 10-15 minutes more, it would have easily been 5-0 at least for us as the 2 minutes man Aguero looked hungry to score; Di Maria still had full energy; and Messi looked really hungry to score more goals.

    The next game is only 72 hours from now. Romero should be back by then. For me Guido deserves to start, not only because he outperforms Leandro Paredes so far but also Paredes suits a back up role. He is our best PK taker, in case there is PK shootout, we need him.

    Nico Gonzales is fine. He lost a lot of ball but he is the best defensively among all our options in his position which include: Papu, Joaquin Correa, or Di Maria. As much us we would like Papu, Messi, Di Maria to be on the pitch together, those 3 might upgrade our attacking prowess but definitely weaken our defensive prowess. So I am sure the reason why Scaloni likes Nico Gonzales that much is because of that. He can defend better than others while offering pace, aerial threat, and goal scoring chance too offensively.

    But if it was up to me, I also would start Di Maria instead of him against Colombia. Thats because Nico Gonzales is our second best PK taker after Paredes.

    A lot of u say Di Maria is a super sub, I agree. But this guy plays better with a chip on his shoulder. Back then when his starting spot in threatened by the arrival of Bale in Madrid, he performed his best futbol in his career. Using him merely as “super sub” does work out so far but that also limits his real contribution to the team. He is good enough to play at least 60 minutes instead of 30 minutes only. So I would start him and bench Nico Gonzales (but Di Maria plays on the right side of course).

    Last but not least 2 things that so far bring us luck:
    1. Messi singing the national anthem
    2. Messi new nickname “Ankara”.

    • Scaloni never had the idea of selecting only young players. He had said at the beginning that he would call the experienced players in the later matches. He wanted to make an overhaul at first, form a team with young players and Messi and then bringing in experienced players. He had done it so that young players felt more at home, were able to express themselves and I think it really worked well.

    • “Parades is the best penalty taker, Nico is the second best penalty taker”- is just nonsense. I am saying this agreeing with almost everything else you have said or usually say, el_principe. Someone already pointed that out to you that you can’t make any conclusion with the tiny sample size.

      Parades is a liability, I have been saying this for ages. It’s good that more and more people, even the staunch parades defenders, are now start realizing this fact. The sooner Scaloni gets out of his favoritism the better will be for the team.

  24. I think against bigger team like Brazil, Uruguay Scaloni should play both Guido and Paredes. I mean Gudio, de paul and Paredes in MF.
    Papu,Messi and lautaro in attack.My first 11 against bigger teams will be like:
    DF: Molina, Romero,Otamendi,Acuna
    MF:Guido,De paul,Paredes
    FW:Lautaro,Messi,Papu/ correra

    Di maria should come as sub.
    I think the tactics should be to defend well first then give support messi. If defence is well then messi will do the rest of the thing. If we don’t concede any goal till 65 mins. Di maria will join messi to give support and with fresh di maria we will get high chance to score.

    For me lo celso and de paul both should not start. Instead we should use Molina in attack more

  25. While Lautaro goes through lot of criticism , here is a representation of Europe’s top strikers in Copa 21
    Lionel Messi – 4 goals
    Lautaro , Neymar , Cavani , Lapadula – 2 goals
    Firmino , Richalison ,Suarez – 1 goal
    Gabriel Jesus , Zapata , Muriel , Aguero – 0 goals

  26. Great to see our unbeaten run extended and move into semifinal. Argentina fans will be happy.

    For neutral football fans it was hugely annoying. So many fake injuries and theatre that real playing time in the 1st half was less than 20 minutes. Speed of play was veteran style and much slower than in euro 2020.

    Guido is a must if Romero is not playing. Valencia could have scored 3 headers because Pezzela and Otamendi did not defend him.

    Hopefully play and speed will improve. Vamos!

  27. Playing nico gonzalez versus papu is not a straight swap. It requires a completely different desire from the manager. In a previous post I had mentioned how nico’s directness helps this team. Here I want to add the aerial dimension he bring in the game. This team does not generally play out from the back on turnovers and prefers to go aerially. In ball distribution Gonzalez often remains the primary target. Their first and second ball strategies revolve around him a lot. Further, in corner defenses where argentina play a 2 (sometimes 3) man zonal scheme he is played in the very important ‘first line’ – not in man marking where the traditional defenders sit or in clean up duty where the skill players sit. The flip side of this means he is also one of the main targets in set pieces.

    A perfect example that covers the point of his aerial dimension and directness? The argentine first goal where nico out-duels for the ecuadorian goal kick, to position lautaro for the second ball (cleaned up by messi) and is still the one who is in direct position to make a run at the keeper to break the defense open.

    But of course it is obvious his finishing is quite terrible right now and Papu brings a different dimension in that respect. Question is what does the coach value? But for now Nico needs to spend Sunday and Monday doing two hours of shooting and finishing drills maybe!

    • True No one Would question Nico’s Involvement in the team if he at least scored half of the chances he had got ..he has done great to position himself for so many chances but he just lacks the finishing touch while papu has scored and created out of the very few chances he has got …that’s why I would prefer papu for the game against Colombia because in a knockout you just really need to put in the chance you get..we have been culprits of not doing this in 2014 and those 3 years of heartbreak ..I just hope that doesn’t happen this Copa

  28. I must say this was a surprising game for me. I have watched Gustavo Alfaro for a long time and did not expect him to come out with such a aggressive game plan. A 433, pushing his full backs quite high, aggressive press, and a decently high back line made sure this game was quite chaotic in the first half with chances both sides. It seemed even his players were surprised by his own tactics, their higher line exposed twice by paredes and pezzella for two chances for lautaro and his own holding midfielder confused by the positioning of the line presenting a gift for messi in the first half.

    But at the same time, presiado overlapping on the right and estupinian on the left, as well the ecuadorian strategy of direct balls to the front three presented two problems with the argentine defense – center back discipline in aerial attacks was found to be lacking, but Romero’s return should fix part of this. And secondly, it showed that whoever plays the wide mid positions in the defensive 442 needs to have a very good understanding with his respective full back to be able to cover overlaps and underlaps.

    In an earlier game, we saw Duvan Zapata destroy the half space between nahitan nandez (a converted full back) and Gimenez. This Colombian team carries a lot of pace and I would expect them to attack us in the same way again. Cuadrado would also be returning on the opposite side and he presented acuna plenty of problems last time they met. Based on what the Ecuadorian strategy showed and colombian strengths it will be interesting to see what full back choice Scaloni makes.

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