Speaking with before his team’s last 16 tie with Australia, Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni played down the idea that the Albiceleste are favourites for the game, saying:
“Our rivals are a good team, I don’t know if they are inferior to us – it’s football and there are eleven against eleven. We have to put aside this theoretical favouritism and play the game. We will try to counteract their good players, we’re going to try to sustain our style of play for as many minutes as possible. I was not surprised that Australia won, they’re a good team and they have a tradition at the World Cup.”
Argentina won their final two group games after a shock defeat to Saudi Arabia to top Group C while Australia impressively beat both Denmark and Tunisia to finish second to France in Group D.