COTIF champion Argentina’s humility praise-worthy, says Floyd Pinto

India U20 coach Floyd Pinto was all praise for Argentina U20 players and staff for the way they have carried themselves on and off the pitch.

"We were staying in the same hotel for the entire tournament. Just as they returned after celebrations and before we left the place, Scaloni and Aimar were requested to speak to our boys, since both were senior World Cuppers," Pinto said.   -  AIFF

Argentina’s humility after winning the COTIF Cup in Valencia left a positive impact on India U-20 coach Floyd Pinto. Argentina U-20s overcame the shock 2-1 defeat to India and went on to emerge champions with a 2-1 triumph over Russia U-20 in the final.

Sergey Diveev put Russia ahead, only to see the Argentines, coached by former Argentina internationals Lionel Scaloni and Pablo Aimar, hit back through goals from Facundo Colidio to pull his team level in regulation time and Alan Marinelli struck in extra-time to seal the title against 10-man Russia after Gennady Kiselev was sent off.

The India U-20 players were present in the Valencia hotel when the Argentines returned with the trophy. “We were staying in the same hotel for the entire tournament. Just as they returned after celebrations and before we left the place, Scaloni and Aimar were requested to speak to our boys, since both were senior World Cuppers,” Pinto said.

“Scaloni and Aimar were very humble with us. There was nothing like they had won the title (after losing to India). Both were respectful and mentioned that ‘after you (India) beat us, you were respectful towards us afterwards and did not create problems.’ There was mutual respect between both teams, coaching staff on both sides,” he revealed the interaction.

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The Argentine coaches were told about India’s preparations and that players from India U-17 World Cup 2017 squad were kept together. “Scaloni and Aimar were surprised to know that India players stayed together as a group for a long period and desired that they would like Argentine youth sides to come to India for tournaments,” said the Mumbai-based coach, in a chat from Goa.

India won in the group stage after being reduced to 10 men against the South Americans. But Russia ended on the losing side in the final from the same situation against Argentina.

“In the end, they won the competition which goes to show how good Argentina was,” noted Pinto. “It was good to sit with them, share meals and chat. For our boys, just observing the Argentina national team, how they carry themselves on and off the field was good exposure.”

Floyd Pinto is an AFC A Licence holder, ex-player-cum-coach at Kenkre Football Academy in Mumbai before joining the All India Football Federation panel of coaches. He was given charge of I-League debutant team, Indian Arrows, after Portugal’s Luis Matos left for personal reasons. The Indian Arrows is a product of the federation's development programme, with the nucleus from India U-17 World Cuppers.

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