What if South American football took advantage of a getaway to Qatar to regain its luster? Led by a Neymar in great shape and individuals who can scare any opponent, Brazil recovers its favorite status. But the Seleção is not the only South American team ready to challenge the European continent: Argentina – who are counting on their beloved captain Lionel Messi and his victory at the last Copa America – also dream of embroidering a third star on his Albiceleste jersey.
Coming back from afar, after a defeat against the Blues at the last World Cup (3-4) and a Jorge Sampaoli often mocked by his own locker room and especially his executives, Argentina has finally managed to find a coach, who unites the Argentine people finding the right ingredients. This is Lionel Scaloni. After recovering a nation from the bottom of the abyss, he was able to build a team around his captain Lionel Messi, who had nevertheless signaled that he wanted to stop definitively with the selection.
Lionel Messi is unanimous in the country
After mixed results, but increasingly attractive signs in the game, Argentina regained their luster by winning the Copa America on the lands of their worst enemy Brazil (1-0), after 28 years of scarcity. And since the night of July 11, 2021, Argentina has finally found its Messi. “I had to get rid of this thorn in my side to get something with the national team. Many times I had to leave sad and I knew it was going to happen. There is no better time than this”explained the number 10 after his first coronation, his voice trembling.
The love story between Argentina and Messi continued at the Estadio Antonio Vespucio Liberti in Buenos Aires, where the native of Rosario received his best ovation with the Albceleste, after a hat-trick against Bolivia (3-0 ), where he will end the meeting in tears. Finally reconciled with its captain and under the tributes to Diego Maradona, Argentina understood that since then, it could claim something in Qatar.
A victory against Italy that impressed
Because since its qualifying campaign for the World Cup – after a second place acquired and the imbroglio of the meeting against Brazil – Argentina has chained a record in its history of 34 matches without losing and is approaching the absolute record of Italy (37). And it was also against La Squadra that the Argentines showed that they finally had a major place to play at the World Cup. Victorious in the Finalissima (3-0), Messi and his teammates taught the reigning European Champions a lesson and made a very good impression in Europe. The quintuplet of the Parisian against Estonia, in a friendly (5-0), even seems anecdotal.
“We are clear on how we are going to play the World Cup. The most important thing is that the players enjoy it. How we play, people enjoy every game and that’s very important. (…) The important thing is that Messi is doing well, that he feels good and that he enjoys playing football. The more he benefits, the more we all benefit”underlined the coach, as the last friendly match before the 2022 World Cup approaches, tonight against Jamaica, in the United States.
While Argentina will begin their entry into Qatar on November 22, against Saudi Arabia, the road will still be long to afford a third World Cup. And especially the first for La Pulga, which would consolidate its place as number one of all time a little more.