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SPORTS | 22-11-2023 12:29

Lionel Scaloni casts doubt over his future with Argentina's national team

World Cup winning coach says "it's complicated to continue" in his role and that the side needs someone in charge who has the energy to take the team forward.

Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni on Tuesday cast doubt over his continuation as coach of the national side, saying his players need someone with “all the energy possible” and that "the bar has been set very high."

"Now it's time to stop the ball and start thinking. I have a lot of things to think about during this time. These players have given us, all the coaching staff, a lot of things and I need to think about what I'm going to do," Scaloni told a news conference.

"It's not goodbye, but I need to think, because the bar is very high. It's difficult to go on and keep winning. This national team needs a coach who has all the energy possible and who is well. I will communicate this to the president [of AFA, Claudio ‘Chiqui’ Tapia] and to the boys.”

The remarks stunned Argentines, who were celebrating a historic win against their arch-rivals – Brazil had not lost a World Cup qualifier at home since 1954 prior to Tuesday night’s loss. 

The remarks stunned Argentines, who were celebrating a historic win against their arch-rivals – Brazil had not lost a World Cup qualifier at home since 1954 prior to Tuesday night’s loss. 

Scaloni, who had no top-level experience of coaching prior to taking charge of the national side, has led the Albiceleste through a glorious spell. The side won the Copa América in 2021, the World Cup in Qatar in 2022 and defeated Italy to win the Finalissima.

The ex-Mallorca defender was voted best coach in the world at FIFA's The Best awards after winning Argentina’s third World Cup. 

Commenting on the incidents in the stands at the Maracanã, Scaloni said the images were “very ugly” and that he was happy his players refused to play until the violence had stopped.

"Some of them had close relatives there, they didn't know if they were there or not. Playing a match in those conditions is not easy, even so, the match went as we planned, with them looking for a lot of play infield," he added of the clashes between Argentine fans, Brazilians and Rio de Janeiro police.

Argentina will close out 2023 as leaders of the South American qualifying group for the 2026 World Cup, having taken 15 points out of a possible 18. 

 

– TIMES/AFP
 

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