Tite insists the changes he made to the Brazil team against Peru were not to protect players for club duty as he instead used the opportunity to assess his squad.

Neymar, Dani Alves, Thiago Silva and Arthur and all dropped to the bench, having started the 2-2 draw against Colombia, and Brazil saw their 17-match unbeaten run ended in Los Angeles.

Luis Abram scored the only goal with an 85th-minute header for Peru, by which point Neymar had been introduced as a substitute.

Tite defended his team selection, though, insisting it was important to look at some new players following the Copa America, with Vinicius Junior making his debut.

"The most important thing was the team," Tite said. "The opportunities and changes were what I understood to be best in the moment, not to protect the players on the return to their clubs.

"I made the changes thinking about the Selecao.

"After the Copa America, another stage of opportunities began. It is only natural that we would not reach the same level of performance. I like to give opportunities to play - this is fundamental."

Meanwhile, Tite followed Fagner and Marquinhos in criticising the LA Memorial Coliseum pitch, which had been used by Argentina and Chile on Thursday.

"The pitch influences performance, this can't happen," he said. "There are risks of injuries.

"There is no excuse for defeat, I don't want to say that. Do not take only part of what I am saying. The opponent had a strategy and won.

"But this cannot happen in high level football. You can't have the field in this condition."

Casemiro has told Real Madrid team-mate Vinicius Junior to start thinking about the Ballon d'Or and other major prizes after making his Brazil debut.

Vinicius made his first appearance for the Selecao in Tuesday's underwhelming 1-0 defeat to Peru, Brazil's first loss since last year's World Cup.

The 19-year-old has started 10 LaLiga matches across the past two seasons, too, and Casemiro believes he needs to be aiming high.

"Vinicius has a very good head and, in the past year, he has surprised many people with the football he played," the midfielder told reporters.

"It is not normal for a 19-year-old boy to do what he did with the Real Madrid shirt. I told him the other day that this year is a year that he has to start thinking big.

"I repeat: what he did last year was not normal. He surprised everyone and showed that he is ready to be a starter at Real Madrid.

"When you are a starting Real Madrid player, you have to think big. Think of the Ballon d'Or, FIFA's World XI. He is a great player and he has already proven it.

"Of course, he is very young, you cannot put too much pressure and weight on his back. But I think he has to start thinking big.

"It is very important for us that he is here with the national team, but we have to be calm; two years ago he was playing in the Flamengo youth team."

Gregg Berhalter believes the United States were given the sort of physical test they can expect in World Cup qualifying by Uruguay on Tuesday.

USA failed to qualify from the CONCACAF section for Russia 2018 but are rebuilding under Berhalter ahead of the next cycle.

Days on from a humbling 3-0 defeat to rivals Mexico, USA held Uruguay to a 1-1 draw - equalising through Jordan Morris after Brian Rodriguez's opener - and Berhalter was impressed by his team's spirit.

The coach suggested the Uruguay match in St Louis, where the hosts bossed 60 per cent of possession, would ultimately prove more useful than the clash with Mexico.

"We just played two different teams with two very important challenges," Berhalter told a news conference.

"Against CONCACAF teams, we will play teams that are very compact [like Uruguay]. We have to understand how to break those teams down. Mexico were a totally different challenge.

"Mexico are a high-pressing, active team in front of a loud, boisterous crowd. Mexico presented us with good challenges but also good learning opportunities.

"We talked about how this opponent [Uruguay] were going to be compact and be physical. I think the team did a great job on set-pieces.

"More importantly, it was about the tenacity of our guys and the relentlessness of our guys to hang in there and keep battling. We did a good job, particularly in the first half, of keeping our structure."

Tata Martino will not feel too low after his first defeat as Mexico head coach, believing neither the big defeat to Argentina nor their long unbeaten run showed their true state.

Former Barcelona boss Martino was appointed El Tri coach in January and enjoyed a sensational start to his new role, beating Chile in a March friendly and then winning the CONCACAF Gold Cup.

But an 11-match unbeaten run came to an end on Tuesday as Argentina, Martino's former team and the last side to have beaten Mexico before their streak, ran out 4-0 winners in San Antonio.

Lautaro Martinez scored a hat-trick before being substituted at half-time, with all four goals coming in the first 45 minutes.

Martino explained: "I do not think this is our reality - nor do I believe that having 11 games without losing is our reality.

"Of the 'A' class [of team], this is the second game we played - the first was against Chile and the substantial difference is that tonight we made mistakes.

"Argentina could hurt us because there were 15 minutes where we played well and then the breakdown starts from an error.

"To learn from this, we need to play more major games of this stature. We must look to try to compete with the best in order to be able to take that leap we want to take."

LA Galaxy midfielder Jonathan dos Santos offered a similar assessment, frustrated by Argentina's ability to punish Mexico, who dominated possession but were outdone on the break.

"I think the team started well," he said. "I feel that the goals for Argentina were more our mistakes than their successes. We know that we cannot make these mistakes against these teams.

"We have to lift our heads, we are still working very well. The team is confident and I think it is a defeat that will make us learn."

Lionel Scaloni was delighted with the application of his Argentina side against Mexico, claiming they played "a perfect game" in a 4-0 victory.

Lautaro Martinez hit a first-half hat-trick as Argentina, still without Lionel Messi, ended Tata Martino's unbeaten start to life as Mexico coach in style, with Leandro Paredes also on target from the penalty spot.

Scaloni's men ceded possession to their opponents at San Antonio's Alamodome, but the coach saw his plan work to a tee and hailed the team's spirit.

"We knew the way that Mexico would play and we came out quickly to create some chances," he told a news conference. "We are happy because we played a perfect game.

"We knew that Mexico would dominate the opening minutes and that's why we were prepared to go out on the counter-attack.

"We gave the feeling that we are a team - that's the important thing. Everyone played for their lives, for their team-mates and for wanting to be in the Argentina team.

"We knew that if we recovered the ball, we would have to get it quickly to the striker.

"It's no good if we just defend well. We analysed Mexico a lot and we were courageous enough to do what we had to do in this match.

"We want an Argentina team that is competitive, where our opponents respect us."

Martinez was substituted at half-time, with Scaloni revealing the striker had been carrying a knock prior to the match, joking the Inter star appeared to play better injured.

"The change was planned, because he had some discomfort," the coach said. "Hopefully he can continue playing with discomfort."

Fagner called on Brazil to learn from Tuesday's defeat to Peru, although both he and Marquinhos criticised the LA Memorial Coliseum pitch.

Brazil were beaten for the first time since their 2018 World Cup reverse to Belgium, ending a 17-match unbeaten run, as they lost 1-0 to a late Luis Abram goal.

But Fagner insists the South American champions never questioned the threat of their opponents, who they defeated in the Copa America final.

The right-back, who started, with Dani Alves on the bench, hoped Brazil would be able to grow from a rare loss.

"We know the strength of South American football. There is no poor team," Fagner told TV Globo. "We played a consistent game and created chances to score. We were penalised by a set-piece at the end of the game.

"We need to grow and mature as soon as possible with these types of games to improve for the World Cup qualifiers.

"These games have to make us grow as a team. We know the importance of winning, of working calmly towards victory. But we also know that defeats can happen. This has to make us grow."

Fagner added the firm pitch in Los Angeles, used to hosting American football games, "undoubtedly" contributed to the defeat, and team-mate Marquinhos concurred.

"I think it was a very close game. We came from two good games against them and good results," Marquinhos said. "We knew they would come for the result and they did what they had to do.

"The pitch didn't help much. The ball bounced a lot. We tried to force passes through the middle, but both teams misplaced a lot. We knew it was a one-goal game and they were happy from set-pieces."

Lautaro Martinez was "happy and excited" after scoring a hat-trick for Argentina in an impressive friendly win over Mexico on Tuesday.

Martinez struck a first-half hat-trick in Texas as Lionel Scaloni's men ended Mexico's unbeaten record under Gerardo Martino with a 4-0 victory.

Inter forward Martinez, who impressed at the Copa America earlier this year, dominated, producing three clinical finishes for his first international hat-trick.

Martinez, 22, was delighted with his performance as he moved onto nine goals for Argentina in 13 appearances.

"I am happy and excited," he said, via the team's Twitter account.

"There is a lot of sacrifice that one makes to be here and not every day three goals are made with this shirt."

While scoring three times, Martinez also helped Argentina win a penalty that was converted by Leandro Paredes in a ruthless opening 45 minutes.

The former Racing Club forward paid tribute to his team-mates after his match-winning hat-trick.

"It is very difficult to get here and stay. There are very good players," Martinez said.

"I am very happy and grateful to my team-mates and the coaching staff. We train to give joy to the national team. Hopefully we continue along this path."

Luis Abram was the hero as Peru exacted some revenge over Brazil with a 1-0 victory in a rematch of the Copa America final.

Brazil claimed their ninth Copa America title by beating Peru 3-1 in South America's showpiece tournament decider in July.

But defender Abram's 85th-minute header saw Peru past Brazil in Los Angeles on Tuesday, while condemning the Selecao to their first defeat since the 2018 World Cup.

Neymar started on the bench as Tite made four changes to his line-up that drew 2-2 against Colombia, with David Neres, Eder Militao and Allan coming in for the PSG star, Dani Alves, Thiago Silva and Arthur.

It was a scrappy match on a pitch that still showed the marks of American football in Los Angeles, where NFL franchise the Rams and the NCAA's USC Trojans are tenants.

While there was plenty of energy and endeavour from Peru, chances were few and far between in the first half – Edison Flores' volley in the 23rd minute the closest either team went to breaking the deadlock.

After Neres went down inside the area under a risky challenge from captain Luis Advincula amid appeals for a penalty, Flores then produced an instinctive volley to force Brazil goalkeeper Ederson into a save.

There was a nasty clash of heads between Brazil team-mates Casemiro and Neres just past the half-hour mark, but both players managed to play on.

Pedro Gallese came to Peru's rescue four minutes into the second half. Richarlison played a delightful throughball to Allan but the goalkeeper was quick off his mark to deny the Brazil midfielder his first international goal.

A drilled effort from Philippe Coutinho caused problems for Gallese just past the hour-mark before Neymar's introduction, and while the latter provided some spark, there was to be no breakthrough for Brazil.

Just as the match looked to be petering out for a draw, a delightful free-kick from Yoshimar Yotun picked out Abram, whose deft touch beat Ederson and found the back of the net.

 

What does it mean? Peru end Brazil's unbeaten run

Since losing to Belgium in the World Cup quarter-finals last year, Brazil had gone 17 matches without defeat. However, that impressive run came to a shock end in LA.

Abram opens account in style

Making his 17th appearance, Abram emerged the unlikely hero for Peru. His late header not only silenced Brazil but saw the 23-year-old celebrate his first international goal.

Neymar poised for Selecao century

After marking his first appearance back with a goal and an assist against Colombia last time out, Neymar was a second-half substitute in LA. The 27-year-old's appearance, though, was his 99th on the international stage – moving him clear of Ronaldo and Djalma Santos for seventh in the all-time Brazil standings, still well adrift of Cafu's appearance record of 142.

What's next?

Brazil will return to action in October with a friendly against Thailand in Singapore and another fixture that is yet to be determined. Peru, meanwhile, are set to take on Uruguay in a pair of friendlies next month.

Lautaro Martinez stole the show to lead Argentina to an impressive 4-0 win over Mexico in a friendly in Texas on Tuesday.

Martinez scored a stunning first-half hat-trick at the Alamodome as Lionel Scaloni's men ran riot in the opening 45 minutes.

Inter forward Martinez was the star, netting three times and also helping Argentina – without the suspended Lionel Messi – win a penalty that was converted by Leandro Paredes.

Martinez came off at the break after putting Argentina in complete control as they saw out a comprehensive victory.

It was quite the way for Mexico to be handed their first defeat under head coach Gerardo Martino, who took over in January.

Mexico could have been awarded an early penalty for a handball, but instead fell behind in the 17th minute.

Martinez received a pass from Paredes 30 yards from goal, running at the Mexico defence and beating three markers before placing a left-footed strike into the bottom corner.

Just five minutes later and Martinez doubled his, and Argentina's, tally.

Exequiel Palacios put in a beautiful throughball for Martinez's well-timed run, the forward producing a first-time finish into the bottom corner.

Argentina's incredible start continued when they were awarded a penalty for a Carlos Salcedo handball, the ball hitting the defender's outstretched arm after a Martinez flick.

Paredes stepped up and while Mexico goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa got a hand on the spot-kick, it found the bottom corner to make it 3-0.

Martinez had Mexico panicking and it showed as he remarkably completed a first-half hat-trick.

The 22-year-old's first touch after a Palacios pass let him down but Nestor Araujo was unable to deal with the loose ball, Martinez claiming possession again before firing past Ochoa.

Martinez came off at half-time and Argentina almost struck again six minutes into the second half, Ochoa saving a strike from Rodrigo De Paul.

Substitutions impacted the rhythm of the contest, although Argentina were never in trouble after Martine's first-half heroics.

 

What does it mean? Scaloni's Argentina produce one of their best

Scaloni has faced plenty of criticism since taking the helm, but Tuesday's first half was undoubtedly one of Argentina's best since he was named coach in August last year. Martinez's performance helped, but they denied Mexico clear-cut chances and were clinical.

Martinez marvellous for Argentina

The Inter forward had Mexico's defence worried throughout and he took his chances. Palacios' wonderful pass set up Martinez's second, but it was otherwise the former Racing Club doing all the hard work to move onto nine international goals.

Martino unable to stop Mexico's Argentina woe

Under Martino, Mexico have shown they can contend with South American sides, beating Chile, Paraguay, Venezuela and Ecuador during an 11-match unbeaten streak with the former Barcelona boss in charge. But they are now winless in their past 10 meetings with Argentina, a run dating back to the 2004 Copa America.

What's next?

Argentina will take on Germany in a friendly next month, while Mexico meet Trinidad and Tobago before CONCACAF Nations League clashes with Bermuda and Panama.

Jordan Morris' second-half goal helped the United States to a 1-1 friendly draw against Uruguay in St Louis on Tuesday.

Coming off two straight losses, USA managed to avoid defeat as Morris cancelled out Brian Rodriguez's 50th-minute opener at Busch Stadium.

It was a fortunate equaliser for USA, who had squandered their best opportunities during the first half before falling behind.

Brian Rodriguez's first international goal had Uruguay – without the likes of Luis Suarez, Edinson Cavani and Diego Godin – on track, but Morris levelled for Gregg Berhalter's men.

A beautiful team move led to Uruguay's first chance in the sixth minute, but Jonathan Rodriguez was just unable to get a shot off with only USA goalkeeper Brad Guzan to beat.

After Cristian Roldan headed straight at Fernando Muslera for USA, the hosts created a great chance midway through the first half.

Morris beat his marker down the left before crossing to Tyler Boyd, who put his shot into the ground and over the crossbar from close range.

A Tim Ream block denied Uruguay an opener moments later before Muslera pushed away a 25-yard effort from Sergino Dest six minutes prior to the break.

USA should have been awarded a penalty on the stroke of half-time for a handball by Jose Gimenez, but they went into the interval locked at 0-0.

Brian Rodriguez broke the deadlock five minutes into the second half thanks to his first international goal.

A counter-attack saw Federico Valverde play a pass to Brian Rodriguez, who beat his marker before firing a power left-footed effort past Guzan from inside the area.

USA were fortunate to equalise with 11 minutes remaining, a clearance by Uruguay coming off Nick Lima and falling to Morris to chest in at the back post.

 

What does it mean? USA avoid three-game losing streak

Runners-up at the CONCACAF Gold Cup, USA were well beaten by Mexico last week and the draw with Uruguay at least meant they avoided being handed three straight losses for the first time since 2015.

Goalscoring woes go on for USA

USA must find a way to score goals and quickly. It took a huge piece of luck to get their equaliser against Uruguay and they have struggled to find the back of the net since thrashing Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago to begin the Gold Cup. Since those wins, USA have scored six goals in six games, netting more than once in a match just once in that run.

Uruguay show off depth

Without their two star forwards in Suarez and Cavani, Uruguay showed off some depth in the attacking third. Brian Rodriguez, 19, opened his international account and Jonathan Rodriguez was also dangerous.

What's next?

USA begin their CONCACAF Nations League campaign with matches against Cuba and Canada next month, while Uruguay will face Peru in two friendlies.

Republic of Ireland coach Mick McCarthy has ruled out staying on beyond Euro 2020 despite an impressive run of results since being reappointed.

McCarthy replaced Martin O'Neill in charge of Ireland in November 2018 for his second spell, having managed the country between 1996 and 2002.

Ireland clinched a 3-1 friendly win over Bulgaria in Dublin on Tuesday which ensured McCarthy is unbeaten in eight matches, with the country also top of Group D in Euro 2020 qualifying.

The Football Association of Ireland's plan is for McCarthy, 60, to hand over the reins to Under-21 coach Stephen Kenny when his tenure comes to an end after Euro 2020.

And when asked if there was a chance his contract would be extended if Ireland were to qualify for the tournament, McCarthy responded with an emphatic "no" and then refused to be drawn much further on the subject.

"You know the situation. I've just said no," McCarthy said.

"Hopefully we qualify for the Euros and it [the succession plan] will be seen as a really good decision."

McCarthy gave five players their international debuts against Bulgaria.

Goalkeeper Mark Travers and midfielder Josh Cullen started, while Jack Byrne, striker James Collins and shot-stopper Kieran O'Hara all came on during the second half.

 

Ireland secured victory thanks to first international goals from Alan Browne, Kevin Long and Collins, which left McCarthy satisfied.

"Ultimately the result pleased me the most," McCarthy said. "Josh Cullen deserved man of the match – he was excellent. 

"Alan Browne was also excellent. I loved James Collins' performance when he came on. Jack Byrne lit the place up with his forward passing and created two goals."

McCarthy also revealed he will ask left-back Stephen Ward to come out of international retirement for their crunch Euro 2020 qualifier against Georgia next month.

Ward, 34, retired from Ireland duty in March after he won 50 caps and represented his country at both Euro 2012 and 2016.

However, with first-choice left-back Enda Stevens suspended for Ireland's trip to Georgia, McCarthy will ask the Stoke City defender to step in.

"Stephen might tell me to get lost and he is retired," added McCarthy, who used midfielder Conor Hourihane at left-back against Bulgaria.

"But if I want him, he might just put his boots on one more time.

"James McClean is probably one of the best options if I don't have a recognised left-back.

"Hourihane had no chance at left-back ever. I played him to give him 65 minutes."

Alan Browne, Kevin Long and James Collins all scored their first international goals as Republic of Ireland eased to a 3-1 friendly win over Bulgaria.

In a match where all the goals came in the second half, Browne put Ireland ahead when he slotted into an empty net after Ronan Curtis' initial shot was spilled.

Bulgaria equalised through Ivelin Popov's spot-kick after John Egan, who captained Ireland for the first time, gave away a penalty.

But a Long header and a close-range finish from Collins gave the hosts a comfortable victory in Dublin.

The result means Ireland remain unbeaten in Mick McCarthy's second stint as manager.

McCarthy made 10 changes from the side which drew 1-1 with Switzerland in their last Euro 2020 qualifier and awarded first caps to five players.

Goalkeeper Mark Travers and midfielder Josh Cullen started while midfielder Jack Byrne, striker Collins and goalkeeper Kieran O'Hara all came on in the second half.

A low-key first half saw just one attempt on target from both sides with Bulgaria posing the greatest threat from set-piece situations.

The home side took the lead 11 minutes into the second half when Curtis' long-range strike was fumbled by Hristo Ivanov and Browne tapped home.

Bulgaria equalised from the penalty spot after Cyrus Christie got himself in a tangle and Egan brought down Bozhidar Kraev.

Popov confidently struck his effort high into the net, giving Travers no chance. However, Ireland rallied and sealed the victory with two late goals from substitutes.

Long headed in Byrne's corner and then Enda Stevens' low cross was turned in by the sliding Collins.

 

What does it mean? After eight for McCarthy 

After a dramatic late equaliser against Switzerland, this match might have been something of an anti-climax for Ireland.

Against a Bulgaria side who have not won a game for 11 months, Ireland were typically disciplined before a late flourish put a gloss on the scoreline.

McCarthy will be happy he got the chance to take a look at some players on the fringes of his squad and increased his unbeaten run since returning to manage Ireland to eight games.

Hourihane comfortable at left-back

With Stevens suspended for next month's qualifier in Georgia, McCarthy switched Conor Hourihane from midfield to left-back. The Aston Villa man slotted into the position with ease which solves one of McCarthy's selection worries for the trip to Tbilisi.

Ivanov's international career over after one cap?

Journeyman Bulgaria goalkeeper Ivanov won his first cap at the age of 37, but it may well prove to be his only appearance. The grey-haired shotstopper should have saved Curtis' initial shot which allowed Browne to score and flapped at a cross for Long's header.


What's next?

Ireland travel to Georgia for a crunch Euro 2020 Group D qualifier on Saturday 12 October and then face Switzerland the following Tuesday

Bulgaria are also in qualification action with an away trip to Montenegro in Group A on Friday 11 October before hosting England in Sofia three days later.

Brazil head coach Tite refused to reveal whether or not he has given life advice to Paris Saint-Germain superstar Neymar following a turbulent off-season.

Neymar scored his first goal of the season for club or country as Brazil drew 2-2 with South American rivals Colombia in an international friendly on Friday.

His goalscoring display came after the 27-year-old forward – yet to play for PSG this season – was unable to secure a return to LaLiga champions Barcelona prior to the transfer deadline.

Neymar was the topic of conversation again as Brazil prepare to face Peru in a rematch of the Copa America final and Tite told reporters on Monday: "Whatever is good for Neymar, I will never say publicly.

"But we can do it here in the national team. In the areas that are competent to us, the 10 days we are here, we always try to create situations that are good for him and for selection.

"Not primarily for one or the other. Because I also understand that he is top three worldwide."

Brazil beat Peru 3-1 in the Copa America final in July and the two nations will meet again in Los Angeles on Tuesday.

Previewing the clash, Tite said: "If I were on the side of the Peruvian national team, I would have a feeling of revenge but with loyalty.

"They don't have to beat us up but play to show that they are better. We have to play a great game, since we have been working under pressure

"The ideal would be to have friendly against European teams, but there is a calendar problem and sometimes it is incompatible."

Ryan Giggs hailed "amazing" Daniel James after the young winger continued his impressive campaign with a match-winning strike in the 1-0 victory against Belarus.

James cut inside from the left and curled the ball away from Maksim Plotnikov for the only goal of the game 17 minutes into Monday's friendly at the Cardiff City Stadium.

He has now scored twice in six senior appearances for Wales and has hit the ground running at new club Manchester United, the 21-year-old finding the net three times in his first four appearances since joining in a reported £15million deal.

Giggs was tempted to rest James for the friendly in Cardiff, watched by a low crowd of just 7,666 spectators, but the ex-Swansea City ace put his name forward for selection and lit up the game with his play out wide.

"It was a difficult one with Dan whether to rest him, but he wanted to play," Giggs said at his post-match news conference.

"When you are in form like his, players just want to play and keep scoring. He gets fans off their feet. Every time he gets the ball the fans are looking for him to do something.

"Regarding the fans, I would like to thank fans who did turn up because it's not easy. The schools have gone back and it's difficult to get to games. But I think they would have enjoyed it tonight and enjoyed Dan's performance as well as the team performance."

James has earned obvious comparisons to Giggs and has been challenged by his national boss and compatriot to maintain his fine form.

"I think early on when I saw DJ, just like any young winger, there can be that improvement with the final ball and scoring more goals and he's doing that," said Giggs, who spent 24 trophy-laden years in United's senior team.

"To do what he's done at the start of the season is amazing. The next step is showing that consistency and he needs to carry it on, but I've got no doubts that will happen because he wants to be the best.

"He's a great character and a great trainer. He wanted to play tonight. I'm really pleased for him. He's one of those players where you know what he's going to do but you can't stop it."

James also played the full 90 minutes of Friday's 2-1 Euro 2020 qualifying win against Azerbaijan and will now head back to his club side ahead of the Premier League clash with Leicester City.

"I'm loving football at the minute," James told Sky Sports. "The season's started well for me and I've got to continue doing it. 

"I've got the right people around me - the gaffer is here and great at United, too - and it's about continuing that."

He added: "I know it was only a friendly but we played some great football and we should have gone two or three nil up. We've got to score more goals in our next camp."

Wales return to qualifying action on October 10 with a trip to Slovakia and take on Croatia in Cardiff three days later.

Argentina head coach Lionel Scaloni has praised the work of Gerardo Martino and said he expects a tough test when his side take on Mexico in Texas.

Both men started their playing careers with Argentine club Newell's Old Boys and have since made the move into management.

Martino guided Argentina to two Copa America finals before stepping down in July 2016 and is now in charge of Mexico, via a spell with Major League Soccer side Atlanta United.

Scaloni considered Martino an "idol" figure at Newell's Old Boys and still holds the 56-year-old in high regard.

"I was Martino's partner at Newell's," he told reporters ahead of Tuesday's friendly with Mexico in the United States. "He was there when I debuted. For me, he was the idol of the club and still is. 

"It was a lifelong reference and marked a time for all of us who played at the bottom and had the chance to do it.

"He has a very clear idea of ​​the game and it is very important to play against this team. I am sure it will be a very difficult team for any team. It will be difficult.

"As a coaching staff, seeing the operation of all the teams, we like some things about Mexico. We are similar in the line of play, being a leading team.

Without the suspended Lionel Messi, Argentina played out a goalless draw with Chile on Friday in their first match since beating the same opponents in the third-place play-off at the Copa America.

Scaloni has suggested he will make changes to his starting line-up against Mexico and has called on his players to keep better control of the ball.

"At one point with Chile we lost control of the game," he said. "Mexico like to keep the ball, so do we. The more control we have, the better. It takes time. It worked, we have it clearer before a complicated opponent.

"There are three players I'll wait until Tuesday [to decide on]. I don't want them to go out if they're not 100 per cent.

"If I think about getting results, the call would have been different. On the other hand, we would be left with the feeling that there are young boys who can give us a lot. 

"The results this week is secondary. They are tests to see where we stand. We will continue with the same line of play."

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