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Balance key for Argentina as Martinez states his case with Chile winner

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 26 Jun 2024

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Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni will prioritise balance throughout the Copa America, with Lautaro Martinez pushing for a start after scoring twice from the bench.

Having come on to add Argentina’s second goal in a 2-0 win over Canada last week, Martinez struck an 88th-minute winner in Tuesday’s 1-0 victory over Chile.

Martinez’s three competitive goals off the bench for Argentina are more than any other player has managed for the team since his international debut in 2018.

The Inter man’s impact has led to suggestions he could edge out Julian Alvarez to start alongside Lionel Messi, but Scaloni will select his number nine on a game-by-game basis.

“Lautaro and Julian have played together,” Scaloni said. “There’s always the need for balance.

“Lautaro is very happy today, and Julian is too. I will always choose the one that I think is best suited for that match.

“Today Julian played, but we have 11 players. We have to balance the gameplan.

“Sometimes there might be a disruption of that balance for any reason, but usually, I like playing with a good structure. We will be making choices throughout the tournament.”

Argentina have secured their place in the quarter-finals with a game to spare and will top Group A if they avoid defeat against Peru on Saturday.

Despite overseeing a perfect start to the Albiceleste’s title defence, Scaloni has been questioned for not calling upon Alejandro Garnacho, who has been an unused substitute in both matches after enjoying a breakout campaign with Manchester United.

“We would love to see him because he is young and he is a fresh player,” Scaloni said of the winger.

“Sometimes we think that given the match, we could send him in. But then as the match evolves, we think maybe it is not the right match.

“Hopefully when we give the young players the opportunity, they will be able to seize it.”

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