Lionel Scaloni said Argentina produced the “extra rage” they needed to end their run of draws with a 1-0 Copa America victory over rivals Uruguay on Friday.
Lionel Messi crossed for Guido Rodriguez to head in the 13th-minute winner for Argentina’s first victory of this year’s Copa America after their opening 1-1 draw with Chile.
Scaloni has come under pressure following Argentina’s run of three draws, blowing a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 with Colombia in CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying along with a 1-1 home draw with Chile on the roar to Qatar 2022 earlier this month.
“I honestly believe that in the previous matches we also deserved to win, but due to small mistakes we were only able to draw,” head coach Scaloni said during his post-match news conference.
“Today the team gave the extra rage so that they don’t convert us and once we were winning we were able to withstand the opponent’s attacks. Today we were good both in attack and defence.”
Argentina – amid a 15-game unbeaten run – were strong defensively, having denied Uruguay any shots on target throughout the match, the second time it has occurred in a competitive game under Scaloni.
0 – Argentina haven’t faced shots on target against Uruguay. It’s the second competitive game under Scaloni this happens: the previous one was the 1-0 victory against Ecuador in the 2022 WC Qualifiers. Safe. pic.twitter.com/ljTqRkUdGI
— OptaJoao (@OptaJoao) June 19, 2021
In attack, Messi was named man of the match for the second consecutive game, providing the assist for the decisive moment in the game.
“Messi and all his team-mates made a great effort,” Scaloni said. “He speaks very well of the commitment of all the players and fills us with pride.
“They do it for the shirt of their country. This is going to be hard, but the way is this.”
Real Betis midfielder Rodriguez was one of four changes to the Argentina starting XI from the side which drew with Chile and Scaloni was delighted with his display.
Argentina have scored 10 of their last 11 goals in the first half across World Cup qualifying and the Copa America. In this period, only Joaquin Correa, against Bolivia, has scored a goal in the second half.
“Guido was always with us and we have valued his commitment for a long time, with his way of training and his way of supporting his team-mates,” Scaloni said. “Today he had his chance and he did not waste it.”
Argentina are next in action against Paraguay in Brasilia on Sunday.
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