Lionel Scaloni pleased with Argentina intensity in win over Guatemala

Argentina’s new-look side played with “great intensity” in their convincing 3-0 win over Guatemala, interim head coach Lionel Scaloni said.

La Albiceleste took on the Central American side in a friendly in Los Angeles, their first outing since a 4-3 defeat to France in the second round of this summer’s World Cup.

The Argentina National Team page used the hashtag #NewChallenge to refer to the game and it was a very different line-up to the one which played in Russia with Lionel Messi among those not making the trip Stateside.

Thirteen of the 27-man squad were uncapped going into the game, while only four had appeared more than 10 times.

Debutant Gonzalo Martinez got the opener from the penalty spot after 27 minutes and the lead was doubled eight minutes later when Guatemala failed to properly clear a corner and a Giovani Lo Celso shot from outside the area whistled past Paulo Motta into the net.

Exequiel Palacios fed Giovanni Simeone the ball in the box for Argentina’s third just before half-time.

Scaloni said: “They understood very well what it is to play with this shirt, and we are proud that several of these guys have been able to play for the first time with the national team.

“We did what we wanted in the first half, I’m very satisfied, we gave the match a great intensity.

“I think we fulfilled the objective, especially in the first half, I hope these guys are the future of the national team.”

Simeone, son of former Atletico Madrid player and now manager Diego, said: “I’m very happy. I have great team-mates who give everything to win.”

Guatemala were playing their first international match since 2016 after being suspended by FIFA.

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Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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