Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni and defender Nicolas Tagliafico have denied they were poor winners in their action-packed and incident-laced quarterfinal win over The Netherlands.
Tagliafico has defended his actions and those of his teammates, suggesting such scenes can happen again.
“Those situations happen in the world of football; we are not machines. The emotions were running high.
“It has happened in previous matches. It will likely happen again. This was a World Cup quarterfinal, with two teams fighting it out,” he added.
Argentina face Croatia in the first World Cup semifinal on Tuesday, after overcoming the Netherlands on penalties.
The Copa America champions led 2-0 at Lusail Stadium yet were pegged back to a 2-2 draw by Wout Weghorst’s double.
But Emiliano Martinez’s saves paved the way for Lautaro Martinez to score the winning penalty in the shoot-out and send Argentina through to the last four.
The match was not without controversy. Some of Argentina’s players celebrated wildly in front of the Netherlands squad, while there were tussles on the touchline and Lionel Messi seemed to confront Oranje coach Louis van Gaal.
Scaloni, however, does not believe his team behaved poorly.
“The game was played the way we have to play, both teams did that,” he said at a press conference.
“I’m not convinced of this idea of unsporting behaviour. We play with pride, the way we have to play and then the referee is in charge of decisions. We respect all the teams, the Netherlands, Croatia and all the opponents. That’s one of the main characteristics of our personality.”
“Some games, things can happen, arguments, challenging times. That’s why there’s a referee to ensure there’s justice,” he added.