Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Scaloni turns Argentina around to surprise Van Gaal

DOHA ( Associated Press) – The youngest coach at the World Cup wants to surprise the oldest.

Argentine tactician Lionel Scaloni, 44, has turned the Qatar University training camp into a laboratory to find the best formula that will guarantee a win against the Netherlands next Friday under coach Louis van Gaal. Oldest in the competition with 71 years.

In practice this Tuesday, Scaloni shook up many parts of the team that beat Australia 2-1 in the Round of 16.

Full-backs Gonzalo Montiel and Nicolás Tagliafico entered for Nahuel Molina and Marcos Acuña respectively. Leandro Paredes, who made his only start in a 2–1 defeat to Saudi Arabia, took over from Enzo Fernández in midfield. While Ángel Correa was on offense alongside Lionel Messi and Julián Álvarez.

Correa, from Atlético de Madrid, is listed as the most viable option to play on the left wing given the physical difficulties of starters Ángel Di María and Alejandro Gómez.

“Noodle” Di Maria has a hamstring that kept him from playing the last game. He trained with his teammates this Tuesday, but it is not yet clear whether he will be in a starting position against the Netherlands or will wait on the bench. His replacement “Papu” Gomez sprained his ankle and is almost out.

Along with Montiel and Tagliafico, Scaloni would look to win the record against the dangerous offensive tackle of full-back Denzel Dumfries. While Paredes – a sporting midfielder rather than a brand – was a fixture for Scaloni ahead of the World Cup, he did not arrive in the best of physical condition due to a tear in October.

It was the first rehearsal, nothing definite. But Scaloni tries, not wanting to remain as a novice in front of a coach he admires.

It is an honor to face Van Gaal. He did a lot for football,” he admitted a few days ago. “These are the pleasures that football gives you. The Netherlands doesn’t shine from there, but things are very clear”.

Nation World News Desk
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