The Scaloni team has its courage rescued as a trademark. But he needs to establish a pattern of play, something that has not yet appeared.
Step by step goes Lionel Scaloni climbing this infinite blue and white staircase that can give vertigo even to the most experienced coach. The 42-year-old coach has been filling lockers since he took office in 2018, first on an interim basis and then ratified. He did not have a simple task in his first experience in office. He had to face a deep renovation, with what all that implies. Then, try until you find owners to the different positions of the starting team. And now it was time, after 23 encounters, many of which were part of the extensive name casting, to take the next step: define the identity of the new Selection.
This duel with Paraguay, from 21 on Thursday at the Candy box For the third date of the Qualifiers, the premise will be to take advantage of the momentum of the six points achieved in October at the beginning of the road and continue adding three in the country and then visit Peru next Tuesday. But beyond the rival on duty, and having far exceeded the challenge of La Paz, Argentina had the time to establish the characteristic features that it intends to have as a team regardless of who it faces.
Until now it is not easy to classify the game of the Scaloni Selection. Two dozen submissions might be more than enough for that to have already happened. However, a lot of initial groundwork had to be done.
The DT called up 64 players, of which 31 debuted with the albiceleste shirt. He had to analyze, the technician born in Pujato together with his collaborators, name by name to choose those who would make up the group that today is united and in good spirits every time he meets again. With the surnames on the table, it was time to assemble the formation.
The Copa América in Brazil served to affirm those foundations. Since that third place achieved in the neighboring country, the national team has most of its positions with a fixed pattern. There are seven or eight names that come out of memory already before each commitment.
But this team that has Lionel Messi as captain and benchmark has not yet finished solving his personality, although he seeks to take the exclusive responsibility of the game from 10 so that he can let go and perform to the maximum in the sector of the field where it hurts the most: the latter meters.
There is, yes, an issue that is non-negotiable. It is commitment and courage with which the players go out onto the court. The greatest readable virtue is attitude. Even when the elaboration failed, the National Team has managed to carry out games with push and sweat. It is known: in every nascent cycle, a delivery is usually perceived above the average because it is the moment to bid to win the places in dispute.
Individualities have been defining Argentina and not so much a collective elaboration. It has the names, but now Scaloni must infuse them with a style. And that is a problematic drag on the Selection. Since Gerardo Martino’s departure, the light blue and white team lost the compass on the grass.
Edgardo Bauza and Jorge Sampaoli failed to give it their stamp, pressured by the rush and fears of not qualifying. And in Russia, Sampa it moved farther from the campus than it got closer. Scaloni had the great advantage of starting from scratch and shaping the group and the team to his liking. However, this team still needs to know what they are playing at.
DT does not like to talk about numbers of tactical schemes. In almost half of the matches he directed, he used the 4-3-3 drawing, although he also implemented other forms: 4-4-2, 4-3-1-2, 4-2-3-1 … he planted a three-center defense a couple of times.
The Scaloni Selection is changeable and may not present the same idea from one match to another. The rival’s position has also conditioned the coach to build his own. Without going any further, the full-backs against Ecuador passed little and nothing the middle line as a collection against the possible counterattacks of Gustavo Alfaro’s team.
Will it always be like this? Will we have to get used to an Argentina that moves to the compass of the adversary? Is this the style of Scaloni? The lack of previous references regarding his work with the technical diver prevents having indications of what he can expect from his directed in a group.
Perhaps you still need to finish discovering yourself as a DT to know what style you adopt and, consequently, what identity your Selection will have. Against Paraguay, in La Boca, it will be time to start processing the new Albiceleste DNI.