Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni suggested that his players would approach their final Copa America group match against Qatar with a more attacking mindset in a bid to unlock the genius of Lionel Messi.
The two-time world champions have drawn just one of their first two matches in the tournament and must win Sunday’s clash at Gremio Arena to have any chance of progressing to the knockout phase.
“Even if you’re the best player in the world, there’s not much you can do if you receive the ball 60 meters up the pitch,” Scaloni told reporters on Saturday, stressing the need for the Barcelona forward to receive the ball closer to the opposition goal.
Messi has scored Argentina’s only goal of the tournament – a penalty in the 1-1 draw with Paraguay – but the 31-year-old has mostly struggled so far.
Scaloni declined to reveal his planned starting lineup against Qatar but indicated that Messi could be joined in attack by Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero and Inter Milan’s Lautaro Martinez.
“With those three we can cause problems,” he said. “We don’t need that many shots on goal when we have players of that quality.”
Argentina’s tribulations in this tournament have prompted stern criticism from the nation’s sports media, which views the Albiceleste’s major title drought with growing impatience.
The country’s last international trophy of any significance was the 1993 Copa America, when Messi was just six years old.