After two days, the tensions, discussions and controversies of the quarter-final between Argentina and the Netherlands are still remembered, from which Lionel Scaloni, coach of Albiceleste, came out on Monday to explain that both a team like any other played ” how it was to play” and asked that the “taboo” according to which the Argentine team “doesn’t” know how to “win or lose” be removed, because it is “totally far from reality”.
“To settle the matter, the match the other day was played as it should be played, both on the Dutch side and on the Argentinian side. This is football. There are moments when you have to defend, you have to attack, that things like l “The other day, that the game becomes difficult, that there are arguments and whatnot, but no more and no less than this. There is an arbiter to do justice. And we have to remove the taboo that we don’t know how to win or lose.” , he has declared .
“We all know how to lose and win. We lost the first match and went quietly to the hotel. We won the Copa América in Brazil and we saw the most beautiful image in football, with Neymar, Messi, Paredes sitting in the tunnel dressing room. We are proud and the match was played as it should be played and it all ends when the referee blows the whistle,” he added during the press conference at the Qatar National Convention Center, on the eve of the semi-final against Croatia.
“We have to resolve this issue once and for all. We deeply respect the Netherlands, Croatia and all our rivals. It’s an imprint we have had since day one we took office. We have to remove that problem that we don’t know how to win or lose, because it’s totally far from the reality of who we are as a team and as a group,” he cautioned.
Nicolás Tagliafico, Argentina’s left-back, also spoke about everything that happened against the Netherlands. “It’s football. We’re not machines. There are emotions. These are things that happen in many games, this has happened and will happen. That’s football. We were in the quarter-finals, two teams fighting for a dream and these are things that they happen. We have tried to put everything aside and focus on what is coming, which is something very important for us, if we are to continue to achieve our goals,” he assessed.
“Messi has a pride and a desire that I envy”
Scaloni is not surprised by the leadership or personality of Messi, an incomparable figure of the team, with four goals and two assists, on which the selection revolves. “I know him and it’s always been like this. It’s not due to the coaching staff, it’s due to him. He has a pride and a desire to continue playing football that I envy,” said the coach, of course, in the ‘virtual stadium’ of the National Convention Center of Qatar, where the press conference was moved due to the great expectation of the media.
After the conference of Nicolás Tagliafico, his left full-back, probable novelty in the place of Marcos Acuña, sanctioned, Scaloni appeared. He talks more than Messi. His last World Cup? “We’ll see if he keeps playing or not. We’ll still have fun, which is the best thing that can happen to us and to football. If he does well, it will be good for all of us. There’s still a long way to go there, tomorrow there’s it’s a very difficult game and we’re concentrating all our strength on this,” he concentrated.
Next, the semifinal. Even more, the World title, if they beat Croatia first and then the final. “The illusion belongs to all Argentines. This is evident. This team plays for them and for them, for their families, for the people and we are immensely grateful to the Argentinean fan who has made a barbaric effort, because we all know how much it costs come here and the one who is in Argentina to watch and suffer the matches. We hope to give our best and then time will tell what will happen in these matches” he stressed.
“The goal is to go match by match. It’s never been about playing all seven games. It’s to go match by match and not think further,” warned the coach. “We can’t think about what can be achieved without achieving it. The most important thing is tomorrow’s match. I don’t think so much about saying it’s a World Cup, what happens if we win or don’t win. All this drains your energy and doesn’t help ‘ he insisted later.
“It’s a pleasure to see Modric play, he’s an example for many”
“We are expecting a very difficult match, against a team that is really called a team, because it played like this; a large group, a large team, which will make things difficult for us. Comparison with the other World Cups does not match, because all the matches are different, but I am convinced that it is a great team, with great players and above all with the feeling of the group, which is what really counts”, remarked the coach, questioned on the last precedent between Argentina and Croatia, the 0-3 with which the Balkan formation won Russia 2018.
Luka Modric will once again be in front of him: “It’s a pleasure to be on the pitch and watch him play. He’s an example for many, not only for his qualities as a player, but also for his behavior for all that that transmits, like when we face Lewandowski. Those who love football want those players on the pitch”.
“Croatia have a way of playing and they won’t change it. It’s neither defensive nor offensive. They always play the same way, very well. They have very good players and it’s a team with a great footballing tradition,” said the coach, who also warned that the Argentine team won’t even change its identity no matter what system it uses, with five behind against the Netherlands and four behind in the rest of the previous clashes.
“There is no better rest than victory”
“We have a marked way of playing, beyond the fact that afterwards we have to take into account how the opponent plays and the things they are good at. We talk about the players, the sensations one can have of each rival, but our way of playing is the same, regardless of the game system. It will be a bit every moment of the match to decide well. We hope to make it,” said Scaloni, whose team faces the duel three days after extra time against the ‘Holland. Croatia already accumulate two extra times.
“There is no better rest than victory. There is no better way to face the next match than going to the semifinals, beyond the load of minutes, but we are fine, we are intact, we have sanctioned players (Marcos Acuña and Gonzalo Montiel ) and that yes, it’s a matter to be resolved, but in general we’re fine” the coach said.
Nor does the way of approaching the psychological work of a game like this change anything: “Just as we behaved before Holland, before Australia, before Poland, because we have just played important games since we lost against Saudi it doesn’t change the feeling that the match is transcendental. Afterwards, I think everyone, at least within our headquarters, knows that it’s a football match, that we will try to do our best and that sometimes luck can turn away from you like the other day 90 minutes”.
“But if we do what we have to do, it will be easier to achieve our goals. We handle ourselves in the same natural way, knowing that it is very important for people’s happiness, but we know that it is a sport and sometimes it’s not the best who wins, the we took it in a completely natural way”, added Scaloni, who received a flag, signed several autographs and calmly exited the ‘virtual stadium’, heading to the semifinal of the 2022 World Cup.