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SPORTS | 01-04-2022 16:37

Argentina's Scaloni has 'no complaints' over World Cup draw

Argentina coach admits World Cup draw could have been a lot worse after being paired with Mexico, Poland and Saudi Arabia.

Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni admitted on Friday that his team's World Cup draw could have been a lot worse after being paired with Mexico, Poland and Saudi Arabia.

The Albiceleste were the top seeds in Group C when the draw was made in Doha. 

The two-time winners will begin their campaign on November 22 against the Saudis.

"We cannot complain but we cannot be pleased either," Scaloni told Argentine TV channel TyC Sports. "We think we can have a good group phase but we have full respect for all of them."

Their toughest opponents could be Mexico, whom Argentina defeated in the last 16 of both the 2006 and 2010 tournaments.

"Historically they are opponents that have been difficult for us," said Scaloni, who represented Argentina as a player in the 2006 World Cup in Germany, in which is only appearance was against Mexico. 

"They played a great match against us and we won in extra-time. It was a very difficult match. Mexico have a history at the World Cup."

Poland are "a good national team with good players, well-known ones".

As for Saudi Arabia "they had a great qualification campaign and maybe they're not the strongest in the group but they will be the home team because it's the biggest stadium with 80,000 people and it will probably be full of Arabs," said Scaloni.

In fact, Arab neighbours Qatar and Saudi Arabia have had a fraught recent relationship.

In June 2017, Saudi Arabia led a coalition of mostly Arab countries that severed diplomatic relations with Qatar over alleged support for terrorism.

The diplomatic crisis lasted until January 2021, although not before the Saudi coalition had written to FIFA asking the world governing body to strip Qatar of its hosting rights.

Qatari sports broadcaster beIN Sports, which owns the exclusive rights to broadcast the English Premier League in the Middle East, also threatened to scupper a bid by the Saudi Public Investment Fund to take over Newcastle United last year over accusations of media piracy.

 

– TIMES/AFP

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