Argentina have worked out where to hurt Croatia, says coach Scaloni
Argentina will trust their system when they face Croatia in the World Cup semifinals and believe they have worked out how to hurt the 2018 runners-up, coach Lionel Scaloni said.
Croatia were not the favourites to reach the last four again but they came through two penalty shootouts in a repeat of their 2018 exploits.
“They have troubled many national teams. I won’t mention the key players or their strengths and weaknesses, but we’ve analysed where we can hurt them. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t,” Scaloni told reporters on the eve of the first semifinal.
“We try to give it all on the pitch. Sometimes luck can be on your side. If we have a good performance, we’ll have an easier road to reach our objective. But this is football, this is sport, so sometimes the best team may not win.”
When pressed on Croatia’s veteran midfielder Luka Modric, who is still going strong at the age of 37, Scaloni said it was a pleasure to watch him play.
“He’s a role model for so many of us – not just because of his talent but also his behaviour,” he said. “All I can say is we should enjoy him. If you love football then you should enjoy players like him.”
Scaloni said both Angel Di Maria and Rodrigo De Paul would be fit and missing the suspended Marcos Acuna and Gonzalo Montiel would not be a problem.
“We have our own system, our style. Of course, in certain situations we need to take into account how the opponents are playing. We won’t change our style beyond the system and that’s what we’re going to do. During the game we will of course make decisions (based on situations) and rise up to the challenge.”
Scaloni was also asked about criticism of Argentina after their players’ “unsporting behaviour” following their shootout win over the Netherlands.
“The previous game was played the way we had to play. that’s football. Sometimes things like arguments can happen, but that’s all. That’s why there’s a referee,” he said.
“We need to put an end to this idea that Argentina behave like this. We lost to Saudi Arabia and didn’t say anything.
“We won the Copa America in Brazil and experienced the most sporting behaviour from (Lionel) Messi, (Leandro) Paredes, Neymar – who ...