The Argentinian Football Association (AFA) still have a great deal to sort out after the departure of Sebastián Beccacece and the subsequent termination of Jorge Sampaoli’s contract. However, with the Under-20s participation in the L’Alcúdia tournament in Spain only a couple of weeks away, there was little time to dwell.
With that in mind, Lionel Scaloni and Pablo Aimar have been tasked with leading the group in Valencia and while that may not be a long-term appointment, both coaches have been involved in the set-up over the past year.
Teammates from the Under-20 side that lifted the World Cup in 1997, Scaloni has been a member of Sampaoli’s staff since Sevilla and Aimar was appointed as Head Coach of the Under-17s in 2017.
Previous Under-20 coach Sebastián Beccacece had reportedly been left frustrated by the number of players made unavailable by the clubs when attempting to assemble a squad for the tournament and while there are notable absentees, Scaloni still has a talented group.
Inter striker Facundo Colidio was one of those expected to be denied permission by his club but will lead the attack two years after Lautaro Martínez, his new teammate in Italy, starred.
Martínez was named the tournament’s best player as Argentina lost in the final to Spain in 2016 and Scaloni will now be looking to Colidio for inspiration.
The powerful 18-year-old has impressed in Inter’s youth side since joining from Boca Juniors in 2017 and after playing a key role in Argentina’s younger age groups will now take centre stage.
Boca Juniors playmaker Gonzalo Maroni is another to keep an eye on in L’Alcúdia, having only been able to show his full potential in brief cameos at club level. The 19-year-old has found playing time at La Bombonera hard to come by but that doesn’t stop him being highly thought of at Boca.
A strong core from Boca, Rosario Central (including Giovani Lo Celso’s younger brother Francesco) and San Lorenzo should help with familiarity in such a short space of time.
Argentina begin their campaign against Venezuela on July 29th before group games against Murcia (31st), Mauritania (August 3rd) and India (5th) with the top two progressing.