Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni speaks on World Cup win, qualifiers, coaching staff


Argentina national team coach Lionel Scaloni spoke about winning the World Cup, the qualifiers and the coaching staff.

Lionel Scaloni is now taking part in his second World Cup qualifying campaign as a coach as he announced his list of players on Thursday for the September matches. He also gave an interview with AFA Estudio about it all. Here is what he had to say about the World Cup qualifiers:

“What is coming is very difficult, the start is always complicated. Hopefully the players get here healthy and the fans enjoy seeing the national team.

“We are going to complete, which is what we like to do. For us as a coaching staff, it’s always a pleasure to receive them. And that the fans could also enjoy them, have them close to them.”

He was also asked if he as a player would have been called up to this national team:

“Scaloni the player would not have been called up, not even as a casual for the World Cup in Qatar, not close. The level of these players is very high.”

On always thinking of the Argentina national team:

“Even though we play every couple of months, I always think about the Argentine national team. When I’m eating or riding a bike, things always come to mind. Thoughts come to you of what you could improve or do. I haven’t heard many coaches say they totally isolate themselves.”

On the coaching staff:

“We are all calm. The most anxious is the coach. But Pablo (Aimar), the rat (Roberto Ayala) and Walter (Samuel) have a similar profile. They are calm. Pablo and I are the ones who sleep the least.

“The coaching staff is quite clam, in the matches it only gets a bit rougher. We try to maintain the balance that the players need.

Scaloni was also asked about the Scaloneta after winning the World Cup:

“When we went to Miami, the Argentine consul was there and she told me that after the World Cup, many people went to sign up to get an Argentine passport. In Spain, I met a lot of people who told me that they supported Argentina.”

“The World Cup is over and what we take with us is the joy of the people, for us it’s the maximum. The team plays for the people. It’s very difficult for them to be selfish when they come to play for the national team because they play for a friend, for the family and for the country.”

In regards to the current team:

“I want players that know that the opponent plays too. There were times when it seemed that this Argentina was not having a bad time. We tell the players that sometimes they have to suffer.

“We made this generation understand that it is possible to suffer, that there are moments when we have to suffer and we must not let go of our anxiety. You have to dig in and the game goes on. These guys understood that perfectly.”

The old guard and the lost finals:

“The previous team and some of the players that are still with us were very close to being part of history. They played three finals and came very close. They too will remain in history.

“Things were done well and there are always good players in the national team but you need luck and a clear idea.”

He also shared a story about Walter Samuel:

“Yesterday, I didn’t have enough money to pay the toll at Arroyo Seco. I told the girl, who I don’t know if she recognized me, that I only had a card. She gave me a ticket, as it should be. Then I ran into Walter (Samuel) at the gas station, he gave me money and I went to pay.”

Regarding the match vs. Netherlands at the World Cup:

“During the extra time, we saw that they didn’t want (to play) anymore. That the 2-2 was enough for them, a reward. They were confident that going to penalties, they were going to be fine. That was palpable, it was palpable. And the team had an enormous personality in the second half of extra time. That’s good. You feel proud of a team that kept attacking and trying.”

About Lionel Messi and Emiliano Martínez:

“Dibu (Emiliano Martínez) is a beautiful character, who never gave up, an inspiration for many. Just like Leo (Messi), who never gave up.


  1. Scaloni wouldn’t have had a chance at right back versus Molina and Montiel? I don’t remember how good of a right back he was but he completed with Zanetti right? He only played a few matches but he did appear in the 2006 WC squad against Mexico IIRC.

  2. Well noted Olive. Totally agree on your points. Was kind of hoping Paz and Soule to be called up but agree that they being more of sub 20 category, makes sense for them to continue currently in Europe. Zapelli and Beltran for sure to ward off Italy challenges.

  3. I just heard a really interesting theory on why in particular Zapelli, Esquivel, and Velasco were called up for the senior team. They are obviously much more of U23 players than senior team WC champion players so it is likely that they will still train with the U23’s because the point is that when a senior team calls up a player a foreign club is required to release them but NOT if you are called up to an U23 team. That is why 100% of the U23 list is local and the three young new faces in the senior team are playing in other countries. Add to that the individual situation with Zapelli and Italy which is why it is intelligent to call him up and the fact that Scaloni might be looking at LB’s like he has done with others recently. So the inclusion of all three of them in the senior list is so that the clubs are forced to release them. They do look like they were picked right out of the U23’s and slightly out of place so it makes sense. Smart decision by Scaloni. One might ask why we didn’t do this with Nico Paz, Soule, etc etc etc but it might be more valuable for them to stay training with their European clubs (In Nico Paz’s case with world class players) than come to train with local league players. Soule just went on loan so might be better for him to adjust in his new club. This U23 session might be kind of a scouting by Scaloni of more local South American players since he already knows the European talents well. We can’t call up like 70 players anyways

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