Argentina boycotts its football / World Cup 2022 / Gr. C / Argentina-Saudi Arabia (1-2) /

Announced as one of the main favorites of this World Cup, theAlbiceleste wallowed for its entry into the running against the Saudi Tom Thumb. A shy performance, two magnificent goals conceded after returning from the locker room and a revolt that never happened. The sky blue and white wave that has swept over Qatar is already threatening to break.

On July 2, 2019 in Belo Horizonte, the Argentinian of Leo Messi yielded against Brazil in the semi-finals of the Copa América, failing once again in his quest for a first trophy since 1993. Three and a half years later, Lionel Scaloni has made a name for himself on the selection bench, and Lionel Messi has finally become a prophet in his country over a series of 36 games without defeats, the culmination of which remains this continental victory last summer. A series that ended when the Argentines least expected it: for their first match of a World Cup that they approached as one of the major candidates for the final victory. However well launched, Leandro Paredes and consorts came up against Saudi realism, unable to reverse the course of events.

Messi: a penalty and then nothing

The former Parisian midfielder had however put his team on the best track by going for a quick penalty to allow Lionel Messi to start his competition with a smile. Forty minutes later, when it was time to go to the locker room, there was no indication of what was going to happen: the seven-time Ballon d’Or and Lautaro Martínez, on two occasions, had in turn been refused the Pause on offside, when the band of Hervé Renard had remained very silent. An inability to take shelter paid dearly on arrival.

And then, as soon as the resumption, the Falcons overturn the table in the space of four minutes, carried in particular by a but sublime of Al-Dawsari. Pendant almost a half, theAlbiceleste will then break his teeth on the Saudi rearguard, imperturbable, under the increasingly worried gaze of thousands of annoyed sky blue and white supporters. “We got it wrong in the second half.could only see Lautaro Martínez on Argentine television at the final whistle. We lost the game on our mistakes. » So solid and made up of players who are sometimes used to giving up, the Scaloneta never managed to revolt, in the wake of a relatively inconspicuous Lionel Messi. Result: for the first time since 1958 against the FRG, the South American team was forced to bow after opening the scoring in a World Cup match.

remember 2018

Four years ago in Russia, it was also with an unexpected poor performance (a draw against Iceland) that the Argentinians began an adventure that was completed in the round of 16 against fury blue. A disputed meeting one day of France-Australia, well, well. On that day, Lionel Messi had failed from the penalty spot, and his team had never managed to weigh in the tournament, beating Nigeria in front of a raging Diego Maradona, before being swept by Croatia and France, the two future finalists.
The Argentinians now have four days to straighten their heads and avoid at all costs that the last dance of the Pulga and Ángel Di María, among others, does not turn into a fiasco. Saturday night against Mexico – an opponent never easy to maneuver in the tournament – the champions of South America will already play their survival. The survival of a dream that has driven the country for many months: to finally see Lionel Messi submitted to the Jules Rimet trophy, which was an additional mark in his quest for eternity. And this time, the idol of the people will not be in the stands to ensure the show. The challenge will be to know if a successor can still reveal himself at the end of this last chance tournament for so many big names in the round ball.

By Tom Binet


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