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Football

Mascherano’s coached Argentina target Gold at Olympics

FIFA

Javier Mascherano’s charges are out to claim the country’s third Olympic football title and cement their stranglehold at the top of the game.

Argentina are undoubtedly among the contenders for the title at the Men’s Olympic Football Tournament. Under the stewardship of Javier Mascherano, who tasted glory at Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008 as a player, they boast several exciting players who have shone at club level both in Argentina and abroad. La Albiceleste will have high hopes of claiming a historic third gold at Paris 2024.


Mascherano enjoyed a stellar national-team career as a player, the highlights of which were a runners-up finish at the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ and Olympic gold medals at Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008. With his commitment, tireless work ethic and fine technical ability, he was a mainstay and a talismanic figure for Argentina.

After hanging up his boots in November 2020, El Jefecito began cutting his teeth as a coach at the helm of the Argentinian U-20 national team. Despite triumphing in the 2022 COTIF invitational tournament, his side were unable to build on that victory. They crashed out in the group stage at last year’s CONMEBOL South American U-20 Championship, a disappointing showing that should have cost them a spot at the FIFA U-20 World Cup 2023™.

This led the ex-midfield anchorman to tender his resignation, but the Argentinian Football Association convinced him to reconsider, deeming him an integral part of the overall set-up headed by senior coach Lionel Scaloni. With Argentina granted a reprieve in the shape of a place at the U-20 World Cup after stepping in to stage the competition, Mascherano’s troops impressed in their group on home soil, only to bow out with a last 16 defeat by Nigeria.

Having also been handed the reins of the U-23s, Mascherano oversaw a creditable campaign at the CONMEBOL Pre-Olympic Tournament. Victory over Brazil in a must-win final-day clash secured second place, thus achieving the side’s prime target of qualifying for Paris 2024.

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