Lionel Scaloni and Pablo Aimar may have just been named interim Argentina coaches but their immediate focus was the Under-20s progress in the COTIF tournament and against a mediocre Mauritania side, the Albiceleste emerged 2-0 winners.
Argentina Under-20s are yet to be truly tested by quality opposition but Scaloni’s side made it three wins from three in L’Alcúdia to claim a spot in the semi finals with a game to spare.
Yet to concede in the tournament it took just two minutes for Argentina to take the lead and it was from a familiar source as the powerful Adolfo Gaich out-jumped a defender to head the ball forward allowing Vélez forward Álvaro Barreal to volley home.
The early goal however failed to open the floodgates and aside from Gaich wasting a glorious opportunity one-on-one, Argentina were disjointed and easily frustrated by the young African side.
Even after the break Argentina never really got going and although Aníbal Moreno was guilty of missing an open goal from only a few yards out, La Albiceleste were hardly deserving of a greater advantage.
When the second goal did arrive it was no surprise that it came from a defensive error. A slip at the back allowed Inter striker Facundo Colidio through and the 18-year-old clipped the ball over goalkeeper M’Bodji and volleyed into the empty net.
The performance will likely not have pleased Scaloni but with three wins Argentina are guaranteed a semi-final spot ahead of the final group game against India on Sunday. Either Russia or Uruguay lie ahead in the knockout stages and it will be the first real test of this young side’s credentials.
Argentina: Jerónimo Pourteu; Facundo Mura, Leonardo Balerdi, Gastón Avila, Elías Pereyra; Andrés Ayala (Colombo, 64′), Agustín Almendra (Vera, 54′), Aníbal Moreno; Alvaro Barreal (Marinelli, 40′), Adolfo Gaich (Colidio, 54′), Gonzalo Maroni (Palacios, 40′)