It’s not easy to play with this shirt! – Scaloni salutes Argentina desire after Messi penalty winner
Lionel Scaloni was not too worried about Argentina’s disjointed performance against Ecuador, as a 1-0 win gave them a World Cup platform ahead of next week’s trip to Bolivia.
Lionel Scaloni sensed anxiety in the Argentina ranks as his team began their Qatar 2022 World Cup mission with a 1-0 win over Ecuador.
Victory came courtesy of Lionel Messi’s early penalty after Lucas Ocampos was impeded, with Argentina far from their best at La Bombonera.
A home game in Buenos Aires behind closed doors was an uncomfortable way to start the road to the finals, and Argentina’s next game will be no easier as they travel to La Paz to face Bolivia on Tuesday.
Yet Scaloni, who pointed to seven players making their first appearances in World Cup qualifying games, was just happy to get the victory.
“We won, which is the most important thing to start a competition of this calibre,” he said. “The conditions weren’t easy, with a fast pitch and no fans, added to the difficulties of not having been together for so long.
“There are things to highlight and others to improve. I’m left with the desire, with the sacrifice. We will have time to work. The important thing was to get the result.
“There were many players who debuted in qualifiers today. It’s not easy to play with this shirt and anxiety is typical of that situation.
“We were clear that this could happen because it was the first game. They took a great step when they made their debut and won.”
Facing tough trip to Bolivia
Bolivia scored a 2-0 home win over Argentina in qualifying for the 2018 World Cup, and going to high altitude next week will be a serious test for Scaloni’s team.
“We’re going to see how the players recover and then we will think about Bolivia. We know that it is a game with conditions different from all the others,” Scaloni said.
Argentina are now unbeaten in their last eight matches, while Messi took his tally to 71 goals for La Albiceleste.