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Scaloni to stay on as Argentina coach for 2022 World Cup qualifiers

3:16 AM IST 31/07/19
Colombia Argentina amistoso 11092018
The former assistant to Jorge Sampaoli is to keep the job full-time after guiding his side to third place at this summer's Copa America

Lionel Scaloni will take charge of Argentina in qualifying for the 2022 World Cup, the Argentine Football Association (AFA) has confirmed.

Scaloni was part of Argentina's coaching staff for their poor campaign at Russia 2018, after which Jorge Sampaoli left his post.

The AFA put the former Deportivo La Coruna defender in charge, initially on a temporary basis, and he led Argentina to the Copa America semi-finals, where they lost to rivals and eventual champions Brazil.

But it seems Scaloni has done enough to impress the AFA as he will be staying in charge for their qualifying campaign.

"The executive committee of the AFA decided to give continuity during the next qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar that will begin next year, to the selection project headed by Lionel Scaloni," an AFA statement said.

The 41-year-old Scaloni's only previous coaching experience came with Sevilla, when he was assistant to Sampaoli during the 2016-17 season.

A seven-cap international at wing-back, he spent the majority of his career with Estudiantes and Deportivo La Coruna, also turning out for the likes of West Ham, Lazio and Mallorca.

Argentina won the Copa America third-place play-off earlier this month against Chile in a match that saw star forward Lionel Messi controversially sent off. He appeared to aim a headbutt towards Chile midfielder Gary Medel, and both players were shown red.

Messi was in further hot water following his comments about the tournament, which he claimed were rigged in favour of host nation Brazil.

He was given a small fine following the outburst, but didn't suffer any further recrimination other than the one-game ban he received for the red card.

Now, Argentina will be hoping Messi can help lead them towards World Cup qualification for Qatar 2022, with a series of friendlies already organised.

In September, they play Chile again before a game with Mexico in the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.

Later in the year they are also set to face Germany, in a repeat of the 2014 World Cup final. With both nations' international reputations having taken something of a beating since then, it will be an intriguing match-up to see the sides go face-to-face five years on.