Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni talks about the team, World Cup qualifiers, World Cup


Argentina national team coach Lionel Scaloni held a press conference on Wednesday where he spoke about the team, the World Cup qualifiers, the World Cup and the players unavailable.

Lionel Scaloni spoke about the World Cup qualifying match against Bolivia on Thursday, mentioning the starting eleven. As we reported on Tuesday, with both Emiliano Martinez and Franco Armani out, Juan Musso would start the match. Talking about the eleven, here is what Scaloni had to say:

“Juan (Musso) will be the goalkeeper. He’s a guy that is very loved in the group. An opportunity is opening up for him and he has to take advantage of it. We are happy that he’s been selected and we know that he will do well.

Today, we will hold our last training session if the rain permits. We have to decide who will replace the guys that aren’t here. I’m going to take the afternoon training session to take a look. Even to make a few changes from those who played the five minutes against Brazil.

“I won’t change our plan, we should play Bolivia with the intent to win. Today, this match keeps me occupied and after that we will see what happens with the Brazil match. We already know Bolivia”

Scaloni also spoke about the team itself:

“We are a national team that is going to compete and in football, it’s difficult to say what position you’re in. We are a team that can makes things difficult even for the best. From there, the games have to be played.

“Italy are the last European champions and the other teams that reached the final phases are important national teams. We are here to compete. Saying if we can or cannot win the World Cup is not correct. It’s going to compete because anything can happen in matches and even more in a tournament.

“The idea is to compete with everyone and there’s no doubt that it will be difficult. We have seen teams that have won the World Cup and they don’t make it out of their group. The important thing is to compete, to be at that level and to know that this natinal team is not going to let anyone down.”

In regards to what happened against Brazil with the match getting stopped:

“I have no idea what is going to happen. I’m a coach and I talk about sports, what happened and what happened in the World Cup qualifying matches. Here, we played against Chile and Paraguay. They came in a bubble, they played and they left. The protocol is clear, regardless of the country. The health bubble was guaranteed by CONMEBOL and FIFA. That did not change. Argentina went, played and came back.

At no point did we think that what happened against Brazil could happen. It was all strange, very strange. We had taken the necessary precautions. The feeling we are left with is that of the entire football world that was waiting for a spectacle and we were left with nothing.

“I feel that many things have to be re-thought because what happened with the players cannot happen again. National teams that were left with players and some without players and some that came but had to return. We have time until the next match. Us coaches will meet, the federations too and we will look for a solution. This cannot continue for the next match.

“After the match against Venezuela, the players spoke with me and told me the circumstances going on in their clubs. We knew about their availability and that they had done the impossible to play but there’s a moment in the heads of the players where they think about many things and not about the match.

“As a coach, I made the decision that after the match against Brazil, they can return to their clubs which is what they wanted too. I took that decision because I saw them as overwhelmed because their clubs wanted them back as quickly as possible.

“It’s situations that don’t have to happen again from any point of view. These guys have shown the desire to be here and we are grateful but we cannot put them in this situation. They have to come here with a peace of mind, to know that they come here to play and not have those worries.”


  1. I did not mention England…
    Beating a team in 90 minutes or in 120 minutes is different than winning on penalties.
    I personally despise final wins on penalties like Brazil in 94 or the copa finales against Chile. Chile did not beat us, we lost on penalties.

  2. COVID is not going anywhere any time soon. Harry Kane is just as likely to get COVID going to the grocery store as Lo Celso is after spending a few days in Sao Paolo. My understanding is that the Arg players were in a bubble – only leaving the hotel to go to training and then back.

    UEFA, FIFA and local government need to get together and come with a system that players do not have to quarantine for 14 days in a hotel after travel. Should be very strict bubble format. It makes zero sense to continue this 14-day quarantine nonsense.

    • Exactly, If the players lied on their declaration forms then they will be penalized by the country of Brazil Individually, That has no bearing on the agreement between the federations, CONMEBOL and FIFA. Simply put CBF had a responsibility to ensure they can host the game without any interruptions and that didn’t happen. The premier league tried to block players from leaving, It isn’t Argentina’s fault that their players exercised their right to play for their country. Miscommunication on a massive scale but at the end of the day Argentina should be awarded the points although I don’t like he team getting points in that way

  3. This guy is such a players coach. They love him and his project. His inexperience means nothing when his players are willing risk their own club careers to be there for the team, That says a lot about him. These payers will absolutely die on the pitch for him and Messi and it shows. That willingness that they showed could be what was always missing from the NT. Brazils players never left their Daddys (PL Club) but our warriors risked it all and that means everything.

    • So true. This Argentina team should be feared by everybody. It consists of veterans and young hungry player, on top of that worrier mentality. We can beat any team in the world.

      • I hope so just like all of us here.
        It will be hard. We have not beaten Germany in a tournament since 1986. Netherlands not since 1978 (we won on penalty’s in 2014), Italy and Spain are a long time ago too.
        Don’t get me wrong. I sincerely hope we beat everyone and know the copa win gave morale a boost. We have a strong and balanced team, but do not get over confident.

        • In general Argentina always finds a hard time beating a strong European team in the World Cup since 1990. The reason is because we never had a coach that focused on defense except Sabella and now Scaloni.

          Bilardo is a defensive, winning-at-all-cost coach. But his successors such as Basile (94), Passarella (98), Bielsa (02), Pekerman (06), Maradona (10), and Sampaoli (18) are not coaches known for emphasizing the defense. Some are quite balanced like Passarella or Pekerman but they are not Bilardista.

          The only coaches that emphasize the defense more than those coaches above are Sabella and Scaloni. Under Sabella the likes of Sergio Romero, Demichelis, and Garay looked like world class and it was almost impossible to score against them. 1-0 against Switzerland, 1-0 against Belgium, and 0-0 against Netherlands. Those 3 strong Euro teams could not even score one goal against us. And 3-0-0 record against them (strong Euro teams) after almost never beating a strong European team since Argentina 3-2 victory against Germany in 1986.

          Demichelis fatigue and lacked of concentration allowed Gotze to score that goal, but overall our defense was super solid.

          Now here comes Scaloni, the coach who allowed Argentina just conceded 3 goals in the whole Copa America. Even Brazil got frustrated facing us and accused us of playing “anti football” against them.

          So I believe this time it is different. We are getting much better offensively. The offense seems to be clicking and the defense is as strong as Sabella’s era. With that being said, I am not afraid of any European teams.

        • We beat Nethelands on penal and its part of the game so why wouldnt it count?

          France, Italy , Brazil, Germany etc all won thropies with shootouts along the way. In fact, Italy last 2 major thropies were won by penalties. Yea, you gonna count England as winner because they lost on penal? Nice logic.

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