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Argentina ‘lucky’ to still be alive at Copa America: Lionel Scaloni

Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni admitted his side are fortunate to still be in contention at the Copa America, after a 1-1 draw with Paraguay yesterday morning (Singapore time) in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.

The Albiceleste are bottom of Group B with one point after two matches.

The 14-time Copa America champions will have to beat Qatar in their final group match on Monday to keep their quarter-finals hopes alive.

Said Scaloni: "We have to win. We will take stock of what we did well and what we did not do well and we will make decisions. We are lucky that we are still alive in this tournament."

Richard Sanchez gave Paraguay the lead in the 37th minute, firing home after a lightning break by Miguel Almiron down the left wing.

Argentina captain Lionel Messi pulled his side level in the 57th minute after a handball by Paraguay's Ivan Piris, which no one on the pitch appealed for, but was spotted by the video assistant referee.

Paraguay were awarded a spot-kick of their own a five minutes later, but Derlis Gonzalez's shot was saved by Argentina goalkeeper Franco Armani, who was lucky to avoid a red card when he fouled Gonzalez outside his area at the end of the first half.

With just four of the 12 teams not going through to the knockout rounds, Messi says it will be "crazy" if Argentina do not make it out of the group.

Said the Argentina talisman: "I see a team convinced that we will win the next match.

"Frankly, it's a little frustrating not being able to get the win...

"We know we'll be playing for our lives (against Qatar).

"It would be crazy if we can't advance from the group stage, when basically three advance from each group."

Messi's striker partner against Paraguay, Lautaro Martinez, took out his frustrations on a water bottle after being substituted, and appeared to take a dig at his coach after the match.

Said the Inter Milan forward: "Tactically and aesthetically speaking, what we and the public see is that you create more chances when you have more attackers on the pitch."