'Sad day' for Argentina 'difficult to digest' – Scaloni

By Sports Desk November 22, 2022 431

Lionel Scaloni quickly turned his focus towards Argentina's next game against Mexico as he struggled to come to terms with their sensational defeat to Saudi Arabia.

Argentina are the reigning South American champions and were on a 36-match unbeaten run – one short of Italy's record – going into their World Cup opener.

But a series of disallowed goals meant they could not build on Lionel Messi's early penalty, and Saudi Arabia netted twice in quick succession after half-time to claim a famous 2-1 win.

The Albiceleste have no room for error now, facing Mexico on Saturday and then Poland next Wednesday – their final two Group C opponents set to begin their campaigns against one another later on Tuesday.

"It's difficult to digest," Scaloni said. "In four, five minutes, they scored two goals, two out of two shots on goal.

"But we will have to bounce back from this defeat and prepare the next two matches. We do not have to analyse more than that.

"It's a sad day, but as we always say: head held high. We have to bounce back."

He added: "There is nothing we can do. If we had won, we would also be waking up tomorrow thinking about the game tomorrow against Mexico and thinking about different aspects we can improve. This doesn't change our analysis."

The Argentina players, like Scaloni, were still in shock, as the coach said: "I've not spoken to them yet, because they are in pain, to be honest.

"They are thinking about how we can turn things around. It's all about winning the next games, and that's what we are trying to do."

Scaloni praised Saudi Arabia's offside trap, a tactic he insisted Argentina were prepared for.

Indeed, the Albiceleste coach was adamant their opponents had not been underestimated.

"No, we fully respect Saudi Arabia. That wasn't the reason behind this defeat," Scaloni said. "Quite on the contrary, they are a good team, they have technical players, they are very well prepared physically."

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Last modified on Tuesday, 22 November 2022 09:17
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