Scaloni insists Argentina did not take Saudis lightly

Argentina came into the tournament on a 36-match unbeaten run and were one of the favourites to win the entire tournament, let alone Tuesday’s Group C opener against the Asian minnows.

“We fully respect Saudi Arabia as we do with other teams, that’s not the reason for our defeat,” said Scaloni, whose team had not lost since July 2019.

“They are a good team with technical players, they are very well prepared physically.”

Despite suffering one of the big World Cup shocks, Scaloni said he was sure all was not lost with Group C matches against Mexico and Poland still to come.

In 1990, then-champions Argentina lost their opening World Cup match 1-0 against Cameroon — another of the tournament’s greatest shocks — before bouncing back to reach the final.

“What comes ahead is to rise up, to face Mexico. They will be tough, as everyone is at the World Cup. Now we need to win two games to move on.

“Of course this is difficult but regardless of the result today we would anyway try to win all the games.”

Scaloni had no complaints about the three goals his side scored in the first half that were then disallowed for offside.

But he said those razor tight decisions were what cost his side the match.

“The reasons were millimetric. The offsides, they have a high defensive line, we knew that any goal situation would go for or against us,” said Scaloni.

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