Monday, 30 January, 2023

Scaloni calls for calm after Messi magic

Scaloni calls for calm after Messi magic
Argentina’s forward Lionel Messi celebrates scoring the opening goal during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group C match against Mexico at Lusail Stadium in Lusail, Doha on Saturday. – AFP PHOTO

Lionel Scaloni pleaded with Argentines to show calm after Lionel Messi helped keep their World Cup hopes alive with the first goal in a crucial 2-0 win over Mexico on Saturday.

Argentina would have been eliminated from the tournament with a Group C match to go had they lost and despite this win, sealed with a fine Enzo Fernandez strike, they must still defeat Poland on Wednesday to ensure progression to the last 16.

Asked about images showing his assistant Pablo Aimar on the brink of tears during the game, coach Scaloni called for some perspective.

"You have to have some common sense, it's just a football match. I received a message from my brother saying he was crying and it can't be like that. It's as if it were more than a football match," he said.

Scaloni said he for one wouldn't be celebrating as his team are still not out of the water yet. Even with a draw against Poland, the two-time champions could still be eliminated.

Scaloni also expects group leaders Poland, who need a point to ensure their progress to the last 16, will raise their game against the Albiceleste.

Messi admitted the four days between losing to Saudi Arabia and beating Mexico had been tough on the players.

"It was uncomfortable given the defeat in the opening match, which we didn't expect," he said.

"The days were very long, that's how it felt. We were eager to have the chance to turn this around. We knew it was a critical game. If we didn't win we were out and if we won, we would have another chance, " he added.