Lionel Scaloni talks about being the favourite

For Argentina’s national coach Lionel Scaloni, the role of the top candidates at a soccer World Cup is one of those things.

“The big favorites don’t usually win the World Cup,” said the 44-year-old, whose Albiceleste or “La Scaloneta”, as it is called based on the coach’s name, is one of the favourites.

The team that plays best does not have to be world champion, added Scaloni.

He’s counting on a few who can make it, as he stressed ahead of Argentina’s opening game this Tuesday (11:00 CET/MagentaTV) against Saudi Arabia at the Lusail Stadium.

Argentina only lost to Germany in the final in 2014

Scaloni has no fewer than eight nations on the list. “The majority of them come from Europe, as in recent years.” He had spent large parts of his career as a professional in England, Spain and Italy.

For non-football reasons, the South Americans would have missed the final chance during this time – with the exception of Argentina in 2014 in Brazil, when the team around superstar Lionel Messi lost 0-1 to Germany in the final.

In fact, since Argentina’s World Cup triumph in 1978 up to and including 2002, only once has a South American team not made it to the World Cup final: in 1982, when Italy beat Germany 3-1.

Little things can decide titles

Argentina had reached the final again in 1986 and 1990, winning in 1986, Brazil beating Italy on penalties in 1994, Brazil losing 3-0 to France in 1998 and Brazil beating Germany 2-0 in 2002.

In 2006, 2010 and 2018, neither Brazil nor Argentina reached a World Cup final.

Details would decide, and that will be no different at the World Cup in Qatar, said Scaloni, who has been unbeaten with Argentina for 36 games and will also face Mexico and Poland in the group stage.

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