Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni comments on win, Lionel Messi fitness, World Cup qualifiers

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Argentina national team coach Lionel Scaloni commented on the team’s 1-0 win and the fitness of Lionel Messi.

Lionel Scaloni is now undefeated in his last 27 matches as his team won 1-0 against Uruguay in the World Cup qualifiers. It was Angel Di Maria who scored to give Argentina the win as the team had Lionel Messi on the bench. Scaloni was asked about Messi started the match as a substitute. Here’s what he had to say:

“We decided that he wouldn’t play because he is coming off some inactivity (Messi missed PSG’s last two matches). He entered in the second half to get some playing time and to think about the match against Brazil.”

Scaloni also spoke about the win and the World Cup qualifiers:

“There was the chance to almost qualify. There are times where you have to win. Today, we got it. Surely we didn’t play well but it counts.

“It was an option to put Lisandro (Martinez) and to have a back lien of five but we opted for Exequiel (Palacios) and to maintain the system. The key was in the goal, they also came close but couldn’t score.

“We came out of the back well, that wasn’t the problem. The midfield of the pitch wasn’t as fluid. That is where we got stuck because they pressured well.

They needed the points and to go out and get the match, for that reason they ran, they “pressured and they didn’t let us play. We had to look for spaces, to filter the passes to be able to generate the play.

“There are times where you can’t play well. You have to adapt. We adapted to the game. That’s an important signal, its good as a team.”

In regards to the team:

“You already know what I think of the players, of this team, of this group. I am proud of what we are doing. When I say that one player enters and another one leaves and that the team doesn’t suffer, this is why.

“There are times where you can’t play well but the will of these kids is superior to anything else. I am proud to coach them.”

35 Comments

  1. We are the biggest winner of 5 subs rule with so many different types and impactful players. ARG are maybe the only team that could strenghten with their subs in attacking area from what i have seen (full Euro, Copa and WCQ matches). only Messi is untouchable but from example a France cant sub Pogba, Mbappe, Griezmann or Benzema off without damages. Their subs are not better than a tired Griezmann or Benzema.

    • The thing about Joaquin Correa is that he tends to do better when he is not the focal point of attack. He seems to score when he is not expected, either cutting inside from the left wing or playing as a second striker like he does for Inter and prior to that at Lazio. When he is played as a no 9 he buckles under pressure it seems.

  2. For me the best players were Emi, Molina and Acuna. The midfield was lackluster, only De Paul tried to make something happen but did not have the same influence he normally has. Lo Celso was poor and Guido hit or miss.

    Molina I thought was good in both attack and defense. One particular cross to Joaquin Correa stands out where Joaquin could have done better. He was also very solid in defense, making three clearances and five tackles. Acuna was also very active and dynamic and won his battle with Nandez. Plus a great pass to Messi which he unfortunately skied.

    Papu was the best of the subs but to me he’s not a 90 minutes kind of player. Impact sub for sure.

    But to win even when not playing particularly great is so important too for the overall goal of winning trophies.

    • Deffently agreed about Molina, Acuna and Dibu also i would add maybe Cuti on that list too thoughbthete were moments in the game which could have cost Arg because of him, but Still he was way better than Guido who for me was a real dissapointment this time unfortunatly also Otamendi was under constant pressure and maybe could have played better, though he was Ok until in the end as for miidfield therecwasconly De Paul, but also only ocassionally as Scaloni said Uruguay pressed hard, but also tactical aporoach could have been maybe a little bit more sensitive and a bit wiser, but 3 points it is what cojnrs in the end and one more thing which made me wonder was Scaloni’s comment on Licha as bringing him on to line of 5 ? Does any one know if he meanted by saying this that Arg would have played with 3 cb’s and 2 wingbacks or was he talking about straight Direct line of 5 ?

    • Wow. Looks insanely talented. That dribbling in the second clip reminds me of Messi. Hope he doesn’t crash and develops well and doesn’t get put any labels. Also hope Spain don’t try to steal him. Nice to see another one on the conveyer belt of potential number 10’s

  3. What was this? Di Maria is finished, change Paredes/Guido with Ascacibar, De Paul with Nacho Fernandez, GLC with Lanzini, Di Maria with Pity Martinez, Messi with Maxi Meza and first of all Lautaro with Gaich, the last hope to not fail in WC, Scaloni wake up! And its time to try 20-21 years old Primera defenders to fix the holes in defense. ASAP.

  4. That means Lisandro Martinez has become the first choice backup for Otamendi-Romero pair as Scaloni said he would have used Lisandro as third CB but prefered to go with Palacios in midfield. May be Scaloni was okay for the draw also..!

    • I hope so. Scaloni is quite fair when it comes to player selection. The ones who perform good for their clubs will usually be his preference. For example: Molina instead of Montiel. Acuna instead of Tagliafico. Hope now its Lisandro Martinez instead of Pezzella.

  5. we need this kind of match where opponent press high and fast. they were wasteful and we were lucky. i wanted to lose the match as top EU team will play like that and we don’t know how to counter it. losing would open our eyes more and that would make us work more on counter attacking play.

  6. How soiled we have become !!!
    A win, in Uruguay, for only the second time in qualifiers this century deserves a standing ovation no matter how ugly it was. 64% possession is nothing to be ashamed of. Yet it was the careless passes that continuously gave Uruguay chance after chance. Guido Rodriguez was specifically poor in parcedes absence.
    Although we made critical mistakes in transition offense to defense or visa Versa, our “bend but not break” defense come up with clutch plays time and time again!!
    DiMaria’s finish was brilliant as well as Emiliano Martinez play between the posts… but the game changed with the entrance of Papu Gomez. He needs more playing time even if it is at Gonzalez’s expense. He creates better than anyone other than Messi for us.

    -6 games at hand and we have hit the magic number of 28 which all but guarantees us a spot in Qatar. Which means it only took 2/3 of our games to get there.
    -I love our defense grit and the emergence of Molina and acuna as our #1 starters.
    -We need to create more opportunities on goal. I am still not happy with lautaros ability to create a shot for himself.
    -The most impressive forward we have had this year is not Aguero, Lautaro, Icardi, Joaquin Correa or Messi …. It is not even Julian Alvarez…. (Who has been great) ….. The son of el cholo needs to be called. He is the missing piece that can solidify this team. Say his name … Giovanni Simeone

    • I agree Tony, Papu is our best sub. He makes an impact everytime he enters. When we need more midfield build up, like yesterday, he is a great asset. For me, he is a better messi sub, much better than Dybala who ghosted when we needed him most in midfield.

      We are lucky to have such depth.

  7. Very tough game, lucky to get three points. This sort of game was to be expected, Uruguay are desperate for points and probably should have scored two goals. I am not an Uruguay fan but I will feel bad if they miss out because of a couple of points, since that would have been this game. Currently, we need 4 more points to win. Here are my opinions on different players today:

    -Martinez: One of the figures of the match, with a crucial save at the beginning and as always secure and strong in the air. What more do I need to say.
    -Molina: Solid game, nothing extraordinary, made a couple of good tackles and defensive actions which surprised me because looking at serie A highlights he has had some very poor defensive moments this season.
    -Romero: Man of the match. I never would have guessed a couple of years ago that we would suddenly have a defender this good wearing our colors. A could of impressive tackles on none other than Luis Suarez and completely composed in making clearances and stopping crosses. Very confident going forward as well, if we get Licha in we will have two modern center backs that can go forward as well as they can defend. A huge plus.
    -Otamendi: Didn’t pay much attention to him to be honest, made a couple of passing errors but it seems the whole team did today. Some good defensive interventions.
    -Acuna: Solid game, I’ve noticed that it is also hard to get the ball off of him in personal duels.
    -Lo Celso: One of his worst games in a while. Clumsy in possession and wasn’t able to create anything, it felt dangerous when he had the ball and lost it a few times. Still a huge part of our midfield anyway, don’t want to see anyone taking this as an opportunity to jump on the anti-Lo Celso bandwagon.
    -Rodriguez: A much poorer game than I expected, I think he is in bad form currently when you consider he got sent off for Sevilla as well. Today it felt like he would do one good thing then one bad thing, repeat repeat. Some bad losses of the ball that I know Paredes would provide us. Usually I would say that Rodriguez gives us more balance than Paredes because of his better defensive contribution but today’s performance is certainly challenging that, it seems Paredes is who gives us the most balance.
    -De Paul: Not his best game. Had some great moments on the ball where I couldn’t believe the defenders couldn’t get it off him, a great player when it comes to close control and releasing the ball at the last second. But still not his best game.
    -Di Maria: Can someone please remind me when he last scored a normal goal for us? Like please Di Maria, just score a tap in or penalty or something. It’s getting ridiculous at this point. All jokes aside he scored the winner but as the game went on faded out more and more. A big game player regardless.
    -Lautaro: Pretty invisible, isolated, and uninvolved. Not a lot of connection with other players, but to be fair he didn’t receive those ideal Lautaro chances that make him Scaloni’s top scorer.
    -Dybala: Great effort to win the ball back for the assist and happy to see him starting. Apart from that he didn’t do much, this was not an ideal game for a number 10 and he didn’t receive the ball much or in good positions, usually passing it back. It’s not a surprise Messi was pretty invisible as well, not a game for that kind of player.
    Will not go over all the subs but Papu looked good, would like to see him play more and I am craving a Papu golazo for us.

    We let Uruguay impose what they wanted on us today, they obviously worked on switching things up to plug up the holes that let us absolutely dominate them last time. There are definitely things to work on in preparation for Brazil, too much of losing the ball, not enough control in the midfield, a game designed for our #10 to do nothing. I am sure Scaloni is aware of it and will work to fix the problems and get our best version back. We need to treat the next game like a final, for many reasons

    • Acuna has always been our underrated performer, the guy could still run up and down at 80+ minutes and took few defenders on his own. Reminds me of prime Alves or Zanetti.

      Obviously player like that occassionally needs to get covered by our other defenders because they tend to do overlapping run but that doesnt take away on his overall contribution to creates danger from the flank, something we’ve been lacking in last many many years.

      Starting the game without Messi will always benifits our opponents. Messi mere presence means opponents needs multiple players to pay attention to his movement constantly, its not coincidence that when Messi came in , even though he didnt do much, suddenly Tucu started to get clear chances to score. Too bad he blew those one vs one sitters.

      RDP also forced to do triple duty since Lo Celso didnt cover much spaces and had underwhelming game while Paredes was missing. RDP ended up having to carry so much task on his own and constantly getting fouled.

      • Depaul is world class. He was the only midfielder able to win balls, hold the ball, escape pressure and put dangerous passes. He left our forwards one v one with the keeper more than one time. He is MVP and still underrated. Truly world class player.

      • Yes. I don’t pay much attention to Acuña anymore because I’ve accepted that he is a consistent and more than solid performer every game for us. I usually pay more attention to young players or those I am still forming an opinion on, but it is so great to have Acuña who despite being 30 already seems to be improving every game. A reliable player in everything he does and had a couple of great moves that started counter attacks. Even a couple of years ago I wasn’t much of a fan of Acuña but he has completely changed my mind. I can’t tell you how happy I was to see two Argentinian full backs bossing it together in a European club last weekend. A breath of fresh air for once. And I expect Montiel/Molina to only get better from here.

      • Yes el principe. Against Brazil I would go with the same exact line up that beat them in the final. Montiel to stop Neymar and Vinicius and a 4-4-2 with Di Maria. If Scaloni thinks Lo Celso will not improve by that day maybe he will play Palacios by that date who is great at winning the ball

  8. Scaloni is clueless in some areas , yes he won copa america but things needs to be improved soon. Where is plan B for Lo celso , Lautaro, Nico because these are highly inconsistent players and its not like we dont have alternative to these players , we already have Buendia, Icardi, A correa , Papu Gomez, Erik Lamela but these players has not been integrated well they dont know their in team just randomly come as sub players , these all are Scaloni fault.
    Tactical scope of Scaloni is very limited .

  9. It was a horrible performance. After the goal from Di Maria, I expected a counter attack based game and may be a couple of more goals. But what followed was an usual abysmal performance by Dybala. Hadn’t he played a critical role in build up to the goal, I would have demanded removal of Dybala from this team once and for all. Lautaro struggled for the feeds. With Lo Celso having a not-so-good day at office Lautaro left begging. The introduction of the two Correas finally made the team look better than, at least, Korea. Then Papu Gomez really clinched it. He fought hard against the aggressive Uruguayans in the mid-field. And there was that brilliant brilliant move from Acuna where Messi ballooned his beautiful pass. Even Romero was uncharacteristically bad today. Very early in the game, he was simply shoved aside by an Uruguayan to capture possession of the ball. What a horrible sight!! A physically strong player from EU countries like Iceland/ Finland would have a field day if Romero remains so weak. Then there were miss-passes galore. Once Otamendi headed behind him straight to the feet of the opponent. At that moment, I thought I was watching Nicaragua playing in the blue-white stripes. Anyway, in the end we got the all-needed 3 points and a sublime goal from Di Maria. Simply Superb !!! Sometimes I wonder what happens to this team once the likes of Messi, Di Maria are gone. It was proven today that Scaloni has somewhere locked up his plan B without Messi and lost the key to that drawer. This was not the same Argentina who beat Mexico 4-0, drew with Germnay 2-2 and beat Ecuador 6-1. Wake up, Argentina. Pacquetas, Neymars, Richarlisons, Vinitios are waiting to take revenge of the Copa.

  10. Always happy for an Arg. Win but, Unsatisfactory performance overall.

    I wonder what’s up with SA qualifiers? I mean the same players who have the ball seemingly glued to their feet in their European club matches are taking heavy touches, playing bouncy passes and losing the ball often? Is it the ball quality or pitch quality?or player quality (fatigue) ?

  11. Unsatisfactory performance overall.

    I wonder what’s up with SA qualifiers? I mean the same players who have the ball seemingly glued to their feet in their European club matches are taking heavy touches, playing bouncy passes and losing the ball often? Is it the ball quality or pitch quality?or player quality (fatigue) ?

  12. Messi this and Messi that………….now we all know that he was not fit to mix it up with the Uruguayans and I hope he doesn’t play vs Brazil unless he’s fit and he wont be few days from now.
    Playing at home should be a great motivator and knowing their leader wont be available should also help.

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