Scaloni: Wouldn’t substitute Messi unless he asks me to

Argentina head coach Lionel Scaloni said he wasn’t looking to protect Lionel Messi towards the end of the match against Poland.

Argentina head coach Lionel Scaloni, left, speaks with Lionel Messi.

Argentina head coach Lionel Scaloni, left, speaks with Lionel Messi. | Photo Credit: Natacha Pisarenko

Argentina head coach Lionel Scaloni said he wasn’t looking to protect Lionel Messi towards the end of the match against Poland.

Argentina may have made the Round of 16 with a 2-0 win over Poland on Wednesday, but boss Lionel Scaloni isn’t willing to celebrate just yet. Instead he is worried about the next match, an eliminator, against Australia at the Al Rayyan Stadium on December 4.

“We are happy but shouldn’t be euphoric as it’s crazy that we are playing in two days and conditions are not great. We are not favourites, it was a tough group (C). But just because we won today we can’t be winners,” Scaloni said.

In fact, the preparations start tomorrow. “We have watched few videos of Australia. From tomorrow, we will prepare thoroughly and analyse them.”

When asked whether Messi should have been protected towards the end, Scaloni said: “I wouldn’t substitute (Lionel) Messi unless he tells me to.”

The 44-year-old is happy with how Argentina has used its reserves. He said, “Substitutions worked well and we thought about collectively doing well. It’s good to know all 26 players can contribute.

“All the players deserve to be here, different players with different characteristics. We didn’t allow them to counter attack and that is our credit not their mistake.”

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