Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni calls for European teams to play in Copa America


Argentina head coach Lionel Scaloni would like to see European Championship teams eventually participate in the Copa America and vice versa.

Scaloni, 46, was asked on Monday ahead of Argentina’s Copa America semifinal against Canada, which competition, the Copa America or the Euros, is more difficult to win.

“I don’t think it’s more difficult from one competition to another,” Scaloni said. “There are some important teams that have advanced to the semifinals of the Euros, teams that we faced in the World Cup and it went well for us. But that doesn’t mean that we could go to the European Championship and win it.”

Scaloni then backtracked, clearly engaged with the question and continued.

“Or maybe yes (we could win it),” he said. “I think the level is very even. And, I would like a European team to one day be invited to a Copa América to see what it is like to play in a Copa America and the opposite, as well.

“But that would be a World Cup, right? So, in the end the difficulty is the same. I don’t think there’s much difference, really. But these are just opinions.”

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During this 2024 Copa America, pundits and fans from across the world have discussed whether North America’s CONCACAF confederation and its national teams have proven to be at the same level as South America’s giants at the tournament. Of the six CONCACAF teams that qualified to participate in the Copa America, only Canada remains alive.

The United States, Mexico, Jamaica, Costa Rica failed to progress from the group stage. Panama was thrashed 5-0 by Colombia in the quarter-final.

“There’s not much of an advantage or too much of a difference (CONCACAF),” said Scaloni. “I don’t see the difference. Mexico didn’t advance because of one goal and they played well.

“It seems to me that (CONCACAF) teams are also high quality, and not less significant than teams from South America. I believe it’s all pretty even, and the same with Costa Rica. We played friendly against them and at the time it was difficult.”

Scaloni repeatedly referred to Canada “as a good team” and pointed out that Argentina’s next opponent in New Jersey, has important players. He was careful not to disparage CONCACAF despite repeated questions about the quality of the region’s football.

“I believe that (CONCACAF) sides were good in this tournament,” Scaloni said. “I’d say at the same level as South American teams. I wouldn’t say they were inferior. Same thing goes for the United States. They had a good tournament. There could be some nuances. I believe that the playing field is very even.”

(Juan Mabromata/AFP via Getty Images)



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