Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni lauded the attitude of his players who he feels "gave their lives for the shirt" in Friday's 1-0 win over bitter rivals Brazil.

Lionel Messi was back in the team for the first time since the Copa America after serving a four-match ban for accusing CONMEBOL of corruption.

He scored the decisive goal early on when pouncing on the rebound after seeing Alisson save his penalty a few moments after Gabriel Jesus had also failed to convert from 12 yards.

Otherwise it was a scrappy and disjointed affair, though Argentina looked considerably more threatening in the final third and were unfortunate to not add to the score in the second half.

Despite Argentina's wastefulness after the interval, Scaloni was left overjoyed with the mentality and attitude of his team.

"I liked the second half," Scaloni told reporters. "We made changes because we wanted to test for what is to come.

"The team responded – it goes beyond who plays. They give their lives for the shirt and really played well."

Argentina remain unbeaten in their five post-Copa America matches, while Brazil – who have also played five times since lifting the trophy – are winless in that period.

Lionel Messi scored on his return from a three-month ban as Argentina beat bitter rivals Brazil 1-0 in Riyadh on Friday.

Messi missed Argentina's previous four matches due to a suspension for accusing CONMEBOL of favouring hosts Brazil – who won their semi-final meeting – at the Copa America and he made a decisive impact in the friendly, billed as the Superclasico de las Americas, as the Selecao's winless streak reached five games.

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner earned Argentina an early penalty and netted at the second time of asking after Gabriel Jesus had also spurned an opportunity from 12 yards.

Another couple of chances were crafted for Messi, but he failed to add to his tally and the match became extremely scrappy and disjointed after the break, with clear-cut chances at a premium.

A ferocious start saw both sides awarded a penalty inside the first 12 minutes and remarkably neither of them were scored, with Jesus missing the target after being tripped by Leandro Paredes, before Messi had his saved by Alisson.

But luckily for Argentina and the returning Messi, Alisson put the ball right back into the danger zone and the Barcelona star buried the rebound.

Messi went close to a second in rather more characteristic fashion, as he dribbled from inside his own half and got a shot away from the edge of the box, but his effort was a little tame and Alisson stopped it easily.

The second half was significantly untidier, though Argentina still looked more threatening, with Messi's long-range free-kick forcing Alisson to tip it over.

Lautaro Martinez should have wrapped things up 10 minutes from time when he blazed over inside the area, though Brazil – who handed Rodrygo Goes and Wesley debuts from the bench – were unable to punish the let-off and Argentina claimed victory.

 

What does it mean? Issues remain for incoherent Brazil

Since winning the Copa America, Brazil have been thoroughly underwhelming. With Friday's defeat, they have not won any of their five matches since lifting the trophy in July.

The most alarming element of the Selecao's performance was the anonymity of their attackers. Jesus struggled, Roberto Firmino offered precious little and Willian's impact amounted to little more than a couple of mazy runs that came to nothing.

Alisson one of few to match expectations

It was one of those games where there were not many standout performances to choose from. Alisson at least performed as well as one might expect, saving Messi's penalty – albeit parrying it straight back to him – and producing seven stops in total.

Jesus struggles to impose himself

Although he won Brazil's penalty, there was little to be impressed about in Jesus' display. He failed to hit the target with his spot-kick, while he was unable to make much of an impact up against Nicolas Otamendi and German Pezzella.

What's next?

It is on to Abu Dhabi next for Brazil, as they face South Korea on Tuesday. Argentina are scheduled to be in action against Uruguay in Tel Aviv, Israel the day before. However, La Celeste are yet to confirm their participation after a recent escalation in tension in nearby Gaza.

Lionel Messi was restored to Argentina's starting XI to face Brazil upon his return from a three-month suspension.

Messi has not played for Argentina since being sent off in the Copa America third-place play-off against Chile in July.

It was the Barcelona superstar's post-match outburst after the semi-final defeat to Brazil that resulted in his suspension, however, as he accused CONMEBOL of corruption and favouring Tite's Copa America hosts.

That earned him a lengthy ban and a $50,000 fine, with Messi missing games against Chile, Mexico, Germany and Ecuador.

But having been included in the squad once again, Messi was straight back into the starting XI for the contest in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Joining him in attack was Lautaro Martinez – passed fit after sustaining a head injury with Inter at the weekend – while Sergio Aguero, who like Messi has not featured for Argentina since the Copa America, was on the bench.

There were few surprises in the Brazil starting XI, with Roberto Firmino, Willian and Gabriel Jesus forming the attack in the absence of the injured Neymar.

Real Madrid winger Rodrygo Goes could earn his first cap from the bench.

 

Brazil boss Tite lauded Rodrygo for setting a strong example to aspiring footballers ahead of the teenager's potential international debut.

The 18-year-old Real Madrid forward could win his first senior cap when Brazil face old rivals Argentina in Saudi Arabia on Friday.

Rodrygo was called-up after winning his maiden competitive start for Madrid and pressed his case for minutes with a sparkling hat-trick in the club's recent 6-0 hammering of Galatasaray.

The scene-stealing treble made him the second youngest player, behind Los Blancos great Raul, to score three times in a Champions League match.

But the exciting Santos product has made a positive impression on Tite beyond his footballing ability.

"I talked to him and said he had to be very proud of his behaviour. As a person, as an example," Tite said.

"I asked him to give a hug to his parents for the education they gave. Say thanks to Jair Ventura, the coach who launched him. He is an example for a lot of young boys who would like to be in his position.

"He must think I am a little crazy, because I was talking and I do not know him, this is our first meeting.

"But I saw that when he scored the first goal [against Galatasaray] he went to hug [Karim] Benzema, who assisted. When he completed the hat-trick, I saw the television camera was focusing on him and he didn't look at the camera. He took the ball and kissed it and stood there.

"He becomes an example for a number of boys. Football is a transformation agent, both for good and for bad. He's like that, and I ended up telling him to hug his parents. I don't know them, but they deserve it."

Brazil's date with Argentina could also mark the return of Lionel Messi, who has not featured for the Albiceleste since the Copa America.

Messi was effectively shackled by Brazil as they prevailed 2-0 in the semi-finals of that tournament, but Tite remains wary of the Barcelona captain.

"He is a different player, he has impressive technical qualities,” the Selecao coach said.

"We have different strategies. We never neutralise such a player, we reduce the qualities. But football is an essentially collective sport.

"A strong collective will improve a Neymar, Coutinho, Firmino, Willian, Otamendi, Messi, Aguero.

"We know that the group improves the individual. Of course, we are dealing with Messi. He is a distinct player."

Argentina head coach Lionel Scaloni says Mauro Icardi remains part of his plans and he will consider recalling the Paris Saint-Germain striker if he can maintain his goalscoring form. 

Icardi has not featured for Argentina since scoring in last November’s 2-1 friendly win against Mexico and is not part of their latest squad for the friendlies with Brazil and Uruguay. 

The 26-year-old was overlooked for Copa America selection earlier this year after a turbulent campaign with Inter that saw him stripped of the captaincy amid a breakdown in contract talks. 

However, Icardi has scored nine goals in 10 matches since joining PSG on loan in September and is knocking on the door for a return to the international stage. 

"He is a player we have in mind," Scaloni said at a news conference ahead of Friday's friendly with Brazil in Saudi Arabia. 

"He is playing again, picking up pace after not playing at the end of last season. 

"He is on our agenda, and not because other strikers are not doing well. At any time he can return. The doors are always open for the best."

Lionel Messi is back in Argentina's squad for their friendly double-header after serving a three-month suspension for accusing CONMEBOL officials of corruption following his side's semi-final loss to Brazil at the Copa America.

South American champions Brazil will be without Neymar for the high-profile friendly, however, as the PSG forward is yet to fully recover from a hamstring injury sustained on international duty last month.

"Having Messi is always a positive," Scaloni said. "I would have liked Neymar to be involved, too.

"For us it is a joy to have Leo because he is a big part of the group and gets along with all his team-mates. He is a player who has marked an era in football."

Brazil captain Thiago Silva is not concerned about coming up against Lionel Messi in Friday's clash with bitter rivals Argentina, rather seeing it as a source of pride to take on the Barcelona superstar.

Messi is back in the Argentina squad for the first time since the Copa America, where Brazil beat Argentina 2-0 in July's semi-final.

After that controversial encounter, Messi accused CONMEBOL of corruption, earning a four-match ban and a $50,000 fine.

Messi is expected to make his return during the friendly clash in Saudi Arabia, and Silva prefers not to look at the situation with fear, instead relishing facing one of the best.

"We are not concerned but proud to have a chance to face him," Silva told reporters on Monday.

"They [Argentina] have their star, we won't have ours [Neymar, who is injured], but Brazil is Brazil, and we showed it during our Copa America win.

"They are living a different moment, as are we when you consider the last few matches. Brazil versus Argentina is always a great game, with great football and scoring chances.

"There's a 50:50 winning chance for each side - let's hope we are more inspired then than they are."

Brazil winger Willian added: "He [Messi] is a great player, unmatched, the best in the world. We've faced Argentina when he played before, and this will be just like those times.

"There must be more attention on him, we must restrict his spaces. We'll not man-mark him, but whoever is around him must close down the spaces, not leave him room to think."

Real Madrid youngster Rodrygo Goes is in line to earn his first senior cap at the tender age of 18 after breaking into the first team at the Santiago Bernabeu.

The wide attacker has already scored five goals in just six matches for Madrid, and Silva has been impressed, even suggesting he hopes Zinedine Zidane leaves the teenager out when Paris Saint-Germain take on the LaLiga giants in the Champions League later this month.

"The fact he's with the Selecao is a unique opportunity, he surely has dreamt about this moment," the PSG defender said of Rodrygo. "I hope he can enjoy it the best way possible.

"I have over 100 caps and every time I'm here, I feel the chills. I hope he has the wisdom to make the most of it.

"It's surprising really to most people, an 18-year-old with loads of personality. You see for the way he scores goals how calm and reserved this kid is, he's not doing it to show off.

"Let's hope Zidane keeps him on the bench! He's a player who'll demand more attention from your side. His quality speaks for itself."

Argentina pair Marcos Rojo and Roberto Pereyra have been ruled out of the country's international friendlies against Brazil and Uruguay.

As Lionel Messi prepares to make his comeback following a three-month suspension, Argentina defender Rojo and midfielder Pereyra have withdrawn from Lionel Scaloni's squad.

Rojo was ruled out following Manchester United's 3-1 Premier League win over Brighton and Hove Albion on Sunday in which he appeared at Old Trafford, while Watford's Pereyra succumbed to a hamstring injury.

Argentina have drafted in Boca Juniors' Alexis Mac Allister for Friday's showdown with South American rivals Brazil in Saudi Arabia and the November 18 fixture against Uruguay in Tel Aviv.

Messi is back in the squad after the Barcelona and Argentina captain was banned by CONMEBOL in August and fined $50,000 for accusing the governing body of corruption following his side's semi-final loss to Brazil at the Copa America.

The 32-year-old has missed Argentina's past four matches – all friendlies – which has seen the country rout Ecuador (6-1) and Mexico (4-0), and draw with Chile (0-0) and Germany (2-2).

South Africa made history on Saturday after beating England 32-12 in the Rugby World Cup final.

The Springboks had already lifted one trophy this year after winning the Rugby Championship in August, and, in Yokohama, Rassie Erasmus' team achieved something that had eluded rivals New Zealand and Australia in the past.

In the previous five years when there has been both a Rugby Championship – or its previous incarnation the Tri Nations – and a World Cup, the winners of the first tournament had subsequently failed to also deliver success on the global stage.

South Africa succeeded where these teams failed...
 

1999: TRI NATIONS WINNERS – NEW ZEALAND, WORLD CUP WINNERS – AUSTRALIA

The All Blacks won the first two Tri Nations and made it three in four years by thrashing South Africa 28-0, beating Australia 34-15 and claiming another victory over the Springboks.

However, a 28-7 loss to the Wallabies in the final fixture suggested New Zealand were not so invincible...

At the World Cup, the great Jonah Lomu scored eight tries yet France stunned New Zealand 43-31 in the last four, with Australia then winning the final against Les Bleus.

2003: TRI NATIONS WINNERS – NEW ZEALAND, WORLD CUP WINNERS – ENGLAND

Four wins out of four delivered another Tri Nations triumph for New Zealand.

The All Blacks scored 282 points in their four World Cup pool games in Australia too before easing past South Africa 29-9 in the quarter-finals.

But Elton Flatley's accuracy from the tee consigned New Zealand to another semi-final loss and sent Australia back to the final, where Jonny Wilkinson's drop goal in Sydney delivered a famous success for England.

2007: TRI NATIONS WINNERS – NEW ZEALAND, WORLD CUP WINNERS – SOUTH AFRICA

Neither Australia nor South Africa could deny the All Blacks another Tri Nations title in 2007, though it was a Northern Hemisphere nation who would stop their run at the World Cup.

New Zealand led 13-3 in the first half of their quarter-final against France only to suffer another knockout loss to their World Cup nemesis as Yannick Jauzion scored a brilliant converted try 11 minutes from time to seal a 20-18 success.

Defending champions England beat France in the semi-final but Percy Montgomery won the battle of the boots with Wilkinson in the final as South Africa secured their second World Cup.

2011: TRI NATIONS WINNERS – AUSTRALIA, WORLD CUP WINNERS – NEW ZEALAND

In the final Tri Nations before Argentina joined to form the Rugby Championship, Graham Henry's team lost their last two matches as Australia triumphed for the first time in a decade.

The World Cup was hosted in New Zealand and after years of being the nearly men, it was the All Blacks' turn to taste global glory again.

France were their final opponents and, in a tense, low-scoring contest, New Zealand won 8-7.

2015: RUGBY CHAMPIONSHIP WINNERS – AUSTRALIA, WORLD CUP WINNERS – NEW ZEALAND

Four years ago, Australia beat the other three nations to win the Rugby Championship, and came out on top of a World Cup pool that included Wales and hosts England.

The Wallabies narrowly saw off Scotland 35-34 and ousted Argentina 29-15 to set up a final with a New Zealand side that had hammered France 62-13 in the last eight.

No team had ever retained the World Cup before but Dan Carter shone on his international farewell to ensure Steve Hansen's side lifted the Webb Ellis Cup again.

Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde does not see Lionel Messi's recall to the Argentina national team as a setback to the LaLiga giants.

Messi was banned and fined $50,000 by CONMEBOL in August for accusing the governing body of corruption in the wake of Argentina's Copa America semi-final defeat to hosts Brazil.

The Barca talisman has missed Argentina's past four matches – all friendlies – as a result, but he was named in their latest squad on Thursday for upcoming matches against Brazil and Uruguay.

Those games will be played this month in Saudi Arabia and Israel, respectively.

Messi has suffered with injury problems this term, leading to some suggesting his return to the Argentina set-up could be a negative development for Barcelona.

Although Valverde's tone seemed to a suggest a hint of frustration, he refused to outright call Messi's call-up a problem.

"Look, we know that if Messi is active, there's a good chance he gets called up to the national team," Valverde told reporters on Friday.

"He hasn't been [in the Argentina squad] because of suspension, but now that's over it's normal for him to be back for Argentina.

"It's something we accept, he accepts. I don't think it's a setback as such."

Defender Samuel Umtiti has endured a wretched time with injuries over the past 18 months, playing just 15 LaLiga matches since the start of last season.

His solitary outing this term against Eibar last month was followed by another knee injury, though Valverde hinted he could potentially feature at Levante on Saturday.

"Let's see how he does in training today [Friday]," Valverde said. "He's had fitness issues hanging over from last year, that's why he's not playing regularly.

"Hopefully we can get this sorted once and for all so he can play more regularly, but the other thing is competition for places. Lenglet is playing very well.

"He [Lenglet] is an absolutely reliable player, very professional in what he does. He's really settling into his position.

"Shortly after arriving last season, he covered extremely well for Samuel and the French team is also aware of how well he is playing."

South Africa stand on the brink of making history when they face England in Saturday's Rugby World Cup final.

The Springboks have already lifted one trophy this year after winning the Rugby Championship in August, and Rassie Erasmus' team are looking to do something that has eluded rivals New Zealand and Australia in the past.

In the previous five years when there has been both a Rugby Championship – or its previous incarnation the Tri Nations – and a World Cup, the winners of the first tournament have subsequently failed to also deliver success on the global stage.

With South Africa in a position to finally end that sequence, we take a look at those who have previously conquered the Southern Hemisphere only to fall short at the World Cup.

 

1999: TRI NATIONS WINNERS – NEW ZEALAND, WORLD CUP WINNERS – AUSTRALIA

The All Blacks won the first two Tri Nations and made it three in four years by thrashing South Africa 28-0, beating Australia 34-15 and claiming another victory over the Springboks.

However, a 28-7 loss to the Wallabies in the final fixture suggested New Zealand were not so invincible...

At the World Cup, the great Jonah Lomu scored eight tries yet France stunned New Zealand 43-31 in the last four, with Australia then winning the final against Les Bleus.

2003: TRI NATIONS WINNERS – NEW ZEALAND, WORLD CUP WINNERS – ENGLAND

Four wins out of four delivered another Tri Nations triumph for New Zealand.

The All Blacks scored 282 points in their four World Cup pool games in Australia too before easing past South Africa 29-9 in the quarter-finals.

But Elton Flatley's accuracy from the tee consigned New Zealand to another semi-final loss and sent Australia back to the final, where Jonny Wilkinson's drop goal in Sydney delivered a famous success for England.

2007: TRI NATIONS WINNERS – NEW ZEALAND, WORLD CUP WINNERS – SOUTH AFRICA

Neither Australia nor South Africa could deny the All Blacks another Tri Nations title in 2007, though it was a Northern Hemisphere nation who would stop their run at the World Cup.

New Zealand led 13-3 in the first half of their quarter-final against France only to suffer another knockout loss to their World Cup nemesis as Yannick Jauzion scored a brilliant converted try 11 minutes from time to seal a 20-18 success.

Defending champions England beat France in the semi-final but Percy Montgomery won the battle of the boots with Wilkinson in the final as South Africa secured their second World Cup.

2011: TRI NATIONS WINNERS – AUSTRALIA, WORLD CUP WINNERS – NEW ZEALAND

In the final Tri Nations before Argentina joined to form the Rugby Championship, Graham Henry's team lost their last two matches as Australia triumphed for the first time in a decade.

The World Cup was hosted in New Zealand and after years of being the nearly men, it was the All Blacks' turn to taste global glory again.

France were their final opponents and, in a tense, low-scoring contest, New Zealand won 8-7.

2015: RUGBY CHAMPIONSHIP WINNERS – AUSTRALIA, WORLD CUP WINNERS – NEW ZEALAND

Four years ago, Australia beat the other three nations to win the Rugby Championship, and came out on top of a World Cup pool that included Wales and hosts England.

The Wallabies narrowly saw off Scotland 35-34 and ousted Argentina 29-15 to set up a final with a New Zealand side that had hammered France 62-13 in the last eight.

No team had ever retained the World Cup before but Dan Carter shone on his international farewell to ensure Steve Hansen's side lifted the Webb Ellis Cup again.

Barcelona forward Lionel Messi is back in Argentina's squad for next month's friendlies against Brazil and Uruguay after serving a three-month suspension.

Messi was banned by CONMEBOL in August and fined $50,000 for accusing the governing body of corruption following his side's semi-final loss to Brazil at the Copa America.

The 32-year-old has missed Argentina's past four matches - all friendlies - but is in line to make his return in November after being named in Lionel Scaloni's latest 26-man squad.

Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero is also included for the first time since Argentina's 2-1 third-place play-off victory over Chile in the Copa America, while Tottenham midfielder Giovani Lo Celso returns after sitting out of this month's draw with Germany and victory over Ecuador.

There is still no place in the squad for Paris Saint-Germain's in-form striker Mauro Icardi, however, with his most recent cap coming against Mexico in November 2018.

Club team-mate Angel Di Maria, absent since the Copa America, is also missing again.

Argentina meet Brazil in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on November 15 and then travel to Tel Aviv, Israel, to face Uruguay three days later in the final international break of the calendar year.
 

Argentina squad in full:

Agustin Marchesin (Porto), Emiliano Martinez (Arsenal), Esteban Andrada (Boca Juniors), Juan Musso (Udinese); German Pezzella (Fiorentina), Juan Foyth (Tottenham), Marcos Rojo (Manchester United), Nehuen Perez (Famalicao), Nicolas Otamendi (Manchester City), Nicolas Tagliafico (Ajax), Renzo Saravia (Porto), Walter Kannemann (Gremio); Giovani Lo Celso (Tottenham), Guido Rodriguez (Club America), Leandro Paredes (Paris Saint-Germain), Lucas Ocampos (Sevilla), Marcos Acuna (Sporting CP), Nicolas Dominguez (Velez Sarsfield), Roberto Pereyra (Watford), Rodrigo de Paul (Udinese); Lautaro Martinez (Inter), Lionel Messi (Barcelona), Lucas Alario (Bayer Leverkusen), Nicolas Gonzalez (Stuttgart), Paulo Dybala (Juventus), Sergio Aguero (Manchester City).

Lionel Messi conceded his dreams of a fairytale return to Newell's Old Boys are fading as he reflected on the "madness" of Argentina's obsession with football.

Barcelona superstar Messi has long expressed a desire to end his career in his hometown of Rosario, where he played for Newell's as a child.

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner left for Europe in his teens and acknowledges it would now be tough to ask his wife and three children to leave behind their life in Catalonia.

"I always say that I don't want to leave here, I have no thoughts of ​​moving," Messi told TyC Sports.

"I have the dream of being able to play for Newell's in Argentina, but I don't know if it's really going to happen because I have a family that is ahead of my desire.

"It's a dream I've had since I was little, but I have a family, I have three children, I live in a place that has given me everything and where I am calm and can give my children a spectacular future.

"We think much more about that than my desire of playing football in Argentina.

"I will try to convince the family, because today we have to convince the children too."

Messi's involvement in Argentine club football would invite immense interest and, though he relocated almost two decades ago, the 32-year-old is fully aware of the hostile intensity that surrounds his homeland's strongest rivalries.

According to the Barca captain, his club's encounters with Real Madrid do not stir the same level of manic passion associated with derbies like the Superclasico, contested by Boca Juniors and River Plate.

"I would like to have played in Argentine football in general," he said.

"I always went to the stadium with my old man, the crowd was impressive. Besides, playing in one of those Clasicos must be terrible. It's more or less the same [as in Spain], but people live it differently.

"On a sporting level, the match is the same, but people in Argentina are crazier about that issue. Not winning the Clasico means a lot. Here you want to win but, if you lose, nothing happens. There, you can't leave your house if you lose.

"All of the Clasicos are the same: in Rosario, in Cordoba, River-Boca, Independiente-Racing. In general people live it that way. The daily madness is carried into football and it's a disaster. 

"We go through qualifying [with the national team], although that's something else. We had to go all over South America and it is also brave, they do not let you sleep, they spend the night throwing things at you all in the hotels. Libertadores matches must be much worse still."

Lionel Messi insists he would not change anything about his decorated career in order to win a World Cup.

The lack of a major international honour remains the glaring absence in the Barcelona superstar's trophy haul.

He was named player of the tournament at the 2014 World Cup, where Argentina lost the final 1-0 against Germany in extra-time.

Last time around in Russia, a chaotic campaign ended in a 4-3 loss to eventual winners France in the last 16.

Messi will be 35 by the time Qatar 2022 comes around and, in an interview with TyC Sports, he appeared to accept the time for him to claim that elusive piece of history might have passed,

"I would have loved to be world champion," he said. "But I think I would not change anything I had in my career to be one.

"This is what touched me, what God gave me."

Messi captained Argentina to the semi-finals of the Copa America earlier this year, where they lost to hosts and subsequent victors Brazil.

In the previous two editions of the continental tournament, La Albiceleste lost consecutive finals to Chile on penalties.

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