Inter Milan vice-president Javier Zanetti explains why Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni favored Julian Alvarez over Lautaro Martinez in the Copa America opener.

The defending champions started their campaign last night with a 2-0 win over Canada in Atlanta.

But while the majority of the starting lineup was already known, a big question mark loomed over the identity of the centre-forward.

In the end, Scaloni gave the nod to Alvarez who started alongside Lionel Messi and Angel Di Maria. Therefore, the Argentina coach left Lautaro on the bench.

For Scaloni, this is a dilemma that dates back to the World Cup in Qatar.

But luckily for the Albiceleste, both players were on target in the 2-0 win. The Man City striker broke the deadlock after the break, while the Inter captain secured the victory after coming in.

For his part, Zanetti justified Scaloni’s decision, explaining that Alvarez provides more defensive cover than Martinez.

The 50-year-old feels that this was an elemental factor in the coach’s decision, especially in the presence of the aging Messi and Di Maria.

“They are two great attackers, the coach chose Alvarez because he helps very well in the defensive phase,” said the Nerazzurri icon in his post-match interview with TUDN via FcInterNews.

“They both scored two fundamental goals, that’s the important thing.”

Javier Zanetti Reveals Why Lionel Scaloni Chose Julian Alvarez Over Lautaro Martinez

The Inter vice-captain also noted the importance of winning the opening fixture.

“It was tough. Canada is a great team but Argentina has players with strong personalities who know how to solve the match. The future is very promising for this team.

“Canada were pushing for an equalizer but Argentina can always pounce on their chances. They ended the match with Lautaro’s goal.

“It’s important to start these tournaments with a victory, and luckily, we did it.”