After the disappointing debut, in which they lost to Saudi Arabia in the first game of the Qatar 2022 World Cup, the Argentine national team returned to training yesterday, already with their sights set on the second match of Group C against Mexico, which may define much of your future.
And in this sense, the coach Lionel Scaloni analyzes making some changes in the starting lineup to face the Aztec team, which is led by another Argentine, Tata Gerardo Martino.
The squad turned the page after the blow caused by the trip against Saudi Arabia at the Lusail stadium and yesterday they completed the first of the three training sessions that they will have before before playing the second game of the group.
Captain Lionel Messi led the group of starters who did not go to work on the Qatar University pitch but led a meeting on Tuesday night to strengthen the group’s unity after an unexpected adversity.
The idea that lowered the “10” was similar to the one he expressed in his statements at the Lusail stadium: show unity and strength.
For its part, Lionel Scaloni’s coaching staff also had their meetings and they have already begun to analyze the possible changes to introduce to beat Mexico.
In the fifteen minutes open to the press, Lionel Scaloni was alone on one side of the training field with a ball at his feet and he walked several meters from one side to the other with a grim and thoughtful expression.
His assistants Pablo Aimar, Walter Samuel and Roberto Ayala were together with the physical trainer Luis Martín, who led the first movements.
For the first time since he arrived in Qatar, the team trained in the morning (5 from Argentina) under strong sun and a temperature close to 30 degrees.
Only the players who played fewer minutes came out to one of the impeccable fields of the University of Qatar, since Messi and the starters were in the gym where they did the usual regenerative exercises.
Of those who added minutes against Saudi Arabia, only Enzo Fernández, Julián Álvarez, Marcos Acuña and Lisandro Martínez came out.
After the warm-up and after the journalists left the area, the soccer players ended the day with ball work.
As of today, in practice behind closed doors that will be from 12, he will begin to test some of the ideas he has for the tough match with Mexico. The first change that is taking shape is the entry of Lisandro Martínez for Cristian Romero in defense.
“Cuti” started after almost a month inactive at Tottenham and also ended the game with a blow to his left ankle.
In the last line, doubts also arose on the sides where there is a very even competition on both bands.
In other words, both Nahuel Molina -whom they saw very nervous in his World Cup debut- and Nicolás Tagliafico do not have a guaranteed position for Saturday and could be replaced by Gonzalo Montiel and Acuña, respectively.
The midfield was one of the weakest sectors of the team during the fateful defeat in the debut against the Arabs and variants are also expected there.
Leandro Paredes and Rodrigo De Paul had weak matches but they are bastions of the Scaloni cycle and it would be a surprise if they leave the team. Most likely, he will try again with another component for the position that Giovani Lo Celso’s loss due to injury vacated.
Alejandro “Papu” Gómez, who also arrived physically fit for the first match, will once again compete with Alexis Mac Allister, Enzo Fernández and also Julián Álvarez.
The City striker was not comfortable in the minutes he played in that position but Scaloni knows that in another context he could be important for the attack.
Mac Allister left a good impression in the match against the United Arab Emirates and got on well on the left with Acuña.
Scaloni considered that Fernández entered a difficult game well and is becoming more and more established as one of the first variants of the team.
In fact, the former River and currently in Benfica entered through Paredes when usually the substitute for the Juventus player was Guido Rodríguez.
The coaching staff sees him very well despite his youth (21 years old) and it is not ruled out that they give him the chance to play from the beginning.
This panorama will begin to be glimpsed from today in the evening practice (at 12 in Argentina) since tomorrow they will return to work at the same time but since it is the day before the game it will not be a demanding job, especially if it is taken into account the mental and physical exhaustion that the opening clash represented.
MARTINO MOVES THE PIECES
The possible return from the start of striker Raúl Jiménez and the entry of defender Kevin Alvarez are some of the changes that Gerardo Martino could make for Saturday’s game.
In this context, for the crucial game on Saturday, “Tata” analyzes the entry from the beginning of Jiménez, who only played a handful of minutes against Poland, or the nationalized Rogelio Funes Mori from Mendoza. In that case, the one who will leave the starting lineup will be Henry Martin, while Kevin Alvarez will replace Jorge Sánchez on the right side.
These two modifications would not be the only ones that Martino will make, who is also considering including Héctor Herrera in midfield for Charly Rodríguez and Néstor Araujo for Héctor Moreno in defense.