Scaloni: Argentina changes not due to poor play


Argentina will make changes to their starting XI against Brazil on Tuesday but they will not be “performance-based,” coach Lionel Scaloni said.

The Albiceleste suffered their first defeat since lifting the 2022 World Cup when they fell 2-0 at home to Uruguay on Thursday.

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“Nobody likes to lose and clearly, we are the first ones that want to bounce back,” Scaloni said in Monday’s news conference. “There are going to be some changes and they will not be performance-based.

“I am not going to change a player because he plays well or badly in a game; it is not how we do things. Changes made are to hurt the rival.”

Argentina lead the South American qualifying group ahead of Tuesday’s qualifier.

They are two points clear of Uruguay and five points above fifth-placed Brazil after five games.

Brazil have struggled of late, taking one point in their last three qualifiers, but Scaloni is not taking anything for granted.

“It’s relative to say that Brazil are down,” he said. “Against Colombia they played a very good game until the 70th minute. That result [a Brazil 2-1 defeat] is a bit misleading.”

Brazil are missing key players.

Vinícius Júnior injured a hamstring in Thursday’s 2-1 loss at Colombia while Neymar is ruled out for the remainder of the season with an ACL injury.

Fernando Diniz’s side is also without experienced midfielder Casemiro.

“They have significant absences, but if you look at the team, they are all top level,” Scaloni said. “They have great players that are up to the task and it is Brazil, everyone knows what it means.”

Argentina players have fond memories of their last game at the Maracana stadium, where they defeated Brazil 1-0 to lift the 2021 Copa América.

It was Argentina’s first major title in 28 years.

“We have to focus on what is now,” he said. “We don’t have to remember old times. We have a great game ahead of us, a great rival that will be tough.”


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