After the Netherlands’ victory, Lionel Scaloni defends Argentina’s actions

After the Netherlands' victory, Lionel Scaloni defends Argentina's actions

Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni has rejected that his team is a poor winner, despite their World Cup victory against the Netherlands.

Argentina won the quarter-final match on penalties after a dramatic 2-2 draw. There were scuffles on the field, and even substitutes were penalized on the touchline.

The lingering picture, though, was Argentina players celebrating squarely in the faces of their humiliated Dutch rival after winning the shootout penalty.

Lionel Messi was subsequently seen on camera reportedly goading Netherlands teammates during his post-match interview, but Scaloni maintains his squad is a gracious winner.

“We have to break the stigma that we don’t know how to lose or how to win,” Scaloni remarked.

“We lost our first game against Saudi Arabia and returned to the hotel silently to continue preparing for what was to come.

“We won the Copa America last year in Brazil, and I believe you witnessed the most beautiful picture of sportsmanship you could imagine, with Neymar, (Lionel) Messi, (Leandro) Paredes, and other players sitting on the Maracana stairs.”

The episodes fueled Argentina’s long-standing reputation for going too far with gamesmanship. Scaloni, on the other hand, feels that notoriety is a figment of his imagination.

“This matter must be resolved,” he said. “We hold the Netherlands in high regard, just as we do [semi-final opponents] Croatia and all of our opponents.

“We need to eliminate the notion that we don’t know how to win or lose. That is completely disconnected from reality.”