Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni insisted the future is bright for his new-look squad despite their 2-0 defeat to Brazil on Tuesday that prevented them from reaching the Copa America final
“Without a doubt, today we showed that this group of players feel the jersey like no-one else,” he said.
“We showed an image for the future of this squad and these players and the great path they are on.
“To play in this stadium, in these conditions and to be superior to our opponents.
“It doesn’t matter because they’re going to the final but if we’re aware of what we did today then there’s only positives.”
He said the defeat was “unfair” claiming that “no other team has created as many goalscoring chances against Brazil as we did.”
Star player Lionel Messi was quiet at times but showed flashes of his brilliant best, including hitting the post with a volley on 57 minutes.
“There’s no debate about this, he’s our standard-bearer,” said Scaloni.
“Brazil were continuously trying to stop passes from reaching him and we kept looking for ways to get him the ball.
“It was thrilling to see him play. It didn’t work out today but he’ll have his rematch and the whole squad will have their rematch.”
Scaloni was unhappy with some of Ecuadoran referee Roddy Zambrano’s decisions, not least the fact that Argentina picked up six bookings to Brazil’s two.
“I didn’t like the referee, I don’t usually make those comments,” he said.
“I don’t think he was qualified for a match of this level.”
He added: “If a midfielder player is on a yellow card this changes things. There were a lot of small details where the match started to lose its balance because of those decisions.”