Football

Copa America 2024: Argentina Relishing Tough Title Defence, Says Lionel Scaloni

The Albiceleste won the 2021 edition of the tournament, beating Brazil 1-0 in the final, before lifting the World Cup in Qatar a year later

Argentina manager, Lionel Scaloni
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Lionel Scaloni says Argentina are not resting on their laurels as they prepare for a tough Copa America title defence. (More Football News)

The Albiceleste won the 2021 edition of the tournament, beating Brazil 1-0 in the final, before lifting the World Cup in Qatar a year later.

Argentina are among the favourites to lift the trophy again, for what would be a record 16th time, edging past Uruguay, who also have 15.

However, Scaloni believes they need to put their recent successes behind them ahead of their opening game against Canada on Thursday.

"We are talking about things that have already passed. [Winning the World Cup and the Copa America] was very nice, but it's over," he said in his press conference.

"Football matches are all different, there are no easier games than others. A lot of things can happen. The difficulty of France, Brazil or Canada can be the same.

"It will be a difficult Copa America as always; we are prepared for what is to come. We are doing well, with clear ideas and knowing the difficulty of this tournament.

"Beyond the titles, we have enjoyed a lot. It's a pleasure to watch how [the players] give their all. That leads to being able to achieve things. We have shown that even if we didn't win like in 2019, we were able to continue and show you can do things."

Lionel Messi, who is set to break the all-time appearance record in the competition when he features for Argentina, is potentially playing in his final major tournament for the national side, while Angel Di Maria announced he will be retiring at its conclusion.

Instead of looking to a future without the two star players in his squad, Scaloni urged fans to enjoy getting to see them play together while they still can.

"It is a pleasure to see them train and play, how they give themselves. I am not worried about the future of Messi and Di Maria.

"It doesn't make much sense to think about when they're gone. Let's enjoy them now. We'll see what happens later. Messi is fine, he's happy. I have renewed ideas and strength. It's a nice challenge to defend the title."

Argentina will also face Chile and Peru in Group A.

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