FILE - Argentina's head coach Lionel Scaloni celebrates his team's...

FILE - Argentina's head coach Lionel Scaloni celebrates his team's win after the World Cup final soccer match between Argentina and France at the Lusail Stadium in Lusail, Qatar, Dec. 18, 2022. Scaloni signed a contract extension to remain in charge of Argentina's national team until the 2026 World Cup. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein, File) Credit: AP/Frank Augstein

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — World Cup winner Lionel Scaloni will remain as coach of Argentina to the end of the 2026 World Cup.

The Argentine Football Association and Scaloni confirmed the deal on Monday. They didn't elaborate any further.

Scaloni's contract expired after Argentina won the World Cup in Qatar on Dec. 18. Long negotiations followed.

The 44-year-old coach and Claudio Tapia, the AFA president, met in Paris before the FIFA awards late Monday. Scaloni was a candidate for coach of the year.

“When trust is high, communication is clear and effective," Tapia said on Twitter in a post with himself and Scaloni smiling and drinking tea in the French capital. “We continue to trust our project of national teams to Lionel Scaloni, the World Cup winning coach.”

Scaloni took over at the end of 2018 as a temporary measure, and received waves of criticism for his lack of experience. He had never coached a professional team. One year later, the job was his permanently.

He took Argentina to the 2021 Copa America title, the team's first in 28 years. Captain Lionel Messi and other key players repeatedly said they wanted Scaloni to remain on the job for the 2026 World Cup.

Argentina's first match since Qatar — and another celebration of the world champion — will be a March 23 friendly against Panama at Estadio Monumental in Buenos Aires.


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