Brazil coach, Tite, has said that he has lost sleep ahead of his team’s semifinal clash on against arch-rivals, Argentina, at the Mineirao Stadium, in the ongoing Copa America championship on Tuesday.
Tite has already played against Argentina three times, recording two wins and one loss. But the outcome seems not enough to calm him before the superclasico.
“I told you I am feeling a lot of anticipation, I couldn’t sleep and I won’t sleep again [tonight],” the Brazil coach said in a media conference on Monday.
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“I woke up at 3:15 a.m., started thinking about the match. I have the habit of taking notes, so I did it. That is the reality of coaches, me, Scaloni.
“I will not fake it, do one thing here and then say something different to the athletes. Of course I have expectations, I am only human.”
His first match against Argentina was also the latest encounter between the two teams in Belo Horizonte In November 2016, where Brazil won 3-0 in World Cup qualifiers.
The game was played at the venue where they got hammered 7-1 by Germany in the semifinal of the 2014 World Cup, which they also hosted.
“That win [against Argentina] doesn’t give us credit now and that defeat [against Germany] we had here doesn’t affect. What matters is the moment,” Tite said. “But the anticipation I felt then is the same I feel now.”
He has been under pressure and criticism for his selection and also for poor performances during the Copa America, which they are hosting.
Only winning the tournament on Sunday could make him retain his job and take charge of the team to the Qatar World Cup in 2022.
However, interim Argentina coach, Lionel Scaloni, on the other hand, sounded more relaxed than usual.
Asked if he is sleeping as little as Tite, he said: “I do that already, it is not because of our rival.”
Scaloni also replied reports that he could bench Sergio Aguero, in order to field a more defensive player.
“Aguero will play. I said it because I read I was in doubt, let me leave that clear,” Scaloni added.
“The rest you will know tomorrow. Not even Messi is confirmed,” Scaloni further jokingly said.
He stated that Brazil are the favorite to win, but believes Tite’s lack of sleep comes with the pressure of hosting the competition.
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“For him it is his home, his people, there are different circumstances. For us it could grant us access to the final,” Scaloni said. “If this semifinal were against another team it would be the same. I don’t believe beating Brazil is a prize.”
Argentina started their campaign with a 2-0 defeat to Colombia and almost crashed out in the 1-1 draw with Paraguay, but improved in two 2-0 wins against Qatar and Venezuela.
Scaloni assured that fans should expect another good performance against Brazil, adding that his team are desperate to win a trophy for Messi.
“The players love Messi so much that sometimes they say they want to win the tournament just for him,” Scaloni said. “The best player in football’s history is lacking a trophy with Argentina, but we all want to win, not just him.
“We are used to seeing him score three goals in every game and dribble past five players, but we are asking him to do something different and we are more than happy with the job he is doing.
“He has embraced the workload, he is our flagbearer,” he also said.