Thursday, July 25, 2024

Messi to miss Peru clash as Scaloni ´upset´ by touchline ban

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 28 Jun 2024

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Lionel Messi will miss Argentina’s Copa America showdown with Peru on Saturday, while head coach Lionel Scaloni will also be absent after being handed a touchline ban.

The reigning champions have already secured their passage into the quarter-finals with a game to spare following back-to-back wins over Canada and Chile, and a point against Peru will be enough to secure top spot in Group A.

Therefore, it will provide a welcome opportunity for La Albiceleste to potentially rotate and rest several key players, including skipper Messi, whose absence was confirmed due to a groin issue.

“Leo had a [groin] problem in the last game and, in this one, he will not be there,” Argentina assistant coach Walter Samuel told reporters during his pre-match press conference. “We are going to see day by day how it is.”

The reigning world champions will also have to make do without Scaloni following a sanction by CONMEBOL.

It comes after Argentina returned late for the second half in successive matches, with the governing body issuing a fine and touchline ban to their head coach, whose side were initially warned for the first instance.

“We got the news today, it was a shock,” Samuel added. “Lionel is upset about this. He wanted to be with the team, but we will abide by what CONMEBOL says.

“We consider ourselves to be staff with a lot of professionalism. Sometimes, you’re talking about a small detail. We weren’t trying to find an advantage. Now, we have to focus on the next match and move forward.”

Samuel also shrugged off suggestions Argentina are favourites to successfully defend their crown in the United States, insisting they are focused very much on the short term.

“Are we the favourites to win the Copa America? It’s hard to be favourites because there are many great teams,” he said.

“We don’t like to say that [we are favourites], we always go with ‘game-by-game’. Now, we only think about Peru, and then treat each game like a final.”

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