Argentina as a team is back – victory left behind all the sufferings, disputes, and uncanny feelings
When the things are not right, everything looks awry. It was the case for Argentina before they finally got their first success at FIFA World Cup Russia 2018. They fought hard to defeat Nigeria 2-1 and book their place in last 16. There were all the sufferings, disputes, and uncanny feelings before they finally tasted the victory, and now it’s all gone. Argentina as a team is back.
La Albiceleste drew with Iceland and Messi missed penalty. It was uncomfortable and a feeling which submerged World’s best player into a low moment in the crucial moment of his life. Then come second against Croatia to add to the pain. Vatreni left La Albiceleste to rethink their strategy going forward as they sank the whole of Argentina with 3-0 defeat.
And, here comes the worse. The suffering was always there in Argentina camp, they never recovered but it was frustrating moment. Players were in dispute blaming each other for the defeat, they were brawled into a dressing room fight, coach didn’t know what was going on. His tactics have failed on each occasion, and the players he brought to the World Cup were still raising the eyebrows.
It wasn’t a right situation to deal with, and there was never going to be an answer. Neither the coach, nor the captain had the clue to deal with it, and Argentine FA may rest themselves in belief that something will come out good.
It did come. Players become rebellious. It might have something to do with Argentine legend Maradona’s statement that current La Albiceleste players don’t know the importance of wearing the national shirt, but no I’m not going to give the credit to Diego Maradona for his antics. It’s the players who deserve to celebrate their victory together. #VamosArgentina
They forget about individuals, forget about the team and played for Argentine shirt. They reminded themselves of Argentina’s football history. Messi said, “Nothing cuter than being Argentinian in good and bad”. Ever Banega made clear, “Never stop fighting for this shirt, which is the most beautiful in the world.” Nicolas Otamendi shows his love for Seleccion saying that “we always try to give our best for Argentine color.”
Gabriel Mercado adds, “If we play as we play today, we have many chances to classify. Now comes a tough opponent but you have to fight to keep moving.”
Mascherano may have been culprit of awarding penalty to Nigeria, but his fighting spirit was never in doubt as he played with blood flowing from his face for the final 30 minutes. Former Barcelona man said, “This game doesn’t know of merit and today we were minutes from being outside. The selection is not only beautiful moments, it’s to know to suffer, to pass it badly but also to enjoy these moments.”
And most importantly Coach Jorge Sampaoli got answers to his problems. He said, “These players played with the heart and a lot of rebellion. This will strengthen the chances for the future.”
He was almost ignored in the victory. We saw players out standing in a group listening to Messi and Mascherano as like they were coaching the team. All the tactics and players selection on the pitch was taken by senior players. We saw Lucas Biglia giving the instructions to Cristian Pavon before he come off the bench.
Leave the FA, leave the manager, this team was in urgency and they showed what they can do together. They need to do that in four more matches. Listen their guts, go with their feelings and play together. Against Nigeria, it wasn’t only about Messi. Messi almost disappear after first-half. It was guys like Ever Banega, Marcos Rojo, Gabriel Mercado, and Javier Mascherano who kept the fight alive and in the end they were successful.
A seleccion is always about a team not about the particular individual. Seleccion Argentina realized that. The players who were supposed to play only supporting roles realized their importance. They come forward and prove that what it feels to wear a Argentine shirt. They were not ready to sit back and suffer the humiliation alongside Messi of elimination, they marched forward and win the match.
Argentina need this for the remaining for matches. This seleccion has the ability. They have the players, they only need to bring faith in them, playing in their right positions. They have the belief that they can make the difference.
Jorge Sampaoli must play Marcos Rojo and Gabriel Mercado in their natural position of left-back and right-back positions respectively. Gonzalo Higuain may not have got the goals but he was good with his pressing. It will always allow Messi to pounce on opponents’ defenders error. Banega is brilliant with his offensive display and he deserves to be in this Argentina side regularly. The side who played against Nigeria deserves to play going forward, although it’s coach who needs to add his input with different tactics against the different opponents.
Jorge Sampaoli has already come up three different formations against three different teams. Going forward, he must be conscious about his changing formation and change in the personality in playing XI. He can’t take away all the joy this team has earned after a long suffering.
Argentina is back. We have got that feeling after only one match. It must be that way for the rest of the tournament. They played together, they fight together, they enjoyed together, and everyone at least at that point of time has confidence to giving statements. It’s good amen, it must be that way.
As Jorge Sampaoli said and Marcos Rojo agreed as FIFA reports, “The World Cup starts for us today. We have to keep giving it all we have got, now more than ever.”
Lionel Messi also said that God was with us and not leave us out. We hope that it stays this way and god stay with La Albiceleste for another three weeks, so that we can see Messi lifting the trophy. The other greats can wait for another four years, but without Messi lifting the trophy in 2018, it will always feel like football owed a World Cup to Messi.