Angel Correa, Leonardo Balerdi and Valentin Barco have all been cut from Lionel Scaloni's Argentina squad for the Copa America.

Scaloni named a 29-man provisional squad last month, as Argentina aim to retain their title, with Lionel Messi leading the team once more.

Correa, who has 25 caps for La Albiceleste and scored three goals, came on as a substitute in their first friendly against Ecuador but remained on the bench when they faced Guatemala on Friday.

Marseille defender Balerdi has not featured for his national side since 2019, while Barco only has one international appearance to his name.

19-year-old Valentin Carboni, who was handed his first start in the 4-1 win over Guatemala, gets the nod in the squad after being receiving high praise from Messi following the game for his performance.

Enzo Fernandez missed the end of Chelsea's Premier League campaign after groin surgery but featured in both warm-up matches to retain his place.

Argentina will kick off their Copa America title defence in Group A against Canada on June 20.

Final Argentina squad: Franco Armani (River Plate), Geronimo Rulli (Ajax), Emiliano Martinez (Aston Villa), Gonzalo Montiel (Nottingham Forest), Nahuel Molina (Atletico Madrid), Cristian Romero (Tottenham), German Pezzella (Real Betis), Lucas M. Quarta (Fiorentina), Nicolas Otamendi (Benfica), Lisandro Martinez (Manchester United), Marcos Acuna (Sevilla), Nicolas Tagliafico (Lyon), Guido Rodriguez (Real Betis), Leandro Paredes (Roma), Alexis Mac Allister (Liverpool), Rodrigo De Paul (Atletico Madrid), Exequiel Palacios (Bayer Leverkusen), Enzo Fernandez (Chelsea), Giovani Lo Celso (Tottenham), Angel Di Maria (Benfica), Valentin Carboni (Monza), Lionel Messi (Inter Miami), Alejandro Garnacho (Manchester United), Nicolas Gonzalez (Fiorentina), Lautaro Martinez (Inter), Julian Alvarez (Manchester City).

Lionel Messi and Lautaro Martinez scored twice for Argentina as they concluded their Copa America preparations with a comfortable 4-1 victory over Guatemala. 

Argentina found themselves behind inside four minutes when Lisandro Martinez's own goal handed Guatemala their first-ever goal against La Albiceleste.

However, Messi, who was featuring for the 182nd time for his country, levelled the contest eight minutes later as goalkeeper Nicholas Hagen's poor clearance fell kindly into his path.

Lionel Scaloni's team were awarded a penalty just before half-time as Nicolas Samayoa fouled Valentin Carboni, with Martinez stepping from 12 yards to score. 

Messi and Martinez combined for Argentina's third goal, with the latter doubling his tally after he was picked out by his team-mate in the area.

Messi put the result beyond doubt late on, lofting the ball over Hagen after latching onto a fine pass from his former Paris Saint-Germain team-mate, Angel Di Maria. 

Argentina kick off their Group A campaign against Canada on June 21 before facing Chile and Peru in their quest to retain their Copa America title. 

Data Debrief: Messi and Martinez make light work of minnows

Guatemala were simply no match for their illustrious opponents at FedEx Field, managing only four attempts and getting none of those on target, mustering 0.18 expected goals.

Argentina finished with 3.07 xG, with Martinez (1.47) and Messi (1.3) responsible for the majority of that figure. Between them, they had 13 shots, nine more than Guatemala managed as a team.

Lionel Messi has cast doubt upon his chances of playing at a 13th major tournament for Argentina at the 2026 World Cup.

The Inter Miami star will turn 39 during that tournament, which takes place in the United States, Canada and Mexico in two years' time. 

The eight-time Ballon d'Or winner has seemingly left the door ajar to a final swansong at the world's biggest international tournament, though he admits his participation will be dependent on how he feels as he edges closer to the end of his glittering career. 

"It depends on how I feel, on how I am physically," Messi said in an interview with Infobae. 

"I have to be realistic with myself and know if I am up to the task of being able to compete and help the team-mates next to me. There is some time left, and I don't know how I will be at that moment. 

"Age is also a reality, although it is a number, and the games that I am going to play [at Inter Miami] are not the same as the ones I played when I was in Europe. 

"It will depend on how I feel, what I feel when I'm next to my team-mates, and I'll see if I'm still up to par or not."

Messi has 12 goals and nine assists in 12 MLS appearances this season, with the Argentina captain set to lead his country's bid to retain their Copa America title in the coming weeks.

La Albiceleste kick-off their campaign against Canada on June 20 at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, and Messi believes the competition at this year's tournament is as strong as it has ever been. 

"I think that Argentina is always favourite," he said. "When a tournament starts, be it a World Cup, Copa America or whatever, Argentina is a candidate just like Brazil and more so in this Copa America. 

"But I think that today the South American teams are very strong. Uruguay are very good, as are Colombia and Ecuador. I think it will be a very level Copa America."

Lionel Scaloni will take charge of Argentina at a fourth international tournament and will be hopeful his number 10 can lead them to glory once more. 

Amid talk it could be Messi's last competition with his country, Scaloni wants supporters to focus on the present, rather than looking to the future. 

"We Argentines are too melancholic. We are already thinking about the day when he is not there, when he is still playing," Scaloni told Telemundo Deportes.

"Let's enjoy it and we'll see tomorrow, because I think the present is so important, not only for Argentina, because, in the end, Leo plays for those who like football. Someday it will happen."

Argentina head coach Lionel Scaloni insists he is fully committed to managing the side for as long as he is wanted ahead of their Copa America campaign.  

Last year, the 46-year-old shocked world football when he revealed he was considering stepping down less than 12 months after leading his country to World Cup glory in Qatar. 

It was reported by local media at the start of this year that Scaloni had agreed to remain in charge until the conclusion of the upcoming tournament in the United States, which sees the Albiceleste kickstart the month-long action against Canada on June 20. 

Speaking ahead of warm-up friendlies against Ecuador and Guatemala, Scaloni said he expects to stay in charge until the Argentine Football Association President, Claudio Tapia, decides otherwise.

"I was not having a good year and I felt it was time to stop the ball," Scaloni said, recalling his previous comments. 

"Today I'm here with all my energy, which, to be honest, was not the case in November. As long as the president of the AFA wants me to be here, I'll be here."

Scaloni was able to provide an update on the fitness of Lionel Messi while also explaining his decision to leave Paulo Dybala out of his preliminary 29-man squad for the tournament.

Messi has scored 12 goals in his first 12 games of the MLS season with Inter Miami, last netting more in his first 12 outings of a league campaign with Barcelona in 2012-13 (17). 

"The good thing is that Messi has had continuity in his team, especially after his injury," Scaloni said. 

"It's important that he gets more minutes. We see him at full fitness. He will join the squad for training tomorrow."

On Dybala, he added: "We have a special affection for him, but we always say that the team comes first. Given the circumstances and the fact that we had problems in some positions, we decided not to include him.

"We know what he has given us. With all the pain in the world, this is the decision we have taken."

A series of minor injuries limited Dybala to 25 Serie A starts in 2023-24, though he still scored 13 goals for Roma to improve on his return of 12 from 2022-23. 

Argentina face Ecuador on June 9 at Soldier Field in Chicago and Guatemala at Commanders Field in Washington five days later, as preparations intensify ahead of their Copa America title defence. 

Lionel Messi has been consulted by Lionel Scaloni as the Argentina head coach ponders his future in charge of the national team.

Scaloni led Argentina to World Cup glory in Qatar last year, and in February, signed a contract keeping him at the helm through to the 2026 World Cup.

That tournament will be co-hosted by the United States, where next year's Copa America takes place.

Reigning Copa champions Argentina were placed in Group A in Thursday's draw. They will take on Peru, Chile, and either Canada or Trinidad and Tobago. 

However, there is doubt over Scaloni's future, with the 45-year-old unsure as to how long he will continue in his role, and he confirmed in the wake of the draw that he has held talks with Argentina captain and talisman Messi.

"I spoke with Leo, we are going to talk again in a few days and from there we are going to make a decision, the best decision for the Argentina national team which is the most important thing," Scaloni told beIN SPORTS.

"There's nothing wrong with the AFA leadership. My doubts are not in that area, but from something football-related, thinking about what's coming and feeling good and about being ready for it.

"The bar is high and we need a lot of energy and for everyone to understand what's coming. It is a personal decision and that of the coaching staff."

In an interview with TyC, Scaloni explained: "In principle, I am here because I am the coach. I said it after the match against Brazil that it is a personal moment to think. It is important after everything that we have achieved. We have to think about everything that is coming and see what we can do.

"The players are very good, the team is very good, they need a coach who is good, with all the energy. I said it and I repeat it, they need a coach who is at their level. It is time to think. I still think the same.

"It is necessary to do things well, with someone who is 100 per cent focused, who knows what is coming. Important things are coming, very demanding."

Argentina will take on either Canada or Trinidad and Tobago on June 20 in Atlanta, before heading to New Jersey to face Chile. Their final group match, against Peru, will take place in Miami, where Messi now plays, on June 29.

Lionel Messi hopes the "craziness never ends" after scoring his 100th goal and ninth hat-trick for his country amid Argentina's homecoming World Cup celebrations on Tuesday.

La Albiceleste routed Curacao 7-0 in Santiago del Estero, with Messi's 20th-minute opener bringing up his 100th international goal, joining only Cristiano Ronaldo (122) and Ali Daei (109) in achieving that feat.

Messi became the first world champion to score 100 international goals, and he showed no signs of stopping there with further first-half strikes for a treble, taking him to 102.

The milestone came as Argentina rounded out their first two games back in their homeland since December's World Cup triumph with wild celebrations, initially in Buenos Aires for Thursday's 2-0 win over Panama.

The players emulated their celebrations from Qatar after the Curacao game, hoisting the World Cup trophy again after it came down from the stadium roof and doing a lap of honour to greet the supporters.

Messi was also presented with a plaque by Argentine Football Association president Claudio Tapia to acknowledge his 100th goal.

"What a nice way to close these dates, impressive today all the people in Santiago del Estero," Messi wrote on Instagram.

"I wish we can continue to share together many moments like these and that this craziness never ends!!!"

Messi's achievement comes after netting 21 goals in his 14 games for Argentina, along with seven assists. That has taken him to 156 goal contributions, which is the most in international football.

Argentina head coach Lionel Scaloni added: "As for Lionel Messi, what I want is for him to be on the pitch and be happy."

He added: "These days were different to the previous friendlies because the players were allowed to be with their people.

"We felt that they had that desire to go out to contact the outside, although that meant that it was difficult to prepare these two games. But in the end we got them through by playing with intensity."

Lionel Messi will have the final say on when his international career with Argentina is over, but head coach Lionel Scaloni is hopeful that is not anytime soon.

The Paris Saint-Germain forward played a starring role as Argentina ended a 36-year wait to lift the World Cup for a third time in December.

Messi announced immediately after his side's penalty shoot-out win over France in the final that, contrary to what many predicted, he would continue playing for Argentina.

La Albiceleste are in action for the first time since then in a friendly against Panama on Thursday, with Messi and his team-mates set to receive another heroes' welcome.

The 35-year-old has previously revealed he does not intend to take part in the 2026 World Cup, but Scaloni is unsure exactly when he will retire from the international stage.

"Messi will continue to come until he says otherwise. I see him happy on the pitch and within the selection," Scaloni said at a press conference on Tuesday.

"Leo's looking good to me. He deserves all that love. He and all the players who are here deserve to go out and receive that love because they have not been able to live it.

"Leo, although he is the best of all, he also needs to see that his people love him. This is something that will stay with him forever."

Argentina are reigning South American and world champions, but Scaloni has warned his players they cannot afford to drop their levels now they have a target on their backs.

"We are world champions, but that doesn't mean we have the right for more," he said. "Just because we win we can't do whatever we want. 

"That's what [the players] have to understand. The message is that a new process is beginning: the pitch is what rules. 

"From there on, those who are world champions have no advantage, we will have to keep working.

"The Argentina shirt doesn't allow you not to give your best, that's clear to us. Afterwards, it's good to celebrate, but we have to do our job on the pitch."

Scaloni, who recently signed a new contract running through until after the next World Cup, has called up a number of uncapped youngsters for the friendly with Panama.

However, Scaloni confirmed that those who featured at the World Cup will start Thursday's match in Buenos Aires.

"I'd like for the people [in the stadium] to watch their players," Scaloni said.

Manchester United teenager Alejandro Garnacho is set to win his first cap for Argentina as the world champions named their squad for their first matches since the Qatar success.

Lionel Scaloni's men beat France 4-2 on penalties after a thrilling 3-3 draw in the World Cup final in December as Lionel Messi won international football's premier tournament for the first time in his decorated career.

The Paris Saint-Germain star is set to add to his 172 appearances for Argentina after he was named in Scaloni's squad for the friendlies with Panama and Curacao later this month.

But a fellow forward looks likely to play for La Albiceleste for the first time, with Garnacho's excellent form since breaking into the United squad this season earning him a maiden call-up.

The 18-year-old has registered eight goal involvements in 27 appearances in all competitions for the Red Devils this term, becoming an important part of their squad as they enjoy a successful first season under Erik ten Hag.

Angel Di Maria is named in the 35-man squad after scoring Argentina's second in the World Cup final, while shoot-out hero Emiliano Martinez also features.

Martinez's Aston Villa team-mate Emiliano Buendia is included while Enzo Fernandez, who joined Chelsea from Benfica in the January window for a British-record £106.8million (€120.6m), retains his place.

Argentina squad: Franco Armani (River Plate), Geronimo Rulli (Ajax), Emiliano Martinez (Aston Villa); Juan Foyth (Villarreal), Gonzalo Montiel (Sevilla), Nahuel Molina (Atletico Madrid), Nehuen Perez (Udinese), German Pezzella (Real Betis), Cristian Romero (Tottenham), Nicolas Otamendi (Benfica), Lisandro Martinez (Manchester United), Nicolas Tagliafico (Lyon), Marcos Acuna (Sevilla), Lautaro Blanco (Elche); Leandro Paredes (Juventus), Guido Rodriguez (Real Betis), Enzo Fernandez (Chelsea), Maximo Perrone (Manchester City), Exequiel Palacios (Bayer Leverkusen), Rodrigo De Paul (Atletico Madrid), Facundo Buonanotte (Brighton and Hove Albion), Thiago Almada (Atlanta United), Giovani Lo Celso (Villarreal), Alexis Mac Allister (Brighton and Hove Albion), Valentin Carboni (Inter); Angel Di Maria (Juventus), Angel Correa (Atletico Madrid), Emiliano Buendia (Aston Villa), Lionel Messi (Paris Saint-Germain), Paulo Dybala (Roma), Lautaro Martinez (Inter), Julian Alvarez (Manchester City), Alejandro Garnacho (Manchester United), Nicolas Gonzalez (Fiorentina), Alejandro Gomez (Sevilla).

Lionel Messi, Lionel Scaloni and Emiliano Martinez made it a clean sweep for Argentina in Monday's glitzy ceremony for the Best FIFA Awards in Paris.

Paris Saint-Germain forward Messi was crowned the Best FIFA Men's Player, Scaloni took the the Best FIFA Men's Coach and Martinez the Best FIFA Men's Goalkeeper.

The award period spans between the start of the 2021-22 season through to the end of the 2022 World Cup, which saw Argentina end their 36-year wait to win the competition.

Martinez, who plies his club trade for Aston Villa, finished ahead of Thibaut Courtois and Yassine Bounou of Real Madrid and Sevilla respectively in the voting – although Courtois made the cut for the FIFPro Men's World 11.

Scaloni was next to pick up an award after seeing off competition from Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola and Real Madrid head coach Carlo Ancelotti, who won a LaLiga and Champions League double last season.

La Albiceleste have lost just one of their 23 games since the start of last season, with their solitary loss coming in their opening Qatar 2022 group game against Saudi Arabia.

Messi made it three from three for Argentina by claiming the top prize at the ceremony in the French capital, which started with a poignant tribute to Brazil great Pele.

Madrid striker Karim Benzema and Messi's PSG team-mate Kylian Mbappe had also been in the running for the award.

Argentina's fans also claimed the FIFA Fan Award.

Their domination on the men's side was not quite matched by European champions England in the women's prizes.

While Argentina dominated the men's side of the voting, it was a clean sweep for England in the women's side of things.

Mary Earps was named the Best FIFA Women's Goalkeeper and Sarina Wiegman took the Best FIFA Women's Coach award for a third time.

But Beth Mead was pipped to the Best FIFA Women's Player accolade by Alexia Putellas, last year's winner.

Other winners included Luka Lochoshvili, then of Austrian side Wolfsberger, in the FIFA Fair Play Award category for potentially saving the life of opponent Georg Teigl during a game after the Austria Vienna player fell unconscious mid-match.

Polish amputee footballer Marcin Oleksy won the FIFA Puskas Award for the best goal for his perfectly executed bicycle kick for Warta Poznan against Stal Rzeszow.

Lionel Scaloni is set to lead Argentina into the 2026 World Cup after signing a new deal with La Albiceleste.

Scaloni, with more than a helping hand from Lionel Messi, guided Argentina to World Cup glory in Qatar last year.

It was Argentina's third world title but their first since 1986, when Diego Maradona starred in Mexico.

Messi, with seven goals and three assists, was the driving force in 2022, as Scaloni scooped his second prize as Argentina coach, after winning the Copa America in 2021.

Scaloni's contract had expired, but he always outlined his intention to stay on and news of his new deal was confirmed on Monday.

It means Scaloni is set to take charge of Argentina at next year's Copa America and at the next World Cup.

The United States will stage both the Copa America and the 2026 World Cup, though Mexico and Canada are also co-hosts for the latter tournament.

Scaloni, who counted Newell's Old Boys, West Ham, Lazio and Atalanta among his clubs across a 20-year playing career, took charge of Argentina in 2018 following a stint as the nation's under-20 coach.

He has been nominated for the FIFA Best Men's Coach for 2022, alongside Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti and Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola.

Argentina's World Cup-winning boss Lionel Scaloni and Real Madrid's Carlo Ancelotti are among the finalists for The Best FIFA Men's Coach Award 2022.

The duo are listed alongside perennial candidate Pep Guardiola of Manchester City in the final three, with the latter named as a finalist for the third time.

Scaloni, who finished fourth last year, took La Albiceleste to victory at Qatar 2022 and is recognised for his efforts in helping to seal a first World Cup triumph since 1986.

Ancelotti is feted for his work with Madrid, after winning a continental double and becoming the first manager to win all five major European league titles.

Guardiola guided City to another Premier League triumph, though he fell short in the Champions League once again and saw his team's main rival Liverpool nab the FA Cup and EFL Cup.

The Spaniard will be looking to go one better than his previous two appearances as a finalist in the voting, having finished second in 2019 and third in 2021.

Among those included in the final three for The Best FIFA Women's Coach Award, England boss Sarina Wiegman picks up a sixth consecutive nod in the category.

The Lionesses manager, a two-time winner of the prize, led the team to a maiden major honour triumph at Euro 2022, securing victory against Germany on home soil.

She is joined by Brazil boss Pia Sundhage – the Swede having claimed Copa America Femenina glory – and Lyon's Sonia Bompastor, who won the treble with the French side.

The winners of The Best FIFA Football Awards will be announced on February 27.

 

Lionel Scaloni has told Lionel Messi "the door will always be open" for the Argentina captain to play in the 2026 World Cup.

Messi last month got his hands on the trophy he so desperately wanted, lifting the World Cup in Qatar following a victory over France in a thrilling final.

The Paris Saint-Germain forward scored twice in a 3-3 draw to take his tally for the tournament to seven and was also on target in a penalty shootout as Argentina dethroned Les Bleus.

Messi, 35, also became the first man to win two Golden Balls as he inspired his team in what he said would be his last World Cup.

The mercurial Messi will be nearing 40 when Argentina look to defend their title in a tournament that will be staged in the United States, Canada and Mexico in 2026, but head coach Scaloni has not given up hope of being able to call upon the forward.

"I think Messi can get to the next World Cup," he told Radio Calvia. "It will depend a lot on what he wants, on whether he feels good.

"The door will always be open. He is happy on the pitch and it would be very nice for us."

Scaloni does not think Argentina's World Cup success was essential to secure Messi's place among the best players of all time.

"I don't think it was necessary to be one of the greatest or the greatest. You always ask for more. I don't know what else you are going to ask for now," he continued.

"I am happy for him and for the country. For the joy we gave him and we gave ourselves. The days we spent in Argentina were full of euphoria and affection. It was worth it."

Speculation has continued over Scaloni's future despite the 44-year-old becoming just the third boss to win both the World Cup and Copa America, after Mario Zagallo and Carlos Alberto Parreira achieved that feat for Brazil.

Argentinian Football Association president Claudio Tapia rubbished talk that Scaloni may not stay on and the head coach stated: "Today I am happy where I am."

Lionel Scaloni has no intention of stepping down as head coach after guiding Argentina to World Cup glory, says Argentine Football Association (AFA) president Claudio Tapia.

Argentina defeated France 4-2 on penalties in a thrilling Qatar 2022 final that finished 3-3 after extra time to add to the Copa America crown won last year.

With his team's latest success, Scaloni became just the third manager in history to win both competitions, after former Brazil bosses Mario Zagallo and Carlos Alberto Parreira.

The 44-year-old is due to be out of contract later this week and has been tipped to take on a high-profile position at club level, but Tapia does not see that happening.

"I have no doubt he will continue to be the head coach of the Argentina team," AFA chief Tapia told reporters.

"We are both men of our word. We shook hands and we said yes to each other. He is currently travelling but as soon as he comes back we are going to finalise it."

Scaloni has been in charge since July 2018, initially on a caretaker basis, and also won the inaugural Finalissima earlier this year with victory over European champions Italy.

However, the decision to appoint Scaloni as Jorge Sampaoli's successor after defeat to France in the last 16 of Russia 2018 was not a unanimous one.

"Ninety-nine per cent of people thought we were wrong or even crazy," Tapia said. "But this team brought happiness to the people with the three titles they won."

Lionel Scaloni was left saddened by a sudden realisation late Argentina great Diego Maradona was unable to enjoy their World Cup success in Qatar.

Scaloni's side beat France 4-2 on penalties following a remarkable 3-3 draw after extra time at Lusail Stadium on Sunday.

It was Argentina's first World Cup triumph since Maradona inspired them to glory in 1986, earning Lionel Messi his maiden success in the competition.

Maradona, who played for his national team between 1977 and 1994, died in November 2020 at the age of 60 after suffering a cardiac arrest.

His death was followed by three days of national mourning, putting into context just how significant a figure he was in Argentina.

And for Scaloni on Sunday, being reminded of Maradona's passing was difficult.

Asked what he would say to Maradona if he had been present, Scaloni told reporters: "Well, you make me realise that he's not here, otherwise you'd think he was amongst us.

"Well fortunately we managed to lift this trophy, something we've been dreaming of for so long, we're such a football passionate country.

"I hope he enjoyed it from above. I'm sure if he was here he'd have enjoyed it so much, he'd have been the first one on the pitch.

"Now you ask me this you make me realise he's not here. I wish he was here to enjoy this moment."

Lionel Scaloni says there will be a place for Lionel Messi in Argentina's 2026 World Cup squad if he has a change of heart after he lifted the trophy for the first time in Qatar on Sunday.

Messi scored twice in an incredible final against France, which the Albiceleste won 4-2 on penalties following a thrilling 3-3 draw.

Argentina looked to be cruising to victory after goals from Messi and Angel Di Maria put them two up at the break, but Kylian Mbappe's late quickfire double forced extra time.

Messi put the Copa America champions back ahead in the additional 30 minutes, only for Mbappe to level once more for his hat-trick and take the game all the way to penalties.

Aurelien Tchouameni and Kingsley Coman failed to convert in the shoot-out, which Gonzalo Montiel ended by slotting in the winning spot-kick to make Argentina world champions for a third time.

Messi stated after the match he would carry on playing at international level, but the 35-year-old confirmed before the tournament started that this would be his last World Cup.

Argentina head coach Scaloni says his captain will be selected in four years' time if he changes his mind.

"First of all we need to save him a spot for the next World Cup," Scaloni told reporters. "If he wants to keep playing, he'll be with us.

"He's more than entitled to decide if he wants to keep playing for Argentina or not, or what he wants to do with his career."

Messi was pipped to the Golden Boot due to Mbappe's hat-trick, having started the match level on five goals.

Argentina's star man was, however, awarded with the Golden Ball as the best player in the tournament and Scaloni heaped praise on the mercurial forward.

He said: "It's such a huge pleasure to coach him and his team-mates.

"Everything he transmits to his teams, it's unparalleled, something I've never seen before. He gives so much to his team-mates."

After throwing away a two-goal lead with less than 10 minutes to play, before again letting France back in during extra time, Scaloni was relieved it was finally mission accomplished for Argentina.

"The match was completely insane," Scaloni stated. "For me as coach, I know we had a good match.

"We could’ve won in the first 90 [minutes], however it was not possible. I wasn’t lucky enough, but we were great.

"My feelings? I have the best feelings ever. It wasn’t in my plans, I didn’t envisage to be World Cup winners, [but] we are, and what matters is how we achieved this."

The years leading up to this World Cup triumph have seen Messi take more of a leadership role within the Argentina team, despite having been captain since 2011.

Scaloni revealed Messi had even helped him to calm his nerves, after he took over in 2018 with limited experience.

"After the Brazil match [1-1] in San Juan, a World Cup qualifying match. I called him before he went back to Paris because I thought we were going to face challenging times," Scaloni said.

"The feelings were so strong and disappointment could be massive, because people are very passionate about our national team, and people could get disappointed.

"[Messi] said it doesn’t matter, it doesn’t matter, we'll move on. if things go well, perfect, we have to try at least.

"That gave me so much energy, it was an emotional boost. With his answer, I realised we were doing things right."

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